The Patent, Used as a Sword: A View from the 1980s


In the long described story of the patent system printed on Monday, The Patent, ‘Used as a Sword’ is the approach of Apple as it wants to be in the lead in the smartphone market. Google, the main competitor of Apple and other mobile makers uses its Android operating system.

For the company, the opening up trendsetter in smartphones, patents are meant to be close. Apple’s aim is not money and is not interested to extract licensing revenues in a short period of time. Its main goal is to use patent set as a sword for aggressive and viable competitive benefits. If Apple can force competitors to revamp their models, then it has the ability to turn down Samsung and several others.

One of the former executives of the company, called their new strategy as ‘scared stuff’ as its technology controls the user experience of the iPad, iPhone and other look and feel aspects.

The company has found itself in a patent portfolio negotiation not now, but about 25 years ago with its most powerful technology of that time, IBM, shortly after Steve Jobs resigned that job.

IBM PC was established in mid 1980s and had been imitated by clone makers, acquired by Compaq. IBM was producing the rounds collecting intellectual asset rents from other firms in PC business, beginning with Apple. Since PC makers wanted money, they had an intentional and strategic plan.

The IBM division gathered at Apple’s main branch in Cupertino, California, armed with big files of data and documents, claiming Apple is infringing. Apple, on the other hand, had its own pile of patents though smaller than IBM’s stacks. Hence, Apple paid some money to IBM and it was less than what clone makers could owe to IBM regarding their cross licensing deals.

In the agreement that was made between IBM and Apple, IBM demanded Apple assurance that it wouldn’t make personal computers larger than a standard government desktop. IBM was worried that Apple would compete with them in future, said by intellectual property ex-associate gen console at Apple, Irving Rappaport.

The current smartphone patent conflicts are philosophic and economic, with many of the top tech companies suing each other. Apple has filed over 200 patent apps for iPad and iPhone based technology.


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