This looks more like a religious debate, than a true conversation regarding the merits of patents. There are those on both sides battling it out and trying to convince the other side that their Deity is the true one. Holy war…
This really does not accomplish very much and leads to name calling on both sides.
The patent war that is currently going on between Apple and Google (Mostly Samsung and Motorola, but only because they are selling the most devices) does not benefit the consumers of their products any more than the 7 figure salaries of their executives benefit us. The purpose is not about protecting intellectual property, but rather it is to stifle the competition and maintain the high levels of profit they currently receive. You do not need to take my word for this as you can read the opinion of US judge Richard Posner here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/05/us-apple-google-judge-idUSBRE8640IQ20120705
The patent system is definitely flawed as is the rest of our legal system. Anyone who believes there are no innocents in Jail may be interested in purchasing a certain bridge that’s up for saleJ. Rather than fighting amongst ourselves we should be taking the large corporations to task for the high prices they charge and the HUGE profits they make and use (lawsuits) to hurt the competition, which would inevitably lead to even higher prices and less innovation for us consumers, once the competition has been killed.
None of us are to blame for this. We are only listening to the words of those (corporations) that DO NOT care about us. The execs only care about whether they get the $10M bonus instead of $5M if they are successful in stopping the completion. We can’t really be that naïve… I most certainly do not believe in the trickledown effect.
So, let’s face some facts:
1) Apple is an innovator in GUI design
2) Google is an innovator in search algorithms
3) Android development began in 2003.
4) IOS and Android, while having similarities are different. Android was initially released as a multitasking OS with widgets, not just icons.
The patent for unified search was applied for in 2004, which is the same year that Google released “desktop search” which is a unified search function. At the time that Apple applied for the patent they did not have any devices that used it.
The computer industry moves very quickly and things change in a very short period of time. If I were Google and I just saw the iPhone, the best I could do if I were to copy it, would be to release a product a year later (possibly more, I’m not sure about how long it takes to design and manufacture a product start to finish) that mimicked last year’s tech…
Here is a video from 1994 that shows a tablet that looks about as similar to an iPad as the galaxy tab is: http://www.androidauthority.com/apple-samsung-patent-war-69575/
Let’s take the Automobile industry as an example. What if Ford had patented the round wheel and no other Auto manufacture could copy that. Do you think that would have benefited us (the consumers) in any way? Would we have benefited by either having to only drive Ford autos, or be forced to drive a car with square wheels if we didn’t like Ford? How about the rectangular windshield with rounded corners. Would you care to drive a car with an oval windshield? ABS was invented by Mercedes. Do you wish that no one else could offer antilock brakes?
Fact is the Americans stayed ahead of the competition by truly innovating, not by suing everyone else into oblivion. The Japanese started by copying us and building cheaper cars, but that is not the reason we failed. We failed because we let the accountants take over and let our quality lag, while that Japanese got better each year until they passed us by. The Koreans saw this and started out the same way the Japanese did, by building cheap cars. Now look at them, they are pretty close to the quality of the Japanese cars. If you look very closely you will see that the Japanese did not make the same mistake we did. They continued to innovate and still build the most reliable cars. If they hadn’t they would be in the same position we put ourselves into in the 80’s. We learned from our mistakes and are building quality autos again, but it took us a long time to recover from our mistake.
Looking at copying, patent infringement, and Automobiles, leads us to the Honda CR-V. It is so popular in China that several companies made almost exact duplicates. Yes, Honda tried the lawsuit game, but found that it didn’t work very well in China. The fact of the matter is that while the copycat’s may have looked the same, there was garbage under the skin and Honda was not really hurt by this, since their product was of a much higher quality.
My point here is that rather than spending huge sums of money on lawyers, our interest and the interests of both Apple and Google would be to continue to create great products and have some healthy competition in order to give us (the consumers) options and keep the big guys at least a little bit honest. There will always be some similarities between one smart phone OS and another, as well as one Tablet OS and another. Is that really a bad thing for us?