Just about every leading brand in the mobile device marketplace has found itself embroiled in one form of patent litigation or another within the past year. But as these so-called patent wars foster an unfortunate climate of hostility, one of the more beneficial side effects could be a renewed awareness of the role savvy intellectual property management can play in revenue strategies.
To get a sense of the significance that patents now hold in the mobile technology space, one need only make note of the remarks made by Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt during a recent press engagement in South Korea. According to CNET, it was only a matter of moments before the discussion of the company's new line of tablets turned into a conversation about its history of patent disputes with Apple.
Even a few years ago, according to New York Times columnist Steve Lohr, there would have been little chance of patents making the list of talking points.
"Traditionally, patents sat on corporate shelves and were occasionally used as bargaining chips in cross-licensing deal with competitors," Lohr wrote. "But that began to change in the 1990s, when technology companies like Texas Instruments and IBM started to regard their patent portfolios as sources of revenue, licensing their intellectual property for fees."
With these dealings becoming less the exception and more the rule in industry headlines, interest in similarly strategic moves is now trickling down to the broader business community. According to the Times, there could be a flurry of activity in the next few years as some market segments start to realize to potential of IP commercialization for the first time.