Brad Smith, general counsel of Microsoft
The technology space changes seemingly as fast as a data packet travels on a 100Gb Ethernet line, and even the largest companies in the industry need to take a careful look at their strategies in the ever-evolving marketplace. Perhaps the biggest concern on the plates of the legal departments of tech giants is the issue of patents. Patent litigation consumes a great deal of time, energy and money, as companies such as Google, Apple, Samsung, HTC and others face infringement suits brought on by other tech companies. Unfortunately, the America Invents Act did nothing to stem this tide.
While businesses could, theoretically, wait for the government to enact patent reform, that process is slow and, in many cases, ineffective. In some cases, tech companies take steps to avoid patent lawsuits that will drain resources. One such solution is a licensing agreement. Take, for example, the Android operating system. Android represents a cash cow for Microsoft, which could earn an estimated $3.4 billion from sales of devices with that operating system in 2013.