The ITU–that’s International Telecommunication Union, fact fans–is having a conference today in Geneva to discuss patents. Yes, that hot-tamale topic of whether patent laws stifle innovation is to be discussed by representatives from all the big names in technology. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Huawei, Motorola, and Samsung are just some of the firms attending, with a smattering of academics present, no doubt to weigh up the philosophical and ethical sides of the debate, as well as add a little extra chin-stroking on the side.
And, while all of this is happening, Google, through its subsidiary Motorola Mobility, has today withdrawn all of its Android devices from sale in Germany–proof to Apple and Microsoft, surely, that patent law really, really works. (Motorola Mobility claims to be focusing on fewer mobile devices in that market, and says that said withdrawal was always part of the plan.) But hang on, isn’t it Apple and Microsoft, along with Cisco, who are pushing for a change to the rules governing the blocking of products that are found to be guilty of patent infringement? (And you, Android device, are sentenced to life imprisonment. Send him down!)
Oh, to be a fly on the wall at this event. Because the ITU has decreed that the Chatham House Rule be in effect, meaning that what was said can be reported, but the identity of who said it remains anonymous.