I hate when a cool article comes out and I don’t notice it until a week later.
Forbes had an interesting open letter to CEOs a few Fridays ago. As is my customary practice, let’s pull a few quotes out and examine them. Just for fun on a Monday!
The truth is that the number of patent infringement suits each year has held steady for seven years at just under 3,000.
Now, that can’t be right. Can it? Even if it were, we all know that just the threat of a lawsuit costs money. Whether or not a troll actually files a suit, being in receipt of a nastygram causes all manner of problems. (Unless you’re an attorney, in which case it causes all manner of billable hours.) Nevertheless, point made but it doesn’t address the scourge of the troll problem, part of which is that it eats up time and resources used to defend against people who aren’t adding any value by manufacturing and selling a product.
No, Google bought a great deal more than patents when it acquired Motorola, though there are doubtless some real gems in the portfolio. As a relative newcomer to the wireless arena, the search giant in one bold move got its hands on the unmatched innovation experience of the longest-lived mobile phone company on earth. The technical acumen and product experience of Motorola’s thousands of mobile software and hardware engineers will prove hugely valuable to Google as it seeks to dominate the $250 billion global market in smartphones, especially if it decides to become a handset maker, as Motorola had been.
So this is sort of what I was saying in a previous post (which I should really look up the link to but haven’t the patience at the moment)…Google bought Motorola not just for the patents, but because it puts them into the hardware game. I still think that they are going to move to the tablet world and out-iPad the iPad. Or, the distance between the size of the smartphone and the tablet will be met in the middle and you’ll end up with a Google-made SmartPad or a TabPhone or some other amalgomation that is conveniently transportable by men who don’t carry purses and/or are not married to women who carry purses, which are of course needed to carry a tablet. Yes, I know, men can carry tablets in a briefcase, but who carries a briefcase on the weekend? I think what the world needs is a tweener product: smaller than a tablet, bigger than a smartphone.
Back to reality, Google also used the patents to out-source it’s assertion business to HTC by assigning patents to them and letting them go about the suing business. Nicely done! And that is part of what the article is aiming at: getting CEOs to understand that patents are not just something you have to have in order build stuff, and they’re not just something those folks in legal deal with. The article provides really good insight into how you can leverage what you have, get the most out of what you buy, and thrive in this Brave New World.