It’s not the first time Apple has been fined for failing to pay licensing fees for third-party technology.
However, Tim Cook’s company has said that companies with these practices are « harassing the industry »
Likewise, it seems to him that restricting access to these systems may affect consumers in the long term.
Within the technology sector, patents are a sensitive topic. The documents allow brands to defend their ownership of innovations and projects designed by their team from other companies. The above does not mean that other companies cannot use these types of tools. It only implies that rivals must pay for a user license. Of course, not all agents agree to this restriction. Among them appears to be Apple.
However, unfortunately for Tim Cook’s company, the United States (USA) authorities are going to force it to follow the rules of the game. According to El Economista, a fine of 500 million dollars (mdd) has just been approved against Apple. This, after it was determined that the technology company “stole” patents owned by a brand called PanOptics for the development of smartphones, watches and tablets. The giant said it will appeal the decision.
What exactly happened to Apple? Technically Tim Cook and his team did not « steal » anything. They only applied 4G LTE technologies in several of their devices that PanOptics had patented. According to the plaintiff company, the brand was repeatedly offered to reach an agreement to pay a fair and reasonable license for its use. The giant refused to negotiate, saying its rival’s goal was to « stifle innovation. »
The irony of the Apple and PanOptics case
It is not the first time that two companies have fought over the ownership or license of a patent or copyright. Similar to Apple and PanOptics, Nike sued Skechers for copying its Air Max, rather than requesting a distribution license. Google and Sonos are still in a legal dispute over smart speaker technologies, which the latter says was stolen from it. Since 2018, Heineken and Grupo Modelo have been at war over the launch of Amstel Ultra.
We must return to the Apple case. It seems that the giant Tim Cook has everything to lose. Not only does PanOptics belong to a group of technology companies that do not produce products, but patents that they then sell to other companies, so their experience supports them. At the same time, we must remember that the technological owner of the iPhone is in the middle of a process for anti-competitive practices. So the US government is not exactly on their side.
It should also be noted that Apple’s situation is ironic. Tim Cook and his team have spent years suing other companies for alleged patent and copyright infringements, up to ridiculous limits. Without going any further, he filed a lawsuit against a brand because its green pear logo is « very similar » to its black apple. It seems that technology is getting a taste of its own medicine. And at the same time, damaging your brand reputation.
About copyright lawsuits
Of course, the Apple case does not mean that brands should not file lawsuits for patent or copyright violations. There are several legitimate example processes. For example, the Rolling Stones’ claim against Trump for using one of their songs without their permission. Or, a photographer’s dispute against Clorox and Mcgarrybowen for using photos without proper permissions. You can even talk about the fight between Forever 21 and Ariana Grande.
What brands should remember is that a legal process is not just anything. They must be well aware that, as Apple is learning, it may not work in their favor. According to NPPA, it should be remembered that processes can be long and quite expensive. In The Brand Protection data, there are a number of requirements that must be met before even starting the process. And DBS warns that there are myths that can put brands at risk.
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