There are two major kinds of patent lawsuits. On the one side, there are the patent trolls, like Eolas making fundamental Web technology claims . Here, the idea is to use flimsy patents to collect hundreds of millions from the businesses that actually use ideas to make a product or service. Then, there’s what Apple has been trying to do to Samsung and other Android vendors: Sue them out of the marketplace. Apple’s not been successful at this, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying. Indeed, Apple is trying to block Samsung from selling the first Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) phone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, in the U.S. Apple’s lawsuit happy ways may soon come to an end though. The European Union (EU) has cleared Google’s proposed purchase of Motorola Mobility.
Why would this make a difference? Because Google won’t have the patents it needed to fight Apple until its purchase of Motorola goes through. Getting permission from the EU was the deal’s biggest stumbling block. Now, it’s almost a sure thing. And, in this second class of patent lawsuits, where software patents are merely ammunition for business wars. Google needed the Motorola’s patent ammo to fight off Apple’s patent claims.