Mobile Industry Patent Wars Growing

By Soo Kim

Mobile industry giants are increasingly entangled in a war over patent protection, BBC News reports.

The number of mobile phone patent infringement cases filed in the US court system grew from 24 in 2006, to 84 in 2010, figures collected by Lex Machina, an intellectual property litigation data provider. That number is expected to grow to 97 cases this year, which would mark a four-fold increase in just half a decade.

The rapid evolution and growth of the mobile phone industry is the underlying driving force of the rising patent wars. There are possibly over 250,000 active patents relating to a single smartphone, according to San Francisco-based patent aggregator and licensor RPX.

"The devices we used 10 years ago to make voice calls have become hand-held computers incorporating a vast array of software and hardware, which increases the breadth of patent exposure," said John Amster, chief executive of RPX.

"And this problem increases with the capabilities of these devices to do new things,” he added, BBC News reports.

Heavy-hitters such as Apple and Microsoft have been not only suing their competitors to protect their original creations, but have also been purchasing third party patents to build their mobile war weaponry.
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