These days, it's hard to imagine a few months in the industry going by without somebody suing somebody else over a new product, or even existing products. Patents have gone from an essential part of business, to no more than bargaining chips that giants like Apple use to try to cash in a little more from their own products. In many cases, it's hard to see where Apple is coming from, especially when you consider that compared to Samsung, Motorola, HTC et al they are the newcomers to the industry. Apple and Google's Motorola Mobility had gone to court earlier in the year over a patent concerning mobile phones. You might remember that Judge Posner famously threw the court of case.
On Wednesday however, the two parties were back in court, as Reuters reports, to discuss whether or not the case should be brought back to the courtroom proper. The patent at issue is an "industry standard patent" something that is required for a phone to work at all. Motorola Mobility is arguing that Apple is infringing on the patent in their devices and that they should pay to license the patent. However, Apple were already licensing the patent and now Motorola Mobility apparently want Apple to pay "12 times" the previous amount to license the patent.
The case might not go back to court as this was just a hearing in front of a three-judge panel. However, if it does go back to court there's no telling whether or not Apple and Motorola will be able to come to some sort of agreement. In the previous cases, Apple and Motorola had argued over everything, including the use of certain "expert witnesses". A company like Apple probably has a very good legal team and considering they seem to take everyone to court these days, it looks like this legal team is getting some good use.
Overall though, this is another reminder of how patents have gone from a key part of the United States' and the World's manner of fostering innovation and creating fair markets to nothing more than bargaining chips. These days, every tech giant has their own war chest of patents, it's all about how they use them.