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Apple Corporation is Bad for Technology

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but there has to be a reasonable limit to what can patented...cars are all generally the same shape they, almost all have 4 wheels is it reasonable for company to own a shape?

Vehicles are most certainly trademarked by their shapes. A company can't make a Corvette knock-off that is shaped the same or even close enough to create confusion between consumers. Trademarks exist to protect companies from fraudsters that would impersonate them or sow confusion in the market amongst consumers.

did apple invent the rectangle or round corners?

It doesn't matter. They trademarked or patented the design.

some of the complaints were that the phones feel too similar, well how can they not be? ergonomics dictate how we design objects to interact with our bodies particularly our hands...are courts giving to much credit to designers?

ergonomics has nothing to do with it. Some designs are patented for brand recognition purposes. If it's patented or trademarked you can't copy it.
and none of those companys own those colours, for marketing purposes it helps with brand identity but is it reasonable/fair for makita to own "cyan", Milwakee red or deWalt yellow...Powerfist makes yellow cordless tools I don't think de walt can do anything about it ...

DeWalt most certainly can. They own their particular shade of yellow. Home Depot owns their shade of orange. Coke owns the shape of their bottles. This is the way marketing and brand recognition works.

Now the question in the OP is whether these things are bad for competition and technology. I wold argue that it isn't. What's bad for technology is allowing everyone to copy each other. That kills innovation. Protecting patents and trademarks encourages others to come up with something new and better.

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To add insult to injury - iPhones would be useless without access to Samsung's patents so any award should have valued Apple's patents less than Samsung's patents.

Samsung should just stop licensing their patents to Apple. End game?

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Some form of protectionism attempts by Apple? Samsung is quite popular and Korea is benefiting it quite a bit overall. Maybe Apple is feeling the bite of competition? ;D

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Vehicles are most certainly trademarked by their shapes. A company can't make a Corvette knock-off that is shaped the same or even close enough to create confusion between consumers. Trademarks exist to protect companies from fraudsters that would impersonate them or sow confusion in the market amongst consumers.

It doesn't matter. They trademarked or patented the design.

ergonomics has nothing to do with it. Some designs are patented for brand recognition purposes. If it's patented or trademarked you can't copy it.

to a point, four wheels, forward facing seats, hood roof trunk, sorry can't trademark that...nor can they patent rounded corners that's been around as long as man has been carving things...
DeWalt most certainly can. They own their particular shade of yellow. Home Depot owns their shade of orange. Coke owns the shape of their bottles. This is the way marketing and brand recognition works.

Now the question in the OP is whether these things are bad for competition and technology. I wold argue that it isn't. What's bad for technology is allowing everyone to copy each other. That kills innovation. Protecting patents and trademarks encourages others to come up with something new and better.

you can't trademark a colour, colours belong to everyone...deWalt could crush Powerfist with legal fees but they don't because they can't...colour variation of products from the same manufacturers vary with dye lot so which particular shade are they saying is theirs? dewalt is yellow and black,Powerfist is yellow and blue...now if Powerfist changed to yellow and black and called themselves deWaalt they might have a problem... Edited by wyly

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Samsung should just stop licensing their patents to Apple. End game?
The can't. They already agreed to license them under certain terms long before Apple sued them. The only issue is valuation. Patents that are fundamental to the function of the device should be worth more than design patents. If the free market (a.k.a. willing buying/willing seller) set the value of those Samsung patents then the jury had no business awarding more than that market price.

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you can't trademark a colour, colours belong to everyone.
Actually you can provided the trademark only restricts the use of the colour in very specific circumstances (i.e. the colour of a tool). This is because the color of a product can be essential to brand recognition.

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The can't. They already agreed to license them under certain terms long before Apple sued them. The only issue is valuation. Patents that are fundamental to the function of the device should be worth more than design patents. If the free market (a.k.a. willing buying/willing seller) set the value of those Samsung patents then the jury had no business awarding more than that market price.

THere IS no patents in a free market, only trade secrets. Patents are government enforced monopolies that either should not exist or should last just long enough to ensure the creator gets first movers advantage. After that they actually hamper innovation and slow down technological progress.

