ENFORCING PATENT RIGHTS
Table of Contents
Antitrust Laws and Technology 3
Defending the industry’s growth 4
Lawsuits and rent-seeking 4
History of the GUI 5
Apple v. Microsoft 5
Apple v. Samsung 6
Counterclaims & Rulings 7
In 2012 Apple was victorious over Samsung in a lawsuit pertaining to patents used in their respective mobile operating system. This ruling is in contrast to previous patent cases Apple was involved in during the early days of computing. In order to gain a better understanding of Apple v. Samsung, one must take a look at the past. The best place to start is at the history of the graphical user interface (or GUI) as a case study of the industry as a whole. The history of the GUI will provide the knowledge needed to better understand the lawsuits of Xerox v. Apple, Apple v. Microsoft and Apple v. Samsung. After examining the two cases and the differences between them, one can look at possible reasons for these lawsuits and the reasons for the different rulings.
Antitrust Laws and Technology
One possible reason for the difference in rulings is the change in legal climate over the last several decades. Corporations did not usually pursue patent lawsuits, and judges were reluctant to rule in favor of patent protection when such lawsuits were brought. Intellectual property rights and usage through the 1970s was closely tied to the business models of the major tech companies. Giants such as IBM, AT&T, and Xerox were able to innovate unimpeded by legal battles because they licensed their innovations to each other for below market value. Since the big companies all spent a large percentage of their budgets on research and development, it made sense to share information freely and cheaply so they could all benefit (Burke, 1994). As late as the 1970s these tech companies did not bring patent cases against their smaller...