U.S. Judge Calls Patents a "Problem"
Richard Posner, who recently voiced his concerns about patents and chastised Apple and Motorola in a patent case, considers patents for most industries potentially unnecessary and, in the way they are currently leveraged, a "problem."
Posner is a unique personality in the U.S. Justice system today. As a member of the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, he has been the most vocal judge against an apparent abuse of the legal system by companies to gain an advantage over their rivals. Posner described the process to Reuters as a "constant struggle for survival" and as a "jungle" environment in which "animals will use all the means at their disposal, all their teeth and claws that are permitted by the ecosystem."
However, he noted that while some industries (such as pharmaceuticals) can protect their staggering investments in product development with patents, software companies and gadget makers have much lower investment volumes. He said that the technology industry's "high profits and volatility made patent litigation attractive for companies looking to wound competitors," Firstpost wrote.
“It's not clear that we really need patents in most industries," Posner told Reuters. "You just have this proliferation of patents. It's a problem." Patent infringement claims have become a competitive tool, as opposed to a tool to protect actual innovation. Referring to Apple's claims, he said that patent litigation is "a small expense for them." On the note of him throwing out the case between Motorola and Apple, Posner said that he "didn't think [he] could have a trial just for fun.”