Apple and Google have finally put aside their differences, or at least, they have stopped fighting over Motorola’s patents. This comes after two years battling it out in court in over twenty different lawsuits. Ultimately, both corporations can turn their attorneys’ energies to more productive things. They called a truce this Friday, well after Google’s decision to sell off Motorola, the company that sued Apple in the first place.
This all began in 2010 when Motorola Mobility sued Apple with the assertion that Apple was infringing on its intellectual property. Not to be outdone, Apple counter sued, and the legal battle commenced. In 2012, Google bought Motorola for control of its wealth of patents. That purchase came with Motorola’s corporate baggage, including the ongoing courtroom wars with Apple in both the United States and Germany. In February of 2014 the internet giant managed to offload the unit of Motorola that handles devices to Lenovo while keeping the mobile phone company’s wealth of patents.
Unfortunately, Apple’s intellectual property war is ongoing on other fronts. It is still in litigation with Samsung over aspects of its operating system, a legal debate that has been on record since 2011. Steve Jobs said he would make it his mission so it seems almost personal, if any actions taken by a massive corporation could be considered personal. The lawsuit has garnered a lot of media coverage and several decisions went in their favor but, despite awards by several judges, Apple has yet to collect any money. All legal injunctions Apple managed to secure against sales of Samsung products were either reduced or overturned. In the end, very little product stock was removed from the shelves as a result of the lengthy court process. Both companies have only appeals and a lot of news articles as evidence of their efforts.
The internet giant was not a direct party to the lawsuits against Samsung, but its name did come up a lot, since Samsung uses the Android operating system. That is, outside of the Rockstar Consortium suit, which is ongoing. The consortium set up by Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson and Sony defeated Google in a bidding war for a bunch of Nortel Networks patents in 2011. So ultimately, this cessation of hostilities really deals specifically with the Motorola Mobility handset, and is not definitive when it comes to other aspects of the ongoing overlap of intellectual property.
At least the main corporate bodies of Apple and Google appear to have found another way to achieve their goals. A joint statement released by the two sides Friday said that they have agreed to work together to reach some agreement on patent reform, though cross-licensing is off the table. If Apple and Google, the two giants on the battlefield call a truce, all the little people will follow suit. This could be the beginning of the end of the smart phone patent war as the Korea Times reports tentative discussions between Apple and Samsung began a week after the news of the Google truce broke..
By Aliya Tyus-Barnwell