There are some developments in the Apple vs Samsung lawsuit, after the latter lost the patent trial and was doomed to pay over 1 billion to Apple. They reviewed the (not so conclusive) sentence and decided to appeal to a higher court in order to review and eventually let them have a second hearing in order to try and reverse the decision. Here is Wireless World iPhone Repair Bixby thoughts on the matter.
If we ignore the enormous amounts of money poured out, the insanely long time things take in court, and the ridiculously lengthy descriptions laid down during that trial, it might seem to a viewer on both sides like 2 kids fighting: one of them said “he stole my toys”, the parents answer “you are right – Sammy, please give then back” and then the latter says “no I didn’t”.
By the way, it’ll take several months for us to know the parents response to poor little Sam.
While the patent war may seem like a new hot trend by companies to “lock down” enemies, get some money and remove the competition, however, dragging weaker rivals in court until they give up due to lack of ability to fight is a very old tool used quite effectively for most of the competitor’s history.
Back in 2008, a small company named VLingo was created, the company had a great product under their hands, allowing a computer to understand human speech. The company has been approached, among others, by Apple in order to have the technology integrated in their products (read: SIRI). The wheels have started to turn and things looked good for the company. However, one gloomy day (maybe it was sunny) at 2008, VLingo had been contacted by a much bigger company claiming they are infringing one of their patents and were offered 2 options: agree to sell the company or face a lawsuit. Wireless World iPhone Repair Bixby thought this was the typical way large companies handle legal issues like this.
The owner of VLingo, Michael Phillips, refused to sell the company now that things were going so well and was slapped with a subpoena- the first of six lawsuits VLingo was about to be hit with according to the rival company. The trial didn’t go that well for the small voice recognition company, as right after it was started and with five more trials meant to hold the company down, it was clear to VLingo’s partners that betting on them, even if they do have the more superior technology, was a bet that had little to gain and a lot to lose in the mobile world where things change with an increasing pace. So they lost to Apple and most of their other clients who migrated to the bigger rival that locked them down in the lawsuits.
Three years later, VLingo won the battle and proved they didn’t infringed any patent by Nuance, who meanwhile closed a major deal with Apple (and are being used by SIRI), and it cost them 3 million dollars, money that they’ll never see again, and since most major clients left due to this case – no income has come into the company, plunging their market value as well as any hopes for saving themselves. Having won the battle proved nothing as ultimately VLingo had lost the war, and with 5 lawsuits in their grim future, the company gave up and was sold to Nuance according to Wireless World iPhone Repair Bixby.
But patent lawsuits are not only a case of goliath holding David at bay until the latter gives up. In 2000, a small company named Immerson sued both Microsoft and Sony for using a vibrating remote on their respective game consoles (Xbox and PS), not wanting to go to court Microsoft settled outside of court with buying 10% of Immerson’s shares while Sony went to trial. Six years later after a trial and a second hearing (which Samsung got in the Apple trial), Sony lost the case and were forced pay $82 million as well as remove the vibrating feature from their remote, which they announced to do for PS3. A year later, they settled an agreement with Immerson and got the vibrating feature back.
What would you do to improve the patent rule and have a world that is fair to everyone and allow technology improvement? Or maybe the law is completely useless? After all – no one made billions on the invention of the wheel!
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