Who benefits most from patent judgment?

Tony Poulos
12 Sep 2012

I've studiously avoided getting into the patent debate that reached a crescendo recently with US courts granting Apple over $1 billion in damages against Samsung. I'm no lawyer, so the legal arguments should be best left to them, but as a consumer and avid smartphone user, I am ever grateful to Apple for seeding the current crop of brilliant devices I can choose from.

I remember clearly how pathetic "smartphones" were before the iPhone came along, and am still astounded how a company like Apple, with no previous experience in the communications industry, turned it on its head with just one device.

Remember having to use a special stylus on screens before? The same one you would invariably lose rendering the phone close to useless? Remember when the late Steven Jobs theatrically showed man's most versatile and handy writing implement, the index finger, as he demonstrated the first iPhone's brilliant touch-sensitive screen with gesture controls?

The old saying that imitation is the greatest form of flattery appears to have fallen on deaf ears at Apple. Even though it took the competition some time to come up with viable alternatives, they had no choice but to match what Apple was already "stealing" the market with. Google's Android led the charge and early adopters in the device manufacturing space embraced it, with Samsung being the clear leader in style and functionality. Maybe that's why Apple picked them out as the easiest target? Or was it more their overwhelming success in the market place?

There appears to have been quite a backlash to the court decision by the press and industry commentators, who are portraying Apple as arrogant, predatory, overly-aggressive and over-protective, even questioning patent laws and the court's interpretation of them. They can bleat all they like, that's what patent laws and courts upholding them are there for. It would make more sense to question the ability of the system, the qualifications of those determining patent applications and the laws themselves to keep up with the incredible advances that technology is making.

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