New patent war on the horizon

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 Apparently, the world’s two top innovators, Google and Apple now spend more on patents and patent litigation than on research and development.       Image Courtesy :

The patent war is fast becoming a  joke. The only people who don’t seem to be amused are those who are involved in the lawsuit. For the past two years we have seen  software giants drag each other to courts and out, over patents.

The latest battle brewing is thanks to none other than  Apple! Apparently Apple  is trying to patent wireless charging, claiming its magnetic resonance technology  is a new innovation and that it can do it better than anyone else. How much of truth is there in the claim remains to be seen.  Apple’s application states that its ability to charge a device over the air at a distance of up to a meter, rather than requiring close proximity.  Incidentally there is  another corporation,who  claims to have  similar technology. The Alliance For Wireless Power, will no doubt compare Apple’s designs to its blue prints.

Incidentally chip maker Qualcomm and Apple’s arch  rival Samsung are members of the Alliance. The Alliance reckons distance charging as its unique selling point, allowing gadgets to top up battery power from inside a pocket or as one walks around an office. The argument is so compelling that the competing Consortium for Wireless Power extended its standard, to encompass that same idea.

However, Nokia Lumia 920 and a few other handsets in the market already do wireless charging.

Conflict of interest

The patent application by Apple was filed in November 2010, before the alliance was established; but well after tech startup WiPower applied for its patent on the same concept in 2008. WiPower was acquired by Qualcomm and its patents are the bedrock of the alliance’s standard, along with some intellectual property from Samsung.

The chances are  however that   the court ruling will be in  favor of  Apple.


There are other avenues for Apple as well. The patents behind the Consortium for Wireless Power’s technology are available. Alticor is open to offers for eCoupled, the company that owns the protected designs.

Regardless of who wins the patent; the world sure is in for another war of the patents . But hold On! Do the consumers really  want this wireless technology? For it to be really viable the new technology needs to be built in coffee shops, airport lounges and car dashboards. Are we ready for this? Or is Apple anticipating and planning something which the rest of the tech world may not have  envisaged? Only time will tell. Meanwhile,  I’m sure the lawyers aren’t complaining, and would be singing their way, right into the banks.

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