The patent landscape maps in part four of this series showed that the key Android advocates – including Samsung and Motorola/Google – are massively superior to Apple in terms of the sheer numbers of patents in their portfolios.
But, as we explain in this fifth and final part, many of these patents are encumbered by licensing obligations arising from their relationship to industry standards. While the scope of these obligations is yet to be fully tested in court – and may differ from country to country – it is already clear that such encumbrances can significantly complicate the deployment of patents for both offensive and defensive purposes.
With neither Apple nor any of its Android-supporting rivals having clearly established an upper hand, we can no doubt look forward to more strategic manoeuvring on all sides before any final resolution of the ongoing disputes.
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