Share this Story

Judge Who Threw Out Motorola V. Apple Thinks We Don’t Even Need Software Patents

One of the best things about this ongoing patent war between every mobile phone company in the business, is that it’s finally starting to attract attention to how crazy it is all getting. Judge Richard Posner recently threw a case out of his court that involved Motorola and Apple and did so with a little bit of a flair. Luckily for us, Posner is one of the most respected Judges in the States right now, and he has started to put his mind behind this whole patent system. 

Posner recently sat down for an interview after being thrust into the spotlight after his decision on Moto v. Apple. Posner has been seen by many in his field as a visionary rather than following the rules as they state. This outlook is what causes him to think critically about cases and come up with thoughts like “most industries don’t need patents.” Posner said that in the smartphone industry, patents are “a problem. You just have this proliferation of patents.”

Posner doesn’t think that patents should be eradicated all out, only in some industries. He says that in the pharmaceutical industry, companies stand to lose huge investments in successful drugs if patents aren’t regulated. Software advancements cost much less to make, and companies gain more by being first to market with those advancements; something that would still be true even without patents.

Posner said that he was looking forward to presiding over the case of Moto and Apple, but ended up having to throw the case out anyway. “I didn’t think I could have a trial just for fun,” he said. It should also be noted that Posner accepted an upgrade to an iPhone recently, but said in his interview “I’m not actually that interested in becoming part of the smartphone generation,” and that he only uses it to check email and call his wife.

The Judge seems to be onto something here. Having such a highly respected person to speak those thoughts certainly helps too, the question is: will there be a change any time soon? With the ban of the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Tab 10.1 still fresh in everyone’s memory we will have to wait and see.

Via: Reuters

  • Ali husain

    Fantastic Excellent. My best friend’s sister-in-law brought in $19426 the prior week. All she did was get fortunate and follow the instructions exposed on this web site http://Run16.com. Go there and accept any offer.

  • Smart Man

    Don’t bite the apple! Look what it did to Snow White…

  • Roger

    Hey, I don’t mean to be off topic, but doesn’t this guy look like Larry David from curb your enthusiasm?

  • GotNitro

    Is that Larry David?

  • CollinR4

    He posted these pictures in the opinion on a case he presided over. I think that says it all.http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/posner_opinion_includes_ostrich_photo_to_portray_lawyers_who_ignore_precede/

  • Guest__Comment

    If I’m the first person to add a certain feature to my software… can no one else in the world ever write THEIR OWN CODE to have the same feature in their software?

    I think the key is the wording “write THEIR OWN CODE”.

    They can’t STEAL my actual code. But should they NEVER be allowed to write their own code either?

    • Tyler Chappell

      The problem is, that with the way software works and how it basically follows a set of rules, it is way too easy for two software developers on opposite ends of the world to actually write the same code, even without having ever seen each other’s That’s just the way it is, certain variable names and method names etc may be different, even though they perform the exact same function. This is why software absolutely shouldnt be patented, maybe if someone comes up with a brand new software language, that might be a different story, but when you’re a programmer trying to get things done through code, the most efficient ways will usually be pretty damn similar.

  • kidheated

    Posner’s on fire!

  • Freaky Joe Bob Obama

    Wow a Judge who is not a Technology Moron. I would have never guessed you could find such a person

  • just need him as attorney general

  • Jack Coleman

    Apple wouldn’t have to fall back on all their patents if they actually innovated something once in a while.

  • MooleyBooleyTroll

    Now if he could force Samsung to put decent radios in their phones we’d be set 🙂

  • Gav456

    Apple are reducing innovation by holding Google back on the most insignificant of stuff while at the same time ripping off major aspects of the android OS: sueing over “Swype to unlock” then poaching the whole notification system. Jobs’s whole “thermonuclear” campaign has gone on long enough… Apple was built on lies and stolen technology and they have always been top dog in the smartphone race and never batted an eyelid at android until it became popular, now that they are losing out, they whine like children. Apple aren’t losing out, the end users are!

