How Will Apple’s Patent Victory Affect Innovation?

Technologists are split on the verdict’s impact

5 October 2012
Photo: Seong Joon Cho/Bloomberg/Getty Images

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A U.S. jury in August ruled that Samsung smartphones and tablets violate a number of Apple patents, including ones for the rectangular shape and round edges of the iPhone and the pinch-to-zoom picture-enlargement feature. Apple was awarded more than US $1 billion in damages.

Technologists are split on how the verdict—which Samsung was planning to appeal—is likely to affect creativity. A New York Times article on 27 August reported that Bill Flora, creative director at the design firm Tectonic, in Seattle, said the verdict could cause mobile companies to focus more on innovation. But he warned the verdict might have created a minefield for product designers, who might constantly wonder whether functions will infringe on someone’s patents.

What do you think of the verdict? Is it likely to help or harm innovation in the mobile-device marketplace?

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