Google General Counsel, Kent Walker, wrote a letter to the US Senate Judiciary Committee this month stating certain Apple inventions should be “standards” simply because they’ve become popular with consumers. So basically, because Apple has invented something cool that everyone wants, Google should be able to use it without getting sued.
John Paczkowski from All Things D interpreted the letter:[quote]In other words, Google’s view is that just as there are patents that are standards essential, there are also patents that are commercially essential — patents that cover features that are so popular as to have become ubiquitous. The latter are just as ripe for abuse as the former, and withholding them is just as harmful to consumers and the competitive marketplace. Viewed through that lens, multitouch technology or slide-to-unlock might be treated the same way as an industry standard patent on, say, a smartphone radio.[/quote]
In other words, they’re jealous that Apple has made such cool inventions and it’s not fair to competitors. Ummm… Yes it is. Isn’t that what makes certain products better than others? I mean we’re not talking about the invention of toothpaste here. Apple has made desirable products through their design, innovation, and features; they should have the say on who uses what.
Obviously Apple disagrees with Google on this one. Bruce Sewell, Apple’s top lawyer, sent in a rebuttal letter arguing against Kent’s opinion. Here’s the point: just because Apple develops commercially successful technology that’s popular with consumers, it doesn’t mean they MUST license it to every competitor.
From Sewell’s letter:[quote]The capabilities of an iPhone are categorically different from a conventional phone, and result from Apple’s ability to bring its traditional innovation in computing to the mobile market. Using an iPhone to take photos, manage a home-finance spreadsheet, play video games, or run countless other applications has nothing to do with standardized protocols. Apple spent billions in research and development to create the iPhone, and third party software developers have spent billions more to develop applications that run on it.[/quote]
I have to say, this one goes to Apple. They made these “cool” technologies and they should have exclusive rights to them. If they should ever license them out, that should be a choice, not a “commercially essential” standard. Go invent your own cool technology Google!
All Things D has both letters in full if you’re interested in checking them out.