The Patent Wars have always gone on in the background, but in the new mobile age it seems like they’ve become fiercer and more deadly than ever before. Apple suing rivals for infringement, Microsoft suing for infringement related to Unix/Linux/Android, and even Motorola suing Microsoft for infringement.
This war is so massive because it doesn’t just affect one market, across the world patent suits have put major holes in company’s plans.
Now, in Germany a court ruling has passed that orders Microsoft to remove its popular Xbox 360 gaming console and Windows 7 software from the German market.
This is a pretty big wound for Microsoft, or at least it would be if not for the recent US injunction against Motorola that prevents the phone maker from enforcing any German court order.
This gives the folks at Redmond time to appeal the decision and continue to fight another legal war – this regarding the fact that Motorola has been charging way too much for the rights to its patents.
I’m curious as to how this will go down for Microsoft, while Germany isn’t the largest market on the planet, if they lost the ability to sell Windows 7 and Xbox 360 in that country it would still be a pretty big injury, and one that would encourage other companies to continue aggressive bullying tactics to shut companies out of various markets.
My big question is how our readers feel about the patent wars, not just the recent German court hearing but others as well? Samsung and Apple wars, and the like.
Is enough, enough? Are they taking things to far? Personally, I feel like it is important to protect your patents, but what is going on today is ridiculous.
Even companies that have nothing to do with operating systems and mobile technology are eager to get a piece of the patent pie in hopes that they can use the patent to effectively extort another company into paying them money.
It’s no longer just about protecting your patents, it’s about who has the biggest arsenal of patents to use against the enemy. This is becoming somewhat like the USSR/US Cold War, instead of a nuclear arms race, its a patent arm race.
Should local governments step up to do something about it? I’m curious if they even have any legal right to do so. My biggest fear is that these corporate politics are hindering technological progress, with everyone afraid to pick up and do new things because, “Heck, we may end up having to hand the majority of our profits out to some other company to settle a patent issue”.
Am I over-reacting, or is this the beginning of a big problem that could potentially hinder technological progress and usher in an age of monopolies and anti-competitiveness?
I admit, I’m probably being a little over-paranoid, but I do think it’s a little bit of a problem.
What do you think?