Mobile patent wars visualized with handy (or is that scary?) infographic

Mobile patent wars visualized with handy (or is that scary?) infographic
Do you ever stay awake at night, thinking to yourself, “There are just too many lawsuits in the mobile space; I can’t keep them all straight?” If so, do we have the infographic for you! The fine folks over at PC Magazine put together a chart outlining all of the current lines of legal attack.

Looking at the chart you can see how Apple has largely become a spoke in the hub of lawsuits – to a large degree this is because Apple has not only been overly generous with whom they sue, but they’ve also been suing to try and drive products off the market. As a result, companies have counter-sued Apple, rather than working out a licensing arrangement. Microsoft, it should be noted, has also sued or threatened to sue just as many people, but Microsoft’s M.O. is to make money from each sale, not prevent a product from being sold. As a result Microsoft lawsuits tend to settle up fairly quickly.

Apple’s role may actually be even more dominant then the infographic suggests. As we reported last year, Apple seems to be transferring some of its IP to shady patent trolling company Digitude Innovations, so they can serve as a proxy company to launch lawsuits with. Digitude can be seen on the left side of the chart, having launched additional lawsuits against almost every other major player on the chart.

Looking at Google, you can see that currently they are only fending off lawsuits from Oracle and gemalto, although they will inherit several more once they finish their acquisition of Motorola. If you want to know more, be sure to enlarge the chart below.

source: PCMag via Droid-life



1. ilia1986 unregistered

Apple definitely bit much much more than they can chew (pun intended).

2. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Yeah Apple has opened a can of worms that they wish they didn't open. You know what they say, "what goes around, comes around". Karma works in such funny ways!

14. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

It's more like Apple sending a strong message -- if you steal our ideas (i.e. Samsung that has been adjudicated to a copyists is several international courts), we will come after you. Apple has been doing this since it was founded and it's business as usual. You think HTC can afford to send say $100 million in legal fees when it's cheap to innovate and come up with their own technonolgy? Samsung stated they will add $200 million dollars to their war chest, which isn't enough, because Samsung made the mistake of trying to get away with stealing Apple's ideas.

16. aphexjuggalo

Posts: 3; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

And by copying their ideas do you mean sliding your finger in one direction to unlock or making flat, rectangular, non-adorned, touchscreen phones with horizontal speaker holes?

23. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

You mean like the where Apple holds the PATENT for slide to unlock. If HTC can pay MicroSoft for the use of MicroSoft's patents, then what's the issue?

18. EclipseGSX

Posts: 1777; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

seriously, what exactly did they "steal" that isn't generic like touchscreens? Because Apple did not invent those

24. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

So why are so many android OEMs paying billions to MicroSoft. Perhaps these OEMs are charitable or perhaps they were caught stealing...

22. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Apple is horribly infested with worms

12. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

It's a cost of doing business, especially when you are a successful company and the knock-offs and copycat pirates try to steal your ideas. It's the same thing in movies, designer clothes, jewelry, etc... Look at this way, MicroSoft had no direct involvement with the android OS and just happens to reap "billions" because companies are using MS patents. Oracle claims to reap billions as well.

3. Muhannad

Posts: 455; Member since: Sep 20, 2011

HTC seems that it tried to sue Apple only, no one else.

4. ilia1986 unregistered

Also to be noted - Google doesn't sue anyone as of yet. HTC, Motorola and Samsung only sue those who sued them first (Apple). And RIM is getting hammered.

5. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

What's interesting is that despite the media and community buzz of Apple being overly litigious, the company has only 3 lawsuits against others while it is the target of 9 lawsuits or countersuits.

7. ilia1986 unregistered

Michael - this is because the buzz is around Apple's decision to ask the court to *ban* the competitor's product instead of reaching a settlement. A move which was unheard of until then. Customers could care less which company sues which company as long as it didn't affect their freedom of choice regarding product availability. Not so this time..

19. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

We can all come up with reasons why Apple and their lawsuits have become media buzz, but I think the fact that its Apple is reason enough, because everything they do is blown way out. If Google sued Apple, Microsoft, and RIM, I wouldn't be surprised if people started cheering.

9. TechDroid

Posts: 37; Member since: Jun 14, 2011

I guess that the reason for the media hype, might be that the Apple lawsuits 1) are quite ridiculous (or at least the patent system is) 2) the sums involved are extremely large when Apple is involved, perhaps on the contrary to the other lawsuits

10. Scott_H

Posts: 167; Member since: Oct 28, 2011

Three is about as many as any other company, except Digitude, who seems to be suing on Apple's behalf (and with Apple's patents). Also, Apple both "fired first" and went for outright injunctions in their lawsuits, rather than simply try to make some money from IP licensing. Apple is truly doing something different than all of the other companies in that infographic (whether that's right or wrong of course depends on your point of view).

11. biophone

Posts: 1994; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

wow you didn't write this article lol. To be honest I don't mind the ban thing because I believe thats the court fault apple can ask for whatever they want. If they get it I don't blame them I blame the courts. But the digititude thing I don't like it.

13. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

the chart only goes back 2 years. and it only shows 1 line per company. it does not show each individual lawsuit, so its not entirely accurate. Also it doesnt show every company that each of those companies has sued, just where it corresponds to others on the charts. dont get excited ifans, when it comes to actual number of lawsuits, apple is still king.... and they are still the only ones suing to shut down competition, not correct patent infringement.

15. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

Nor does it show where Apple has been successful in winning against counterfeit stores, devices, etc. Apple's success makes it an easy target for ripoff artists. The second point is the lack of outcries by android OEMs that pay to MS's patent portfolio. The Android OEMs know they are using other companies technologies, but rather they rather wait to get sued and take their chases or settle with MS. Even Oracle claims it's getting billions from the android ecosystem.

17. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

and thats the way it should work. if someone takes your work, u should get paid for it. to your first point.. apple has been successful at stoping counterfiet stores.. and they should be. they however have had very little success on the long term (minus a temp ban here and there that was over ruled or worked around) in their constant litigation in the android world. yet MS is successful all the darn time,,, whats that say about apple? THEY HAVE NO CASE. :)

25. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

Paying MS is bona fide evidence android OEMs steal.

26. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

Apple pays nokia hundreds of million if not billions a year in royalties. Nokia makes as much off of apple as MS makes off of half a dozen android companies. And thats just one of many companies that apple has to pay royalties to after losing a lawsuit. get over yourself.

6. tacohunter

Posts: 408; Member since: Nov 06, 2011

I felt very little informed about these lawsuit topics (they don't rly interested me). I was waiting for a simple summary of this. Thx Unbelievable there are companies that sue more then apple. But some people here say that apple is the king of suing. Obvious again a thruth not to believe every comment made on here, first doing extra research helps. This will stop the uneducated sue jokes, hopefully.

8. bigboy029

Posts: 74; Member since: Jan 03, 2011

It wont stop the Sue jokes, but maybe help them. The reason is that whenever apple sues, it always makes the news. Other companies seem to go under the radar a bit as far as lawsuits and such, don't ask me why. for example, I would have never known that Digitude innovations has sued 8 different companies because it never really gets brought up!

20. jstoned

Posts: 36; Member since: Dec 22, 2011

apple sux!!!!! they are just trying to be s conglomerate compnay instead of an innovation driving company. They want everybody to be in an apple shaped box, and they wont even let you get a full apple. They want to control you so much they show that they get the first bite. fhight the conglomerate power long live ANDROID OS

21. JSern

Posts: 282; Member since: May 22, 2011

Daaamn Apple, you scary

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