You cannot fail to have noticed that just about every mobile device/tablet manufacturer is suing at least one of their competitors at the moment. None of them seems to be free from some form of legal action in what is starting to look a little like a merry-go-round of lawsuits!

My concern with all of this is that it must be stifling innovation. A lot of the technology in these devices is essential for the development of the industry and no one company is going to be able to come up with the best solution for everything. The reality is that they really should be working more closely together. Now, I realise that these are commercial organisations that are out to make a profit. Patents are, in principle, good for business as they provide an element of protection from outright plagiarism. However, this level of enforcement cannot be good for the consumer, or for the future of the industry.

Apple have now come out (by way of a leaked letter written to ETSI) and called for a change to the way these key patents are dealt with. Microsoft have publicly supported their call. Let’s be clear, I have no doubt that Apple and Microsoft are no different to anyone else when it comes to patent enforcement. However, I believe that they are right in calling for something to be done and, for the sake of future innovation, I hope that something positive comes of it.