  • I agree with him. More innovation

  • Bob Martin

    Posner is my hero. Google should hire him to get the Nexus back in stores

  • EvanTheGamer

    See…this Judge…this Judge knows WTF he’s talking about versus that chick Judge that doesn’t even know what planet she’s on.

  • Realistic87


  • teejaycard

    Are other companies doing this? Suing each other of ridiculous things? Is Lg suing Panasonic over some tv specs in their remote controls? Are microwave companies going head to head in court over the rotating tray?? It’s tech that’s out there and should be shared by all regardless of who came up with it first. If it helps the world grow who cares! People are going to pick one device over the other because of pure preference, that or because their brainwashed into thinking there’s nothing better. Either way everyone’s making money right? Companies should be happy people pick their product over others because it’s what they want, not because there’s no other option.

    • mustbepbs

      Good point on the microwave.

      I love me them rotating trays.

    • NeedName

      Most tech companies do “share” and cross license. . . until cr*pple came into the mobile arena that is. You know. . . once they make their knock off product in a new category they believe they are the only company that should be able to make a product for that category from then on. . . .

      Prior to apple doing their “we need injunctive relief” routine the worst you would get is some license extortionism form the likes of IBM, MS, etc. . . cr*pple brings a whole new level of douche-baggery

  • Jeff Tycz

    IMO apple is ruining it for everyone, I do believe there still should be software patents but they have to be extremely specific and not just a general idea such as the searching 2 places at once from a single unified search. There are times where a software patent is justified

    • Bob Martin

      the idea of patenting technology is stupid. It would be like if Chevy patented wheels. Or Ford patented engines. Technology will only grow and improve if more developers have access to it.

      • Jeff Tycz

        but thats what im saying, you cannot patent something so general, no they should not be able to patent a wheel but if they created a wheel that was truly revolutionary and the patent application itself was so specific with details on how it works and you copied that then yes you should be able to sue. That will not stop innovation because another company can see the patent, improve on it and not get sued because it is not the same thing

      • Guest

        Karl Benz had patent on the internal combustion engine, if you think patents on such stuff never existed thats just plain ignorant. The patents just holds for a limeted time to get others a chanse to compete. The difference her is that technology moves too fast for anyone to have a 3-5 year patent, maybe a mounth at most. That would probably earn you enought lead.

    • Brent Stewart

      Agreed with Bob Martin. Technology patents stifle innovation. Technology is evolutionary. Every innovation is built off of other innovations. If every idea gets patented then someone like Apple can come along, claim firsties, and not share. Then where will tech go? Nowhere. Tech needs to be set free, free of innovation stifling patents.

      • TheWenger

        Well when Apple is considered to be the innovators of the world, why do they need to share? I mean literally every good thing in technology came from Apple.

        • wait… what?… I dont get it. I know that has to be a joke…

        • Andrew Horton

          except for notification bar, right? That came from android… 😛

          • Andrew Horton

            it’s so good that they’re putting it on their computers… But I suppose Apple didn’t copy this from android… they created it… HAHA, yeah right!

  • This man deserves a million dollars.

  • jonny6pak

    Judge Posner is awesome. I had to read a number of his court opinions in law school and they were usually enjoyable in the academic sense. I especially love that he actually writes his own opinions rather than having a law clerk do all the work.

  • bob martin

    but if they stop allowing software patents apple would go out of business.one can only hope. posner for president

  • Robert Jakiel

    Good to see someone in the justice system that has common sense. Here’s hoping that other judges throughout all the courts use his example and start tossing these BS patent suits out. Maybe Lucy Koh can learn something from him?

  • RedPandaAlex

    I’ve long held that software should be protected by copyright of the code, not by patents for features.

    • As a developer I strongly agree with this. My favorite example of why we should not be able to patent it is eHarmony’s patent on user match up. (I wont go into it but it basically is the subtraction of two arrays)

      Also I have never met a developer who for a living writes code who believes he should be able to patent what he does.

