Big win for Apple yesterday as a jury group ruled that Samsung has infringed on Apple’s patents and should pay Apple over a billion dollars for copying the technologies in iPads and iPhones. For consumers this probably doesn’t change anything in the immediate future. Samsung said they will try to appeal, so this case is just beginning and can last for years before we see a final outcome. Lawyers from both sides will have their works cut out for them.
Apple and Samsung have been fighting legal battles not just in the US, but all over the world where smart phones and tablets are sold. It raises an interesting question about how far you can patent something. For example Apple has a utility patent ‘163 which lets users zooms in on an item of interest by tapping on the screen. At what point should a function be standardized? I’ve heard that in the past Apple has been sued for violating a double click patent. Maybe some things are better left open source, so others can improve upon it to foster innovation. But on the other hand, if you have a great idea and get it to market, shouldn’t you be entitled to a period of time to profit from it before everyone else can use it? What’s the point of spending time and money on research and development if you can’t protect it?