Federal Judge Richard Posner Says Patent System is Questionable
Recently, Apple won a preliminary injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Tab 10.1. And not too long ago, we reported that Nokia believes the new Google Nexus 7 to have infringed on its Wi-Fi patents.
In light of the recent occurrences, Federal Judge Richard Posner has said that it is questionable whether the patents system works for the technology industry, where high profits make patent litigation extremely attractive for companies who want nothing more than to wind up their competitors.
Posner said some industries, like pharmaceuticals, had a better claim to intellectual property protection because of the enormous investment it takes to create a successful drug.
Advances in software and other industries cost much less, he said, and the companies benefit tremendously from being first in the market with gadgets - a benefit they would still get if there were no software patents.
"It's not clear that we really need patents in most industries," he said.
Also, devices like smartphones have thousands of component features, and they all receive legal protection.
"You just have this proliferation of patents," Posner said. "It's a problem."
He also argued that banning the sale of a device just because of a infringed patent would be harming consumers more than anything else and that it is entirely impractical. That said, Posner doesn't blame tech companies for continually suing competitors for infringed patents because, like animals, these companies are just using "all the means at their disposal, all their teeth and claws that are permitted by the ecosystem".