Crazy new patent wars infographic helps you follow the action

Crazy new patent wars infographic helps you follow the action
Who doesn’t love to read about software patents, right? The problem is, even after you’ve learned enough legalese to try and follow the articles, it’s almost impossible to keep straight who is suing whom, and who “started” the spat. Luckily the minds over at visual.ly have made a compact infographic that contains all this information and more.

Looking at the wheel o’ litigation, there are several layers of information on it. The outer gray circle is companies that have shared or sold patents to other companies – think of it like arms deals: those companies are transferring patents to serve either as a deterrent, or in retaliation. Following the arrows in that outer ring shows that Google has acquired the most patents the last few years, which is no surprise because they were far behind the other tech companies in “ammunition” when the patent war began.

Moving to the inner circle, two different types of information is available. First, following the arrows shows you who is suing whom. As you track each line it also shows you how many patents are being asserted (sued over). Finally, the artist(s) have added a handy “eye for an eye” marker; if the circle at the base of a line is hollow, then the lawsuit is a defensive one. So for example HTC is currently embroiled in three sets of lawsuits (two with Apple and one from Interdigital), but the lawsuits HTC started against Apple were defensive in nature.

Looking over the graph it's clear that Apple and Microsoft have been the main instigators of the patent wars. Kodak also appears to be a major player but most of their lawsuits just popped up recently, most likely in a bid to avoid bankruptcy (or convince someone to buy their 1,000 or so patents).

If you want a better grasp on who is suing whom, take a closer look at the image above.

source: visual.ly via mobilesyrup

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