Feeds

Judge: Patent litigants behave like animals

And they breed almost as fast, as well

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The outspoken judge who threw out Apple's patent suit against Motorola Mobility has called into question the entire US patent system, comparing patent litigants to violent beasts.

Judge Richard Posner at Harvard University in 2009

Posner: "All their teeth and claws"

"It's a constant struggle for survival," Judge Richard Posner said in an interview with Reuters. "As in any jungle, the animals will use all the means at their disposal, all their teeth and claws that are permitted by the ecosystem."

Posner feels the law of the jungle is flawed. "It's not clear that we really need patents in most industries," he said.

Patents might be okay for pharmaceuticals, he said, because producing a single new drug might take many years. But innovation in software markets happens so rapidly that patent protection is probably not needed.

In June, Posner ruled that neither Apple nor Motorola was entitled to an injunction blocking the sale of the other company's products, and that neither company had made a sufficient case to justify damages. He dismissed the suit "with prejudice," meaning neither party is allowed to file a new suit on the same matter.

"It would be ridiculous to dismiss a suit for failure to prove damages and allow the plaintiff to re-file the suit so that he could have a second chance to prove damages," Posner wrote in his judgment.

In his interview, Posner noted that smartphones are comprised of a multitude of component parts, and that under the current patent system each component receives patent protection. "You just have this proliferation of patents," he told Reuters. "It's a problem."

Posner doesn't blame the mobe makers for bringing patent suits, however. Companies only naturally pursue whatever options are available to them under the law, he says.

Yet Posner seems of a mind to curtail those options. He was given jurisdiction over the Apple-Motorola suit by a Wisconsin federal judge because he had made known his interest in patents.

As for the mobile market itself, however, Posner maintains he is "really neutral."

"I'm not actually that interested in becoming part of the smartphone generation," the 73-year-old jurist said, noting that he uses a BlackBerry only because the court makes him. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.