Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Apple's Tim Cook - When will you stop the patent litigation?

I must confess since Steve Jobs passed away, I have intermittently worried about Apple's future. Why? I buy all my computer gear from these guys! And it's no fun to switch vendors. I had to do this before. I had bought a string of Dell notebooks 1996 - 2004 then Michael Dell handed over the reins and things began to flounder, prompting me to investigate and switch my business to Apple. I hope Dell roars back, but for now am not looking to switch again.

Tonight, I read an article in ars technica about CEO's Tim Cook's response to an analyst's question about Apple's patent litigation that made me feel less concerned:

"I've always hated litigation and I continue to hate it," Cook said, but "we just want people to invent their own stuff." Cook went on to say that the company is open to the possibility of settling with the likes of Samsung, Motorola, et al "if we could get to some kind of arrangement where we'd be assured [they are inventing their own products] and get a fair settlement on the stuff that's occurred," but emphasized that such a thing would only happen as long as "Apple does not become the developer for the world."

Somebody handed me a ringing phone in the locker room today, and asked is this your phone? I did a double take: it looked just like my Apple iPhone 4S; it was a competitor's phone. Why do they slavishly copy even the physical appearance of the Apple iPhone?

Having been involved in several major patent litigation cases, I understand someone who says "I've always hated litigation and I continue to hate it." I also cannot blame a CEO who hates litigation but understands in the world it is necessary to avoid free-riding copyists.

Thinking Apple is overly litigious misses that copyists have forced this response and to not support its practice of protecting its inventions with patents undermines the profits allowing Apple to do great things in the future.

Copyright © 2012 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.