Apple looks for its checkbook

Just a short thought. Apple has lost control of the iPad trademark in China but retains it in the rest of the world. Readers warn that China will be soon awash in iPad clones.

ProView Technologies, the Taiwanese company that presently controls the iPad trademark, was near bankruptcy until yesterday. Apple has $80 billion in cash.

Do we really think Cupertino will let go of an important trademark in what will eventually be the largest IT market in the world?

I don’t think so.

The enemy of my enemy

Nortel Networks, the bankrupt Canadian telecom company, came that much closer to disappearing completely yesterday with the cash sale of its portfolio of 6000 patents for $4.5 billion to a consortium of companies including Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion (RIM), and Sony. The bidding, which began with a $900 million offer from Google, went far higher than most observers expected and only ended, I’m guessing, when Google realized that Apple and its partners had deeper pockets and would have paid anything to win. This transaction is a huge blow to Google’s Android platform, which was precisely the consortium’s goal.

Google is the youngest of these companies and has probably the smallest patent portfolio, most […]

Trolling for Dollars

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen filed suit this week against a litany of Internet companies claiming they had violated patents awarded years ago to Allen’s now-defunct Interval Research. Many writers, including one passing himself off as me, claimed this made Allen a so-called “patent troll. ”

I don’t think that is the case.

Patent trolls are individuals or companies that habitually sue others over obscure patents. While the Interval patents generally are obscure, that doesn’t make them invalid. And the fact that Allen and then-partner Dave Liddle paid $100 million for the basic research behind those patents, well that hardly sounds like troll behavior.

If Paul Allen actually were a patent troll. he would have sued in […]