• About Tom Dougherty

    Tom Dougherty CEO, Stealing Share

    Tom Dougherty is the President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., and has helped national and global brands such as Lexus, IKEA and Tide steal market share over his 25-year career.

    An often-quoted source on business and brands, he has been featured recently by the New York Times and CNN, discussing topics ranging from television to Apple to airlines.

    Tom also regularly speaks at conferences as a keynote and break-out speaker. To find out more on inviting him to your speaking engagement and view a video of him speaking, click here.

    You can also reach him via email attomd@stealingshare.com.

    Follow me on Twitter

For Apple, patents litigation is a question of brand not just business

With the release of the iPhone 5 behind it and only iPad Mini speculation to fuel the Apple buzz-o-sphere, recent tech news has filled the void with reports on the company’s patent lawsuits. The question Apple must ask as the spotlight grows on its muscular legal battles is whether legal actions are good for business or do they tarnish the shiny Apple brand? How will patents litigation affect them?

As Apple stock flirts with the 700 mark, the company has been dubbed the most valuable in the world. But it wasn’t always so. Before iPods, iPhones and iPads, Apple had only about a 2 percent share of the computer market.

Even as an underdog, Apple cultivated its clean and simple “Think Different” brand. Rapid growth brought with it a delicate brand-balancing act that dated back to its iconic “Big Brother” 1984 Super Bowl commercial introducing the new Macintosh computer to America.

Once Apple emerged as the market leader it ceased being the underdog and reluctantly became the establishment.

Apple’s brand is so carefully crafted that legal actions against competitors could backfire. For instance, sales of Samsung phones rose sharply after Apple recently won a $1 billion lawsuit against its main competitor.

The Apple customer that “thinks differently” doesn’t react well to headlines about lawsuits brought by Apple against other companies in the market. These lawsuits may make perfect business sense, but they weaken Apple’s image.

Beyond that, the suit charged that Samsung copied the iPhone’s look and feel. As a result, the legal victory actually reinforced the belief that there was little difference between the two products. By prevailing in court, Apple damaged its brand.

Apple has never been the brand of the bully. Aggressive lawsuits against competitors could change that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *