Apples Lawsuits Arent Paying for Themselves

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-01-24 Print this article Print


5. Consider the acquisition costs

The patent-infringement lawsuits Apple has brought to courts around the world are obviously expensive, but they also cause companies to pay unforeseen sums of cash for other activities. One of those activities is acquiring patents from other firms, or perhaps even entire companies, just to get more intellectual property protection. It happens quite often: Remember when Google announced plans to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion last year? Larry Page said it was designed to get the company mobile patent protection.

6. The patents are too easy to circumvent

There have been some cases in which Apple has won patent-infringement suits. In Australia, for example, it was able to keep the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 off store shelves for a while. But even when Apple wins a suit, the courts give allegedly infringing companies the chance to find a workaround that no longer violates a patent. Samsung has done it countless times, and Apple has been forced to start again at square one. It's a waste of time.

7. It's better to be on defense

When it comes to patent-infringement cases, it's better to be on defense. The company bringing the suit must show its hand first and outline how it believes the defendant's products are infringing its intellectual property. In many cases, those lawsuits include holes that defendants can take advantage of. Maybe Apple should give up the lawsuits it has brought up and play defense. Eventually, companies will get tired of losing to the iPhone maker, and all the while, Apple can look like the poor, innocent target. It's a win-win.

8. The market is getting tired of the lawsuits

As more and more lawsuits hit courts around the world, not just from Apple and Samsung but from countless other mobile companies, including Oracle, HTC, Motorola and Google, consumers are starting to become annoyed. There will always be patent lawsuits. But so many are outrageous and make consumers uncertain of what mobile devices they can safely buy. That is also another objective of these lawsuits. So far, consumers haven't voted with their wallets to take a stand against the lawsuits. But that situation might change. It's best for Apple to anticipate that than to get caught up in it.

9. It could hurt other aspects of its business

Lawsuits can be extremely damaging to a company's ability to partner with other firms in the future. For Apple, the risk of that is quite high. Apple relies upon Samsung as a top supplier for its mobile products. So far, the companies have been able to keep their lawsuits from damaging that relationship. But Apple's recent decision to acquire an Israel-based flash memory maker, Anobit, seems to indicate the company believes that could change. Lawsuits have a major impact on business relationships. It's about time Apple acknowledges that and cuts its losses before it's too late.

10. They don't end

One of the worst things about Apple's lawsuits is that they don't seem to end. After bringing a lawsuit before the court, it usually takes months for the judge to issue a decision and order. Even then, the defendant is given months to correct the situation if it's found that a given product violates a specific patent. The lawsuits don't end. And the longer they go, the more they cost in both time and money. It's ridiculous, and it's time for Apple to stop getting stuck in them.

Follow Don Reisinger on Twitter by clicking here 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel