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Does Obama Need to Stop the Patent Wars?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Will President Barack Obama have to intervene in the smartphone wars? With a federal agency possibly killing off the importation of Android or Apple mobile devices, he may have to take a stand.

    In 2006, a Supreme Court decision made it harder for companies to get injunctions against patent infringers, so many companies with operations overseas went to the International Trade Commission, which listens to patent disputes and can block imports of offending devices, according to the Wall Street Journal. The only way to reverse a decision? The president has the right to waive all ITC rulings.

    Apparently Verizon has been circulating information about consequences of such decisions and how Android and iOS devices could be blocked from sale in the United States. There has also been rising speculation about whether Obama will get involved in the smartphone wars.

    Sure, Obama doesn't want this hot potato when he has a re-election coming up, but someone has to be the voice of reason in patent wars that have reached the heights of absurdity. While the WSJ editorial seems to pick on Google "helping itself" to Apple patents, the reality is that many of Apple's patents -- like many tech patents -- are so vague that they should be challenged in court. (Unfortunately, most companies don't have the money to take on Apple or Google in court.) Also Apple's goal is not to have Google pay for using their patents, but to stop Google's Android platform completely. What kind of consumer would want that?

    So for now, there's little choice for the president but to stop the madness -- especially if his friend, Google chairman Eric Schmidt, decides to give him a phone call.