Innovation cost and imitation costs are *not* the same in software. The fact that some software is open does not change this. The threat of litigation *should* stop those like Samsung from copying others as they do. There is no reason the Samsungs of the world cannot come up with their own innovative solutions (and in some areas Samsung does!)
Alex whines about the current system of protection but offers no other way for innovative companies to protect their investments… and such protected innovations benefit the whole tech industry.
With that said, the tech world moves fast. 20 years seems a long time. I think 10 would make sense. And no Disney-style IP protection extensions. Those are just idiotic. But, Alex, speak of solutions – do not just whine about how things are.
Patent lawyers are besieged by gradual tightening of patent scope and recklessly fight back (e.g. by saturating the media) to secure their revenue sources, derived from (and at the expense of) actual scientists and true market producers
The rich and the powerful, as well as their lawyers (whose job is to protect their money and power by means of government-enforced monopoly), carry on whining after the Alice case, in which many abstract patents were essentially ruled -- by extension -- invalid
British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy's systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world's biggest nuclear arsenal
Having spread the outrageous lie that “Microsoft loves Linux” (whilst obviously attacking it in many ways), Microsoft's CEO (essentially Bill Gates' right-hand man) says Microsoft is “one of the biggest contributors to Linux kernel” (because of proprietary software it tries to contaminate it with while violating the terms of the GPL)