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06 July 2012, 16:33

US judge criticises the patent system

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Richard Posner, a judge for the 7th US Circuit of Appeals in Chicago, has publicly criticised the patent system as it applies to the technology industry. In his opinion, the current behaviour of technology companies when it comes to patents is unacceptable. Posner recently rejected patent lawsuits between Apple and Motorola on the grounds that no actual damage could been proven in these cases.

According to Posner, current lawsuits are an extension of the marketplace, where companies are constantly vying for market dominance. High profit margins and fast-paced development in the technology sector only fuel this behaviour further. While Posner says he can understand patent lawsuits in the pharmaceutical industry, where the cost of development of new products is a lot higher, he also points out that the number of patents on each product is actually lower.

Posner has stated that he is now not sure whether some industries even should enjoy patent protection any more. As the lawsuits concerning minor details of smartphones are getting more and more out of hand, the system is proving itself to be antiquated, according to the judge. Posner is well respected in the area of patent law and mediated the anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft in 1999.


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