From the monthly archives:

August 2011

Apple Samsung spat goes Apple’s way in Germany

by Andrew Watson on 28 August 2011

It is a delight to wake up on a Sunday morning and scout around the mainstream press for more IP news. Good also to see Florian Mueller at FOSS patents getting good exposure and giving insightful comments on both the BBC and this article in the Guardian on the Apple and Samsung spat.

Without trying to judge the IP rights and wrongs of this spat, I try to explain it in laymans terms along these lines, remembering that Samsung is a major and important supplier to Apple so this litigation series should only have been taken after a lot of considered thought and senior level approval inside Apple. In fact, imagine the management team level debate between Jobs, the creator, and Cook, the operations and supply chain guru. The chairman opens the discussion.

“so, we have this paper from group legal to start worldwide patent infringement proceedings against Samsung. Steve, your thoughts?”

“for me it’s simple” says Jobs…”the iPad was conceived at the same time as the iPhone in 2003. We were the first since Microsoft with its original tablet to conceive of the tablet being the next big thing. Design put 25000 man days into creating an awesome user experience. We protected what we thought were the original and unique design features. This wasn’t easy with what had come before but we filed two dozen patent applications. This was a new baby we’d created. Samsung and others are jumping on our success. If we don’t enforce our rights, what’s the point in having them? Yes I realise that Samsung is a key supplier but I would have expected more from them. We are a key customer too. If we have a corporate fall out so be it. If we don’t take that risk then every time we change the rules of the game, we will lose respect from the market. So the proposal has my support…”


“this is not as simple to me. I respect Steve’s views but I fear that we will suffer at a corporate level in Samsung. They’re a key A list supplier. They are replaceable but not easily. So although I support it, I want to proceed with caution. I want to call our contacts on the chip supply side to explain our position and to ask for their support. I also think we should be very aware of our end game here. We should get Samsung to take a license and we should be prepared to grant one. Let’s leave lots of room to negotiate. There’s too much at stake otherwise..”

Chair..”I think we have a decision team. It’s a go but with caution…”

I hadn’t thought about it until I started typing but imagine a Tim Cook led discussion. Same outcome? Maybe not.

The Guardian also has an excellent profile of Steve Jobs this morning. I know I can’t hide it but I’m a big admirer. Even moreso when reading about how grizzly and determined he can be to get his way. I’m not sure that this week’s step down as CEO is as big a thing as the markets suggest. Stepping down as CEO doesn’t mean he’s out altogether. Expect him to still be influencing Apple’s direction for a long time and it’s corporate values and principles longer still.


The Beeb seems to be following its software patents are all bad trend with an article showing the extent to which Lodsys threats are touching even small app developers using the Android platform.

Google’s “not our problem” stance is wearing a lot thin. Key question… What is Google’s purpose in promoting Android? Answer, just like everything Google does, to drive ad revenues. Implication, Google makes tons of indirect revenues from Android usage and adoption. Rational and honest response from can we help. Current response…not our problem, whether you are HTC or a small app developer, not we repeat, not, our problem. Yes maybe we should have told you this might happen, but this is buyer beware territory and we are not getting involved. It’s not our fault, it’s those nasty big corporates and illegitimate trolls using their IP rights to beat up poor innocent Google.

Ultimate end game. Somebody somewhere is going to see through Google’s stance and shout not fair. Google beware, we think you are treading a very fine line.


Now that’s what I call a break fee!

August 23, 2011

Widespread reports over the past 48 hours that Google must pay a $2.5bn break fee to MM if the deal does not proceed. It is reported to be the largest break fee negotiated. It surely is a monster. It does appear that whatever Google finds in the coming months it is still half pregnant with […]

Read the full article →

All join in–the mainstream press are piling into talking about IP

August 21, 2011

Lots and lots and lots and more lots of press comment focussed on the great IP debate. Maybe Ben Goodger was right in saying that Nortel could be a tipping point. The truth is that we’ve never had more work or more enquiries. Something is stirring! I like the Guardian Online and this piece on […]

Read the full article →

Google-we really really hope that you know what you are doing!

August 17, 2011

Google’s widely reported acquisition of Motorola Mobility is continuing the run of the prominence of IP and specifically patent reporting in the financial press. The FT runs a very good insights piece here, though you’ll need to activate an account to read it. I’ll come back to the financial reporting of this when back from […]

Read the full article →

IP Strategy (Post 1-What Exactly is IP?)

August 15, 2011

What is an IP Strategy? In this series of posts we wanted to give the ipVA perspective of what is an effective IP strategy? To back up these posts we are going to post a white paper on the ipVA main site at the end of the series. This explains in fuller terms the ipVA […]

Read the full article →