Apple has just gotten the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10 inch tablet, an arguably superior tablet to the iPad2, banned for sale in most of Europe. Apple lawyers went to Germany, known for being friendly to intellectual property (IP) holders, to ask for a ban on Galaxy Tab sales and the court’s agreement to ban the Samsung device means that most of the EU will follow suit, costing Samsung the momentum they’ve been enjoying with their Ipad competitor and perhaps destroying their chance to eat into Apple’s iPad based profits
The worst part of this situation is that Samsung didn’t even get a chance to plead their side of the case. They will in time, of course, but then it will be too late no matter what the courts decide. This use of lawyers and spurious intellectual property claims to destroy potentially superior competitors sounds a lot like Apple’s nemesis Microsoft.
It’s debatable whether Jobs ever had a soul, but it looks like Apple as a company has sacrificed its collective soul to the god of ultimate profit. It’s days like today when I feel almost ashamed to use my Macs. Still, there’s hope in that either:
a. Jobs will retire and a more ethical, more human CEO will lead Apple back to its roots as a company that stands or falls on great engineering rather than lawsuits.
b. The United States and other nations will get so tired of parasitic IP companies that produce nothing and large companies stifling smaller ones with lawsuits that they reform the IP laws to ban software patents entirely and limit other copyright and patents to a reasonable term and breadth of coverage.
We are so far from the point where IP laws stimulate competition and protect the rights of inventors to profit from their work that it’s time to start over with the idea of supporting innovation in the modern world.