Google and Apple have had their fair share of differences over the years, most of which revolve around patents and intellectual property. Google’s latest argument against Apple, however, is a bit bizarre – in essence, that their products have caught on so well that they should be considered standards!
In attempting to fend off Appleand Microsoft’s suits against Motorola Mobility and advancing its own patent litigation against both companies, Google, which is facing a lot of regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. andabroad over what some allege is abuse of SEPs, has been arguing that proprietary non-standardized technologies that become ubiquitous due to their popularity with consumers should be considered de facto standards.
In everyday words, Google is suggesting that technologies that become commonplace to t0 extreme popularity and customer interest should be considered public standards – which every company should have the “right” to use. This would include technologies such as slide-to-unlock and multi-touch.
The argument essentially claims that Apple should turn over all of their ideas that because extremely popular due to customer demand. Because the success of those ideas somehow makes them “essential” for other manufacturers. AllThingsD brings up a good point in contrast:
There’s a big difference between technology that became popular because it was adopted as an industry standard and technology that became popular because consumers fell in love with it. In the case of the smartphone patent wars, the first makes a cellphone a cellphone and the second makes it an iPhone. One is a core technology, the other is experiential, product differentiation.
Apple’s point is that if you remove the IP distinctions between the two, you remove a key incentive for innovators to innovate. Apple spent billions in research and development to create the iPhone. It didn’t spend that money to create the iPhone’s competition.
Jim Dalrymple of The Loop also pointed out a serious flaw in the argument, turning the situation back around on Google:
So, Let me get this straight. Apple spent billions of dollars researching the best interface for mobile devices and patented their findings. Those methods of interacting with a mobile device became so popular, Google illegally integrated them in its inferior Android operating system.
Now that they’ve been caught, they are arguing that the features are standards and are not Apple’s at all.
You know what else is ubiquitous? Search. Why not hand the code for that over to Apple and let them make a search engine to compete with Google.
Frankly, it just doesn’t make sense to me. Why should Apple have any obligation to license their ideas to Google (or anyone else)? Just because they were so successful, and build a strong consumer following?
Sorry Google. That doesn’t work. Maybe you should come up with a few of your own ideas?