Patently Obvious

[This, also, I wrote a couple of days ago.  Not only that, but I also did not anticipate a verdict coming back so quickly.]
I've been getting more and more educated on the patent system for the past several years, and I must admit, the more I find out about it, the less needed I think it is.

So it's with some ambivalence that I look at the current battle royale between Apple and Samsung (over phone and tablet appearance, mostly). I do favor Apple products. The Samsung models just have no interest for me (largely for software reasons).

So you'd think I'd be happy to see what's happening, as Apple seems to have a very strong case (I was pretty skeptical until some of Samsung's internal documents came out). And short-term, I'd rather Apple get more money, I suppose.

But I think the loser in this will inevitably be the consumer; I think it'll lead to fewer choices, and it will strengthen software patents, which I have to admit to being particularly strongly against (I think I've just about always been against software patents; definitely, I've been against them for far longer than I've even considered whether the whole system is broken).

I've just never heard of a software patent that I thought was truly innovative.

And again, since patents are legal monopolies, the inevitable loser of bogus patents are the consumers. It slows down innovation, and subjects truly innovative companies to costly suits by patent trolls (and others, but especially by trolls).

Update:  Now that the verdict is in, and Apple has won (though the award dropped nearly to a third of what Apple was asking), yeah, I don't find myself too happy about what happened.  Lots of lawyers made lost of money, and less went into technological innovation.  Just not a win for anyone (except, perhaps, for Apple.  And I'm not even certain that they did; it might have removed some of their motivation for further innovation.  We'll have to wait and see on that one).

Of course, there's also the fact that this will certainly get appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.  Maybe the Supremes will knock out the patents.  We can hope.  Because again, the appeals benefit no one but the lawyers.

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