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.