Modern warfare extends past Call of Duty in the tech world.
We are talking patents people, and they are the quickest way to make and lose millions of dollars. With the expansion of tech startups and innovative social media/tech ventures by already established tech giants, the importance of patents is seemingly more relevant than in the past.
Patent, as defined by the US Patent and Trademark Office, is “an intellectual property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.”
Patents in the tech and social media world range from social media integration tools, privacy controls, advertising and SEO methods, etc. These patents are valuable not only to the inventor and company that controls them, but also to the people who are sometimes unknowingly violating the use of these [ambiguous] patents in their own body of work.
The problem is tech startups don’t always have the necessary funds to fight off these patent wars incited and instigated by tech giants such as Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), and Microsoft (MSFT). Who, between these three companies alone, have more patents than the world has McDonald’s locations.
44 US Patents were granted to Microsoft today.
Patent trolls- people and companies who enforce and assess companies’ patents in an effort to aggressively make claims against patent infringement, and threaten litigation- make tech companies even more aware of the necessity to patent their ideas and/or purchase the use of patents from other inventors/patent owners.
The problem in all of this, is that the stakes are raised with the increase of patent lawsuits, as well as the increase in startups, and innovative applications on current (social) media sites. These days, you’ve got the US government, tech giants, and startups fighting against, and among, each other for the right to an idea, which in the tech world equates to millions and billions of dollars.
It’s no wonder that when discussing technology companies and their patents, the reference to war and modern warfare is frequently made. I’ll always stand behind the claim that a war of/over ideas has more long-term consequences than any other type of war. Our world, both physical and social, is based on ideas and these patent wars are doing nothing more than putting a price on our most prized possessions. And, then suing each other over them.
This ain’t a scene, its a God-d*mned arms race.