Apple v. Samsung: What's wrong with this verdict?

The jury has spoken and Apple has won. Consumers? Not so much. Reinventing the wheel isn't going to help anyone, says Cringely

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Cnet's Greg Sandoval interviewed juror Manuel Llagen, who claims the jury didn't rush to judgment, but seems to have based its decisions on video testimony from Samsung's executives whom he thought were "dodging the questions" posed by Apple's attorneys. The Groklaw blog has a devastating takedown of how the jury contradicted itself several times and had to go back and redo some of its conclusions. Maybe they should have taken just a scosh more time, eh?

The problem isn't so much with the jury -- though you have to wonder if a jury trial makes sense in a case as complex as this. The problem is with the patent system itself. Just about everyone now agrees that software design patents are stupid, even the parties who win many of these cases. So why can't we do anything to fix that?

Some legal observers have noted that this ruling, if it stands, may force companies like Samsung to "innovate" more. I have a couple of responses to that.

One: Samsung makes more innovative types of smartphone than any other company on the planet. I've been to their manufacturing centers, I've met with their design team. Trust me, Apple has nothing on Samsung when it comes to innovation. The problem is that people want iPhones and phones that look and feel like iPhones. They don't actually want innovation.

Two: More innovation isn't necessarily better. Do I really have to learn a new way to enlarge documents on every damned tablet I pick up? Should I really be forced to read a manual to figure out how to make a call because only one smartphone maker is allowed to use a picture of a phone on its dialing icon?

Tell me the last time you heard someone say, "I bought this tablet because I love the way it enlarges documents when I tap on the screen and those rounded icons are just to die for"?

For the record, I own both an Apple iPad 2 and a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10 -- because I am that kind of geek. The biggest differences? The iPad 2 has a much better battery life than the Galaxy but is also a much bigger pain in the ass because of Apple's "iWay or the highway" philosophy. Otherwise, they are just Internet and app delivery devices. Period, full stop.

There's no need to reinvent the steering wheel, either.

What do you think of the Apple v. Samsung verdict? Post your weighty deliberations below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "Apple v. Samsung: What's wrong with this verdict?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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