Patent Law Fights Are Killing Innovation

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by Lagosian

 Patent laws as currently structured is killing innovation. Whilst this might be a subjective opinion, one should look no further than the current battle going on between Apple and Samsung, two titans of the tech industry to see that if more companies begin to follow in their footsteps, there can only be disaster ahead.

Just going by market value, both these companies are worth upwards of 300 billion dollars, yet instead of keeping their battles strictly on the products they churn out, they have in recent years been involved in a nasty legal spat that will have terrible repercussions for business and the tech. industry.

Here is a timeline of the case and what has been happening.

Interestingly, both companies have worked together in the past, and still do so but to a lesser degree. Samsung was responsible for creating some of the processors that have run in the Iphones.

Apple believes Samsung copied the design of its IPhone for its flagship phone the Galaxy series. Samsung denies that, and claimed Apple was infringing on its software patents. From there on, it’s been one side claiming the other side is infringing on its patents, whilst the other side counteracts by claiming the same.

Apple was awarded more than one billion dollars in damages, a fee that was later reduced to 450 million dollars. Samsung appealed the decision, and both sides are still embroiled in court(s) all over the world trying to one-up the other. As an outsider, I can’t help but feel disappointed that these two companies continue to resort to such strategy, spending both money and time in what many view as a needless battle.

For those who might be wondering what a patent is, below is a brief definition of what it is and why it differs from copyright law.

WHAT IS A PATENT?

A patent protects inventions or discoveries. One can say it’s a form of copyright, but unlike copyright, in other to use said invention, the permission or authorization of the patent holder is required.

Also there are companies like Microsoft and Rockstar, who buy a ton of patents and then license it out to technology firms. They have no interest in creating products with some of the patents they own; rather they see them as investments that can be used to bring back money for their respective owners through procedures such as licensing.

Congress in making new copyright laws for this digital age has to think long and hard about the role of industries and corporations in deciding what’s beneficial for them and the public. One should note that just because it helps the corporation doesn’t mean it helps the public.

I have provided examples of tech giants like Apple, Samsung and even Microsoft who have used the court room and patents to generate billions instead of using the marketplace. It is very disturbing how companies now actively go out and purchase patents like we would groceries, but not because they intend on using said patents to create products that would get out into the public, but to arm themselves and prepare for any litigation and in some cases, be the ones doing the litigating. I believe when the first patent and copyright laws were created, this was not what the creators had in mind. In fact one could say this is detrimental to the economy because instead of companies and corporations duking it out in the marketplace, tossing out ideas that the public gets to decide on and benefit from, said companies and corporations would rather hoard such innovations and sue others.

A lot of the technology we rely on is only possible because of patents but if these big companies have their way, the progress that has been made in that realm is going to come to a grinding halt, as innovators will be too concerned with not getting sued rather than churning out the products required to improve the industry.

 

 

 

References

Why are Apple and Samsung throwing down? A timeline of the biggest fight in tech. (n.d.). Digital Trends. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/apple-vs-samsung-patent-war-timeline/#!ZuJRK

Samsung confirmed to be manufacturer of Apple’s new A7 chip in iPhone 5s. (n.d.). Samsung confirmed to be manufacturer of Apple’s new A7 chip in iPhone 5s. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/09/20/samsung-confirmed-to-be-manufacturer-of-apples-new-a7-chip-in-iphone-5s

Pepitone, J. (2013, August 8). Apple vs. Samsung scorecard: a timeline of the patent battle. CNNMoney. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/08/technology/mobile/apple-samsung-timeline/

TechRadar. (n.d.). Computing reviews, news. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from http://www.techradar.com/us/news/computing/how-microsoft-makes-money-from

Backed by Apple and Microsoft, Patent Troll Makes Money Off Android | Business | WIRED. (0014, January 21). Wired.com. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from http://www.wired.com/2014/01/huawei/

How much is that patent lawsuit going to cost you? – CNET. (n.d.). CNET. Retrieved June 15, 2014, from http://www.cnet.com/news/how-much-is-that-patent-lawsuit-going-to-cost-you

 

Google vs. Apple Ad

Today’s technology companies have to try really hard to convince the public that they’re products are a part of the human experience. The goal is to make sure that people don’t associate their products with cold mechanism, but a friendly companion to human creativity. Both Apple and Google are corporations that have been on top of their game when it comes to making commercials that showcase their products in a positive light. The two companies aim to inspire creativity by connecting their products as essential tools. In a recent Forbes article, the question of which ad is more effective despite Apple and Google both being advertising big wigs.

This first ad came from Apple’s campaign for the iPad air. This is definitely epic and the audience can feel something. In my opinion the ad provides a call to action and leaves the viewers marveling.

This next ad is a part of Google’s search on campaign which encourages people to use Google as their search engine of choice. Google really takes their search engine to the next level and emphasizes the unlimited possibilities with their product.

While both ads are pretty excellent by my standards, one ad seems a lot more connected to the audience. In the battle advertisements, Apple vs. Google, I rule in favor of Google. The two ads both astound the public and sustain a connection with the audience, but Apple puts their product on a pedestal that the average citizen just doesn’t reach. As mentioned in the Forbes article, Apple doesn’t quite prompt that attainability where Google does (Burns 2014). Apple provides a call to action, but as a consumer, I’m almost intimidated to purchase an iPad Air. The repetition of “You may contribute a verse” really puts pressure on the consumer. At least that’s what I felt when I heard it. The whole epic feel of the ad was powerful and scary. I hope that my verse is good enough even if I don’t have an iPad. On the flip side, you have Google whose strategy was to show a bunch of people attempting to learn about the process of building a story. For me Google’s ad made me feel a lot better about myself and how my capabilities could be expanded by simply typing into a search engine. I usually fall in love with Apple ads and admire them for their genius and fresh approaches, but the similarities between the ads are too close not to compare and declare Google the winner. Apple’s ad feels a little overbearing while Google’s is approachable. However in the end, they are both jobs well done.

