Feeds

Judge: Patent litigants behave like animals

And they breed almost as fast, as well

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
Yes, Australia's government SHOULD store comms metadata
Not because it's a good idea but because it already operates the infrastructure and processes to do it well
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.