Omnipatent v. Impatent

The Samsung-Apple patent war saw Samsung claim a minor half victory in Korea and Apple a major win in the US. The difference in rulings between the USA and Korea rulings may be the difference between carrying a case and carrying a suitcase.

Samsung lawyers are used to rule the show at home: this army of Seoul University Law School alumnis and former judges know all the tricks of the trade. I don't think there was much jury vetting nor adequate preparation ahead of the US trial, but Apple might have won anyway.

This is not about innovation, but about Intellectual Property management, property meaning that you own the rights, not necessarily that you invented something. Particularly in a system where the date of the patent makes all the difference, regardless of market realities.

As everybody well knows, Apple was built on infrigements: from stealing the Beatles logo to stealing Xerox inventions (no need to remind this audience of Steve Job quoting Picasso about great artists). The iPhone's round square icons mentioned in the trial? We saw them more than ten years ago in early mobile internet portal prototypes. When the iPod, the iPad, and the iPhone hit the shelves, Job's genius was as always in selecting the right existing bricks at the right time more than about inventing something new.

I'm sad to see that what matters now is not anymore to have the best Research and Developpment center and the best inventors anymore, but to have the quickest vultures and to snatch the best patent portfolios. The best product? Look at nowaday's rush for Samsung Galaxy. And anyway, the commoditization of smartphones is already well advanced. Apple is only gaining time*.

I'm interested in innovation. The NTP-RIM farce was not about innovation. Interval Licensing suing Microsoft rivals** was not about innovation. Google purchasing Motorola was not about innovation. This Samsung-Apple war is certainly not about innovation.

mot-bile 2012

* see "Apple - the end of the affair"
** see "Paul Allen v. Rest Of The Web : NTP Redux ?"

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