Intellectual Property Rights at Work

August 19th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

Marvin Gaye’s family claims that “Blurred Lines“is too similar to Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” and is attempting to extort money from Robin Thicke. In a bold move Mr. Thicke has filed a preemptive lawsuit in the hopes that the court will rule in his favor. Take a listen for yourself:

Marvin Gaye:

Robin Thicke:

While one cannot deny that there is a similarity they are clearly different songs. Robin Thicke was almost certainly influenced by the original work but that does not give the Mr. Gaye’s heirs the right exert control over the derivative work. Whether you think this is an isolated case of fair use or you believe, as I do, that Everything is a Remix I don’t see how one can argue that Mr. Thicke owes anything but appreciation. Even if you don’t care for the song surely society is better off when artists can create new material without having to worry about being sued.

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Apple v. Samsung : We all lose

August 27th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Matt Drance is spot on in his analysis of the Apple v. Samsung case. This is what he wrote shortly before the verdict and I couldn’t agree more.

Most importantly, this case brings the ever-brewing controversy of software patents further into the spotlight. Apple’s case is far from patent trolling, but I do worry about the precedent it could set. If a verdict is reached, lawyers and judges across the country will surely look back to this case repeatedly during their own.

I must admit I’m uncomfortable with the idea that the world’s largest corporation, whatever its name, could be given such a big stick as early as this week. However the verdict falls, I feel like there are no winners here in the long term — certainly not us. Maybe that’s why Judge Koh has been begging for a settlement.

I can’t begrudge Apple for taking Samsung to court but their win is yet another example of how broken our patent system is. Compare any Samsung phone to the iPhone and you will see that despite their best attempts to copy Apple their product is inferior. The implementation of an idea is, in the end, far more important than the inspiration.

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The Samsung Galaxy S III: The First Smartphone Designed Entirely By Lawyers

May 7th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I only skimmed the article but their premise that their new Galaxy S was designed to avoid copyright infringement seems plausible. I take issue with their final conclusion however.

When Apple started patent trolling, they basically admitted they weren’t going to win in an open market, and they decided to drag Samsung down with them. The crazy thing is, Samsung is letting them. They’ve ceded ownership of the rectangle and other common sense design traits to Apple, and did everything they could to bow down to their largest customer.
The result? A phone designed by lawyers. What a scary precedent.

To me the fact that this phone is so ugly says more about Samsung’s inability to innovate than it does about Apple’s patent trolling. Take away everything from the Galaxy S II that Apple is complaining about1 and the Galaxy S III is what you have left.

  1. I won’t get into the merits of their complaint. I believe we need some serious patent reform and I have little faith that Tim Cook and I would agree how far it needs to go. []
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