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Judge in Apple patent case says patent system is a mess

Judge Richard Posner, last seen dismissing an Apple-Motorola patent dispute with prejudice, has added some more thoughts to the current state of the patent system through an interview with Reuters’s Dan Levine. Among other things, Posner questions whether the tech industry even needs software patents at all in order to thrive. According to Levine, Posner thinks that tech companies don’t have as strong a claim as other industries to having patents since “advances in software and other industries cost much less” than, say, research and development for pharmaceuticals. What’s more, Posner believes tech companies that are first to market with important new innovations will get richly rewarded for their work even if other companies work to copy them shortly after. Finally, Posner contends that there are so many components to smartphone technology that having each individual feature such as a slide-to-unlock system patented simply clogs the courts with endless litigation that doesn’t benefit consumers or the industry. “It’s not clear that we really need patents in most industries,” Judge Posner said.


Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.