Google, Apple, Nokia… Let the Litigation Begin!

nexus.jpgApple launches a cellphone. Nokia releases a laptop. Apple buys an online advertising division and Google moves aggressively into software and hardware. With the release today of Google’s nexus one phone, which positions itself as an iPhone competitor, the ongoing battle for the smartphone market heats up another few degrees. 

Nokia and Apple are already locked in patent litigation with each claiming the other has infringed its portfolio of patents.  Nokia raised the stakes when it broadened its legal attack to include all of Apple’s popular iMac desktops as well as the iPhone.  Meanwhile, with the release of Google’s branded nexus one phone (manufactured by HTC), the search-engine titan elbows into the cellphone market with its own Android-based device. Android apps will compete head-to-head with iPhone apps. In the midst of all this market positioning, intellectual property litigation is one more tool; it is reminiscent of the battle in the late 1980s when Motorola effectively declared war on upstart Nokia and used patent infringement as its main weapon. It also recalls the use of copyright in the turf wars between Apple and Microsoft in the 1990s. 

The lessons for business? Don’t ignore the value of intellectual property protection as both an offensive and defensive tool.  If you don’t know where to start, then obtain an intellectual property audit and come up with a budget and a list of priorities.

Calgary – 15:35 MST

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