by Mike Masnick
Wed, Apr 8th 2009 11:07pm
Steve Jobs definitely invited it in hyping up the fact that the iPhone was covered by 200 patents, but it seems like every other week or so, we hear about yet another firm suing Apple for violating its patents with the iPhone. Apple has been sued over the iPhone over and over and over and over and over again. And now it's happened yet again. People talk about how every high tech product today is likely to violated hundreds, if not thousands, of patents, and the iPhone seems to be on its way to proving that point. At some point, doesn't someone realize how this highlights how much patents hinder innovation? It's the tragedy of the anti-commons, where any innovation today seems to require paying hundreds to thousands of tollbooths. It drives up the cost of innovation, almost always consisting of situations where the patent in question was not relied on for the newer innovation at all. It's a flat-out negative cost to society, which is the exact opposite of what the patent system is supposed to encourage.
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