Sometimes mutually assured destruction fails, and legal hell is unleashed, as in the ugly Apple-HTC lawsuit in progress over smartphone patents. (There are enough smartphone lawsuits in progress that you really need a scorecard to keep track of them all.) But there are a number of lower-profile patent cases out there that you should perhaps be keeping an eye on; after all, who would have guessed that a 30-employee Canadian company would have come close to stopping sales of Microsoft Office worldwide? These seven cases, still in progress, could change the course of tech, might illustrate an interesting point -- or may just serve as a nuisance for various companies for years to come.
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