updated 01:28 pm EDT, Wed October 10, 2012
Summit aimed at preventing stifling of innovation
Hoping to bring some sense of order to the current technology patent environment, tech firms, patent officers, regulators, and others are meeting in Geneva at the behest of the United Nations. The BBC reports that the talks were organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN agency charged with ensuring that phone manufacturers agree to standards ensuring interactivity. The ITU's patent roundtable has drawn attendees from the biggest names in technology -- including Apple, Google, HP, Broadcom, Huawei, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, and more -- to Geneva for an event aimed at keeping the exercise of patents from stifling technological innovation.
The Roundtable's stated objective is to assess the effectiveness of RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory)-based patent policies. The ITU hopes to provide a neutral venue for industry participants to express and exchange ideas on the patent environment and how to improve it. The Roundtable will be followed by the TSB Director's IPR Ad Hoc Group meeting on October 11 and 12, where participants will discuss possible patent policy guidelines.
Technological patent disputes have led to a range of product bans and sizable financial verdicts. Most recently, Apple won a $1.05 billion verdict in the United States against Samsung, and the iPhone maker has sought since to have sales bans put into place on a number of Samsung products. Google-owned Motorola has recently lowered the number of its products available in Germany following a court's decision that Motorola violated a Microsoft-owned patent.