Apple vs The World - The UpStream

Apple vs The World

posted Saturday Apr 2, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Apple vs The World

We all know how much fun lawsuits can be and Apple is certainly the company who likes them the best, so let's see what they have been up to this week. Two of Apple's current legal projects have taken major steps this week. We first spoke of the battle between Apple and Nokia nearly 18 months ago and Nick and Kyria have kept us up to date 5 more times since then:

Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 | Round 6

This week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules in favor of Apple, saying that the manufacturer had not infringed on any of Nokia's stated patents. You might remember that Nokia filed the complaint with the FTC, which is secondary to the lawsuit still pending in federal court, as an attempt to get Apple's products to be blocked for import. That would have certainly stopped Apple in its tracks since their phones are fabricated by Foxconn in China. It is hard to sell a phone to Americans when it is stuck in China.

This ruling does not affect the other side of the coin, however. Apple had filed a counter claim against Nokia to the FTC claiming the same types of patent infringement, not to block the import of Nokia phones, but to prolong the process as long as possible. They probably assumed that the FTC would rule against them and they could then make an offer between the companies to get both phones back into the America market. That is no longer required, so if Nokia loses the next one, Apple will have the upper hand. It's kind of like a legal tango, isn't it?

We also have news regarding the ongoing Apple vs Kodak battle. For the details, hit the break.

The world's busiest legal team didn't quite get the ruling they wanted in the Kodak case. Originally, an FTC judge had decided in January that Apple, among other smartphone manufacturers, hadn't infringed upon Kodak's photography patents by including cameras in their handsets in the way that they have. The full FTC board, however, isn't so sure the judge's recommendations were correct. They will be taking the situation under advisement themselves and will hear the case directly.

This is good news if you own stock in Eastman Kodak, but potentially bad news if you own a smartphone or would like one in the future. Not that a ruling in Kodak's favor would be wrong. Clearly Kodak believes there has been funny business and wants to be compensated for work they did and ideas they own. However, it could increase the cost of phones by a little, as the manufacturers would have to pay a royalty per handset to include our favorite feature.

Because of this, I am torn on the issue. I want Kodak to get the compensation they deserve if they do, but I do not want the cost of my phones to go up even more. With the inclusion of two cameras on more and more smartphones, that royalty will likely double. So, I want to know, what do you think about Kodak collecting a royalty on cameras in phones? Let us know in the comments section.


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