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
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2010 @ 2:13pm

    Re: about a non-sequitur, or at least seriously faulty logic. How does Google being more innovative than Apple (which is simply an assertion and is unproven by any information presented here) "show" that patents are "bad"?

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