"Paying for lawsuits has to come out of profits/income. Profits come from the customers. So the customer pays."
Actually the shareholders pay - or rather they don't receive.
Products have to be priced competitively, so consumers will buy them. A company can't simply hike selling prices in order to offset the costs of legal battles. Those costs do impact on company profits, and therefore on shareholder dividends - they don't directly affect consumers.
I'm puzzled that these big companies, with their legal teams, continually use other patented apps this way. Do they knowingly do it, knowing that there will be a law suit, and at the final settlement, whether out of court or not, they get a guarantee of permission to use these patents? Possibly just applying to use these patents would result in refusal and take time?
I think the fault ultimately lies with the US Patent Office, which will issue patents without checking.
Kodak have now started to use the courts as a source of revenue, but this week a Judge ruled against Kodak in a case against RIM (Blackberry) and Apple, as the Patent in question was invalid on the grounds of "Obviousness"