TS&T — Telecom Strategies & Trends
While patent litigation among ICT companies is not new, nowadays this is one of the cards that companies with relatively deep pockets like to play to cripple competition by, for instance, requesting a court to ban sales of a product, which requires that patent. Recently, patent litigations among ICT companies have escalated as ICT giants engage in lawsuits and countersuits with mobile technologies, mobile devices, and mobile-related services and applications.
As a matter of fact, the battle for supremacy in the ICT industry now goes beyond competition on products and services. Patent disputes demonstrate how these intangible assets can be instrumental to disable the competition in this crowded industry. As a consequence, in 2011 and 2012, the industry saw some major ICT players ramping up their patent acquisition activities in order to use patents either as a defensive tool to strengthen their case in the litigations or as an expedient to attack their rivals.
Patent wars could become even more aggressive in the future as competition in the ICT industry, and particularly in the litigious wireless segment, becomes more cutthroat. But despite some prodigious patent acquisitions – for instance, the 17000 patents that Google acquired through Motorola’s acquisition - companies may not fully cover all areas. Therefore, patent pools may be a successful strategy to break the concentration of patent ownership in the hands of a single company and lessen the chances of an entity using patents as tools to distort competition.