There’s an interesting article up on TheStreet.com about Apple, RIM and — what else? — patent disputes. Senior writer Troy Wolverton took a look at Apple’s recent $100 million settlement with Creative Technologies and thinks that our favorite Waterloo company has a lot to learn from the house that Jobs built. And he’s right.
Learn? But Apple had to pay Creative $100 freaking million, you say. Yes, but consider the whole picture. Apple was able to settle quickly, without it affecting their brand image or consumer confidence. As a result of not going to war, Apple also gained Creative as a “made for iPod” accessory maker, as well as receiving the right to regain some of that $100 freaking million if Creative can license their patents to other companies.
Now consider Apple’s results in relation to how RIM handled their patent dispute with NTP:
[RIM] lost at the district court level in 2002 and was ordered to pay $23 million. But instead of settling then — or before — the company fought on, and on and on. It eventually settled the case in March for $612.5 million.
And that amount doesn’t include the $21 million in legal fees the company spent just last fiscal year alone or the millions more it spent in previous years. Nor does it include the lost business the company felt as subscriptions slowed and customers started looking at alternatives to RIM’s BlackBerry wireless email system.
So what was the key difference in the two cases according to Wolverton? Pride. Apple wanted to do what was right for their continued business, while RIM wanted to protect its honor and crush a hated enemy. Hopefully RIM has learned this lesson and won’t make the same mistake in their new patent dispute with Visto.