10.26.12

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Patent System Needs a Rethink, Apple Continues to Harm the Whole Industry

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 11:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Jobs with patent
Original photo by Matt Buchanan; edited by Techrights

Summary: NPR the latest to argue for a patent system overhaul following high-profile fiascos; Apple is making devices worse for everyone while blocking from import those that are not

Apple is still quite prominent in patent news, owing of course to a record fine it has lobbied for, even at the cost of misconduct. In news that got mentioned this week, BSP’s case is being inherited:

In the US, electronic component distributor Avnet has acquired IBM analytics re-seller BrightStar Partners (BSP) and its BSP Software for an undisclosed sum. The news broke as IBM Cognos vendor Motio filed a counter-patent infringement lawsuit against BSP.

All these patent lawsuits involve software patents, which IBM promotes. Some suggest curious workarounds for the current patent system, with NPR dedicating a whole episode and TechDirt writing:

In something of a follow up to This American Life’s famous episode about the horrors of software patents, the Planet Money team brought on Mark Lemley to talk about how to fix the patent system. If you’re aware of Lemley (or read Techdirt) what he talks about isn’t all that surprising. He does note that, even if software patents are particularly silly, he doesn’t agree with trying to carve them out specifically. Instead, he’s still mostly focused on fixing the patent system by properly enforcing the laws already on the books. That means having the USPTO and the courts actually recognize that too many software patents are on general ideas (“functional claiming”) when that’s not allowed.

Swapnil Bhartiya uses the latest Apple call for Android ban to say:

The US patent system has become an abuse mechanism for companies like Microsoft and Apple which are using it to cripple competition and discourage innovation in the mobile industry.

In the end it’s American consumer who is losing.

One has got to love the reaction of Jobs Witnesses who say that it’s important to have devices like these taxed or banned. As if making unavailable the competition would somehow improve their lives. Or that these lawsuits somehow improve innovation. Destruction is never good for anyone, perhaps with the exception of a dead leader — one who favoured "thermonuclear" war rather than peaceful co-existence and fair competition.

It is worth noting that Apple is snubbing court orders:

In other words, it’s the petulant Apple “complying” with the UK judge, while at the same time making sure to add a “but, but, but… the judge is really wrong — other than the part where he likes our design.”

Microsoft folks say that Apple “slams” Samsung, but all it should say may be, “Apple slams the courts.” The arrogance at Apple cannot get any more lucid than that. There are more DRM patents coming from this empire of lock-down. To shed some details:

The patent, titled “Cross-transport authentication,” requires authentication controllers to be located at either the ports on a portable device and attached accessory, or the transport connector which can be a wire or cable. As seen with Apple’s Lightning connector, the authentication module can take the form of a chip integrated at one side of the cable, providing the necessary permissions for an accessory to interface with a portable device.

Yet more DRM. And some people still wonder why Apple is bad and why its devices are better off shunned. It’s not a fight between brands; it’s a fight between philosophies.

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