Weblog:   Apple and Developers
Subject:   Pernicious influence of patents
Date:   2003-07-07 13:48:51
From:   jmincey
Response to: I agree with the Devleoper

You make interesting points -- and I just want you to know at least ONE person has read your post, even though it has come late in this thread. Allow me to clarify one point however. Apple actually negotiated a license agreement with Xerox for the UI elements or concepts it took, and later when Xerox saw the market potential of this technology -- thanks to Apple and no thanks to its own vision -- it filed suit and tried to renegotiate. Now I don't know the particulars involved and it may well be true that Apple has some hypocrisy here in any event. But I offer this point nevertheless.

Incidentally, my understanding is that IBM actually owns the patent for "reverse video," even though it doesn't attempt to enforce this patent in the form of licensing or royalties. Many things which were cutting edge concepts at one time become fundamental years later. Hypertext (or hyperlink) technology is but one example. I think it was invented in the late 1960s -- but could you imagine anyone trying to collect on something so basic as that today?

Patents were meant originally to protect intellectual property rights and thereby to encourage innovation. Today, more often than not, I think it has the opposite effect.

Patents are especially destructive in the area of medical technology -- and affect even the work and research done by universities. But, hey, what's a little death from disease compared to the need for a pharmaceutical company's need for more profit?