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Apple vs Samsung lawyer slams UK patent trolls

Judge Birss speaks out
Tue Apr 30 2013, 11:05

UK BUSINESSES are becoming increasingly worried about patent trolls, UK patent lawyer Judge Birss said on Tuesday.

Speaking at an event in London this morning, Judge Birss - who famously ordered Apple to place adverts saying Samsung didn't copy the iPad - said that patent trolls are becoming a growing worry among small and medium sized businesses (SMBs), as well as for big companies like Microsoft and Samsung.

"Businesses say that they are worrying about patent trolls," Birss said. "And if you're worried about trolls, the way to deal with them is on the merits."

Birss went on to say that, in both the technology industry and in general, the number of patent cases is on the rise, and added that this is nothing but a good thing as more firms strive to protect their intellectual property.

However, he did say that it is becoming a growing concern for UK patent courts, which although they are handling the case load right now are unlikely to be able to cope with the increasing number of patent cases.

To fix this, Birss said that the courts are looking for more intellectual property experts, but said that the best way to end these cases quickly is to force competing firms to communicate - although this didn't work for Apple and Samsung.

"The best way to solve a patent case is to put people into a room and make them talk to each other," Birss said.

Although Apple and Samsung might not be favoured in the UK court system, Trevor Cook, founder of the Intellectual Property Group, said that processor maker ARM is one of the "success stories" of the UK court system, thanks to the way it licenses its microprocessor designs.

Birss, who is moving from his role at the county patent court to the high court, is most famous for slamming Samsung for not being as "cool" as Apple. Although he ordered the iPhone maker to take out ads essentially apologising to its Korean rival, Birss said that Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet was simply not as cool as the iPad. µ


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