Patent Litigation: Apple versus Its Competitors

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Patent litigation: Apple versus its competitors According to U.S. law, a patent (as distinct from a trademark or a copyright) is a "property right for an invention granted by a government to the inventor" and is designed "to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling their invention throughout the United States or importing their invention into the United States" for a limited time (Bellis, 2012, what is a patent). It allows inventors to profit from their innovations, whether the inventors are large corporations or the small inventor working in his or her garage. Without patents there would be little incentive for corporations or people to make huge investments in R&D to create devices that could be easily replicated and sold for pennies by imitators. A patent is a way to quantify the value of an idea. But one of the problems with patents is that quite often patent laws can stifle, rather than promote, innovation. Ideally patent law is supposed to encourage innovation by enabling inventors to profit off of unique intellectual output. But in today's hypercompetitive climate, large corporations such as Apple are using patent litigation to gain an edge over competitors, and some instances to extend a virtual monopoly over the market. "By one estimate, as many as 250,000 patents can be used to claim ownership of some technical or design element in a smartphone"¦The disputes are fueled, legal experts say, by companies rushing to apply for patents as

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