Apple has beaten Samsung in the US court, protecting a raft of patents that apply to mobile devices, acquiring a pile of cash, and the probable withdrawal of a number of Samsung products from the market. Competitive nirvana.
Whilst it is understandable that Apple protect its commercial position through the courts, it is nevertheless a hypocrisy of vast proportions, and breaks the cycle of innovation that has characterised the mobile space over the last 5 years, and changed, if not enriched our lives, and is now turning into a legal quicksand that can only hamper innovation, whilst embedding incumbents into our wallets.
Tim Cook, Apple’s MD released a note describing the win thus: “For us this lawsuit has always been about something much more important than patents or money. It’s about values. We value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth.”
Excuse me whilst I throw up.
This contrasts to Steve Jobs 1994 statement that Apple had been “Shameless about stealing great ideas” then later reversing that position by saying Apple would go “thermo-nuclear to protect its position” when others sought to build on their innovations.
Copy, Transform, Combine.
This is the thesis articulated by Kirby Ferguson, that everything is a remix of what has gone before, creativity emerges from and builds on the efforts of others. In his TED talk, and outstanding series of short videos which expand on the ideas, he traces the source of our patent and copyright laws pointing out the purpose of the laws is no longer what they are used for, competitive forces have fundamentally changed them into something not intended.
Apple built on the ideas of others, adding remarkable creativity to them to bring us a series of innovations perhaps unequalled in their immediate impact on our lives, but now is using outdated legal interpretations of patent law to protect its position from others seeking to do exactly what they have done so shamelessly.
Hypocrisy for the sake of money, undermining innovation. Understandable, but very costly to the consumer, and to the march of innovation.