Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Once again, intellectual property law has made satire superfluous

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about Apple patenting wedge shaped tablet computers. For a title I tried to think of a design feature that no one would possibly have the gall to patent. I came up with this:

Has anyone patented rounded corners yet? If not, I see an opportunity

Then this morning I hear the following on Marketplace:

Kai Ryssdal: A high-stakes and high-tech game of 'Did TOO! Did NOT!' got going today in federal court in San Jose. Apple is suing Samsung for $2.5 billion for -- Apple says -- stealing the designs for the iPad and iPhone. Samsung, in turn, says Apple stole its design from somebody else to begin with. 
As for the technology at the heart of this whole thing? Marketplace's Queena Kim explains that might not really matter at all.

Queena KimPaulette Taylor has been a jury consultant on patent lawsuits for about 20 years. She says for jurors when you’re called to a patent case: 
Paulette Taylor: It’s like being set down in the middle of foreign land where you don’t speak the language and you have no ideas what the customs are. 
And so, she says, the lawyer becomes the jury’s guide to this strange place. In the case of Apple versus Samsung, I’ll quote from Apple’s “pre-trial brief” here, the jury must decide whether Samsung violated “Apple’s D’677 and D’087 iPhone design patents and D’889 tablet design patent.” Translation: Did Samsung copy the rectangular shape, rounded corners and the button at the bottom of the iPhone.

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