Opinion: Apple Winning The Patent Wars Is Great For Innovation

I said this on August 24, 2011, exactly one year before a US jury declared that Samsung had intentionally copied Apple and then some: "We hope Apple wins the patent wars." Fortunately, they did.

Yes, fortunately. Don't listen to the obtuse apologists and the blind fandroids of the me-too — this is great news for consumers and technology because it's the End of the iPhone Era.

There was never much doubt that this would be the outcome of the case. Anyone except its most fierce and partisan advocates, everyone with two eyes can see how blatant and crude these Samsung and Google copies are. The emails that showed Samsung's intent were the final nails in the coffin.

The need for real innovation

Microsoft knew this too. Even while the Redmond company had a strong patent agreement with Apple, it knew there was no way it could clone the iPhone and the iPad and get away with it — neither legally nor commercially. If it really wanted to succeed, Microsoft knew it needed to do something different. Something better, which is why it created Metro and the new Windows Phone. These are the ultimate examples that prove wrong those who claim that there's no way to do things but the iPhone way and Apple winning the patent wars would kill the smartphone as we know it.

This is poppycock. The truth is that Apple's win only kills the crap smartphones and the unimaginative copycats who poop them out of their design boards busting with carbon paper. The people at Google, Samsung and HTC who thought "oh screw this, let's all do the same."

Even Google proves the patent whiners wrong. Recent versions of Android — smelling the inevitable outcome of the patent wars — tinkered with the interface enough that it finally felt new and fresh. And sometimes its innovations were much better than Apple's own stuff. Oh, and guess what? Google patented those too. And when they didn't have the patents, they bought them. They will fiercely defend them against Apple or anyone else if the occasion arises.

But until the litigation shootout began, the iPhone's Android-based competitors were largely clones that showed little imagination, no better ways to do things, something that we hate. Now, not only will future imitators be discouraged, those currently on the market might find themselves banned.

Microsoft showed the world that there was a different way to do things. Like I said one year ago, Windows 8 "introduces diversity, new methods, evolution. That, as someone who loves brilliant technology, excites me. You should be excited too. And you should hope that Apple wins all these patent wars against the lame and lazy. Because that would mean they'll all have to do something new to beat Apple at their own game."

The fun starts now

So I hope that Apple wins all the appeals. Hope that Apple wins every single lawsuit in which their patents are valid. Because the fact is that Apple's court triumph will drive innovation, not stifle it. Steve Jobs's ultimate afterlife victory will drive prices down, not up. It will give us, the consumer, more options — not less.

And this will not kill Android, it will only make it better. It will just kill the lazy part of Android. It will push Google and its cohorts to innovate, rather than just follow whatever methods and aesthetics come out of Cupertino.

If Apple keeps winning, you will end up with a much better phone. Not just a cheaper phone, but a better phone. If you look at Android's latest offerings, this is already happening. And you, Apple fanboy, will also end up with a much better iPhone, because the more other companies push the envelope, the more Apple will have to truly innovate, rather than rehash their old recipe — like they have been doing for quite a long time now. We are sick of those Apple retreads already, by the way. They are the new beige. They smell rancid, past glory days covered with stitched leather.

So let's forget about all these disgusting years of refried concepts and facsimiles and remember this day: Friday, August 24, 2012 — the day that marks the End of the iPhone Era.

The fun and awesome starts right now.


Comments

    An Apple vs Samsung court case is NOT the same as an Android vs iOS court case, which this is not.
    In fact it's pretty much the same as Fisher & Paykel taking on Smeg because they both make refrigerators.
    Or Black & Decker taking on Bosch because they both make power tools.
    The only tool here is the author of this blog post.

      Be nice to OP, he doesn't know much about the inner working of the case, only what he reposts from other sites that report headlines.

      On the surface it is "Samsung copied Apple"

      underneath it is "Samsung also uses click to call"

      kinda one company having the right to a fridge that has a door on the front. And making everyone else put a door on the top.

      but OP doesn't know this, so be nice.

      Have you seen how awesome fridges are getting lately? Swivel shelves, waist-height beverage drawers, door arrangements with suggestions of actual market research behind them. For the first time since Frost-Free got invented we’re seeing some real innovation in the field. If the same thing happens at an accelerated rate in the phone world then we’ll all be better off in the long run.

    So Apple should be allowed to patent things like clickable phone numbers in the web browser, that open in the phone app when you click on them? F**k no.

      Have you seen how awesome fridges are getting lately? Swivel shelves, waist-height beverage drawers, door arrangements with suggestions of actual market research behind them. For the first time since Frost-Free got invented we're seeing some real innovation in the field. If the same thing happens at an accelerated rate in the phone world then we'll all be better off in the long run.

