Patent wars heat up

Apple and Samsung's patent fight may have received the most attention about intellectual property litigants, but they were hardly the only companies focused on their technology patent piles.

patent system
Illustration by James Martin/CNET

Apple and Samsung's patent fight may have received the most attention about intellectual property litigants, but they were hardly the only ones. In fact, it may be easier to name big tech companies not engaged in a patent suit than it is to name the ones that have taken their intellectual property disputes the courtroom...or at least threatening to do so. The so-called balance of terror where big companies amass stockpiles of patents in order to discourage litigation turned into a legal free-for-all. Barely a day passed when a tech company, from Facebook to Microsoft, wasn't named in some sort of IP suit.

And believe it or not, this was the year that optimists believed patent reform would reduce litigation. It used to be (or at least we like to think it used to be) that winning in the marketplace was all that mattered. But 2012 left us with a pessimistic sense that winning in the marketplace is only step one in tech industry success. Step two is winning in the courtroom.

Go back to the CNET 100

About the author

Jim Kerstetter has been writing about the high-tech industry since the 1990s. He has been a senior editor at PC Week and a Silicon Valley correspondent at BusinessWeek. He is now senior executive editor at CNET News. He moved back to Boston because he missed the Red Sox. E-mail Jim.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
Best cameras for foodie photographers (pictures)
10 mobile gadgets gone gonzo (pictures)
Apple in 2014: iPhone 6, iCloud hack, Beats and more (pictures)
The 12 most distinctive phones of 2014 (pictures)
Best mobile games of 2014
Nissan gives new Murano bold style (pictures)