Posted Feb 25, 2012 14:24 UTC (Sat) by man_ls
In reply to: Stolen products
Parent article: If Android is a "stolen product," then so was the iPhone (ars technica)
Patents do not in principle cover designs; they are meant to protect processes. That is: the invention and not the end result. According to the European Patent Convention:
The following in particular shall not be regarded as inventions within the meaning of paragraph 1:
(a) discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
(b) aesthetic creations;
(c) schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers;
(d) presentations of information.
For artistic designs you have copyright: the right for others to copy your original design.
But there is a deeper question: what particular benefit to society do you have in mind? In my mind, the ability for others to copy an original design (without paying royalties, of course) are an incentive for the innovator. Why would I bother to innovate if no one else can copy my design? In contrast, if others are chasing my design, then I will try to improve it further and further so that they cannot get to me.
Patents are a line in the sand: do not cross this line or I will sue you. Even if in the end there is no value in the patent, it is enough to distract competitors for a while. Is that what we want?
Not to cite Jobs talking about "going thermonuclear":
"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong," Jobs said. "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."
Rackets are bad enough, but shutting down competitors is the last thing that the public might want, ever.
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