Gartner Inc. group vice-president Mark McDonald offers an interesting take on Apple’s recent patent victory over Samsung — it could be as dangerous to Apple’s future as it is to Samsung’s present.


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Winning a patent lawsuit can be stifling to innovation, he writes, and foster complacency. The Samsung lawsuit was an extension of co-founder Steve Jobs “thermonuclear” war on Android; mission accomplished, what does Apple do?
Patent victory in hand, a company can bully the competition out of the marketplace with court orders, or license to the technology to other players:

If Apple believes that it is the best because it out-innovates, out-performs and out-operates its competitors, then it should continue to do so by licensing its technology to others at a very reasonable rate.  It could take the billion dollars in the award create some social good as they already admit they have enough cash.  Those are actions that would prove that the suits were not about the money and more about being proven right in the marketplace.

It reminds me of another player with drawers full of patents and a once-dominant product that fell victim to complacency: our very own Research in Motion. It has been intransigent on the front of licensing its operating system to other hardware manufacturers, when licensing could have been an advantage (pre-iPhone).

Now, with Android device manufacturers treading carefully and looking for options, is another opportunity for RIM to jump on the licensing bandwagon and increase its market footprint, even if only on the OS side.