Apple Loathes Intellectual Property – Unless, Of Course, It’s Theirs

Seton Motley | Less Government |
Seton Motley | Less Government |
Apple IP, Actually

I must admit, I laughed more than a little last week when a pair of headlines crossed my transom.

Here’s the first:

Apple Granted Over 2,000 Patents Last Year, Ranking It Around #10 in the US

“Around #10” – ???:

“Two different organizations came up with slightly different numbers and rankings….”

Either way, in a country of 330+ million people, with the globe’s biggest economy – that’s a lot.

Apple is a creative company.  (Though I would argue less so since the sad, premature passing of founder Steve Jobs.)

Apple has to be in the innovation business.  New ideas – means new things to sell.

Apple is a monster company (Market Cap: $951 billion).  You have to keep feeding the beast.

And the way Apple – and everyone else – protects their ideas…is by patenting them.

Apple’s patents grant Apple – for a finite period of time – exclusive use and implementation of their ideas.  Only they can sell stuff with their patents.

Unless someone pays Apple a mutually agreeable amount – and Apple grants them license to use Apple’s patented ideas.

All of which is only fair.

Research and Development (R & D) is what begets us patentable ideas.  And it is a VERY expensive, LONG term effort.

R & D is nigh antithetical to Wall Street’s quarter-by-quarter, month-by-month – heck, day-by-day search for bigger profits and higher stock prices.

R & D companies spend months, years and sometimes decades developing the ideas-cum-products we rely on and enjoy each and every day.

R & D companies also spend months, years and sometime decades developing ideas – that never, ever become anything.  In petroleum business parlance – they drill a lot of dry holes.

Drilling dry holes ain’t, by the way, a failing on anyone’s part.  That’s the nature of the R & D beast.

And Big Tech R & D – ain’t nickel ante poker.  It ain’t penny slots.

Apple spends billions of dollars developing their patented ideas.  And spends billions and billions more – working on ideas that never pan out.

All of which is why Intellectual Property (IP) protection is so important.  In fact, it is so important – the Founding Fathers ensconced it in the Constitution.

If Apple – if any and everyone – can’t get a return on all of their massive investments of time and money – they’ll stop making their massive investments of time and money.

And then our entire economy comes to a screeching halt – and collapses in a smoldering heap.

So when Apple gets any of its ideas stolen – they get rightly, righteously indignant.  And necessarily litigious.

Which brings us to our second humorous headline:

Apple Seeks to Shut Down Corellium’s ‘Perfect Replicas’ of iOS

Apple thinks Corellium is stealing their operating system.  Which cost Apple a ton of time and money to develop.  So Apple is more than a little peeved.  Understandably so.

In fact, Apple has a long history of suing people Apple alleges stole their ideas.

Apple and Samsung Settle Seven-Year-Long Patent Fight

Jury Awards Apple $539 Million in Samsung Patent Case

Apple Sues Samsung for $2 Billion

Apple Sues Samsung Over ‘Galaxy’ Phone, Tablet

30 Years Before Samsung: When Apple Sued Microsoft

Apple Sues Intel, Microsoft – Again

Apple Sues Over QuickTime – This Day in Tech History

Apple Sues HTC Over iPhone Patents

None of these are duplicates.  And I could continue to list headlines for days.

Oh: And you don’t have to be a huge company – to engender Apple’s litigious wrath.

Apple Sued an Independent iPhone Repair Shop Owner

Why did these two headlines cause me to chortle?  Because vociferously-protective-of-its-IP Apple – also did this:

Apple Sues Qualcomm for Roughly $1 Billion Over Patent Royalties

This wasn’t because Qualcomm was stealing Apple’s IP.  This was because Apple was attempting to steal Qualcomm’s IP.  More specifically – reverse engineer the heist.

Apple was looking to get a court to force Qualcomm to return patent licensing royalties Apple had already paid.

Why had Apple already paid?

Because Apple and Qualcomm had negotiated mutually agreeable terms – under which Qualcomm would license its patents to Apple.

And then Apple and Qualcomm both signed numerous contracts – ensconcing in writing the mutually agreeable terms.

Years and years followed and went by.  During which Apple paid Qualcomm for Qualcomms patents – per the terms of the contracts they both signed.

Oh – And to put this in monetary perspective:

A new iPhone XS costs $1,249.

On which Apple would have been contractually required to pay Qualcomm…about $12.

And monster Apple (Market Cap: $951 billion) – felt that minuscule amount was too much to pay relatively minuscule Qualcomm (Market Cap: $91 billion).

So monster Apple – sued relatively minuscule Qualcomm.

Is this Apple IP theft a one-off?  Heavens no.

Apple Owes $626 Million in Damages After Losing Huge Patent Case

Apple Ordered to Pay More Than $500 Million in iMessage Case

Apple Sued for Patent Infringement in Two Lawsuits

Apple Sued for Patent Infringement in the Apple Pay

Apple Sued for Patent Infringement Relating to Their ‘Low Power Mode’ Feature Found in iPhones and iPads

Apple Sued for Patent Infringement over Apple Maps

Apple Sued Over Alleged Infringement of PocketFinder GPS Patents

Apple Is Being Sued for Patent Infringement by a Native American Tribe

Oh – and how’d the Apple-Qualcomm lawsuit turn out?

Apple Pays Whopping $6 Billion to Settle Qualcomm Dispute


All of which is to say:

Apple loathes Intellectual Property – unless, of course, it’s theirs.

This first appeared in Red State.

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