Can Any Smartphone Survive The Patent Gantlet?
from the perhaps-not... dept
With the news coming out that the US International Trade Commission (ITC) has agreed to investigate both RIM and Apple over patent claims brought by Kodak, it makes you wonder if we’ll soon be able to have any smartphones at all. As you hopefully know the ITC process is a sneaky loophole used by patent holders to get two totally unrelated shots at putting the same company on trial for infringing on the same patents. There’s the regular court process, and then there’s the ITC, who can’t fine companies, but can issue injunctions barring the import of the products. This process is regularly abused for anti-competitive purposes. Of course, there are other, similar charges that the ITC is reviewing as well, and it begins to make you wonder if any smartphone can actually “survive” this process.
Pretty much all smartphones are made outside of the US, so they can all be barred by the ITC, and with the technology in your average smartphone being covered by hundreds of patents, it’s almost certain that every smartphone infringes on a slew of patents. Obviously, it’s unlikely that anything will ever result in a full import ban on any particular phone — the second that happened, the company would just give up and pay a ton of cash to make the complaining company go away — but it does highlight what a wasteful process this is, and how it’s taking good money away from actual innovation in smartphones and having it go towards stunts like this.