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.
Microsoft is finally being investigated -- perhaps properly too -- for its well-known tax abuses that have so far proved that Microsoft is "too big to jail"; Microsoft is suing the investigator, exerting its abusive power to discourage further investigation
With Aorato acquisition Microsoft helps protect the criminals (from whistleblowers) and with lies about .NET Microsoft distracts from a bug that has facilitated remote access into Windows (by those in the know) for nearly two decades
.NET is not "Open Source", it cannot be forked (there remains patent threat), Visual Studio is still completely proprietary and it is expected to come to other platforms only because Windows has lost its dominance and Microsoft wants to perpetually control APIs (with software patents) and hence reign over developers
Home Depot learns its lesson from a Microsoft Windows disaster, but it stays with proprietary software rather than move to software that is actively audited by many people and is inherently better maintained (Free/libre software)