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There IS no patents in a free market, only trade secrets.
Sure there are. If Company A chooses to license a patent from Company B then that transaction price is a price set by the market. It only becomes a non-market price when juries pull numbers out of the air.

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Sure there are. If Company A chooses to license a patent from Company B then that transaction price is a price set by the market. It only becomes a non-market price when juries pull numbers out of the air.

The point is in a free market you can only stop another company from using your intellectual property by keeping it secret. Government granted monopolies have nothing to do with any free market. Company B will only buy something from Company A if Company A has something that they need and theres no other way for them to get it. In a real free market without government enforced monopolies a company could only sell trade secrets.

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Government granted monopolies have nothing to do with any free market.
What do you think a deed to property is? It is a government granted monopoly on a piece of land. Why is a deed any different from a patent? Are you arguing there is no free market in real estate because of the government granted monopoly? Edited by TimG

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What do you think a deed to property is? It is a government granted monopoly on a piece of land. Why is a deed any different from a patent? Are you arguing there is no free market in real estate because of the government granted monopoly?

A deed is a certificate showing that you have purchased a piece of property. Private property rights exist in a free market whether or not they are derived from the state. Government is not necessary for people to have private property rights, and indeed real and personal property rights have existed without government at various times for thousands of years. People homesteaded, produced goods, and traded with each other.

Intellectual property "rights" however exist ONLY by government fiat.

The biggest moral difference is the scarcity of real property. For you to use my real or personal property is an agress against me that compromised my own right to use it. If however you have the same idea in your head as I do there is no such aggress. There is no scarcity. Even if the idea origionally came from me, you can share it with as many people as you like without impeding MY ability to use it.

In a free market for example if you have the knowledge in your head to use Pythagorean theorem to calculate the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle you could do that, or you could show others how to do it, or you could do it for others as a service to them. The origionator of the idea has the right to keep it a secret if he wants to but he no right to stop you from using it once its knowledge inside your own head. Whats required for him to do that is an entity (in this case the state) that he can petition to use FORCE against you to prevent you from using an idea that exists in your own mind.

So really... IP rights are a temporary license to stop others from using their own property... Unless you subscribe to the idea that you can own the memories or biochemical processes in someone elses brain. In a free market or in nature if you saw something you could repeat it, or adapt it to your own needs. If you observed someone building a shelter you could build a similar shelter for yourself in order to survive the winter. The person who origionally had the idea that your shelter is based on MAY be able to petition some kind of entity use force against you... and tear your shelter down or even throw you in prison by this is by no means an extension of the "free market" its the exact opposite.

Even most proponents of IP law concede that IP rights are completely different that real property rights. Otherwise they would not expire after a certain ammount of time. The deed to your house doesnt expire after 20 years because that IS your own property. CW protection is basically a temporary injunction by the state against everyone else being able to act on the thoughts and knowledge inside their own brains and its done because some people feel its in the "greater good" not out of any logical case for real ownership or any natural rights.

Edited by dre

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A deed is a certificate showing that you have purchased a piece of property. Private property rights exist in a free market whether or not they are derived from the state.
Wrong. Land property rights ONLY exist because of government fiat. To illustrate: some native groups used to think that 'owning' land was an absurdity - much like you view intellectual property rights. You need to separate your cultural biases from facts.
The biggest moral difference is the scarcity of real property. For you to use my real or personal property is an agress against me that compromised my own right to use it.
Not true. Apple claims they sold fewer phones as a result of the copying. We can debate about the number of phones but the number is definitely greater than 0. These lost sales means apple's "property" was compromised by the copying much like your enjoyment of your property would be compromised if random strangers squatted in your house when you were not home.
Even most proponents of IP law concede that IP rights are completely different that real property rights.
They are different. I was only disputing your claim that there is something wrong with them because they require government fiat. All property rights are by government fiat. Edited by TimG

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Not true. Apple claims they sold fewer phones as a result of the copying. We can debate about the number of phones but the number is definitely greater than 0. These lost sales means apple's "property" was compromised by the copying much like your enjoyment of your property would be compromised if random strangers squatted in your house when you were not home.

