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01.20.14

Apple is Becoming More and More Like a Patent Troll

Posted in Apple, Patents at 2:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Retardation of research and a total lack of development (Apple is branding, not developing or manufacturing) leaves Apple mostly with litigation and branding, which more or less define the behaviour of famous patent trolls

When Apple talks about “research” it mostly talks about selecting components that are made by east Asian companies. When it talks about “development” it speaks about exploiting and integrating FOSS projects. Apple is not a real company, it is a badge like Coca Cola. It advertises a perceived lifestyle.

Apple has become in some ways worse than Microsoft, for various reasons that we covered before. Microsoft is renowned for corruption, whereas Apple champions crackdown on user freedoms (which some Apple fans foolishly welcome). Apple is also engaging in high-profile legal cases against Linux. Apple never had the crown, except its own (a hero in its own mind), so this headline is erroneous. Apple is a branding company, or an integrator at best. Even its own supporters step away. To quote: “In a somewhat alarming statement to Apple fans, Walter Isaacson, author of the best-selling biography ‘Steve Jobs’, said Google takes clear lead when it comes to innovation in the tech industry.”

Apple is now a litigation company, quickly assimilating to patent trolls. The brand may still be strong, but what does this brand represent really? Arrogant litigation based on megalomania?

Boston University, once known for excellence in research (also on patent trolling, as studied by Bessen’s group), has engaged in patent trolling and it now “wins cash from Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft” (all three are exceptionally unethical companies), so trolling seems to have become fashionable. Apple and Microsoft made some people proponents of the practice, wielding propaganda words like “innovation”.

Soverain, another patent troll, would not meet SCOTUS; instead it will need to go away. “On Monday,” as Christine Hall put it, “the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a patent case between online retailer Newegg and patent troll Soverain Software. The case involved three patents held by Soverain dealing with online shopping carts. Newegg, which has vowed to fight all software patent cases, initially lost in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, which is infamous for favoring plaintiffs in patent cases. However, Newegg went on to score a victory when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled all three patents invalid because they were obvious.”

Patent trolls are a real problem, but the problem is that companies like Apple rarely get included in the definition of “trolls”. Common usage of the term troll just means “small company that uses patents”. Large companies lobby to ensure nothing changes to restrict their actions.

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