I have a love/hate relationship with Apple products, particularly my beloved iPhone. Today Apple proudly announced they're suing HTC over phone patents: that's firmly on the hate side.
We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We've decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.
— Steve Jobs

Everyone in the tech industry knows the patent system is entirely broken. Other than a few sleazy actors like Intellectual Ventures there's an understanding in the innovative side of the tech business that you don't file aggressive patent lawsuits. You write a lot of patents, you file defensive lawsuits and countersuits, but in general you don't use your patent portfolio as a big club to try to destroy competitors. Apple's taking a big crap on that detente. It's pretty hard to love a company that is going to exploit the broken patent system to stifle innovation. Not that this is new misbehavior, see also Apple's 1988 look and feel lawsuits.

What's particularly galling is Jobs' language about "stealing". We'll know more when the patents are named, but I have to wonder. Does he think anyone else using a multitouch UI is stealing? Pinch-to-zoom? Seamless wifi/cellular networking? I wonder if Jobs called it "stealing" when Apple took the mouse and windowed GUI metaphors from Xerox?

  2010-03-02 18:39 Z