When Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPhone back in 2007, he commented “and boy have we patented it.” The CEO knew that Apple had something special on its hands, and that everyone else was going to try and replicate it.

He was right. Those patents he was referring to have since been involved in hundreds of lawsuits around the globe. In fact, a new report suggests that Apple is actually at the center of 60% of all major mobile litigation…

The news comes from Kanzatec IP Group, an intellectual property consulting firm based in Wichita, Kansas. The firm blames the high percentage on Apple’s meteoric rise to the top of the mobile industry.

Bloomberg reports:

“With its growing global market share and huge amount of cash on hand for possible settlements, Apple is becoming a bigger and more attractive target for patent holders. “I would speculate that Apple will continue to be at the center of the litigation map of large mobile IT companies for as along as it maintains its dominant place in the market,” said Feisal Mosleh, a senior vice president at Kanzatec.”

But Apple isn’t just a defendant in these patent suits — a majority of the time it starts them. There’s another famous Steve Jobs quote, which comes from Walter Isaacson’s book, that goes something like this:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Thermonuclear indeed. In the last two years, Apple has won a number of injunctions, on multiple continents, banning the sales of products from Samsung, HTC and Motorola. And by the looks of things, it’s not planning on stopping any time soon.

But despite court justification, Apple has taken a lot of heat over its legal tactics. The phrase “Apple would rather sue the competition than innovate” is becoming increasingly popular in the mobile community.

It is worth noting, however, that Apple doesn’t typically (if ever) sue for cash settlements — it has money. It generally justs requests sales bans, forcing manufacturers to remove their intellectual property from their devices. But that’s probably just as bad.

At any rate, here’s hoping that congress comes up with some kind of a solution to help end this patent madness. It seems like we’d all be a lot better off.

What’s your take on all of this?

  • hahahaha lol makes me rofl

  • Patent!

  • KewlDewd

    It seems like Apple law suits are becoming a larger and larger percentage of the articles on iDB. Is this a subject a lot of people are interested in? I, personally, don’t have any interest in this. It’s getting old. Also, posts about Apple revenue. I get it, they make a lot of money on us consumers. A quarterly reminder is not necessary.

  • MadAndronicus

    Suing for bans is worse than suing for cash.

  • Apple can and shoukd continue these suits. The wholesale theft of invention and innovation is not okay, regardless of who is doing it. Apple makes mistakes, but PURCHASES or LISCENCES everything it sells, even from its compeitors (ie microsoft txt msg combining). If others want to compete, maybe they should pay the liscense fees to Apple, but at this point, i wouldnt blame apple fro rejecting liscense requests.

  • congress and solution? that’s oxymoron

  • KyleRay

    Apple is in a desperate predicament. Over 80% of both their Profits and Revenue come from just two products and current models. With so much riding on them they have no choice but to attempt to bully and bluff their way out of being cornered in an ever increasing show of force.

    This is exactly why they are abandoning all the normal rules and attempting to scratch and claw their way out of the cage they’re in. It’s called survival of the fittest!

    The only problem is that other companies are calling their bluff and raising the bet that what they’re calling a Thermonuclear Arsenal of patents has been built on lots of smoke n mirrors. Not one injunction or threat of injunction has inflicted any damage yet. Not one single competitor has been driven out of business and that wealth of simply innovated around or coded around anemic patents don’t have a single bit of bite to them.

    In fact it’s looking more likely that their attempts to wiggle out of paying for far more valuable Standards Essential Patents by claiming foul for companies using them as far better leverage than their own tactic of denying cross patented licensing is going against them. Even though the whole FRAND thing is being blown out of proportions to make these companies look bad.

    The reality is that it’s not working exactly the way they’d planned. It’s like the as if the bully (Apple) is trying to call fellow standards members thieves, when they’re the biggest thief of all. Two things are going to happen with this. Either the courts are going to deny Injunctions on FRAND patents and require Apple pay these patent license fee demands (SEP FRAND patents) or grant the Injunctions and force Apple to pay or settle that way.

    Because with Standards Essential Patents, it’s not a question of if they owe or even if…. the patents are valid or not. By being SEP’s they are an extremely heavy crowbar. They lose either way, because they can’t innovate or code around them. If the courts decide to break these SEP patent holder’s power, they will kill the innovation and the desire of the real innovators of Standards Essential Patents. Then NO company will be willing to spend the time and money on setting up the Standards that make everything inter-operable and cross compatible in the first place! ….and thus dies the entire industry eventually!