#BoycottApple, or should it really be #DefendInnovation?
Millions of Samsung and Google Android users are up in arms about the recent court injunctions that ban the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus phone in the United States. In addition, another ban was set pre-trial on the Samsung Galaxy tablet. The bans have moved many to ask for a boycott of Apple, who is suing Samsung for patent infringment causing the bans.]
The court decision was just made on Friday, and it became a hot topic this weekend on Twitter and Google+ with the hashtag #BoycottApple.
To be exact, Apple is suing Samsung over four wide ranging patents. One of which is the “unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image”, hence the Slide to Unlock image pictured inset. Yes, Apple has patented such a basic concept that has upset many including myself. Listed below are the four patents that Apple is sueing over:
U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647 on a “system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data.”
U.S. Patent No. 8,086,604 on a “universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system” a patent related to Siri and unified search.
U.S. Patent No. 8,046,721 on “unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image” - yes that’s right if you have to slide to unlock a device then you are infringing this patent.
U.S. Patent No. 8,074,172 on a “method, system, and graphical user interface for providing word recommendations”, i.e. autocomplete.
I tend to agree with the commonsense logic here, and even though I love Apple, I find it to be complete bullshit that Apple is bringing Samsung’s production and sales to a complete halt over ridiculous claims. But this is the patent system, and Apple is within their rights to exercise them, and herein lies the problem - the patent system is broken.
Which brings me to the point of this article. The #BoycottApple movement is pretty lame. We need to think of this with a bigger picture in mind. Apple is not the first nor the last to use patents as a way to stop or slow competition. The are actually hundreds of these cases, all by big name companies like Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, HTC, Microsoft, Google and more, way more. So like the old saying goes: “Don’t point your finger at me, because when you do, you have four more pointing back at you.”
It’s not time to boycott Apple, it’s time defend innnovation. It’s time to fix the patent system. EFF is trying to help with this, and put up seven reasons on how to change the patent system for the better, and also added a signature list to defendinnovation.org to compile to take to Congress to make the changes happen - be part of the solution and not the problem, and help take a stand.