The recent news of Google planning to buy Motorola Mobility, has relived the issues of patent wars. In this 21st century, the issue of patent wars has been a recurring phenomenon, particularly in the sphere of mobile phones, internet, software and electronics. However, we must first be clear about the concept of a patent – A patent is a series of rights, granted to an individual or company, for the exclusive use of a particular invention. It’s term lasts for a specific period and before its termination, if any other individual or company wishes to use that invention, he must acquire a license to use it. This legal system was primarily introduced to encourage invention and innovation, and to protect the rights of the inventor.
However, this noble issue is often violated and abused by companies to suit their own interests and demands. Google’s recent wars with Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and other companies, has raised many eyebrows. Patents were made to encourage innovation, but here, in this case, it is discernible that they are being used to thwart it. This has almost become a tech wars and the old rivals, Microsoft and Apple, have come together to fight Google with patents.
Patents, though primarily designed to encourage invention and innovation, are now becoming the cause of their ruin. The patent wars, increasing each day, are stifling the throat of invention and innovation. They are becoming a hindrance in the development of a company. The recent patent war of Google with Microsoft and Apple are always on the news now. The battle has taken a serious turn, with each side legally hitting the other. However, this is not a solitary instance. The tech world has been witnessing such conflicts regarding patents, often times these days. Many experts are now of the opinion that if patent wars, like these continue, especially among smaller brands and companies, then it might lead to vaporization of tech jobs in the future. A major portion of any company’s money might be wasted in patents and lawsuits, with focus drifting away from research and innovation.
Despite the noble intent of patent rights, the patent wars, legal fights and lawsuits are already burning big holes in the pockets of tech owners. The amount spent each year on these cases is enough for a company to launch new projects and products. It leads in many cases to loss of jobs (especially for small companies). All these darker sides of patents have urged many questions in law courts like – Is the system of patenting at all beneficial? However, it ought to be noted that patent war is a recurring feature of tech companies only. In other spheres, where patent plays an important role like pharmaceuticals, there such conflict does not arise regularly. Where as, in the tech industry, this has almost taken the shape and form of arms race. However, certain patents are considered to be junk and hold no significance, when contested in the courts.
The darker side of patent wars oftentimes remains oblivious to the common people, especially the losses that they incur. Let’s hope for a better technological world, free of patent wars. Fingers Crossed!