‘Tech companies have no claim to intellectual property’, Apple’s patent judge

Karen Haslam
7 July, 2012
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US judge Richard Posner threw a patent case between Apple and Motorola out of court because, although he had been looking forward to presiding over the trial between the two companies, he said: “I didn’t think I could have a trial just for fun”.

Posner spoke to Reuters about why he decided to shelve the case. He believes that unlike pharmaceutical companies, technology companies do not have any claim to intellectual property protection.

Pharmaceutical companies make an enormous investment to create a successful drug, while advances in software and other industries cost much less, he told Reuters.

He added that companies benefit simply from being first in the market with gadgets, which he says would still be a benefit to them even if there were no software patents.

However, despite his opinion, Posner said tech companies should not be blamed for jumping into court since they are just taking the opportunities that the legal system offers.

Reuters also spoke to John Allison, a Texas University professor who studies intellectual property rights. Allison disagreed with Posner, claiming that classifying industries for the purposes of intellectual property protection is “completely impractical” because talented lawyers could game the system.

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