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Motorola-Apple judge decries US patent system

05 Jul 2012
Court room

The judge who dismissed Apple's attempts to ban Motorola Mobility products in the US has called out the current patent system as "out of sync."

Illinois state judge Richard Posner openly stated his weariness of the software industries use of patents. In an interview with Reuters the judge compared software litigates to animals struggling for survival and calls the patent system a jungle with far out reaching rules.

Posner's recent calls for changes in the patent system add to the growing cries to see changes in the way patents are handled in the US.

"It's a constant struggle for survival," Posner said.

"As in any jungle, the animals will use all the means at their disposal, all their teeth and claws that are permitted by the ecosystem."

Speaking at the US Court of Appeals in Chicago, judge Posner candidly questioned the need for patents in many industries. The outspoken judge stated that software firm's expansive financials unfortunately make patent litigation an appealing avenue for hampering competition.

"It's not clear that we really need patents in most industries," he added. "You just have this proliferation of patents. It's a problem."

Posner presided over the recent Apple patent case against Motorola Mobility. Both companies were seeking sales injunctions against each other. Judge Posner shot down the two competitors cases on the grounds that the firms could not establish reasonable cause for an injunction.

The judge's recent comments go in line with what others are saying about the current US patent system. In 2007 the Electronic Frontier Foundation called for global patent system reform, while billionaire Mark Cuban recently suggested that major firms could suffer critical financial damage unless the system is reformed.

Tech firms have recently come out in favour of reform as well. Twitter promised to change the way it handled patents earlier this year, and Apple chief executive Tim Cook noted his for reticence towards patent litigation late last year.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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