U.S. Judge Calls Patents 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.”

  • memadmax
    About damn time someone starts speaking up about this...
  • tntom
    Finally! I don't want to takes sides nor am I qualified to, but I have grown wearisome of all the conflict. Most of the lawyers I know are upset that something as dignified as the courtroom has been turned into a childish playground by lawyers who are greedy and lack ethic. It is nice to hear some public discussion on this from someone who really knows what he is talking about. But his remarks make it sound too complicated for either a simple or complex solution as who would know where to set the boundaries.
  • friskiest
    Patent trolling,. Until there's enough political will to demolish or at least revise the patent system,. it'll be hard NOT to find trolls trolling others.

  • -Jackson
    Finally, someone who isn't a zombified moron.
  • NightLight
    give that man a sigar!
  • Kami3k
    *Sets up shrine to Richard Posner*
  • DroKing
    Took this long? It's been problematic for how long? tooo fcking long. You old farts are sucking up to much of our taxes for what sitting on yall fat asses acting all wise? disgusting judges.
  • Pinhedd
    There are no problems with patents, there are problems with how easily some patents are given out. Patents may put Google and Apple at each other's throat but at the same time they also keep less remarkable companies from simply reverse engineering someone else's work and bypassing the R&D costs completely.
  • K2N hater
    Patenting pharmaceuticals should be forbidden in 1st place. It's not about hindering technology in its advance but depriving billions from the latest and most effective treatments. Several treatments cost more than it takes to build a house... a month.

    Yes, patents are a cancer indeed.
  • wopr11
    About time judges start speaking about the abusive and criminal patent abuse of companies like apple.
    I wonder if we will ever get to see when all those criminals get put into jail.