News You Could Do Without

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:

apple, google, htc

Pointless Stats: Number Of Patents Held By Apple, Google And HTC

from the that's-not-how-it-works dept

A bunch of news sites have been playing up a minor item in a Deutsche Bank note to clients about how Apple has a lot more patents than Google or HTC. I have to say, this is one of the most meaningless bits of data out there, and it's getting way too much attention for its import. First of all, it looks like the report counted overall patents -- not even patents just in the spaces where these companies overlap. Second, the number of patents one holds is absolutely meaningless when it comes to actually being able to enforce the patents.

More troubling is the report's conclusion:
"While litigation appears to be an increasingly common cost of doing business," he concludes, "we view Apple's willingness to aggressively defend its patent portfolio favorably and welcome the defense of its IP."
Historically, this is generally not a good sign. It's usually a sign that a company has run into an innovation stumbling block, and doesn't think it can really continue to innovate at the pace the market is expecting, so it seeks to hold back competitors and pump up revenue through litigation, rather than innovation. A smart research report would note that breaking out the offensive patent lawsuits is generally a warning sign. But, then again, this is a research report that thinks the overall number of patents a tech company has is a meaningful metric.

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  1. identicon
    Don, 11 Mar 2010 @ 10:32am


    A lot of people have played with multi-touch before the iPhone introduced it to the world, but here's the thing...... prior-art only applies to things that are held in common knowledge and practice - not in some mysterious secretive lab someplace, and it begs the question: if anyone was really serious about multi-touch, why didn't they bother to patent it?

    The common man and women knew little or anything about mulit-touch before the iPhone. When they think multi-touch, they think iPhone!

    And here's a real kicker... most of the original work on multi-touch was done by people such as Jeff Hahn and companies like FingerWorks, which by the way was bought out, lock, stock and barrel by Apple - including all of its pioneering mulit-touch, multi-gesture patents!

    People talk about poor, little Apple and what's going to happen when the big boys, like Google and Microsoft come calling - hah, here's the biggest kicker of them all, Apple has more money then either Google or Microsoft. It is now the fourth largest publicly traded company in America and soon will pass the third, Wal-Mart (it already did, briefly) and is expected to replace Microsoft by the end of this year, or early next, as the second largest, after Exxon!

    In other words: Apple is not only one of the big boys, but one of the biggest of the big!

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