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(Gizmodo)   So Samsung replicates Apple products. Who cares and why should this be illegal? Harvard author claims the world would be better if more companies just copied, like Samsung   (gizmodo.com) divider line 233
    More: Interesting, apples, Apple-Samsung, Harvard University, Harvard Business Review, graphical user interfaces, authors  
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5246 clicks; posted to Main » on 22 Aug 2012 at 12:03 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-22 10:07:15 AM  
One of the staples of a capitalist system is protection of patent rights. If you allow anyone anywhere to copy anything then why would companies put any money into research and development?

Advances would halt as there is no more incentive to research new things.
 
2012-08-22 12:04:57 PM  

cman: One of the staples of a capitalist system is protection of patent rights. If you allow anyone anywhere to copy anything then why would companies put any money into research and development?

Advances would halt as there is no more incentive to research new things.


But nothing exists in a vacuum, and it is possible for a mis-applied patent system to stifle innovation. The way that companies must defend themselves against frivolous patent infringement suits stifles innovation and costs the economy billions of dollars in the process.

Let's look at Lego. They just made blocks for a long time. You were lucky to get a set that included a f*cking wheel when I was a kid. In 1988, the last standing patent for interlocking bricks expired. There has been an absolute explosion in innovation at that company since then. In my experience as a father of two children under the age of 10, Lego is the single most innovative toy company in the world. And they didn't really start innovating until the patents on their basic product expired.

I agree that there needs to be a patent system. But I also think that our system should be reformed such that we stop granting patents for innovations that are (a) not really innovations, (b) obvious to anyone who would think about a problem for a day or so, and (c) based on prior art. Our current system is not supposed to grant patents in these cases, but frequently it does.

We should also revoke patents when the holder does not make a credible effort to implement the innovation, and reform the system so that patent trolls can't wait to sue for infringement until after a patented innovation has been widely adopted.  Similar to trademark law or the statute of limitations. If you see your trademark being infringed you must aggressively defend it the moment you are made aware of it, or you will lose the trademark. It needs to be the same for patents.
 
2012-08-22 12:05:36 PM  

cman: One of the staples of a capitalist system is protection of patent rights. If you allow anyone anywhere to copy anything then why would companies put any money into research and development?

Advances would halt as there is no more incentive to research new things.


One could argue the converse that by allowing a company to rest on their laurels for 17 years we actually discourage innovation. They don't need to provide the best product to the consumer if they're providing the only product to the consumer.
 
2012-08-22 12:06:15 PM  
ts3.mm.bing.net

But it's OK when we do it!
 
2012-08-22 12:08:19 PM  

Babwa Wawa: cman: One of the staples of a capitalist system is protection of patent rights. If you allow anyone anywhere to copy anything then why would companies put any money into research and development?

Advances would halt as there is no more incentive to research new things.

But nothing exists in a vacuum, and it is possible for a mis-applied patent system to stifle innovation. The way that companies must defend themselves against frivolous patent infringement suits stifles innovation and costs the economy billions of dollars in the process.

Let's look at Lego. They just made blocks for a long time. You were lucky to get a set that included a f*cking wheel when I was a kid. In 1988, the last standing patent for interlocking bricks expired. There has been an absolute explosion in innovation at that company since then. In my experience as a father of two children under the age of 10, Lego is the single most innovative toy company in the world. And they didn't really start innovating until the patents on their basic product expired.

I agree that there needs to be a patent system. But I also think that our system should be reformed such that we stop granting patents for innovations that are (a) not really innovations, (b) obvious to anyone who would think about a problem for a day or so, and (c) based on prior art. Our current system is not supposed to grant patents in these cases, but frequently it does.

We should also revoke patents when the holder does not make a credible effort to implement the innovation, and reform the system so that patent trolls can't wait to sue for infringement until after a patented innovation has been widely adopted.  Similar to trademark law or the statute of limitations. If you see your trademark being infringed you must aggressively defend it the moment you are made aware of it, or you will lose the trademark. It needs to be the same for patents.


