A great day for Apple fan-boys. Both a major strike against the enemy in the form of a billion dollar patent ruling against Samsung, and a shock-wave of fear for anyone that wants to innovate in the mobile arena.
Apple say that this is not about money, that it is about promoting innovation. I agree with the first part, after all they are a filthy rich company. But to say it is about innovation is idiotic. This is about power.
How is declaring ‘thermonuclear war’ (Steve Jobs words) on competition going to aid innovation? Apple continue to exploit an archaic patent system in their blind pursuit of power. They desire complete mobile dominance for their tech empire.
So what were these incredible innovations that Apple now own? Did Samsung lift large chunks of programming that Apple had spent blood, sweat and tears coding?
In short, no. The patents are for things that really shouldn’t have a patent attached to them. Designs and functions that are at the very core of how we think about smart phones and a pivotal part of our new mobile era. For example,
- D’381 patent covers things like ‘pinch and zoom’, dragging documents across the screen and the twist and turn ability.
- D’163 patents cover the double tap action to zoom that we all use in Google maps.
- D’915 covers scrolling down a document using one finger.
- D’677 and D’087 refer to a rectangular phone with rounded corners.
This is going to set a dangerous precedent, as Apple will continue to hunt down companies it can squeeze with it’s arsenal of patents. Smaller companies will cower in fear of infringing and pay large premiums to license Apple’s patents. How does this increase innovation?