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05.07.14

Apple’s Patent Plot a Failure, But It Still Hurts Free/Libre Software

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 3:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Further examination of the conclusion of that baseless Apple vs. Samsung case

RUMOURS are abound that Apple might sue Amazon using patents [1], as Amazon sells many devices with Android/Linux on them. If Apple was to embark on such a tactless journey, it would not gain much or anything at all. Recently, the biggest Apple patent case derived/extracted only small amount from the company that sells the lion’s share of Android devices (less than a dollar per device). As Alter Net put it: “Although the weekend’s headlines read that Apple was victorious in its latest patent suit against Samsung, nothing could be further from the truth. The $119.6 million Apple won for having two of its patents infringed upon was less than 10% of the $2.2 billion it was seeking. In addition, Apple had sought a $40 per-unit fee for each Samsung Android phone it said infringed on its patents. Some legal analysts are calling the latest legal showdown between the smartphone giants a victory for Samsung, saying that Apple likely spent close to the amount it won in legal fees.”

We wrote about this Apple case a few days ago, noting more or less the same thing. ‘For its part, Samsung claims the jury verdict is “unsupported by evidence,”‘ says this other report, stressing that the loser here is everyone other than Apple and Samsung:

The jury foreman in the latest round of the Apple v. Samsung patent showdown said Monday that the “consumer” was clearly the biggest loser following the conclusion of the month-long trial.

“Ultimately, the consumer is the loser in all this,” foreman Thomas Dunham, a retired IBM supervisor, told the San Jose Mercury News. “I’d like to see them find a way to settle. I hope this (verdict) in some way helps shape that future.”

Suffice to say, the ruling presents trouble for Free software. “Apple’s patent aggression against Android resulted in a loss for free software,” wrote Richard Stallman, “even though Apple did not get the big money or the injunction it sought.” Any kind of patent payment impedes free distribution. For that — although not exclusively for that — we need to shun Apple.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Will Apple sue Amazon for copying the iPhone?

    Let’s face it, Apple has never been shy about suing other companies that they think have infringed on their intellectual property. The recent legal fights with Samsung are a good example, but there have been others over the years. At one point Steve Jobs even vowed to use Apple’s billions to destroy Android in court because he regarded it as a stolen product.

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A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    May 7, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Gravatar

    Why would you shun a company for *defending* itself?

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