The patent battles are seemingly less disturbing compared to the message sent out to the smartphone industry by a court ruling that found Samsung had infringed on Apple’s patents.
Samsung was later asked to pay $1.05 billion in damages having been found guilty of infringing six of seven patents, five of which were “willingful infringements”.
The hefty amount of damages sent a chilling message to mobile manufacturers that they must hire accomplished teams of lawyers to look for intellectual properties to patent, irrespective of how insignificant they might seem at the outset.
This means that patenting will not only be used to protect new ideas, but also to prevent competitors from using however minor features in devices might seem to be.
The ruling also sends the message that when business is not booming, you can beat your competitors legally. Looking at some of the technology that Apple supposes to have invented, some had reportedly been around for years before the case.
Lawyers warn the patents that Samsung is said to have violated are likely to be revisited over the interface used on other smartphones.
For Apple, this is a warning to other competitors other than Samsung to back off with the company having proved the meticulousness of its legal team as well as the influence on the judicial system.
The verdict also protects companies from “willingful infringement” as the hefty damages on Samsung will serve as a good deterrent.
To the consumer, the ruling will mean that companies will be thorough in establishing what patents exist as well cautious thus reducing the number of models produced annually. This further implies that reduced supply and competition, which would mean only a few companies, will control the market leading to a probable increase in price.
With the legal suits ongoing, any ruling could see any of the companies banned from selling various models, which means the cost of the damages, could also increase.
Some observers argue that although the worst could have already passed, such rulings are the making of monopolies by scaring away competition.