December 19, 2010

Smart Phone Rivals Turning Up The Heat

Smart phone makers are taking their rivals to the courtroom to determine patent lawsuits to protect their turf and slow down their rivals.

"In consumer electronics and related fields, it's a great challenge to earn a profit," Bruce Sunstein, an intellectual property lawyer at Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers in Boston, told the Associated Press (AP). "The way you can usually get profit is through innovation."

He said that smart phone makers must not only come up with new features, but also need to stake claims to the technology behind them and reap the rewards in licensing fees.

The smart phone market is growing, and research firm IDC expects global smart phone shipments of 270 million in 2010, which is a 55 percent increase from last year.

Ronald Cahill, manager of the Intellectual property department at Nutter McClennen & Fish in Boston, told AP that companies are suing first rather than approaching rivals about licensing deals in order to help make the market seem less desirable to tap into.

"Ideally, a lot of these companies would be happy to just compete on the phones," Cahill told AP, "and not compete by suing each other."

Smart phone and software companies continue to build new gadgets and add new features in the midst of lawyers filing new paperwork.

"Where you have innovation proceeding at this great pace, it's not surprising that it takes a while for the rights to get settled and adjusted," Sunstein told AP. "I don't think anybody easily escapes litigation in this space."


On the Net: