The deal between Apple and Motorola to end a major patent dispute and work towards reform of the broken system of registering intellectual property (IP) has the potential to mark a shift in the courtroom battles of the world’s biggest mobile-makers.
Announced at the end of last week, the agreement was actually struck between Apple and Google, which still owns Motorola, although is in the process of selling it to Lenovo in a cut- price deal.
A joint statement read: “Apple and Google have agreed to dismiss all the current lawsuits that exist directly between the two companies.
“Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform. The agreement does not include a cross license.”
The latter point comes as no surprise. And while reform is talked about, few details are known, other than that both companies are keen to bring an end of patent trolls extorting cash from their old IP.
What is interesting, though, is that the two giants have reached a deal in the first place.
The war between the two dates back to Steve Jobs’ decree of ‘holy war’ on Android and gets to the core of what Apple’s battle with Samsung is really about.
Namely, its attempt to bring Android to book for supposedly stealing its iOS ideas.
While sources told Reuters this would not immediately affect the battle between Apple and Samsung, it’s hard to see how it won’t.
When the two companies recently duked it out in a California court, the foreman of the jury made it plain that Apple’s beef should be with Google, not Samsung.
Increasingly, Apple’s problems seem to be with Android tech used in Samsung phones.
So, if they can reach a deal over Motorola, surely the two can find a way to thrash out differences with Samsung.
This may be more complex, especially as the money involved is so extreme.
But Sammy is hardly in a strong position after losing the last two cases and staring down the barrel of paying more damages to Cupertino.
It’s just a start, but this deal surely means the end of the patent wars is in sight. As was said last month, fights like this are no good for the consumer.
It’s far better that these battles are played out on the high street, letting users decide who wins.
It’s time both companies figured a way to bring an end to these tedious courtroom tussles.
Google can act as a broker between Apple and Samsung if today’s news is anything to go by. And then, maybe, we can focus on products rather than patents.