The analysis of Google’s acquistion of Motorola Mobility has evolved over the last day. There is a strong theme developing that this is about the Patent library. There is a well documented legal war going on between all the major technology players. Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and Google are making a lot of lawyers a whole lot of money. The infringement claims are going off like proverbial grenades on the battlefield.
Intellectual property is a very serious subject. Patents, trademarks and copyrights are a legal recognition of the value created from the investment of thought. It is where innovation begins and ultimately results in all the new industrial achievments that have lifted the world out of the hunter gatherer existence. For the US in particular we have international rivals that have zero cultural history or understanding of this part of the economy.
However we need some fine tuning of the process for reviewing and granting patents. I am sure we all remember the controversy around Amazon’s One Click patent in the Dot Com bubble. What is clearly a business process at checkout does not represent an technological advancement. How about patenting the phrase, “Would you like fries with that ?” to drive revenue at the fast food counter?
Back to Google and the $12.5BB purchase. The Motorola portfolio has more than 17,000 patents in it. No one person can possibly hope to know what is in that large a group of holdings nevermind how it compares and contrasts to the other tech giants. Let me not underestimat the nuances of the celluar phone and mobile software industries. They are vast and complex. However it is not an efficent use of resources to have super expensive lawyers arguing about the very incremental movements in the fields.
The system needs an overhaul to protect the investment of those that really create new IP.