        Ugh , replied to wrong post, sorry! Can someone please delete this?

    So Apple should be allowed to patent things like clickable phone numbers in the web browser, that open in the phone app when you click on them? Hell no.

      You do realise that every other company patents the same sort of things. Not that I agree with it, but others do the same. It's just Apple patented a lot of these things when they where doing R&D on the iPhone. Apple has the bounce when the page limit is reached and Android had the soft glow when the page limit was reach. They can be different. Same applies to pinch to zoom in/out. You could use a touch and scroll to zoom in/out.

        The bounce thing is OK but if everyone is forced to use their own gestures for simple things like zoom, then it is consumers who lose out. Imagine if Cadillac had patented the 3-pedal set-up for driving a car and sued anyone else who copied it? We'd have Fords with hand-throttles and levers for braking, Toyotas with tank-style dual levers and who knows how many other driving systems. It would be chaos on the roads and we'd all need to be certified for every different car we wanted to drive. Some things need to be seen as public domain and pinch to zoom is a perfect example. Even something like bouncing at the end of a menu is not such a crucial feature that it should be patented. It's an afterthought.

          Another good comment that will be lost on the fanbois :(

            Well said. Excellent point. This is my go to response from now on. Thanks.

          Great point, MotorMouth. Some things are so basic that standardisation is *necessary*.

            It not basic when it didnt exist though. Someone had to invent it. It might seem basic afterwards (of COURSE cars have 3 pedals) but it sure as hell wasnt a basic problem to the hard working minds that came up with it.

              I think we saw the pinch and zoom feature in that Tom Cruise Movie where he would arrest people for future crimes was that before or after apples first iPhone with the feature?

          What your conveniently forgetting, ALL of you, if that Samsung et'al only had to / have to pay a small licensing fee to Apple, and they can all use these features, the problem they all want to use them for free! It's 100% samsungs fault they ended up in court AND they lost because of their own arrogance

            By small fee do you mean 30-40 dollars per phone they demanded, cause that sounds down right unbelievable to me. Especially when they claim ALL of motorola's patents are only worth a dollar per phone and only moving forward.

          The bounce is an amazing idea though that someone had to do the hard work to think of, design and implement, and same with pinch to zoom. All these innovations are so easy in hindsight (of COURSE you pinch to zoom!) but someone had to design and make it when it didn't exist. Who decides what great idea anyone can copy and what great idea is protected if not the patent system? I actually agree that things like pinch zoom should be standard - but maybe a royalty fee back to the inventor.

    "And this will not kill Android, it will only make it better. It will just kill the lazy part of Android. It will push Google and its cohorts to innovate, rather than just follow whatever methods and aesthetics come out of Cupertino."

    I actually think Cupertino is running out of ideas and is going to do both things from here on out.
    1. Copy and get away with it - Notification Bar and lock screen anyone?
    2. Sue the rest and get away with it.

    I truly hope that you are right, but somehow I don't think it will stay the naysayers on this. From memory Apples original technology was hardly their own designs.

    This is probably the stupidest thing I've read on Gizmodo. Apple is simply using patents to monopolize the smarthphone industry. If you think Apple's patent win would improve innovation, then you have to think of it both ways. Is Apple's addition of a notification bar innovation?? I think not. You say 'If Apple keeps winning, you will end up with a much better phone. ' Actually, if everyone kept improving on other's ideas, we will end up with a much better phone. But in this case, only Apple is allowed to copy aren't they, the others have make something different. And then Apple will just copy it anyway.

    Honestly, Apple's patent win does nothing but ruin the industry. If it weren't for the design of previous devices such as touchscreen, nothing like the iPhone would even exist. And the things Apple seem to be targetting their direct competition for (the Galaxy Series) are what I would call 'natural technological evolution'. Just as a notification bar and touchscreen is a natural advancement, so are rectangles with rounded edges.

      PS. If innovation means removing the ugly Touchwiz then I'm all for it.

        As kids we'd always say 'take a wiz' for a pee. That makes Touchwiz even more unappealing to me.

    The Patents they are having banned are things based on gestures or simplicity, and its out of pure greed nothing less.
    Apple have basically won the right to dictate to the techological world what can and cannot be used.
    How the hell do you patent a pinch motion? or a slide of the finger? i've been doing these things on paper for 25 years, does that mean that i can sue apple for plagarism?

    I have to much to reply to this artical but I think it would be deemed abusive.

    I'm concerned how this settlement will affect smaller manufacturers. Could the small innovator be scared off by the prospect of some tiny obscure feature being unknowingly patented by one of the big boys. The fear of million/billion dollar law suits could result in a market dominated by the big players who can afford to pay or negotiate with each other. Smaller companies trying to do cool innovative stuff with Android or other open source platforms may now consider it too high risk.

