Apple Case Muddies the Future of Innovations
By NICK WINGFIELD
Published: August 26, 2012
The recent patent decision favoring Apple’s patent position vs. Samsung raised significant discussion on whether current patent laws stimulate innovation or. limits it. The following article touches on both sides of the argument. My personal belief is that the complaint of the industry against Apple results more from Apple’s incredible innovation from technology to business to patents that resulted in a historically strong market position. They changed the market and protected every aspect of the change. Samsung, the court said, tried to copy their system vs. innovating around it. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Apple’s victory on Friday in a patent lawsuit against Samsung could, if upheld, give its rivals a kick in the pants to create more original products.
Whether consumers respond by buying the more distinctive devices is another question entirely.
Consider the case of Windows Phone, Microsoft’s operating system for smartphones, which looks almost nothing like the Apple software for iPhones and iPads. Reviewers have praised Windows Phone for its fresh, distinctive design, with bold typography and a tile system for using phone functions.
But the phones, including the Lumia 900 from Nokia, have not sold well.
Microsoft’s product has not gained traction for a number of possible reasons, among them the big lead its rivals had in the marketplace and the relatively weak distribution of its main partner, Nokia…..
… People across the technology industry have expressed concerns about the future of innovation after a nine-person jury ruled in Apple’s favor last week in Federal District Court in San Jose, Calif. The jury said Samsung smartphone and tablet products violated a series of Apple patents protecting a number of designs and functions — including the rectangular shape and rounded edges of the iPhone and the pinch-to-zoom gesture that magnifies an image on Apple devices….
… For Apple and executives at other companies in Silicon Valley that emphasize distinctive design, the verdict was a welcome validation of the effort they put into making and protecting technologies that create original user experiences. “It’s good for intellectual property, and good for firms that invest in design,” said Chip Lutton Jr., vice president and general counsel of Nest, maker of a smart thermostat….
… But he said the decision could also create a “minefield” for product designers, in which they are constantly second-guessing whether functions will step on someone else’s patents. Mr. Flora is concerned, for example, that Apple’s patent on the pinch-to-zoom function covers a gesture that now is so common that touch screen products without it would be like cars with square or triangular steering wheels….
… But Mr. Kindel also was concerned about the possibility of the mobile device market becoming increasingly complex. Software developers already have a complicated mix of mobile devices to make apps for, and the pressure on manufacturers to design devices differently could make it even harder. Consumers could be confused over which phones have which apps and functions. It may grow harder to persuade phone users to switch to another system, another roadblock to competition.