Big Boys Games

The IPO is new, IP is not and while some of the games people play with IP are new, many are not. Many ways of using IP, entirely legitimately and fairly, are old, and require only two things: IP, without it we are nothing, and, of course, money. If you have the two then you are ready to play Big Boys games.

Big Boys games usually involve patents, global litigation and litigation budgets large enough to fund health care for a small country. Litigation sometimes engulfs a whole sector. The Apple – Nokia – Motorola – HTC patent litigations in the mobile phone sector are an example. Large patent assertion, through litigation, followed by counter assertion, followed by parallel assertions against suppliers, opponent’s allies, even some times customers. Large claims for damages, particular in the US, might hide the business goals which drive such mega-litigations.

Big Boy mass litigations on steroids are the heavy weight contests of the business world. Attritional battles to subdue, stifle, even subjugate competitors in the market place. And that is the real goal: victory in the market place. The damages from mega-litigations can be large but the risk are too. In a two party litigation never better than 50:50 whatever the lawyers tell you. So in a mega litigation you could end up with your company on the wrong end of a many hundred million dollar bill. But gain a commercial advantage, gain market share in a mega-market like mobile phones and the upside will be enormous. The stakes are high, and they are much more about what is won and lost outside the court, as in it.