That's BS, they can't prove that people would have bought an iPhone if Samsung hadn't produced products with beveled edges and similar gestures.

I bet they'll think their continued reduced sales is about Samsung's copying of their patent and not the fact that the public see them as litigious tards that have been passed by the competition. :rolleyes:

Edited by Boges

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That's BS, they can't prove that people would have bought an iPhone if Samsung hadn't produced products with beveled edges and similar gestures.
They lost sales because of competition. Some of those sales were the result of similarity to iPhone. We cannot know how many which is why I think the jury system for calculating patent awards is dumb. The licensing fees already paid by Apple to Samsung should have been the benchmark (i.e. the award should have been less because Apple's patents are not critical to the operation of the phone).
I bet they'll think their continued reduced sales is about Samsung's copying of their patent and not the fact that public see them as litigious tards that have been passed by the competition.
Apple will pay a price for its aggressive patent suits because they undermine the 'coolness' factor that is part of the Apple image. Edited by TimG

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Wrong. Land property rights ONLY exist because of government fiat. To illustrate: some native groups used to think that 'owning' land was an absurdity - much like you view intellectual property rights. You need to separate your cultural biases from facts.

Not true. Apple claims they sold fewer phones as a result of the copying. We can debate about the number of phones but the number is definitely greater than 0. These lost sales means apple's "property" was compromised by the copying much like your enjoyment of your property would be compromised if random strangers squatted in your house when you were not home.

They are different. I was only disputing your claim that there is something wrong with them because they require government fiat. All property rights are by government fiat.

I never said anyting was "wrong" with them (at least not in that particular quote). You can make an argument from utility that IP rights are both good and bad, and that they both encourage AND discourage innovation.

I simply pointed out that they are not an extension of the "free market" they are an example of the government manipulating the market and making it less free. They place a restriction on people using knowledge that exists in their own mind.

My concern is that IP rights as they are today actually stifle innovation, waste resources, and stack the deck against innovators that cannot afford to spend a lot of money on patent litigation. They are essentially a privilege for the wealthy. The trend towards longer protection is also disturbing and some people worry that eventually this protection may become eternal. This would dramatically slow down technological progress.

Land property rights ONLY exist because of government fiat.

Not at all. Property rights throughout history have existed in the absense of government. Government is simply one entity that a person can petition to help PROTECT their right to private property. You could also marshal enough force to protect your private property rights yourself or others could voluntarily respect your private property rights in exchange for you respecting theirs (as in the example of homesteading).

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I simply pointed out that they are not an extension of the "free market" they are an example of the government manipulating the market and making it less free.
The government defines property rights (land, IP, whatever). Any free exchange of money based on those defined rights is a free market transaction.
Not at all. Property rights throughout history have existed in the absense of government.
Not true. People did claim property and enforced their claim with violence. But they had no "right" to the property because a "right" requires a framework of laws to define it. I used the examples to aboriginal cultures to demonstrate that "land property rights" are a aspect of culture and not some universal truth.
My concern is that IP rights as they are today actually stifle innovation, waste resources, and stack the deck against innovators that cannot afford to spend a lot of money on patent litigation.
IP rights as they are implemented today have many problems. But there is a difference between fixing the system and throwing the system away. Edited by TimG

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The government defines property rights (land, IP, whatever). Any free exchange of money based on those defined rights is a free market transaction.

Not true. People did claim property and enforced their claim with violence. But they had no "right" to the property because a "right" requires a framework of laws to define it. I used the examples to aboriginal cultures to demonstrate that "land property rights" are a aspect of culture and not some universal truth.

Again you are confusing the entity that might PROTECT your property rights with what those property rights are derived from. Those are two separate things which is why the ancient concept of private property has existed in the absense of government for much of our history.

The government is one agent that might PROTECT your private property rights but there are many others. And none of them are what your property rights are derived from. Your property rights are essentially derived from your own labor. You own something because you traded something else to get it, or because you used your own labor to create it.

Modern governments did not create any of these concepts they just reaffirmed them, provided a framework for enforcement, and a system of settling disputes peacefully.

Anyhow, if you think you own stuff because of government you just have a different world view than I do. I think you own stuff because you either created it with your labor or traded something else for it. Lets just agree to disagree and focus on the argument from utility which you touch on here...

