UPDATE: Mobile Patent Suits – Graphic of the Day

On foot of the google acquisition of Motorola Mobility, today’s graphic might look like a bowl of spaghetti. In actuality, it illustrates who’s suing who in the mobile industry in patent-related suits. Any surprises?

UPDATE: Included green dots on LG and Sony to represent their use of Android OS



  • Ben Franklin

    Did the graphic creator strive to maximize the number of line crossings? This could be greatly simplified (i.e., improved) by swapping the position of some of the companies, such as Oracle/Foxconn, ZTE/HTC, etc. Simple is elegant, complex is LAZY!

    • Parker Higgins

      I think the graphic creator laid them out alphabetically, Ben. It”s a little off, because it always follows the direction you read (i.e. left-to-right or top-to-bottom) but I don”t think that”s on account of laziness.

      There”s an argument to be made that the point of this graphic isn”t to show how simple the legal situation in the mobile world is, nor to actually serve as a reference about the current lawsuits. Instead, rather, it”s demonstrating not just complexity, but complication — something I think it does well!

  • Jérôme Étévé

    According to this graph, the winner of ”My legal department is bigger than yours” is Apple.

    • God

      I think that would be Microsoft

  • Someone Else

    Unfair that Microsoft is the only company with branching lines… makes it look like only 3 suits, when in fact is is the largest player with 6.

    • Paul

      Green lines do not represent suits, but licensing agreements, so Apple takes the cake.

  • http://thetylerhayes.com Tyler Hayes

    Some digestible factoids:
    - Of the eight companies utilizing Android, only one is suing someone else.
    - Of the twenty companies listed, six are not plaintiffs (i.e., they’re not suing anyone/suing anyone back): Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Foxconn, Google, Inventec, and ZTE.
    - Of the twenty companies listed, five are not being sued: Amazon, Ericsson, Huawei, Oracle, and Sony.

  • http://www.intomobile.com/ Stefan Constantinescu

    Two questions: 1) Did you mean Sony or Sony Ericsson? 2) Doesn”t LG deserve a green dot? They make Android smartphones and tablets.

    Please update your infographic accordingly; nice job otherwise, except this thing looks like the London tube map! :-D

  • http://twitter.com/porabajo Josep M Porta

    By the way; Aren”t Sony using Android? (on Xperia for instance, and PlayStation Phone too I think).

    • Ola Lundström

      SonyEricsson is using Android, not Sony.. None of the SonyEricsson mothers are being sued, but their are suing for their own technology (cameras & microchips)

    • http://www.kensium.com/ Business Process Outsourcing

      The android information is missing (another node or just google) and
      also Motorola was bought by Google. Adding this information puts Google
      in the middle of the mess…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Agnew/1411703305 Ryan Agnew

    Apple the biggest bully in the yard.

    • Anonymous

      According to the graph, they are the most sued.

  • http://twitter.com/ocdtrekkie Jake Weisz

    Both Sony AND LG use Google”s OS. Amazon has the Amazon Appstore for Android, and a ridiculous number of rumors point to them releasing an Android tablet soon as well.

  • Dominic Goulet

    I don”t mean to be on Apple”s side, but it is normal that they are that much involved in the graphs since the hold most of the patents… I”m not sure that holding the competitors back in sue is the best way to be the leader in the market, but apparently that”s the one they decided that fitted the most. 

    On the other hand, forcing those company to respect the patent may lead to major technological inventions. Following someone else path is not the best way to be creative!

    • Anonymous

      Did you realize that most of those patents involved are not real innovations but patents like Ms”s two clicks patent? Yes, indeed, Ms patented the method of double clicking.

      • Dominic Goulet

        I have to agree with you. I was not defending Apple, just meant to say the the more patents you have, the more likely you are to sue. Those who have no patents simply cannot sue, therefore someone interpreting that Huawei is a better company than Apple because it”s not suing anyone is as false as saying Microsoft is as great it was in 2000 (oops, that slipped out!). 

        I guess that their little war effort is starting to pay off with HP going out of the tablet industry and Acer will probably do so in a few. Again, I don”t mean to say it”s a good strategy, but it seems it”s working for them (as of right now). 

        On the other side, as many of us know, Larry Page is not a newborn in that matter. He plays a nice chess game with Apple regarding to patents and I could see Google showing Apple how a gentleman should behave in the business industry. Not saying either that Google is perfect, but I clearly appreciate more their business philosophy. No one is perfect.

        I do really like Apple products, I mean really, but I”m not a fan of those “I sue you” games.But as you mentionned, patents like those should not exist. It”s completely stupid and worthless in a world like today. You cannot patent the double click, it”s like patenting the “reverse” on a car. It made sense when the patented it, but it is now a core function of everything, which means that it has to be freely available for sane competition.

        • http://profiles.google.com/chriscmyuen Chris Yuen

          According to your logic.. Huawei would have a lot more lawsuits.. However you should realise.. to slap a lawsuits is really something American..

          According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on 27 January 2009, Huawei was ranked as the largest applicant under WIPO”s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), with 1,737 applications published in 2008. Overall, the total number of international patent filings under WIPO”s PCT for 2008 represents the highest number of applications received under the PCT in a single year

  • http://twitter.com/thomsonreuters Thomson Reuters

    Updated the graphic to include green dots (to represent the use of Android OS) for LG and Sony. Thanks for pointing that out. 

  • http://www.jkgibbs.com jkgibbs

    It is confusing with the Morotola Mobile acquisition by Google. There should be a few more lines, but really cool nontheless.

  • http://twitter.com/SonicAaron Aaron Darrel O’Neill

    The company”s tend to counter sue Apple. . .after Apple creates a new product. . .the others copy. . .then Apple goes after them. Seems fair to me. 

  • Rixed

    @Jerome: No, it”s Microsoft (although the graph somewhat makes this hard to find)

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