Time to can the lawyers
Cripplingly expensive lawsuits that threaten to tear the mobile industry apart could end if the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) succeeds as peacemaker.
Executives from top firms, including those from arch rivals Apple and Samsung, last week attended an ITU roundtable in a bid to end the feuds, it has been revealed.
Also present were representatives of Microsoft, RIM, Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola.
Top experts there included Apple’s chief intellectual property lawyer Bruce Watrous, his licensing counterpart at Motorola Ray Warren, and the European Commission’s director general for competition, Thomas Kramler.
One way or another, all the firms at the ITU initiative are currently engaged in litigation around the globe – usually involving design or patents – with the most notable spat being that between Apple and Samsung which resulted in the latter recently slapped with a damages bill for over $1 billion in the US.
But with lawyers bills alone running into millions there is growing concern that such disputes will ultimately prove self-defeating and that the time is now ripe for the industry to sort itself out.
While all the companies who took part in the roundtable have so far kept tight lipped about the discussions, the ITU confirmed that a total of 78 executives attended with the aim of establishing a disputes roadmap. The goal, it revealed, would be to set up a new framework to determine how firms with reasonable licensing claims might be allowed to seek injunctions – the emphasis being on the word ‘reasonable.’
Resumed talks have been scheduled by the ITU for January 2013.