The recent spate of smartphone industry legal wrangles will hamper innovation by making it harder for smaller players to enter the market, Google’s executive chairman has admitted.
Currently, Apple and Samsung, whose phones are powered by Google’s Android operating system, are embroiled in a lengthy spat over alleged patent infringements.
The ongoing case came hard on the heels of a similar, recently concluded, courtroom battle between HTC and Apple, also hinging on the Android OS that is the bedrock of the Taiwanese phone maker’s kits.
Analysts and tech-watchers have claimed that manufacturers’ willingness to pursue legal action over patents will discourage companies from attempting to iterate and improve on existing technology, lest they incur writs and a hefty fine.
And today in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Eric Schmidt, former CEO at the search giant and proprietors of the Android platform, admitted that the so-called patent wars will have a deleterious impact on the sector.
According to Schmidt, while Google and Apple are both “doing fine” and can afford to duke it out, the threat of legal action will discourage start-ups from even trying to enter the sector.
Citing the example of Danger, the company Android founder Andy Rubin founded before Android, Schmidt said: “Let me tell you the loser here.
“There's a young Andy Rubin trying to form a new version of Danger. How is he or she going to be able to get the patent coverage necessary to offer version one of their product? That's the real consequence of this.”
Since hostilities were opened between Apple and Samsung, temporary product bans have been enforced in a number of territories while Samsung was ordered to pay a fine of $1 billion after a US court found it had infringed on Apple-held patents.
Wall Street Journal