Earlier today, Reuters gave a report that Apple lost its appeal on banning Android tablets in the Netherlands. This is another failure that will be costing a lot for Apple, especially since this does not stop the spur of Android’s market share in both smartphone and tablet industry.
According to the report, Apple is rumored to have spent around $100 million on claims against Taiwanese Android device manufacturer, HTC. Out of the 84 claims that it presented to the International Trade Commission on 10 patents claimed to be infringed, Apple was only able to win one ruling.
“That got reported as a victory for Apple. But in reality the infringement involved a relatively tiny software feature, one that lets you press on a phone number in an email or Web page and bring up a menu from which you can choose to call the number, send a text message, and so on,” writes Reuters’ Dan Lyons. “HTC can resolve the infringement simply be removing that feature from phones it sells in the United States, or by finding a different way to implement that feature that sidesteps the patent.”
With the number of money Apple is spending on failed infringement cases, one can only assume that the company will stop and just concentrate on producing new technologies. However, this is far from what Apple has in store. Just last week, another lawsuit has been filed against Samsung in Germany. This was another infringement battle on copying the design on 15 devices.
Even though Apple has a massive amount of cash reserves, this aggressive attack on intellectual property does not seem to do it any good. In fact, it is only hurting its stock value.
“A scorched-earth strategy is bad news because it doesn’t optimize the value of their patents — because people will get around them,” said 3LP Advisors LLC,’s managing partner, Kevin Rivette “It’s like a dam. Using their patents to keep rivals out of the market is like putting rocks in a stream. The stream is going to find a way around. Wouldn’t it be better to direct where the water goes?”
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Apple has miss played this…horribly. Once the validity of your patents starts to be undermined by court decisions, it exposes the weak underside of all of your remaining untested patents. They should have attacked with their strongest patents first and exclusively. Establish a patent beach head, then try to finesse the weaker patents behind that. After all…they really only need one successful…major…patent to hold. Makes you wonder just how weak the rest of their patents are. By the way…Microsoft…you better be looking at this as well. You may be overplaying your hand as well.