The iPhone Has Very Little New Technology: So Why Does Apple Need 200 Patents? - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile
Commentary
2/20/2007
02:53 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
Commentary
50%
50%

The iPhone Has Very Little New Technology: So Why Does Apple Need 200 Patents?

Mike Masnick over at Techdirt picks up the old invention vs. innovation debate and how it applies to the iPhone. So, does that mean that Apple's 200 patents surrounding the iPhone are unnecessary? Or even unjustified?

Mike Masnick over at Techdirt picks up the old invention vs. innovation debate and how it applies to the iPhone. So, does that mean that Apple's 200 patents surrounding the iPhone are unnecessary? Or even unjustified?According to Masnick's line of argument, invention is the process of actually developing something novel and completely new. On the other hand, innovation is the process of taking a new (or existing) technology and making it useful for the public.

Apple under the leadership of Steve Jobs has been a leader in innovation. Apple didn't invent the MP3 player; they just innovated it and made it mainstream. Ditto with the Mac and graphical user interfaces. Apple is incredibly good at making technology chic, easy, and, most importantly, fun-to-use.

So what about those 200 patents? Does Apple's success at innovation give it the right to patent all this innovation of existing technology? Critics of the U.S. intellectual property law system would argue no. They claim that the rewards of the market -- i.e. strong product sales -- are incentive enough.

Others would claim that both inventors and innovators need patents to give them a profit incentive to invent or innovate. Without these patents, competitors would quickly copy the new ideas and steal any reward the industrious pioneers might have seized from their hard work.

Going further, some defenders of the current patent process would go so far to argue that it is nearly impossible to distinguish between invention and innovation, at least from the perspective of the market.

What do you think? Even if a piece of technology isn't really new, does a company have the right to patent it?

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Slideshows
IT Leadership: 10 Ways to Unleash Enterprise Innovation
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/8/2021
Commentary
Preparing for the Upcoming Quantum Computing Revolution
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  6/3/2021
News
How SolarWinds Changed Cybersecurity Leadership's Priorities
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/26/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll