Let me play devil's advocate for a minute...
Posted Feb 2, 2009 22:19 UTC (Mon) by mattdm
Parent article: Apple's touch-screen patent
Wait a sec Apple invents a really cool and useful new user interface technique. Even if the parts were all there, no one thought of putting them together like this before and there's no real evidence that anyone would have if Apple hadn't thought of it. Sure, touchpads have been able to detect multiple fingers before, but before Apple came along, the concern was using that information to suppress accidental input, not to do anything useful.
So Apple spens significant money in developing and marketing devices which use this invention. It turns out to be a hit. Now, everyone wants to copy them and make money without having to take the development costs and risks of being first in the market.
Isn't this exactly the sort of innovation the patent system is supposed to protect?
Now, okay, the current 20-year term is ridiculous when it comes to computing devices. But that's an implementation detail which could be reformed without throwing out the whole system.
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