Dr Mark Summerfield has an interesting post demonstrating some work he and his colleagues have been doing modelling the ownership of patents in the smartphone space.
In their mobile technology landscape, or themescape, they seek to demonstrate pictorially:
- Samsung appears to own key hardware patents;
- Microsoft seems to own most software patents;
- but Apple seems to have highly strategic patents.
The themescape also seeks to demonstrate that Google was a long way behind, but may be catching up if it gets to acquire Motorola’s patents.
Dr Summerfield does express some frustration:
It is therefore ironic – and some might say more than a little unfair – that Apple should be in a position to frustrate Samsung’s attempts to compete against its iPhone and iPad products, while the FRAND obligations associated with Samsung’s much larger patent portfolio leave it in a strategically weakened position.
In this context, it is hardly surprising that Samsung is in the Federal Court of Australia arguing that it should not be barred from obtaining an injunction against the iPhone 4S on the basis of the FRAND status of the patents which it is asserting against Apple.
But one might equally wonder why Samsung should be allowed to get injunctions on the basis of its so-called FRAND patents (assuming the fair and reasonable royalty is forthcoming) when it apparently volunteered its patents for inclusion into various standards in return for FRAND obligations? This FRAND-type issue has been around since at least the 1980s and led to this basic position.
Foss Patents also has a relatively recent round up of where many of the litigations between the various smartphone manufacturers currently sit.