BUSINESS

Judge questions patent system

TAGs: Apple, Google, motorola mobility, richard posner

motorola appleA U.S. judge has admitted harboring doubts as to whether the patent system should even exist in is current form. Richard Posner, the judge that was responsible for throwing out one of Apple’s largest smartphone technology patent cases, has admitted to Reuters that technology is the perfect breeding ground for these patent conflicts thanks to the high profits and volatility that exists.

“It’s a constant struggle for survival,” he said in his Chicago courthouse chambers. “As in any jungle, the animals will use all the means at their disposal, all their teeth and claws that are permitted by the ecosystem.”

He added: “It’s not clear that we really need patents in most industries.

“You just have this proliferation of patents,” Posner said. “It’s a problem.”

The judge was responsible for extinguishing the fire that was Apple’s suit against Google-owned Motorola Mobility. He threw that out, as Apple was unable to prove how the Android phone could do significant damage to the iPhone’s “bottom line”. Posner also took steps to make sure that neither side could take out a suit against each other – apart from one further chance for Apple to plead its case.

Technology isn’t the only industry to suffer from so-called “patent trolls”. Over here in the gambling industry we’re only too familiar with them. The latest of these was the copyright trolls over at Righthaven LLC – a firm that aggressively targeted anyone found to be posting copyrighted material. A number of posts on gambling forums were targeted and it was only when someone challenged them that it unraveled completely. Steve Jacobs. Just remember the name.

This was of course after patent troll Scott Lewis of 1st Technology held Bodog.com to ransom way back in 2007 – which saw the infamous pond-scum try to take that domain. The same company was still trying to grab domains as recently as last year when Cake Poker was targeted and just goes to show that these guys are present in any successful industry.

The latest comments will be small comfort to some of those that have been affected already and had to pay up but if it helps to change a system badly in need of reform then it can only be a good thing.

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