Newsletter Issue #602: Of Apple and Intellectual Property

June 13th, 2011

At any time, Apple Inc. might be involved in a number of lawsuits. They sue someone for an alleged patent violation and other causes, while others are suing them for similar reasons. In the end, most of them will be settled one way or another. Apple might write a check, or receive one, assuming the case isn’t dismissed outright.

While I grant that a small company would be scared to death of having to confront the possibility of lawsuits, with a large, multinational corporation, it’s just the cost of doing business. At the same time, when new products are being developed, a team of lawyers will be standing by to submit the requisite patent applications, and make sure that, as much as possible, no other party’s intellectual property is being infringed upon.

And if someone else holds the rights to a particular technology, you can bet a company such as Apple will be busy trying to obtain licenses and, in some cases, buy the patent portfolio, perhaps the entire company, outright. So Apple’s A4 and A5 processors, basically customized versions of standard ARM chips, were developed by a team that joined Apple when their original employer, P.A. Semi, was acquired.

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