Patent Lawsuits Illuminate Many Things

So a number of things have become quite obvious to me while reading all about the Apple v. Samsung Patent stories.

1. Most People don’t have a clue how patents work
2. Most Blogs aren’t very well researched or accurate
3. Almost no one has actually read the courts decision granting injunction.
4. People are easily distracted when discussing subjects like this and fall into arguing over stuff that isn’t relevant to the current topic.

Confused by various stories about the patent dispute I actually read the decision on the injunction order, read various articles about the topic. The best short, accurate article about the dispute I have read is from The Verge. It intelligently discusses the patents in question, links to the order which has a ton information in it and talks about the larger picture which is all about Android OS itself. Samsung is a proxy in this fight because the the  patents are all about features in the base Android 4.0 OS and if  Apple suceeds in getting a jury to agree with these patents all of the devices running Android 4.0 (and others that have the same functionality) would be potentially affected.

A lot of people think that the patents are obviously invalid and there is no way that they can be upheld in court but plenty of ridiculous things have been upheld in courts.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office needs to be reformed. The software patents that are being granted seem to be overly broad and anti-competitive to me. There are fundamental differences in how software works vs. manufacturing which I do not believe are being  properly  applied in granting software patents in the U.S.  Outside the U.S. Apple’s successes have been less dramatic they recently lost a case in the UK involving one of the same patents in dispute in this case (slide to unlock). The only way to really end this is to change the way patents are granted and how they work in the software arena in the U.S.

I suspect that before that happens Google and Apple will be forced into some kind of licensing agreement which seems to be what Google is angling for with the purchase of Motorola and with producing devices themselves (or at least selling them) that directly compete with Apple.  I think it is too early to tell if this whole affair actually hurts the consumer but I do know that it is impossible to hold that the money spent on this fight couldn’t be better spent on developing better, cheaper handsets and tablets for the global tech hungry community.

Jerry Sutton

I am, at heart, a software developer though I am currently managing a small Information Technology department for a mid sized company located in my hometown of Jacksonville, FL. When I am not playing with the latest smart-phone or trying to become inspired to write code I read almost anything I can get my hands on from Pulp Era adventures to biographies of world leaders and everything in between.