I remember at first ignoring the Apple vs. Samsung patent arguments. I thought they were just more examples of highly-paid corporate attorneys fighting over questionable intellectual property claims. Then I saw the Samsung phones in question. Anyone could see that Apple was being copied. The question then became: would a jury buy the “everyone does it” argument and let Samsung off?
Apparently not. Even though the money being mentioned to compensate Apple for the copying seems high, it’s not really that much when you think about what these two companies actually make in a year. The significant point is, instead, that companies now have to think twice about copying someone else’s successful design.
In my book that’s good for innovation. We will all win from that. No one in his right mind should think Apple has a monopoly on innovation. The impetus to actually create something different and better seems to me to be a very positive development as long as we’re stuck with our current ridiculous patent system.
Not everyone agrees, of course. Apple’s success in developing products that consumers love — and are willing to pay a lot of money for — has created much resentment, including from some who consider themselves to be technologically sophisticated.
While I consider myself to be technologically sophisticated, having spent my entire career in technology-related businesses, I’m much more interested in useful products than in joining a “tribe” based on loyalty to one company or the other. The mix of Apple and non-Apple equipmentand software in my own houselhold is pretty good evidence of that. I don’t expect that to change.
I just want stuff that works that I enjoy using. If someone else can do that better than Apple has been able to do so far, more power to them. At least now we know that copying someone else’s successful design is not a reasonable business model.
Copyright (c) 2012 by Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D. Dennis is a Washington DC area consultant specializing in collaborative project management and new technology adoption. His clients have included the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the National Library of Medicine, and the World Bank Group. Contact Dennis via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 703-402-7382.