from the of-course-it-was dept
The latest news is that, upon re-exam, the Patent Office has now rejected all 21 claims in Apple's infamous "pinch to zoom" 7,844,915 patent. Apple and patent enthusiasts will rightly point out that this is just the first step in the process -- Apple still can and will appeal, and it's very likely that the Patent Office will eventually allow some (perhaps modified) form of the patent to live on. However, since that is one of the patents involved in the Apple/Samsung patent fight, at best this creates even more confusion, since no one knows what that patent will eventually look like. This makes the problem of defining the "boundaries" of what a patent covers even more ridiculous. We already know that so many patents are written broadly, and in a somewhat indecipherable manner, such that they can be applied broadly. But when the boundaries are also subject to the whim of whoever's desk it lands on, it suggests a real problem with the system. We shouldn't be handing out massive monopolies, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, based on the arbitrary judgment of some random patent examiner, when it appears that there is no objective standard at all, but rather a series of (historically bad) guesses. That's no way to build an innovative economy.