    • Andrew Horton

      I partly agree… But code is like an ‘alphabet’ for writing software… Sometimes the easiest way to write code might duplicate another’s code… I don’t understand the point of a company being able to copyright writing code. If it’s direct copy and paste, and looks the same ‘on screen’ sure… I think as long as the implementation ‘on screen’ is different, it shouldn’t matter.

  • “I’m not actually that interested in becoming part of the smartphone generation”

    That’s what everyone says.

    • Some people mean it, this guy looks like he means it. Plus, he’s like old and stuff.

  • RedPandaAlex

    Can we get this guy in charge of all the patent suits?

  • He has a blog, BTW, that he writes on with his UC colleague Gary Becker: http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

  • I like no nonsense judges.

  • Could you imagine if software patents were completely eliminated. Apple would explode.

    • Robert Jakiel

      Yeah and it would be funny as hell too. A company as large as Apple resorting to becoming a patent troll in order to stay relevant all of a sudden having most of their relevance deemed null and moot. One can only hope.

  • Alex

    “he only uses it to check email and call his wife.”

    what a motorola ceo thinks- someone look for angry birds on the iphone… ill be in the bathroom.

    • Alex

      and yes… posner ftw

  • Ubi2447

    I agree with him completely.

  • Liderc

    I’m glad to see a older individual understanding the importance of getting this problem figured out. As most don’t seem to comprehend the ramifications that these patent bans can stifle future advancement of technology.

  • Good to see there was a adult in the court room that day.

    • ChristopherLeMeilleur

      Interesting that he has an iPhone. Guess they can’t call him biased now can they?

      • Blood

        Yea, good thing he’s not bias like that b*tch judge who owns Apple stock and has an iPhone.

        • What now? A judge who owns Apple stock presided over an Apple patent case? That is definitely a conflict of interest.

          • notice how the injunction came right after Google I/O? This was planned all along, and the judge was in on it.

          • mustbepbs

            /tinfoilhat -tighten

        • kixofmyg0t

          Proof? This could be huge…..

          • ChristopherLeMeilleur

            I sure would love to know, but I don’t think there’s any proof of this claim.

      • An iPhone user who still uses his brain, whodathunkit.

        • Not an iPhone user.

          • ChristopherLeMeilleur

            From article: It should also be noted that Posner accepted an upgrade to an iPhone recently, but said in his interview ”I’m not actually that interested in becoming part of the smartphone generation,” and that he only uses it to check email and call his wife.

          • I realize he is an iPhone user I was saying that the person who would have thought an iPhone user uses his brain would not have been an iPhone users.
            tl;dr I was making a joke

          • TheWenger

            Too deep man.

          • EvanTheGamer

            Then why the hell couldn’t he have just got a BlackBerry like the rest of his fellow lawyers and judges? I mean, COME ON! To become a lawyer OR judge, you must own a Blackberry! It’s the rule of thumb.

          • firant

            Well … (a) he’s not a politician, Posner is a federal appellate judge. He has a guaranteed job for life and is immune from any act of congress that would even so much as decrease his salary. (b) he’s been on the bench since before cell phones were common. (c) You think lawyers use blackberrys? Not much anymore — Android for me, Iphones for most of my co-workers (sad but true).

          • firant

            Well … (a) he’s not a politician, Posner is a federal appellate judge. He has a guaranteed job for life and is immune from any act of congress that would even so much as decrease his salary. (b) he’s been on the bench since before cell phones were common. (c) You think lawyers use blackberrys? Not much anymore — Android for me, Iphones for most of my co-workers (sad but true).

          • EvanTheGamer


          • Not this guy either ^

          • michael arazan

            Need to get the case against the nexus and apple infront of this guy.

    • russ

      “an” adult

  • sahilm

    Posner 2012?

    • Bas

      Posner For President – He will end this war!