More on Potential Palm Pre Patent Pugilism | webOS Nation
 
 

More on Potential Palm Pre Patent Pugilism 1

by Dieter Bohn Wed, 28 Jan 2009 12:39 pm EST

Engadget has a post up on the Potential Pre Patent Pugilism Puzzle that you simply must go read.  The upshot is this, as we told you, Apple's patents are less (and in a couple cases possibly more) than they appear and Palm's Patent Portfolio is pretty darn massive.  Both companies definitely have some patent punches they can throw at each other, but the real question is this: who actually wants to punch first?  Engadget's conclusion matches the conventional wisdom, that Apple is likely to be the first one to do something about the situation.  It does seem fairly likely that both the Pre and the iPhone contain infringing technology, but it's never a slam-dunk case with the law.

For us, the real question is this: Do Apple and Palm (which is increasingly Apple-esque after their recent hires) have the kind of corporate attitude necessary to just swallow their pride and accept that there's space at the top of the hill for two smartphones, each licensing their patents to each other?  If you take a look at the sorts of statements that Roger McNamee made in this Kara Swisher interview, you'll see that the answer for Palm is clearly yes.  They've said for a long time that they expect that there will be plenty of space for everybody in the smartphone market, nobody needs to fail for them to succeed.  Will Apple be able to play nice too?

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I could be wrong on this, but I don't think I am. I know this is true for copyrights and trademarks, but haven't seen it with patents.

So Palm has this portfolio of patents dating back a few years. Good for them. Problem is, they never fought for them when other manufacturers infringed on them. Now, I'm supposed to be waking up in 36 minutes and I still have to sleep tonight, so I'm not going to go and look up all the patents Palm has. I do remember reading something a few days ago that listed a few of the big ones and many other handhelds might have infringed on them.

If Palm doesn't fight for them, they might lose their right to those patents. The same goes for any company. I remember Microsoft sending a cease and desist letter to some kid out in rural America because he had a website that was very similar to either Microsoft or Windows. Everyone said MS was horrible for doing that, but had they not, others could have used those names and likenesses and Microsoft may had lost their right to defend it.