You make a solid point.

I am not saying that the system is perfect. There should be some new changes to prevent patent trolling and the like.
 
2012-08-22 12:08:24 PM  

cman: One of the staples of a capitalist system is protection of patent rights. If you allow anyone anywhere to copy anything then why would companies put any money into research and development?

Advances would halt as there is no more incentive to research new things.


If patents weren't valid for 20 years I might agree. As it is our patent system is broken and needs to be reformed.
 
2012-08-22 12:08:24 PM  
PROTIP: They already copy each other on everything. Very few companies do anything original.
 
2012-08-22 12:10:06 PM  
"You didn't build that"

Duh, we copied it.
 
2012-08-22 12:10:53 PM  
You mean like Saturn, who when they started the company, admitted to comparing all of the highest rated cars in their market category and copying the best designs for all the parts in their cars. At the time, few articles found a problem with the practice.
 
2012-08-22 12:11:12 PM  
I'd rather fix the absolutely broken patent system instead. There are companies that are putting more money into lawyers to argue near-irrelevant minutia than they put into R&D
 
2012-08-22 12:11:48 PM  
someone might as well since if someone doesn't the chinese will...
 
2012-08-22 12:12:37 PM  

EdNortonsTwin: [ts3.mm.bing.net image 297x222]

But it's OK when we do it!


That one was always a gray area. At the time of the court case, could an Apple Corp music customer reasonably confuse an Apple computer device with something put out by the Beatles? The judge in the case didn't think so, and it really wasn't an issue until Apple got into music with iTunes. Of course, they eventually settled everything to the point where everyone was happy and the Beatles catalogue was released on iTunes.
 
2012-08-22 12:12:49 PM  
Fim score composition and arranging professor said to me ...

Plagiarize, let nothing evade your eyes. Beethoven only wrote five notes his entire life. You'll write the same five, can't help it."
 
2012-08-22 12:13:42 PM  

zarberg: I'd rather fix the absolutely broken patent system instead. There are companies that are putting more money into lawyers to argue near-irrelevant minutia than they put into R&D


yes, but we have metric shiat ton of lawyers and not as many good engineers as we stopped teaching math and science awhile ago. therefore, there's only one grow market available.
 
2012-08-22 12:14:06 PM  
I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. My wife has an iPad2. The function/use of them is really no more similar than the obvious of what is part and parcel of being a tablet. They may have had similar bezels before...so what? Is that really supposed to matter?
 
2012-08-22 12:14:30 PM  
Saw this on /r/android about a month ago. Worth a read.
 
2012-08-22 12:14:55 PM  
Yea, that kind of innovation was outlawed under the DMCA.

The irony is that the Steves could never have founded apple computers under the DMCA, dependent as they were on the backward engineered MOS tech chips.
 
2012-08-22 12:15:04 PM  
The longer term solution is an intellectual property tax.

Any company with protected IP has to pay a tax on a percent of the market value of the IP. Failure to register your IP and pay the tax means the IP falls into public domain.

And another nice thing about this is it prevents a company from avoiding tax by hiding its profits as licenses to an offshore IP holding subsidiary.
 
2012-08-22 12:16:15 PM  

chewd: Yea, that kind of innovation was outlawed under the DMCA.

The irony is that the Steves could never have founded apple computers under the DMCA, dependent as they were on the backward engineered MOS tech chips.


Yep, all these lawsuits - should apple win any of them, will basically make their own behavior illegal.

idiociy at it's core.

CMAN, you should be ashamed for trolling that patent rights crap in your Boobies. You should have put a lot more effort in to actually have good bait going.
 
2012-08-22 12:16:19 PM  
Gah! Did I uncheck the preview box?

Oh, wait, it's not there any more... Whoops.

