It may be pretty obvious why a company should have a strong intellectual property strategy – invention protection, commercialization, royalty revenues, market exclusivity, deterrence, asset expansion, broadening innovation, etc.  But why is it Smart for an organization that is looking for a product or service to select a company that has a strong intellectual property strategy?

A company with a strong IP strategy:

a)      recognizes the value in being innovative,

b)     is willing to invest in innovation through development, patenting, etc., and

c)      is determined to implement strategies to try to ensure the continuity of operations for itself and its customers

Take for example – Apple v. Samsung, which is going on all over the world. Samsung doesn’t appear to have patents to counter-sue Apple with and, as a result, Apple has been somewhat successful in getting injunctions against the sale of Samsung’s phones and tablet.  In just the past several weeks, Verizon and T-Mobile have been trying to intervene in the U.S. case in order to prevent an injunction.  In this case, Samsung’s lack of patents could hurt Verizon’s and T-Mobile’s sales if Apple is successful in getting an injunction against the sale of Samsung’s devices.  Whether or not Verizon’s and T-Mobile’s help results in the avoidance of an injunction, lots of money and time will be spent by Samsung, Verizon and T-Mobile; and potential declining sales could result too as consumers may be unsure of the situation and might just want to avoid the issue altogether.

An injunction hearing was held on October 13th and is shedding light on how customers might play a role in these scenarios and what results they might expect.  Because of the international ubiquity of technology and varying patent regulation around the globe, even a finding in favor of Samsung in this US court would not belittle the fact that significant negative effects are being felt by Samsung around the world from the more than 20 infringement cases in 10 countries

More than just patents in place – It isn’t just the lack of patents that can cause intellectual property issues that would result in potential interruption of business operations.  Take for example a small company or sole proprietorship that is developing a software solution for its customers.  Consider that it may or may not have patent protection and, as is often the case in small businesses, it does not have appropriate intellectual property agreements with its employees, contractors and customers.  That company could be exposed to many inventor and customer related IP ownership and assignment rights predicaments that could also result in litigation and injunctions on the use of technologies, again impacting not only themselves but also their customers.

To reiterate the point – An organization that does not get its products and services from a company that has a strong IP strategy may very well end up with an interruption in its ability to do business. What does this mean? If Company A doesn’t have patents applied for on the technologies it has developed and company B sues them for infringement, an injunction can be put on Company A.  This injunction easily trickles down to customers who are buying or licensing Company A’s technologies or services and thus can be restrained from using them.  If these technologies are important to the customers’ operations, revenues, donations, etc., then they could be negatively and significantly impacted by this restraint on their use of the technologies or services.

How would this relate in the mobile application market?

Possible scenario – an organization gets an app developer to build them an app.  That developer uses processes, methods, technologies etc. that they haven’t filed for patent protection on. This app developer is now sued for patent infringement by a company that is in the same space with a good patent portfolio or current or previous employees/contractors who want to claim their own rights to the IP.  The organization’s use of their app could be restricted by the courts and thus greatly impact the organization’s sales, services, operations, etc.

Smart Online, an innovative and leading mobile application solutions developer, with its volume of innovation and strong patent strategy, positions itself to be able to offer continuity of business and even to take offensive position to prevent others from infringing on Smart Online’s and its customers’ innovative solutions.

With enterprise, non-gaming, mobile application development still in its infancy, a few patent infringement cases have just begun to surface and injunctions could soon follow.  Business oriented mobile application development is an emerging market and these applications’ movement into the market could, in the not too distant future, be at Moore’s Law speed.  This sets the stage for large quantities of new intellectual property development.  A large majority of mobile application and solutions developers appear to have little to no strategy for protecting the intellectual property that is being created.  Smart Online, a leader and innovator in the mobile application development market, is proud of its intellectual property strategy, the protections and opportunities it gains, and the benefits it offers to its customers and clients.

You can feel confident in Smart Online – they continue to strive to provide strength through industry leading innovation and their intellectual property strategy!