Apple v. Samsung: Real World Example Of Our Horrible Patent System

Matt Drance writes in Apple Outsider that the judge has sent the Apple v. Samsung case to the jury. This seems to have been dropped by the tech press a bit but wanted to point out one line from Matt’s article:

In closing arguments, Apple attorney Harold McElhinny told the jury: If you find for Apple in this case, you will have re-affirmed the American patent system.

As Matt said afterward, not certain this is an argument in Apple’s favor. Our patent system is a mess. Companies, mostly big ones that can spend the thousands of dollars on patents and the millions more defending them, seem to patent everything, whether it makes sense or not. These companies argue that this is a good thing for innovation. But as many have pointed out before me there is no connection at all, at least in the software world, between patents and innovation. Almost all software is derivative. Real innovation in software comes from taking someone else’s ideas, melding multiple ideas together, and coming out with something new.

I’d love to see the patent system change but there is too much money wrapped up in the current system and too many other large problems facing the country. A patent fight will have to wait for another day.