And now, the working link:

IAmA Patent Examiner... I want to answer questions and help people understand patents/the process a bit better.
 
2012-08-22 12:17:19 PM  

farkingatwork: CMAN, you should be ashamed for trolling that patent rights crap in your Boobies. You should have put a lot more effort in to actually have good bait going.


Bwhahahahahaha!
 
2012-08-22 12:17:35 PM  

Carth: cman: One of the staples of a capitalist system is protection of patent rights. If you allow anyone anywhere to copy anything then why would companies put any money into research and development?

Advances would halt as there is no more incentive to research new things.

If patents weren't valid for 20 years I might agree. As it is our patent system is broken and needs to be reformed.


I think we can all agree that a patent system needs to exist and needs to be limited. The question is: How long should a company or individual be allowed to profit from their invention or art without competition?

The profitable monopoly encourages the initial innovation. The competition spurs additional innovation of improvements.
 
2012-08-22 12:17:50 PM  
Innovation would explode if the patent system was destroyed. It would force companies to keep coming up with new ideas faster than everyone else and would kill the companies that do nothing. It would also help stop price gouging by allowing anyone to compete in any market.
 
2012-08-22 12:18:47 PM  

A Fark Handle: zarberg: I'd rather fix the absolutely broken patent system instead. There are companies that are putting more money into lawyers to argue near-irrelevant minutia than they put into R&D

yes, but we have metric shiat ton of lawyers and not as many good engineers as we stopped teaching math and science awhile ago. therefore, there's only one grow market available.


An abundance of lawyers and a possible food problem facing us in the future ... I sense a plan coming together.
 
2012-08-22 12:19:03 PM  

tricycleracer: cman: One of the staples of a capitalist system is protection of patent rights. If you allow anyone anywhere to copy anything then why would companies put any money into research and development?

Advances would halt as there is no more incentive to research new things.

One could argue the converse that by allowing a company to rest on their laurels for 17 years we actually discourage innovation. They don't need to provide the best product to the consumer if they're providing the only product to the consumer.


Wouldn't an intelligent company "re-invent" its product to keep its product from getting stale beore the patent ran out?

I think the Legos example was viewed out of a vacuum known as the American market. Maybe Legos was never truly innovative on this side of the pond, but what about over in Europe. Anyone care to weigh in on this one?

Current example- view what Ford motors is offering over seas, Check out what Toyota is marketing domestically as opposed to what of the rest of the world is buying. Take the time to check out audio/visual products as well.

Like it or not- we're getting the low end- even domestically. Probably has nothing to due with the fact that we let the market shape our needs instead of demanding the market meet our desires
 
2012-08-22 12:19:36 PM  

Thisbymaster: Innovation would explode if the patent system was destroyed. It would force companies to keep coming up with new ideas faster than everyone else and would kill the companies that do nothing. It would also help stop price gouging by allowing anyone to compete in any market.


That sounds l like it would cost companies money and would benefit consumers. No way it will ever happen.
 
2012-08-22 12:20:07 PM  
I have an Ipad and Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tab.... Nothing alike another then both are square and tablets...
Apple was overpriced, underpowered and over all garbage I sold it for $400 to a Hipster who thought he was getting a steal (since I bought it for $600) - I was glad to frankly get rid of it.

Samsung cost me $400 and a 32 piece Kit for $20 (chargers, screen covers etc) I threw a 16GB flash stick in it for the hell of it.
I usually use it to watch Netflick and baseball games - streaming wise I have no problems - I browse the net etc, I couldn't be happier with my samsung tablet.

Not into the whole Apple/PC hipster gayfest, but the Ipad was nothing special in my opinion other then over priced apple logo, along with decent apps that were over priced as well.
 
2012-08-22 12:20:25 PM  
Invalid patents are invalid.

Prior art and obviousness
 
2012-08-22 12:21:59 PM  
I copied my dad's penis, but made mine bigger. Boy was he pissed!
 