    So Google, Samsung, Apple, Microsoft may be force to innovate which is good but everyone else will be forced to give up.

      If your an innovator, then you are making something that currently doesn't exist. Just like everyone you need to do your research to see if the idea already exist in the form of a patent. You can't just play stupid.

        There are plenty of things that don't currently exist that some other company has already patented. It might turn out that the company that patented the idea couldn't make it work or just decided it wasn't worth doing but they still own the idea. Too many patent applications have hand-drawn sketches when a patent shouldn't be granted until a fully working version of the technology has been shown publicly. i.e. File you application but nothing is processed until the technology hits the streets. But AFAIK it doesn't work like that at all.

          Completely agree. Just talking about how it exist today. The system is broken yes. But just deal with it for now and move on. Look what Microsoft are doing.

          That is correct. Apple had a patent on being able to click and call phone numbers from inside an email on your smartphone and no-one knew that until they sued HTC last year. I was doing this on my blackberry 5 years before Apple released an iPhone. The original patent 'system and method causes a computer to detect and perform actions on structures identified in computer data.' was filed in 1996 and granted in 1999.

          MOTORMOUTH! this is brilliant. this is my no. 1 complaint about patent law. you can make patent for just random shit! this is an elegant solution, that wouldn't really be that hard to pull off.

    The only winners will be the patent trolls with a new precedent to gush over in the courts.

    How will a monopoly drive prices down?

    Makes sense - but the state of the American legal system could also cause this to become the beginning of the end for competition, which is also another form of innovation as people have to become better than their competition to grow and prosper. Apple copied so many older technologies but they re-invented marketing as we know it. While this result will hopefully spurn more innovation I fear the potential for it to damage the competitive market and actually slow down growth an innovation in the industry. Only time will tell - hopefully this will not result in a case of, if Apple wins, we loose.

    its plainly obvious by the tone and content of this article that the author has little to no experience using an Android phone...

    Ha. This is hopelessly idealistic. I think you'll find yourself disappointed in another 12 months time.

    Also, I've had to force the "I was right/I told you so" prose out of my mind, as to avoid an abusive comment. No one likes a gloater pal.

    My opinion: the patent system is the elephant in the room here. Inevitably companies will use it to their advantage, but all the patent system does is stifle innovation. There has to be a better way.

    The end of the iPhone era? I wasn't aware it had started. The only iPhone I had was terrible, it sent me running back to my old Nokia within a week. My current HTC? Now that's a phone and I don't beleive for a second that it's a clone.

    See this is the crap thing about so called "Innovation".
    iOS originally to change your App layout you had to do this through iTunes.
    Apple copied the Android hold down app to move etc.
    Apple takes a turd covers it in glitter, polishes it then crows on how they created something.

    Apple, say hello to Antitrust in about 2-5 years.

      By which time, too late. Antitrust law is too laggy in the tech world: by the time the law catches up to you, you're a freaking multi-billionaire. Therefore, anti-competitive is the only way forward. The world's biggest tech companies knew that and have acted accordingly.

    'Steve Jobs’s ultimate afterlife victory will drive prices down, not up. It will give us, the consumer, more options — not less.'
    Tell that to Apple who's prices are f**king gouging it's not funny.

    So, Jesus, I'm guessing you're in favor of Apple removing the Notification Bar and Lock screen from the iOS right? I mean, they're not true innovations are they? They're from Android. Pretty handy aren't they.

    Oh, what's that?? They're too obvious and anyone could have thought of that? Better leave them in then......

      Let's not forget the Facebook integration coming in with iOS6, something WP7 had since 2010. I sure hope Apple's licensed the tech from the actual inventor.

    I'm sorry Jesus, but the vast majority of successful innovation is based on improvement and not creation. The Japanese have shown us this many times over the years.

    This decision only serves to make it harder for the tech companies to sign off on R&D investment when the chance of creating a true "game changer" becomes less likely and more costly. Technology for the consumer market is only going to become less affordable and adoption rates will fall.

    If a market isn't self feeding, how does this drive innovation?

    Nicely written, hope it comes true and I hope Apple (now known as The Man) also gets sued for their blatant constant copying. Xerox PARC anyone?

      They didn't copy. They purchased the ideas.

    For me, this all makes Windows Phone seem that little bit more appealing.

    Samsung, now is the time to take the lead on neural implants and patent that :)

    I don't understand how Apple is a Monopoly and when it comes to smart phone inovation. There a lot's of ideas that Apple don't own. Or do you all agree that able is the only company with innovation???? I think not.

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