IP rights as they are implemented today have many problems. But there is a difference between fixing the system and throwing the system away.

The first thing we need to tackle is the initial assumption behind IP which is that innovation and invention would be stifled without it. I used to firmly believe it would be, but now Im not so sure. And unless you believe that to be the case then theres really no point in having IP rights at all.

Without IP rights, you would need to look at what advantage the origionator of an idea DOES have in their absense. They have first movers advantage, and the right to keep trade secrets. Would these two advantages be enough to keep people innovating and inventing without IP rights? Using the current topic as an example they definately would. Even if Apple did not hold a single patent on the Iphone they would have recovered their development costs 1000's of times over, simply by being the first mover.

This would be the case in almost all industries but not quite all industries. The Pharmy/Drug industry is an example an industry where this would not be the case.

Then we would have to look at the degree to which IP rights STIFLE innovation and invention by restricting the free flow of ideas and the ability of billions of other people to improve on them. We would also have to consider the fact that IP rights are a privilege for the wealthy and that a lot of people are actually discouraged from innovating because they dont have the capital required for patent litigation. We would also have to consider the massive ammounts of resources wasted on capital litigation that could have been spent developing technology.

Its hard to put real values on all these things and compare them, but my own OPINION is that human progress would NOT be stifled even if we completely threw the concept in the trash. If anything it would be enhanced. And if we ARE going to keep IP rights my opinion is that the protection should be drastically reduced (1-5 years) and that the scope of what can be protected should be drastically narrowed.

Edited by dre

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the ancient concept of private property has existed in the absense of government for much of our history.
I disagree. Land property rights did not exist until mass societies were created (a.k.a. governments). Land property rights did not exist in tribal/nomadic societies. There is no universal "property right".

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I disagree. Land property rights did not exist until mass societies were created (a.k.a. governments). Land property rights did not exist in tribal/nomadic societies. There is no universal "property right".

We arent just talking about land property rights, but even in that case you are wrong. Remember the further you go back the smaller the percentage of the worlds real property was controlled by any kind of sovereign what-so-ever. Traditional land ownership is based on occupation and use. The modern concept of legal ownership is derived from these concepts not the other way around. Thats why even modern national soveriegns recognized homesteaders and squatters as owners up until the last century when the scarcity of real property in relation to the ammount of people wanting some reached a certain level.

So land ownership is really based on the same concepts as private property in general. You contributed your labor. You own your coat because you hunted an animal then used your labor to turn its fur into a garment that would keep you warm, or because you traded something for it. Same goes with land. Ownership of land is derived from your own labor, not government fiat.

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Anyhow... lets get back to this stuff...

The first thing we need to tackle is the initial assumption behind IP which is that innovation and invention would be stifled without it. I used to firmly believe it would be, but now Im not so sure. And unless you believe that to be the case then theres really no point in having IP rights at all.

Without IP rights, you would need to look at what advantage the origionator of an idea DOES have in their absense. They have first movers advantage, and the right to keep trade secrets. Would these two advantages be enough to keep people innovating and inventing without IP rights? Using the current topic as an example they definately would. Even if Apple did not hold a single patent on the Iphone they would have recovered their development costs 1000's of times over, simply by being the first mover.

This would be the case in almost all industries but not quite all industries. The Pharmy/Drug industry is an example an industry where this would not be the case.

Then we would have to look at the degree to which IP rights STIFLE innovation and invention by restricting the free flow of ideas and the ability of billions of other people to improve on them. We would also have to consider the fact that IP rights are a privilege for the wealthy and that a lot of people are actually discouraged from innovating because they dont have the capital required for patent litigation. We would also have to consider the massive ammounts of resources wasted on capital litigation that could have been spent developing technology.

Its hard to put real values on all these things and compare them, but my own OPINION is that human progress would NOT be stifled even if we completely threw the concept in the trash. If anything it would be enhanced. And if we ARE going to keep IP rights my opinion is that the protection should be drastically reduced (1-5 years) and that the scope of what can be protected should be drastically narrowed.

