Originally Posted by afv011
There is a difference between "suing" and "countersuing".
Ultimately it all becomes a "He started it!" problem. Google have recently sued Apple to ban sales of basically all Apple products. There are no current Apple vs Google lawsuits, so in that sense Google "started it", but it would be reasonable to see Google suing Apple as a natural extension of the Apple vs HTC suits, which Google has been involved in behind the scenes.
Going further back, Nokia sued Apple first, and Apple countersued.
Apple sued HTC first, and HTC countersued.
Motorola sued Apple first, and Apple countersued.
Apple sued Samsung first, and Samsung countersued.
In recent years Apple has definitely been very litigious, more so than other companies. I think that is partly a deliberate company decision to try to clear entire product ranges for themselves, whether through 'genuine' patent protection or simply by making companies too afraid to get close to their designs, and partly because they are currently the leaders, and it is the leaders who tend to get copied.
Nokia, having totally failed to transition to smartphones, now seems to be entering the patent-litigation business instead. RIM and Motorola sue each other. It is endemic to the mobile industry. I suspect that if you plotted all the major players on a graph, with lines connecting those who had sued each other, there would be very few lines missing. Then there are the pure patent companies who sue all of them.
I think the trivial level of innovation that is required to be granted a software patent mean that it is literally impossible to build something as complex as a modern smartphone or tablet without it infringing multiple patents. (From one report I read, there are over 4000 patents considered essential to the 4G system.)
But that is a "don't hate the player, hate the game" issue. The patent system is just broken. The only non mutally-assured-destruction way out seems to be for all the major players to cross-license their patents (as has been happening in pairs, for example Microsoft and Apple), but in the end that hurts consumers, as it raises huge barriers to entry for any new competitors, who are locked out of all those agreements. I think one of the reasons for Google acquiring so many patents it so that they can bring enough value to the table to be included in cross-licensing agreements.
: Someone already has: http://visual.ly/tech-patent-wars
. The numbers around the outside are interesting, showing how many patents Google has been buying up.
Edit: Several people have: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Mobil...raphic_id26231