The International Trade Commission said Tuesday that AT&T versions of Apple's iPhone 3GS and 4, and 3G-equipped models of iPad and iPad 2, infringe on a Samsung patent covering cellular technology. The ITC issued a limited order barring those devices from being sold in the U.S. Apple has already said it plans to appeal the decision, which it can do via the federal courts or a direct appeal to the White House.
No Impact At All
Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet summed things up in a statement to AllThingsD
, saying, "Today's decision has no impact on the availability of Apple products
in the United States." Samsung spokesperson Adam Yates countered with a statement that included this gem: “We believe the ITC’s Final Determination has confirmed Apple’s history of free-riding on Samsung’s technological innovations.”
Just as a ban on devices that account for little of Apple's current business won't change anything, neither did the "I'm Sorry," newspaper ads nor the $1 billion judgement Samsung is still appealing. The so-called consequences levied by courts and trade commissions have done nothing but chew up legal-system resources, give the media something to write about and keep both companies' legal teams busy.
When Giants Battle, The Little Guy Loses
The company's woes are due as much to branding misfires (gone is last year's "Quietly Brilliant" slogan) and a lack of financial muscle to compete with Apple and Samsung's marketing departments. But getting caught in Apple legal's crosshairs certainly didn't help.
Executive Order To End Patent Wars?
Reaction to President Obama's recommendations from the tech community has been mixed at best
. Perhaps that's because patent-related issues have become an annoying thorn in the side of a community that thrives on lightning-paced innovation.
Patent trolls are just that, trolls. And despite their protestations, it seems clear that the big-name patent wars have become a little more than an expensive sideshow leeching the lifeblood out of industry while doing little to actually protect inventors. Apple, Samsung and the rest are spending billions of dollars and untold hours fighting in courtrooms and arguing over newspaper apologies. Wouldn't those resources be better directed towards innovation?