Patents are challenging in the world of mobile phone and network technology, even for huge companies like Apple. IPCom is a German company that specializes in patent licensing, and it has acquired the rights to over 1,200 patents in the technology sector. It recently brought a suit against Apple because it alleges that Apple has not paid for a patent for a program they are using in their mobile phones. The program, which is now owned by IPCom, is able to call emergency services when mobile networks are overloaded.
This is not the first suit IPCom has brought against a major company. They also filed a claim against mobile phone manufacturer HTC, and the claim was thrown out by the same court that dismissed the Apple case. IPCom intends to appeal the cases. Most companies that are at risk for suits from IPCom have made requests to the European Patent Office to review the details of the technologies in question in order to end the claims before they start.
These kinds of cases demonstrate how important patent law is and how essential it is for companies to be extremely clear about their intellectual property. When there is any room for error or when designs are close but not EXACTLY the same, it opens the door for disputes and lawsuits. It doesn’t seem like this is the last suit IPCom is going to file, and it will be interesting to see how everything turns out. We’ll all have to pay attention to the cases and find out if they end up winning any of them.