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Apple Loathes Intellectual Property - Unless, Of Course, It’s Theirs
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:
“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 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.
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.
Why did these two headlines cause me to chortle? Because vociferously-protective-of-its-IP Apple - also did this:
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.
So monster Apple - sued relatively minuscule Qualcomm.
Is this Apple IP theft a one-off? Heavens no.
Oh - and how’d the Apple-Qualcomm lawsuit turn out?
All of which is to say:
Apple loathes Intellectual Property - unless, of course, it’s theirs.
This first appeared in Red State.