Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 7th May 2014 10:43 UTC
Legal

One single paragraph from one of the many court documents (via!) in the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Samsung. One single paragraph that not only perfectly highlights the hypocrisy of technology companies, but also the complete and utter disjoint between a technology company's legal, marketing, and engineering departments.

Contrary to the image it has cultivated in the popular press, Apple has admitted in internal documents that its strength is not in developing new technologies first, but in successfully commercializing them. When Apple was developing its campaign to promote the first iPhone, it considered - and rejected - advertisements that touted alleged Apple "firsts" with the iPhone. As one Apple employee explained to an overly exuberant Apple marketer, "I don't know how many things we can come up with that you can legitimately claim we did first. Certainly we have the first successful versions of many features, but that's different than launching something to market first." In this vein, the employee methodically explained that Palm, Nokia and others had first invented the iPhone's most prominent features.

The marketing department has no clue about the technology it needs to advertise. The legal department cleverly writes its patent application despite knowing full well that the technology it tries to patent is not new. Meanwhile, the engineer - the actual person implementing the technology - knows exactly what is going on, but is gagged from openly speaking his or her mind. The only thing I'm not sure about is which of these three is the biggest hypocrite.

Intellectual property - and patents in particular - has ruined the technology industry with lies, deceit, and hypocrisy. We just stood by and let it happen.

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jonsmirl
Member since:
2005-07-06

Human civilization is nothing but a giant pile of continuously evolving technology. There are truly very, very few new inventions; almost everything is a slight tweak on previous work.

Software patents are particularly troublesome since they patent all possible solutions to the problem, not just a specific solution. That's because they patent the algorithm, not the code implementing the algorithm.

Consider how harmful this would be applied to mechanical inventions. The Wright brothers could have patented 'airplane' and stopped all forward progress for 20 years. Of course many people would not agree with granting such an absolute monopoly and you'd get lots of 'infringement'.

But the problem is not in the infringement the problem is that the monopoly granted was too broad. That patent on 'airplane' gave the Wright brothers a monopoly on jets too something they never even conceived of.

So you should get a patent on your specific solution for mounting an engine. But you should not be able to get a patent on the concept of putting a V8 into a mini. And that's the problem with software patents.

Edited 2014-05-07 13:53 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 8

daedalus Member since:
2011-01-14

Exactly. If Apple did come up with some truly original and ingenius solutions to some engineering problems, then of course they're theirs to have and use, and they're entitled to protect them. But rounded corners and a thin bezel on a phone are neither of those things, nor are most of the things Apple are trying to claim. To go back to the car analogy, yes, Apple should be able to protect their specific engine mounts, but not the concept of an engine mount...

Reply Parent Score: 3

majipoor Member since:
2009-01-22

But rounded corners and a thin bezel on a phone are neither of those things, nor are most of the things Apple are trying to claim. To go back to the car analogy, yes, Apple should be able to protect their specific engine mounts, but not the concept of an engine mount...


Bad analogy.

By protecting the shape and overall design of their product, Apple do not protect the concept of a tablet/smartphone.

They however try to protect the design(look) of their product as car manufacturers do (Ferrari even protect their red color!). Try to make a car which looks like a Porsche 911 and tell me what would happen then.

Car manufacturers are able to design hundreds of different models without copying each other more than what is acceptable. And the engineering constraints are the same for all. Why should it be different for smartphone manufacturers?

Please, stop pretending that by trying to protect slide to unlock or the design of the iPad they try to prevent anybody from competing.

Apple want to protect their design as car manufacturers do. The difference is that in the IT world, protecting a design is not common, because usually products are just poorly designed and their is nothing to protect.

Edited 2014-05-07 14:36 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

The Wright brothers could have patented 'airplane' and stopped all forward progress for 20 years.


Uhm yes, they *did* that. And yes, it did slow down progress for a good decade or two, at least in the US.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_brothers_patent_war

Reply Parent Score: 7