Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Samsung’s move to have iPhone 4S sales banned in Australia and Japan is just the latest battle in the patent war between Apple and Samsung. It follows the EU's banning of the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab (on hold for now). The war highlights the sorry state of the world’s patent laws...

The Apple/Samsung patent war is an example of patents at their worst. There’s a big deadweight loss associated with lawsuits and restrictions on commerce. And most of the challenges are completely spurious – should Apple really “own” the pattern of a four-column grid of apps on a tablet home screen, or the concept of a rectangular tablet computer? Apple and Samsung have created enormous value to a huge number of people, but in this case they're acting against consumer choice. Like blaming gravity for plane crashes or greed for financial crises, it's silly to blame the firms themselves. Fundamentally, it's the patent system that's at fault.

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