2012-08-22 12:22:10 PM  

Babwa Wawa: I agree that there needs to be a patent system. But I also think that our system should be reformed such that we stop granting patents for innovations that are (a) not really innovations,


Agreed. But how do you prove that something isn't really an innovation? Currently, the test involves finding one or more pieces of prior art that, alone or in combination, inherently or expressly teach or suggest each and every element in the claims. I think that's a pretty good test, but I'm open to arguments for others.

For example:
(b) obvious to anyone who would think about a problem for a day or so,

This isn't a great test for two reasons. First, it's all hindsight, which misses the question of whether something was an innovation at the time the patent application was filed. With the current backlog, it can take three years before an application is examined, and three years later, something revolutionary can be commonplace. Should inventors be penalized simply due to the passage of time? That seems to violate due process.

Second, if someone has to think about a problem for a day or so, that's exactly the sort of thing that we want them to publish. For example, say there are 1000 companies in an industry, with 1000 engineers. If they all take "a day or so" (say, 10 hours) to solve a problem, that's 10,000 manhours spent. If, on the other hand, the first one publishes their solution, then we just saved 9,990 manhours, and those 999 engineers can work on the next problem. Patents encourage that publication, which reduces duplicative and wasted effort and makes further innovation possible.

I think part of the problem is that people who are anti-patent miss this aspect, and instead think of patents as a "reward" for a good invention. You want a reward, get a Nobel prize. Patents are a limited monopoly given in grudging exchange for economic efficiency and public disclosure of things that would otherwise be kept as trade secrets.

and (c) based on prior art. Our current system is not supposed to grant patents in these cases, but frequently it does.

All inventions are based on prior art. Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door, right? Of course, it's based on earlier mousetraps, by definition. The patent is granted for the improvement, not the prior art concept.
 
2012-08-22 12:22:23 PM  
Oh, and another thing, I dont think Apple will win this case. Apple vs Microsoft was an important case that made come into play. Apple gives out that old "look and feel" crap that hasnt worked yet.
 
2012-08-22 12:23:07 PM  
As of today, 13 out of 13 people have recommended for me to get a Samsung Galaxy instead of iphone i5 to replace the Palm Pre I've been using.
 
2012-08-22 12:23:23 PM  

Naka: Invalid patents are invalid.

Prior art and obviousness


Criminal defendants are guilty. Murder and stuff.

/evidence? We don't need no stinkin' evidence.
 
2012-08-22 12:24:14 PM  

farkingatwork: Yep, all these lawsuits - should apple win any of them, will basically make their own behavior illegal.


It seems a common trend, the first action of a successful self-made man is to block off his path to success so that no one can follow.
 
2012-08-22 12:25:46 PM  

cman: One of the staples of a capitalist system is protection of patent rights. If you allow anyone anywhere to copy anything then why would companies put any money into research and development?

Advances would halt as there is no more incentive to research new things.


I completely agree. The problem with Apple's patent is that design patents are meant to allow a company to differentiate its products from others. As such, the design needs to be ornamental, not functional (think the coke bottle's design). The fact is, the rounded-corner rectangle with black bezeling is completely functional. The rounded corners make it more comfortable to hold. And just look at pretty much any TV or computer monitor to see why black bezeling helps the image to stand out. Apple should never have been granted this patent in the first place.
 
2012-08-22 12:26:04 PM  

EdNortonsTwin: But it's OK when we do it!


Trademarks aren't patents, and logos aren't industrial designs.
 
2012-08-22 12:26:40 PM  
Samsung's defence:"Hey Apple you didn't build that"

After all Apple could not have designed the iPhone without public services.
 
2012-08-22 12:28:40 PM  

Kevin72: As of today, 13 out of 13 people have recommended for me to get a Samsung Galaxy instead of iphone i5 to replace the Palm Pre I've been using.


