Steve Jobs wanted to destroy the Android mobile platform as he considered it stolen property. Recently Apple won a large suit against Samsung concerning infringement of utility patents that may have enormous ripple effects in the industry. Samsung may not be allowed to sell their latest smart phones in the US. With pending outcomes on filed injunctions awaiting decisions in September and beyond, even key elements of the Android operating system may be deemed to infringe on Apple’s patents.
It may result in companies such as LG Electronics, Lenovo and HTC to move away from Android altogether. The ramifications are unknown, companies may be forced to change operating systems or just have to pay royalties to Apple, further enriching the world’s most valuable company. Only time will tell.
The history of patent law is interesting and mercurial. Epic battles have been fought over patents and intellectual property. Some of the world’s largest and best known companies including Ford Motor, Singer, Kellogg, Nokia, Colt and Kodak have waged war over intermittent windshield wipers, sewing machines, shredded wheat, knockoffs and digital image technology.
The Ann Arbor District Library has many resources to explore this fascinating topic; here are just a few:
Flash of Genius is a film about Robert Kearns, the Wayne State University engineering professor who won large settlements from Ford and Chrysler over his invention and patent for an electric motor powered intermittent windshield wiper.
Great Feuds in Technology details the legendary battles of the Ford Motor Company, the Wright Brothers vs. Glenn Curtis, Philo T Farnsworth vs. David Sarnoff and more.
Killer Colt : Murder, Disgrace, and the Making of an American Legend chronicles the story of the gun and the man who transformed the American West along with lawsuits aplenty.
Tube : the Invention of Television covers the inventors and the patent battles over who would get credit and control the enormous market created by TV.
July 2012 marked the opening of the Elijah J. McCoy USPTO office in Detroit, the first ever Patent and Trademark Office outside of Washington, DC. The tremendous innovative power fostered by the automotive industry is one reason they chose Detroit. Now local inventors won’t have to go far for assistance in speeding up the patent process and the creation of more US business, industry and jobs.