Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 3rd Jan 2017 21:25 UTC
Legal

Apple, maker of the ever-popular iPhone, is being sued on allegations that its FaceTime app contributed to the highway death of a 5-year-old girl named Moriah Modisette. In Denton County, Texas, on Christmas Eve 2014, a man smashed into the Modisette family's Toyota Camry as it stopped in traffic on southbound Interstate 35W. Police say that the driver was using the FaceTime application and never saw the brake lights ahead of him. In addition to the tragedy, father James, mother Bethany, and daughter Isabella all suffered non-fatal injuries during the crash two years ago.

The Modisette family now wants Apple to pay damages for the mishap. The family alleges the Cupertino, California-based technology company had a duty to warn motorists against using the app and that it could have used patented technology to prohibit drivers from utilizing the app.

I feel for the grieving family, of course, but this is, in no way, Apple's fault. The only person responsible for the horrible death is the driver using Facetime, and possibly - although that's probably quite a stretch - the person he was using FaceTime with, but that's it.

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There are really 2 ways of looking at this
by Auzy on Tue 3rd Jan 2017 22:51 UTC
Auzy
Member since:
2008-01-20

At the moment, companies have no disincentive not to patent every tiny ridiculous concept, because the worst that can happen is invalidation. They can't be held liable for patenting tech which could save lives, and then extorting companies to implement it (think medical and other fields)

So.. If Apple loses, the consequences will be great for consumers. Either companies will implement safety mechanisms more rigorously (so they aren't put at risk, which is good for safety), or they will avoid patenting safety mechanisms they don't plan to implement which will allow their competition to implement it. Furthermore, it also introduces further potential risk to patent trolls.

The driver is an idiot, but we should be hoping that Apple loses here

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