On Tuesday, January 13, 2015, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published granted patents for cameras similar to the popular GoPro cameras, made by GoPro Inc. However, these patents are assigned to Apple Inc., a potential competitor to GoPro.
Back in 2013, Apple had stocked up on IP related to cameras through purchasing IP from Kodak. Apple's patent (linked here) specifically slams the GoPro HD Hero2 saying its design, "can cause excessive wind resistance and presents a high profile that is more susceptible to damage and image artifacts from vibrations in some situations."
Competitors attacking each other's products in patents is nothing new. The real story here, though, is in the stock market. After Apple's patent was published, GoPro (GPRO) plummeted 12.17 percent before close on Tuesday, but saw a modest recovery of 4.95 percent on Wednesday, January 14, 2015.
Patents don't always translate into immediate shares. The announcement of IBM's record setting 7,534 issued patents in 2014 (announced January 12, 2015) was not met with the same dramatic stock market swing. Still, with 22 straight years as the top patent receiver, IBM has remained a dominant force in industry (#20 on the Fortune 500).
While many factors may determine success of a company, protecting your inventions and investing in research can mean the difference between long term survival and being the flavor of the week.