If you want to stay out of a contract and spend a less than you would for a no-contract GS3, the Galaxy Nexus is $349 direct from Google.
 
2012-08-22 12:28:48 PM  

chewd: farkingatwork: Yep, all these lawsuits - should apple win any of them, will basically make their own behavior illegal.

It seems a common trend, the first action of a successful self-made man is to block off his path to success so that no one can follow.


yes, we call that laissez faire/capitalism. It's why when people say "capitalism works"I try to stifle a laugh.
 
2012-08-22 12:29:02 PM  

Kevin72: As of today, 13 out of 13 people have recommended for me to get a Samsung Galaxy instead of iphone i5 to replace the Palm Pre I've been using.


Make it 1 out of 14

Apple has a TREMENDOUS advantage when it comes to their platform. Everything works with each other in such ways that no one else can come close to. The walled in approach, although a bit draconian at times, can help keep things working rightly and smoothly.

For example, I have a Mac (going back to Hackintoshes soon enough). When I add a new contact using the Contact application, it automatically gets sent to my iPhone and my iPad. Same goes for notes. iTunes purchases are defaulted to not download automatically, but you can set it to when if you buy content on iTunes it will also download it on your other devices. I can make a bookmark in Safari and it also shows up on my iPhone and iPad (ok, many other browsers now do this, but Apple was the best one). Set an alarm on your computer? Yep, iCloud takes care of that, too. iCloud is pretty damn awesome.
 
2012-08-22 12:29:35 PM  

Theaetetus: Second, if someone has to think about a problem for a day or so, that's exactly the sort of thing that we want them to publish. For example, say there are 1000 companies in an industry, with 1000 engineers. If they all take "a day or so" (say, 10 hours) to solve a problem, that's 10,000 manhours spent. If, on the other hand, the first one publishes their solution, then we just saved 9,990 manhours, and those 999 engineers can work on the next problem. Patents encourage that publication, which reduces duplicative and wasted effort and makes further innovation possible.


I disagree. This is over-patenting. The proliferation in sheer number of patents is what fuels the litigious nature of it. Companies are encouraged to build war chests of patents exclusively so they can search through that war chest when faced with a suit and try to come up with a counter suit. There's no intent of actually implementing or sometimes even enforcing the patents.

Theaetetus: All inventions are based on prior art.


Of course. But what I mean is taking an existing non-patented method in the public domain, then patenting it. It's technically not allowed, but patent examiners are notoriously bad at finding prior art.
 
2012-08-22 12:29:54 PM  

Theaetetus: Naka: Invalid patents are invalid.

Prior art and obviousness

Criminal defendants are guilty. Murder and stuff.

/evidence? We don't need no stinkin' evidence.


Patent system is broken.

There are tons of articles showing prior art on most of the patents in the suit. If only there was a way to search for them...
 
2012-08-22 12:30:29 PM  
This!

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5443036.pdf
 
2012-08-22 12:31:40 PM  
img9.joyreactor.com
 
2012-08-22 12:31:55 PM  

cman: One of the staples of a capitalist system is protection of patent rights. If you allow anyone anywhere to copy anything then why would companies put any money into research and development?

Advances would halt as there is no more incentive to research new things.


And when you allow people to patent really obvious, commonplace things, like rounded rectangles and colorful icons, it screws with that system.

Things like that are trade dress, which are part of a company's brand image. Protection of trade dress is designed to prevent a company being undermined by knockoffs of its products, not to give it a monopoly on fashion.
The Samsung phones may be similar but no one is actually mistaking them for iPhones. No one goes out to buy an iPhone and accidentally picks up a Samsung phone with a plum or something on the back. I've got a Galaxy Player and you can immediately tell it's not an iPod Touch, even though they do the same stuff and look broadly similar.

Apple wants to be the only one that gets to make a product that looks and acts anything remotely like the iWhatever, and they don't get to do that.
 
