“I think Florian Mueller has got it exactly right just here,” Tim Worstall writes for Forbes. “The whole point of the Apple v Samsung patents case (perhaps we should say cases) is that imitation is an entirely viable and profitable business strategy.”
“So, someone discovers something, invents something, and this is good. We’ve found a better way of doing something. At first sight we might then think that everyone copying them is just fine. For everyone is now using this new and better method: we’re all better off. However, here’s where the problem comes in. That first person, the inventor, has made some effort,” Worstall writes. “That effort has cost them time, effort and money. But because everyone can immediately copy her she cannot make any profit out of that effort expended.”
“Given that people often do (not always, but often) things in the hope of future profit this means that we think that there will be less effort devoted to invention than we might like,” Worstall writes. “Thus we stick a spanner to that copying machine. We give the first inventors an exclusive right over their inventions for some period of years. Not for all time, because we do indeed agree that at some point other people should be able to copy this lovely new method. But for some years so that we encourage people to do that new invention stuff to the benefit of us all. As Mueller says, imitation is a very effective business strategy, one that can rack up very large profits. This is precisely the point of intellectual property law, to make sure that pure imitation is not actually used as such a profitable business strategy.”
Read more in the full article here.
Samsung to face allegations of copying Apple once again at next month’s damages retrial – October 19, 2013