Monday, August 27, 2012

Apple Wins, Consumers Lose

Unless you were lost in the wilderness for the last few weeks, you know that Apple, Inc. won, for the most part, a landmark case against Samsung Electronics. If you were lost, however, you would have a greater appreciation for the meaning of 'landmark'. I wonder why most of our terms describing something important or monumental come from the earth. Landmark, milestone, watershed, even turning point hearken to nature rather than consumer electronics. Hmm?

I know much less than the jury so I have no comment on the outcome of the case, but I'm surprised by some of the fallout rhetoric. There's a lot of "possibly a loss for consumers" being written. Possibly, yes.

Of course looting, illegal downloads, and insurance fraud are big wins for consumers also. In the hierarchy of important activities, consumerism, in my humble opinion, may not rank as high as we sometimes make it out to be. Certainly below truth, justice, and the American Way. Wait, the American Way?…that is consumerism. A win for consumers may even be an oxymoron, like military intelligence, rise from the dead, and guest host. Perhaps we need some losses for consumers. Maybe that is why we have words like landmark, watershed and turning point.

As I read this over, I see it could be construed as some kind of surreptitious promotion of Apple and their case. My intention was simply using the case to say something about consumerism. My view of the case is a trite view that we must seek a middle ground between "standing on the shoulders of giants" and stealing.


Ted said...

This is how environmentalists should approach global warming: Consumers lose the big one (their planet)

James R said...


Big Myk said...

Isn't the real story here the one about U.S. patent law? I confess that I know next to nothing about patent law; I never even took a course in intellectual property in law school. But I find somewhat troubling the idea that one can patent a very ordinary shape. I mean, how inventive is a rectangle with rounded corners?

I've read stuff across the board on this. On the one hand, some commentators are saying that this verdict is the result of short-staffed, overworked patent office personnel who end up patenting everything. On the other hand, I read that the verdict was right on the money: Samsung was unable to produce a single phone that looked anything like the iPhone before the iPhone came out.

Of course, this case is just a skirmish in the war between Samsung and Apple. There are 50 cases pending in over 10 countries. One thing we can be sure of: there is a small army of attorneys out there making a whole lot of money.