2012-08-22 12:32:04 PM  

zarberg: I'd rather fix the absolutely broken patent system instead. There are companies that are putting more money into lawyers to argue near-irrelevant minutia than they put into R&D


Yep. Patents should exist to protect your ideas. Not your market share.
 
2012-08-22 12:32:13 PM  

JackieRabbit: I copied my dad's penis, but made mine bigger. Boy was he pissed!


But I hear your Mom was happy.
 
2012-08-22 12:32:22 PM  

cman: Kevin72: As of today, 13 out of 13 people have recommended for me to get a Samsung Galaxy instead of iphone i5 to replace the Palm Pre I've been using.

Make it 1 out of 14

Apple has a TREMENDOUS advantage when it comes to their platform. Everything works with each other in such ways that no one else can come close to. The walled in approach, although a bit draconian at times, can help keep things working rightly and smoothly.

For example, I have a Mac (going back to Hackintoshes soon enough). When I add a new contact using the Contact application, it automatically gets sent to my iPhone and my iPad. Same goes for notes. iTunes purchases are defaulted to not download automatically, but you can set it to when if you buy content on iTunes it will also download it on your other devices. I can make a bookmark in Safari and it also shows up on my iPhone and iPad (ok, many other browsers now do this, but Apple was the best one). Set an alarm on your computer? Yep, iCloud takes care of that, too. iCloud is pretty damn awesome.


You can do all that with any Android phone/tablet/phablet.

All it depends on is who's garden you want to be in and what level of customization you want.
 
2012-08-22 12:34:24 PM  

cgraves67: I think we can all agree that a patent system needs to exist and needs to be limited. The question is: How long should a company or individual be allowed to profit from their invention or art without competition?

The profitable monopoly encourages the initial innovation. The competition spurs additional innovation of improvements.


Patent protection is necessary for things like pharmaceuticals because the cost of research is the major contributor to the product's final price. Pure overhead accounts for maybe 10-20% - without patent protection it could mean being undercut by humongous percentages.

Technological gadgets like iPhones have much higher material costs and overhead, so that a stolen technology is nearly inconsequential because you'd need Apple's buying power and supply chain to get the cost low enough to sell at the price they do (assuming you're making the same product with same specs).
 
2012-08-22 12:35:38 PM  

Babwa Wawa: I agree that there needs to be a patent system. But I also think that our system should be reformed such that we stop granting patents for innovations that are (a) not really innovations, (b) obvious to anyone who would think about a problem for a day or so, and (c) based on prior art. Our current system is not supposed to grant patents in these cases, but frequently it does


A) and B) are extremely difficult to define in a legal sense.

How would patent attorneys be able to argue either way as to whether something is really an innovation? Prior art seems to be the only thing that is documentable as to whether or not something is an innovation.

As to B, how would you define this? You could take a valley girl, put her on the stand, and I doubt she would be able to tell you within a day or so that a window-based view mechanic for managing data is something that is obvious or not. Take a software engineer, and he might give you a different answer.

The larger problem is that intellectual property rights is something that can't simply be forgone. Our ancestors (both in the UK and US) long have valued a system that protects those people who create new solutions to existing problems by giving them exclusivity rights to their inventions.

Now, however, with as fast as the world changes, the existing (US) patent system is incapable of handling both the volume of requests as well as the detailed research it takes for proving something is not an innovation due to prior art. There are simply too many nooks and crannies in the world of innovation for patent examiners to look everywhere to prove absolutely whether something is or isn't patentable.

A couple of ways combat this include:

-the system should be reformed to drastically reduce the number of years a patent is granted exclusivity.
-patents that are not currently held by the original inventor or being employed for use in consumer, industrial, or personal products should be considered 'inactive' patents and should have a shelf life that expires exponentially faster than active patents.
-patent examinations should be made public such that amicus briefs can be filed such that industry/individuals can object to filed patents based on previous art 

/not sure what else
 
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