Patent wars are escalating out of control, and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has decided to step in to convene over the industry’s use of patent litigation to block sales of cell phones on October 10th. The ITU meeting will include government officials, standards bodies, and key industry companies such as Motorola and Samsung.
If you’re expecting Apple and their actions against fellow smartphone makers to be the highlight of the meeting, think again; most of the attention will surround allegations that companies are abusing standards-based patents, which will put the spotlight largely on a Google-owned Motorola as well as Samsung.
The ITU wants to address the “surge in patent litigation and the growing lack of adherence to standards bodies’ existing patent policies.” Chief among the ITU’s concerns is the use of standards essentials patents for litigation and the current arrangements based around fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) patent policies. The ITU says the number of patent disputes in the cell phone industry is “unwelcome” and wants to prevent companies from blocking competitors’ products based on patent-related complaints like the recent blocking of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and that affecting HTC months ago.
Whether this meeting will ultimately solve the problem awaits to be seen, but it’s at least nice to see that some effort is being put forth to resolve these issues so customers don’t end up paying the ultimate price and lose out on the best that the industry has to offer.