The never ending mess of telecom patents

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Till a few years back, the patent battles in the telecommunication space used to over standards and their hardware, mainly between Qualcomm, Nokia and Broadcom. Now the patent battles have shifted to mobile device softwares and the user interfaces, presently between Apple, Nokia and Google (by proxy).

On each side are the three main Mobile Operating Systems (OS) – Apple iOS (from Apple), Symbian (from Nokia) and Android (Google). The initial salvos were between Apple and Nokia, who have sued each other in courts in the US and at the International Trade Commission (ITC). Broadly, Nokia claims that Apple is infringing patents related to cellular technology, while Apple claims that Nokia is infringing patents related to user interfaces and interactions.

Further Apple has gone after Google indirectly as Google does not make any mobile devices. Apple has gone after manufacturers like HTC and Motorola, who have licensed the Android OS from Google.

There are other manufacturers (Research in Motion, Samsung, LG), Research companies (Kodak), patent licensing firms/trolls (NTP, Acacia) involved in these battles.

The Apple versus Google (Android) can be summarized by the below presentation.

Apple vs Android 10.12.02

Source: FOSS patents

A summary of the patent battle between the various players in the telecom sector can be seen in the picture below.

Source: Information is Beautiful, under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial license.

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1 Comment

  • The increasingly complex web that’s developed from all of the mobile patent enforcement actions is truly mind-boggling. What’s more, it all seems rather wasteful, when one considers the fact that the likely result of all these lawsuits will be settlements and cross-licensing deals. How anticlimactic.

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