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What Happens When Competitors Share an Innovative Spirit?

innovative spirit

We often report the latest court cases for patent infringement, followed by some encouragement to tech companies and product developers to return to their innovative roots. The spirit of innovation has historically been to share developments, even with the protection of a patent, so that technology can continue to be improved upon and to grow.

While we wouldn’t consider Apple or Samsung especially generous with their patents or intellectual property, we are encouraged to see the latest news surrounding the agreement made regarding the iPhone X.

Patent Infringement Battlefield

Right now, two of the most contentious cases in litigation involve Apple and Samsung. Qualcomm has been battling Apple for royalties they believe are deserved for the chips used in many Apple products, most specifically the iPhone. Almost as though taking a page out of that same litigious book, Tessera has now filed suit against Samsung for very similar reasons.

Apparently, these guys don’t like to share.

And yet, according to the latest patent news, Apple and Samsung are doing exactly that—sharing.

So, What’s the Deal?

Two of the most powerful tech companies sharing the profits from one product? How could that be? These are arch rivals, especially in the smartphone market. And yet, on each iPhone X sold, Samsung will receive $110 for their part in creating the OLED screen, NAND flash, and DRAM chips in the iPhone.

It’s a similar situation to the suit Qualcomm is embroiled in, as Apple has used the technology from another patent holder to create the latest iPhone. However, this agreement will indeed benefit the creator of the intellectual property, to the tune of billions of dollars if the iPhone sells as many as expected.

It’s enough to make anyone wonder why Samsung and Apple can’t reach a similar agreement with the companies now suing for royalties in the courtroom.

Spirit of Innovation or Necessary Evil?

Simply stated, Apple and Samsung are two of the largest and most powerful companies on the planet. In order to work together, a deal was absolutely necessary. While it’s a positive step, and perhaps even a step that could encourage other companies to come to similar agreements rather than duke it out in court, we fear this was simply a necessary evil for both of the tech giants involved. And that’s a sad fact, since the patent system has increasingly become a bank vault for inventors to hoard their stash rather than a place of sharing and growing, as it was originally intended.

Still, we’ll take movement toward a new innovative spirit however we can get it.

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Categories: Innovation