Of late there have been a number of articles from various individuals and organisations that argue against Apple's decision to drag Samsung to court over alleged copying of designs and features. These articles say that instead of engaging in legal fights, companies should let consumers reward innovation in the marketplace. From an HBR article
Let's have these companies solely focused on duking it out in the marketplace — where consumers, not courtrooms, make the decisions about innovation. In such a world, the best defense against copying isn't lawsuits, but rather, to innovate at such a rate that your competition can't copy you fast enough. That, to me, sounds like an ideal situation not just for consumers — but for the real innovators, too.
This in theory, of course, sounds like the best thing that could happen to companies like Apple. But let's face it, innovation isn't something that goes on at such a rapid pace. It may take years and years to deliver upon an idea that a company starts working on, and only a few months for some other company to swoop in and copy.
In the ongoing US trial, Apple said that it took 5 years of research & development to come up with the iPhone, which Samsung allegedly took only three months to copy.
So clearly, accelerating innovation at such a pace that it becomes impossible to copy is an ideal scenario, unlikely to be seen in the real world.
Most consumers do not care about who came up with a certain innovation (if they're seeing it on devices made by two diff companies), and rightly so, since they aren't expected to know these details. Additionally, a company copying another company's years and years of R&D would obviously have to invest considerably less time and resources into delivering a product. This gives them room to reduce prices, and possibly drive a race to the bottom. If this does happen, then it's not hard to predict which company has an edge.
With its legal assault against major Android manufacturers, Apple is walking on a fine line separating legitimate concerns of stolen Intellectual Property (which it is) and patent trolling (which it clearly isn't). Apple's using the patent and legal system as a medium to get justice rather than simply patent troll. An article by the EFF
argues that Apple winning the case might promote patent trolling. Sadly, this might be true, but what other way does a company have to seek justice against legit ripping off. Fighting off in the marketplace solely on the basis of innovation isn't a guarantee to success, since a company copying features/design is equally likely to succeed. I know that sounds very negative, but that's how it is in the real world.
So what else do you think Apple could have done?
(There might be a lot of things I've written you disagree with, but is the "Samsung copied Apple" topic still up for debate?)