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Apple is getting really cheeky now.

http://www.thestar.com/business/sciencetech/article/1248119--apple-lists-8-samsung-products-it-wants-banned

I own an S2 Skyrocket. Nowhere on the Interwebs have I found an article on how this affects Canadian carriers. From what I can tell Rogers and Bell spend far more time and effort promoting Android phones because they utilize the 4G/LTE network.

Since the S3 is out and they don't want that phone banned this really doesn't do much. If and/or when these phones do end up getting banned most new users will be on to the S3 or another phone. That is, unless they make it illegal to own one, If so then I'll gladly accept an S3 to replace my S2 from Rogers. :D

Apple sort of, kind of has a monopoly on pinch to zoom & tap to zoom now which affect pretty much every handset & tablet maker, laptop touchpad gestures, all kinds of stuff.

Sort of, kind of because this verdict is not technically enforceable against other manufacturers but sets a precedent should/when Apple decide(s) to go after other manufacturers. They'll have to think long before putting it/leaving it in firmwares.

The sooner this garbage verdict gets tossed the better. They came to right answer for all the wrong reasons with the wrong results. Samsung deserves to be punished, but a utility patent should patent a specific method of pinch to zoom, not pinch to zoom as a technique.

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Without IP rights, you would need to look at what advantage the origionator of an idea DOES have in their absense. They have first movers advantage, and the right to keep trade secrets. Would these two advantages be enough to keep people innovating and inventing without IP rights?
It is worth separating the different types of IP rights: trademark, copyright and patents. I have no issue with trademark and copyrights and think the only issue is the definition of 'fair use' given the nature of digital technology.

Patents on software would be OK if the patent office was rigorous in not allowing patents on things which are 'obvious to one skilled in art'. Right now they rubber stamp anything put in front of them. For that reason it would better if patents on software were eliminated entirely. I do not believe that innovation in software would suffer at all.

The one exception I would make is where algorithms need to be published to be used. For example, RIM has numerous cryptography patents which are legitimate but could not be protected as a trade secret because to be credible cryptography algorithms must be published so others can review.

Patents on pharmaceuticals are generally necessary for the same reasons (i.e. the chemistry must be published to get regulatory approval). However, patents on genes should not be allowed - only on the techniques that do something useful with that gene.

Edited by TimG

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It is worth separating the different types of IP rights: trademark, copyright and patents. I have no issue with trademark and copyrights and think the only issue is the definition of 'fair use' given the nature of digital technology.

Patents on software would be OK if the patent office was rigorous in not allowing patents on things which are 'obvious to one skilled in art'. Right now they rubber stamp anything put in front of them. For that reason it would better if patents on software were eliminated entirely. I do not believe that innovation in software would suffer at all.

The one exception I would make is where algorithms need to be published to be used. For example, RIM has numerous cryptography patents which are legitimate but could not be protected as a trade secret because to be credible cryptography algorithms must be published so others can review.

Patents on pharmaceuticals are generally necessary for the same reasons (i.e. the chemistry must be published to get regulatory approval). However, patents on genes should not be allowed - only on the techniques that do something useful with that gene.

But we havent determined whether the need for ANY of this stuff is legitimate AT ALL. Unless you believe that getting rid of IP law would stifle innovation theres really no point in talking about specifics.

If patents and copyrights are not resulting in more innovation and invention than there would be without them, then theres no justification for them to exist. IP law as is does more to protect encumbants than it really does to encourage innovation, and it stacks the deck against the entities without the capital required for patent litigation. We need to revisit the need to have this type of protection at all. And we need to consider how much capital is wasted on this process that could instead be used to innovate. In most industries more money is spent on patent litigation then is spent on product development :blink: .

Patents on software would be OK if the patent office was rigorous in not allowing patents on things which are 'obvious to one skilled in art'. Right now they rubber stamp anything put in front of them. For that reason it would better if patents on software were eliminated entirely. I do not believe that innovation in software would suffer at all.

I basically agree. However if we ARE going to have a government that places these kind of restrictions on free trade then Im not sure software alone should be excluded. I think a truly unique and innovative process could be patented, just not the shape or color of a button, or its location on the screen.

Edited by dre

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