This Bears Repeating

Zach Epstein, you’re my new hero.  He wrote an article about a Samsung verdict in Germany, and there are some golden nuggets that need to be repeated plastered on billboards in Silicon Valley:

Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffman stated, “The court is of the opinion that Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, other designs are possible.” Other designs are possible.

They are, in a world where you are not sued within an inch of your life on a daily basis by people bullies claiming patent infringement.

Again, designs and innovations need to be protected, but to what extent and at what cost? The current system is not sustainable.

Truer words, my friends.  Truer words were never spoken.

The simple truth is that a system shaped by lawyers may not be the best system for corporations. And it is certainly not the best system for consumers. Things need to change.

This is chiefest among my complaints about patent litigation.  The only true winners are the attorneys.  They always get paid first and most.  Love him or hate him, you can’t deny the amount of pithy little sayings that have come out of the formerly nicotine-filled mouth of Rush Limbaugh, among them this little ditty:  “Follow the money.”  And when you do, you will find attorneys.  Or at the very least a man with a heinous vendetta.  Or possibly both.

Just sayin’,

IPTT

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Bullies: Weighing in on The Verdict

This is a rarity for me, because I’m not going to link to or quote anyone else’s blog or news article in this blog post.  Can you even stand how original that will force me to be??  I think I feel a nervous tic coming on…

The thing that has always fascinated me about the patent realm, and it’s red-headed step-siblings copyright and trademark, is the personalities involved.  How much do you have to think of yourself to want to trademark the phrase “You’re Fired!”?  Donald Trump, I’m looking at you.  I’m a huge fan of The Donald, read The Art of the Deal when I was 13 and his personality has fascinated me ever since.  Same is true of the people involved in this blog’s namesake fiasco.  The very idea that two grown men can get so out of sorts for being called exactly what they are is just nuts.  Niro and Albritton went all batcrap crazy when Frenkel called them out for filing a lawsuit on behalf of ESN against Cisco for a patent that had yet to be issued.  Ooopsies.  So Frenkel labels ESN a troll and Niro and Albritton as their allies and they go freak nasty.  Again, personalities are cuhRAZY in this business.  Guys?  How about not doing stuff like that if you don’t want the label?  Or, if what you’re doing (i.e., being a Patent Troll) is nothing to be ashamed of, then why the lawsuits for defamation of character?  I’m no math whiz but something doesn’t add up.

So back to The Verdict, it’s public knowledge in IP circles that Steve Jobs had a personal issue with Samsung.  He was going to make them pay for stealing his design of the iPhone come hell or high water.  And he did.  And in the process do you want to know who really won?  The same people who always do in litigation:  THE LAWYERS.  I mean, don’t you guys watch television?  Harvey Spector’s suits don’t buy themselves, you know.  CLIENTS  (and by extension, customers) PAY FOR THEM.

You can take the Mark Cuban route and complain ad nauseum via twitter that you shouldn’t be able to patent a rounded-corner rectangle and that would be one angle (ha!) to take.  But it’s much more interesting to look at the whole picture, for me anyway.  You have a man who’s clearly a design genius.  If you look at the trial demonstratives that Apple put up vs. what Samsung put up Apple is the winner.  Don’t think that didn’t factor into the jury’s decision…patent law is confusing and if you don’t make it as easy as possible to understand then you’re behind the curve.

But my point is that a man who actually buys about $10 billion (it may be million, but again I promised myself no linking to other stories on this one)  in parts from Samsung was so burned by the fact that they designed a phone that looks similar that he dragged them into court and beat them to a pulp.  ??

If you can prove to me that someone who wanted an iPhone accidentally bought a Samsung phone and didn’t march immediately back to the store and exchange it then I’d be a little more OK with it.  But the fact is that if you want an Apple item you’re going to buy one, regardless of how similar-looking or similar-operating a competing product is.  Even if, and in some cases, for some people, especially if, it’s more expensive.  Why?  Because that’s the legacy that Steve Jobs built.  By suing Samsung he’s effectively saying “I don’t trust the company I built and  I don’t trust my customers to come to my stores if something else out there looks remotely similar.  So I’m not going to let anyone else come close.”

What are you so afraid of, Apple?  We love you.  I have two iMacs and three iPhones and if you made a DSLR I’d buy that too.  You don’t need to be a bully and knock everyone out of the game.  Just be who you are and build what you build.  People want it.  They will come.

Just sayin’,

IPTT

NPR: Now You’ve Gone and Pissed Me Off AND I Have to Find a New Book

WTH, Jonah Lehrer?

Every year I select at least 12 books to read just because it’s good for me I can impress my friends I like to stay well-read I like to sound smart in conversations with strangers I was forced to read as a child and I am still afraid my Mother will punish me if I don’t.  On this year’s list was Imagine, by Jonah Lehrer.  Only I just found out this morning that he’s a big fat liar liar and his pants are most assuredly on fire.

I had no idea it was considered plagiarism if you swiped words from your own self.  Isn’t that recycling?  Reusing?  Reducing the amount of time you have to spend coming up with new words?  Or do those concepts only apply to plastics in your garbage can that you have to put into a different garbage can on Mondays and Thursdays?  I AM SO CONFUSED.

Making up quotes or taking them out of context?  Not so confusing.  You totally cannot do that.

I was on page 102 of Imagine.  I’m sort of disinclined to finish it now, you know?  That’s sad, because a lot of what I read so far has meshed with books I read last year, like Enchantment and 10 Mindful Minutes.  Only guess what?  Those authors didn’t lie.  Good on you, Kawasaki and Hawn!

Really though, what’s most distressing is that the next book on the list is The Quest, a follow-up to the best book ever (Hello?  The Prize.) and I feel compelled to read my book list in order and I hadn’t planned on starting that one until the kids were back in school in three weeks.

Thanks.  Thanks a lot, Jonah.

Also, there’s a trial going on.  Something between Apple and Samsung?  The internal conversation in my head (is that redundant?) on that one is keeping me up at night.

What?

You don’t think of patent lawsuits in your sleep?  What’s even wrong with you?

Just sayin’,

IPTT