The following is excerpted from a December 28, 2011 article by Peter Burrows published by Bloomberg:
Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple (AAPL) Inc., told his biographer that he’d rather wage “thermonuclear war” with Google Inc. than make deals to share its technology with the maker of the Android operating system.
That was no empty threat. In the 18 months before Jobs died on Oct. 5, Apple sued HTC Corp. (2498), Samsung Electronics Co. and Motorola Mobility Inc., the three largest Android users. It alleged that the phone makers stole Apple’s technology and asked courts to make them stop.
Now, as rulings start coming in, it might be time for a détente that helps Apple maximize the value of its patents, said Kevin Rivette, a managing partner at 3LP Advisors LLC, a firm that advises on intellectual property. When courts side with Apple and impose bans on infringing products, competitors can often devise workarounds; in cases where Apple doesn’t win import restrictions, it would be better off striking settlements that ensure access to a competitor’s innovation, he said.
For a time, Apple’s strategy looked sound. In October, an Australian court banned the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 tablet in that country, and the U.S. International Trade Commission agreed to consider an import ban on sales of certain HTC devices.
Then the tide began to turn. Apple suffered a setback Nov. 30 when a higher Australian court overturned the ruling against Samsung. On Dec. 22, a German judge said he was unlikely to uphold an import ban on a version of the Galaxy, which Samsung had modified in response to a ban on the original design.
The ITC gave Apple only a partial victory on Dec. 19 by ruling that HTC had violated only one of four patents Apple said it infringed. The patent covered so-called data detection, a feature that helps users make a call, send an e-mail or find an address on a map with a single keystroke.
Read the full article here.