Innovating in a world of patent lawsuits — Elaine Chen

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Elaine Chen

From TechCrunch

This fall, Apple once again won the dubious honor of dominating the conversation on patent infringement.

First, it lost a ruling in Germany’s top civil court over the slide-to-unlock feature, backing an earlier ruling in favor of Motorola Mobility. As expected, Apple is appealing the ruling.

Then, it scored a victory when it won a patent ruling against Samsung in the U.S. appeals court over the same feature, plus two others (autocorrect and data detection). As expected, Samsung is appealing the ruling.

Then, it took a hit when a federal jury decided that Apple infringed on a 1998 University of Wisconsin-Madison patent covering performance-improving processing technology. As expected, Apple is appealing the ruling.

Apple seems to get caught in lots of patent fights. Since 2009, Nokia has sued Apple (they settled), Apple has sued HTC (they settled), Kodak sued Apple (Kodak is appealing), Motorola Mobility sued Apple (Apple is appealing) and Apple and Samsung filed more than 40 lawsuits against each other (still fighting it out in the U.S.). The list goes on.

With so much energy spent in patent lawsuits, inventors have to wonder: What is the point of the patent system, and what should they do to win?

Read the full post at TechCrunch.

Elaine Chen is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where she teaches entrepreneurship, primary market research, and leadership development in startup settings.  

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