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Apple v. Samsung patent result is a loss for innovation

Electronic Frontier Foundation says lessons must be learned
Tue Aug 28 2012, 10:36

ONLINE FREEDOM FIGHTER the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has said that the lesson that we need to learn from the jury verdict in the Apple v. Samsung lawsuit is that technological patents have gone too far.

Last Friday a jury decided that Samsung had created devices that looked enough like Apple's to warrant $1bn in damages. This is a lot, but still a lot less than Apple had wanted, and does not take into account any losses that Samsung will incur from having injunctions imposed against sales of its products.

It is a win for Apple no doubt, and a real win for patent lawyers, but according to the EFF it is bad news for innovation and development.

"Apple and Samsung would be better off - and their consumers would be better served - if the tech giants took their epic patent battle out of the courtroom and into the marketplace," wrote EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels in a blog post.

"This case is just the latest in a long line of high-stakes patent litigation, each an instance of a patent system fundamentally unmoored from its constitutional goal. It is time for this to stop."

Samuels argues that competition should be about innovation, not courtroom battles, adding that all the latter achieve is a lot of money spent and a drain on judicial resources.

"The answer to competition is, or should be, more innovation, not courtroom battles that cost millions upon millions of dollars and drain judicial resources," she added. "Apple v. Samsung demonstrates so much of what ails our patent system."

The good news is that the case has people talking, adds Samuels, and she and the EFF hope that it creates enough discussion that people begin to question the wisdom of taking Samsung products off the market, something that Apple is pushing for.

"Now is the time to talk about the many ways that software patents hinder innovation instead of helping it. It is the time to talk about the public interest and how taking Galaxy products off the market would harm consumers," she added.

"It is the time to talk about how we can find a system that makes sense for how people use, create, and develop software. The system must be fixed. Let's make it happen." µ


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