Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Let Me Teach You About this Thing Called “Context”

I get that Mike Masnick is just baiting for clicks, but that doesn’t excuse such blatant stupidity. First:

He compared patent infringement to signing one’s name on a painting that someone else put energy into finishing. Cook stressed the importance of companies building their own stuff so that Apple would not be “the developer for the rest of the world.”

Kinda like, you know, how Apple “signed its name” to the graphical user interface developed at Xerox PARC? Or the mouse developed at SRI?

When you use the PARC or SRI comparison, you’ve lost. It’s like Godwin’s Law, but for tech.

Of course, then Walt Mossberg brings up the fact that Apple is, in fact, the target of many patent lawsuits as well… and suddenly Cook’s tone changes, insisting that those cases are different:

“The vast majority of those are on standards-essential patents,” he said, adding that it’s an area where today’s patent system is “broken.”

Now, to some extent he’s correct that patent battles over “standards-essential” patents are particularly nefarious, but it still seems like quite the double standard to insist that the patents that Apple has asserted against various makers of Android tablets and smartphones aren’t equally silly and destructive to basic market competition.

Equating trade dress patents with those for standards-essential practices is twisting facts so blatantly that any editor should have spotted this. Apple, understandably, doesn’t want other companies making products that look like knockoffs of their own. However, these patents are not essential to connecting to a cell network, for example. That’s the difference.

Masnick seems to think that equating the two isn’t an issue. I think it’s obviously disingenuous.