UK judge orders Apple to create an ad campaign aimed at dispelling the notion that Samsung violated iPad copyrights

Is this a clear indication that current copyright / patent laws are encouraging a “race to the bottom” of sorts?  

Like something straight out of the “Twilight Zone”, Apple is being ordered to spend money on advertising which will bring them absolutely no benefit whatsoever. The judge in question, Colin Birss, threw down this ruling in order to apparently help counteract any previewed damage that Apples patent infringement claims might have had on sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab.

There are most definitely two sides to this story and two distinct viewpoints that one can take as well. On one hand, being forced to run a negative ad campaign against oneself could be viewed as wholly counterintuitive to the notion of business in general, and it certainly is a bit of a strange punishment when you think about it. If Apple was simply exercising its right to engage in free speech, then it seems somewhat draconian to force them to dispel their own feelings, wouldn’t you agree? However, Apple also could be considered to be something of a monopoly in the tech world and if their share prices are any indication, they’re certainly not hurting when it comes to funding. So, you might also view this debacle from the other side of the table; Apple as the big bad bully, who uses its power and influence to derail all competition.

Arguably, the truth lies somewhere in between these two viewpoints. Certainly Apple has a disproportionate level of influence and market control, no one in their right mind would dispute that. But don’t get the wrong idea, there’s a reason for their success, they’re truly a remarkable company (however as some people have pointed out, there is a sort of “cult-like” social web that’s been spun around them as well; take that however you like). Likewise, it’s pretty obvious that Samsung most likely co-opted elements of Apple’s iPad in the creation of their own device. They say that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, so really, Apple should be at least somewhat flattered that virtually every other tech company on the planet is apt to mimic them in various ways.

When other companies copy Apple’s productions / designs, they are reaping the benefits of perhaps years of production and millions of dollars which were invested to arrive at a finished product (without having to do the work). In other words, in some small way, Apple’s claims are also justified because every imitator coming onto the market is indirectly siphoning funds out of their potential profit margin.

The point is, this is not simply a “cut and dry” issue, if anything, it highlights the reality of serious problems with the patent and copyright system which must be resolved or it might actually begin to affect technological development. Just think about it, the current system is apparently inhibiting growth while at the same time allowing imitators to (at the very least) ride the coat tails of innovators without having to pay the piper for the trip. If this kind of behavior is allowed to continue on, many organizations will undoubtedly come to the conclusion that it is more “economically and fiscally sound” to simply wait until other institutions do all the work and then merely duplicate and reproduce a facsimile of their finished design(s). This is a perfect demonstration of a situation that could surface from current copyright / patent laws with regards to emerging tech devices and software.

When you look at the big picture, ongoing technological development and innovation on the global scale is much more important than the mere diversity in the markets. In other words, we should be pushing for imitators to build, or add to innovations as opposed to merely copying them; in those types of cases, no patent laws are violated because it’s an “improved design” which we’re speaking of. Simply creating “watered-down” versions of inventions serves no other purpose than to flood the market with cheaper imitations which will likely do nothing aside from force technological innovators into a “race to the bottom” bottleneck. The point is, this is the kind of paradigm we need to avoid promoting on a cultural level (if we want to continue to grow or evolve, that is).

At the very least, you would assume that Apple has the right to state their opinions openly to the world. If they’re being forced to negatively label themselves in an effort to dispel their true feelings we aren’t really talking about openness or progress are we? While Samsung might feel as though they are having a true “Robin Hood” moment, the fact is that they were not the first company out of the gate with this particular device concept. Regardless of whatever happens, Samsung is still going to make a bundle with the Galaxy Tab; in this way, they are still winners apart from any type of negative outcome. Apple however, is the pioneer here and stands to lose the most ground.

Side Note* Is Your Organization (and IT department) prepared for the ongoing Global Cloud Computing Adoption?  
To say that the world is embracing cloud computing is an understatement. Every single day the overall number of institutions, businesses and governments using cloud computing technologies increases. Individuals too have long since been swept up into the cloud by means of email, social media sites and services like Youtube, etc… Then, once you factor in the immense push toward tablets, it’s glaringly obvious that cloud computing clearly seems to be on its way “in” while traditional computing and IT seems to be on its way “out”. This of course highlights an important point for all businesses and organizations who rely on IT services, and that is how well prepared they are to incorporate and use cloud computing. Today’s businesses need IT workers who are certified and/or trained in cloud computing, nearly all trending experts seem to be in agreement about this. Luckily, it’s not expensive or time consuming to pursue and can be largely achieved via the internet.

Click here for information about Cloud Computing E-learning.

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