The file cabinets of mobile companies are always filled with patents, but it’s only recently they have started going to war over them. Before 2007, in fact, most patent disputes were handled behind closed doors with smiles and handshakes. Then the iPhone came along, and all of a sudden, it was sue or die.
Motorola’s the latest company to launch into the smartphone patent lawsuit fray, lodging
a series of patent infringement complaints against Apple in both Northern Illinois and Southern Florida federal district courts, as well as asking the International Trade Commission to ban Apple from importing, marketing or selling all iOS devices, as well as some Mac products. They’re out for blood.
According to Motorola, the patents in question basically cover everything down to the way Steve Jobs’ makes love to makes love to his wife: 3G, GPRS and WiFi technologies, as well as antenna design, proximity sensing, device synchronization, MobileMe and more.
Needless to say, this is an absolutely nutty list of alleged infringements. Apple stole their idea for the App Store, or syncing? Really? Sadly, it’s indicative of how bonkers the United States patent system is, where anyone can pretty much get a patent for any supposed “innovation” no matter how warrantless, overly broad or inconsequential.
So why all the lawsuits now? The smartphone is the future of computing, and everyone knows it. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and these companies — including Apple — need to use every weapon at their disposal to make sure they aren’t cut out of a mobile future.