Sources:

Burns, W. (2014, March 06). Google beats apple at it’s own game: Advertising. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/willburns/2014/03/06/google-beats-apple-at-its-own-game-advertising/

A Nod to Old School Masterful Advertising

The first Macintosh computer that propelled Apple into success is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year. Nowadays Apple products are ubiquitous and praised for easy user interface and known sleek ad campaigns. The brand’s success could not have been achieved however without the brilliant collaboration of Fred Goldberg and Ridley Scott an advertising executive and film director respectively (Smith, 2014). At the forefront of Apple’s commercial success was an epic Super Bowl advertisement channeling George Orwell’s 1984 Big Brother and proletarian themes. The ad was powerful in the sense that it elevated the product to an object change the way people experience computers.

As a result, Apple made about $3.5 million in sales (Smith, 2014). Well, back in the 80s that was a lot of money. Although times have changed, it seems that what we can learn from this anniversary is that many success factors remain constant. First off, the prime time Super Bowl spots can have dramatic effects. The commercial alone is quite effective and creative, but shooting for the stars with this time slot really paid off for Apple in the end. Secondly we see that creativity and opportunity foster success. The ingenious idea to use the context of Orwell’s literary world which terrifically coincided with the launch of the product prompted an ad that was not only memorable, but also masterful. And third, storytelling plays a role in building a strong brand identity. By using an already existing world with a story behind it, the ad-creators allowed viewers to associate the ad with the savior of this futuristic dystopia.

Additionally, the ad also embodies old fashioned mastery and innovation. When viewing this ad as well as the behind the scenes footage, I couldn’t help but marvel at the work that went into this commercial. They just don’t make them like that anymore! The production value on this commercial is incredibly high which left an impression on the public. Goldberg was smart to bring in Scott because of his vast experience in the film industry. By approaching the commercial like a film, the ad makers were able to attain a depth in the commercial that has now become a staple for many successful as campaigns. The tone of the commercial felt like it came right out of Orwell’s world. As a literary aficionado, the ad peaked my attention even more. Although the ad came a decade before I was born, I can still appreciate its relevance today as we can see how popular Apple is. This ad paved the way for Apple to attain its reputation for creative and interesting ads and with 30 years of booming success, we can have a greater appreciation for the impact of advertising in society. For a behind the scenes look at the making of the ad, click on the first link below!

References

Smith, A. (2014, January 22). Apple’s iconic ‘1984’ spot: Behind the scenes. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/22/news/companies/1984-super-bowl-apple/index.html?iid=HP_Highlight

 

NYQVYST (2010, January 20). 1984 Apple Commercial. Retrieved January 23, 2014, from http://youtu.be/RyhwY07CxkM

Breaking iPad

As a huge fan of the AMC TV series Breaking Bad, I will always respond to the voice of Bryan Cranston, who starred in the series as the intimidating Walter White. Apple is taking full advantage of this in the current commercial running for the iPad Air. Every fan of the show will recognize Cranston’s calm, raspy tone as they hear his voice-over in the commercial.

Cranston is used in this commercial in order to take advantage of his celebrity and relevancy. The series continues to be a hot topic of discussion, even after its wrap just a month ago. Walter White has is also one of the most well – known roles Cranston has acted in (aside from the dad in Malcolm in the Middle of course). Both of the factors make Cranston the perfect candidate to advertise Apple’s new product: he is relevant, well-known, and his voice will make the audience pay attention rather than over shadow the product.

This TV ad is brilliant on many different levels. Cranston is just one component to this fantastic commercial. Once he grabs your attention through the recognition of his voice, he paints the journey of what, at first, appears to be a pencil. Then, the camera work also pulls the viewer in, getting closer and closer to the pencil. At last once you think the story is complete, Apple pulls out a surprise for the audience: this story Cranston tells is not about a pencil, but about the iPad – now thin enough to hide behind such a small tool.

The relatable quality of the commercial is also very compelling. Comparing the iPad to a pencil drives home the message that everyone can use it, no matter what field they are in or project they seek to accomplish. It makes the iPad Air seem as fundamental as a pencil – necessary to communicate beyond words. This comparison as send the message that the iPad is the NEW pencil, replacing one technology with another. Since so many careers are explored, it helps the commercial communicate to a very wide audience. Almost anyone watching this will be able to see how they can use the iPad Air in their everyday lives.

I really enjoy this commercial and the message it offers to the audience. What do you think? Is Cranston’s voice to intimidating to sell a product? Maybe if he said it a Heisenberg.

Apple beats Coca-Cola in Brand Value

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In a surprising move, Apple has now taken the number one spot in being considered the most valuable brand over Coca-Cola. Coke has for 13 years been able to maintain the number one spot due to the company’s ability to advertise anywhere and everywhere. Coke is a staple in the soda industry due to its global allegiance and recognition. Coca-Cola has been able to not only market their products with television and radio commercials, but also by special labeling through sponsorships. Being one of the most successful and profitable brands, it is surprising to see that Apple has been able to surpass Cokes brand value. This brings about several questions. Is Apple’s innovation what makes them now the leader? Is Coke somehow losing consumers? Or is Apple simply taking the lead due to recent releases of products?

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Many of these questions have various answers, but the most important thing to note is that Coca-Cola is not losing value or recognition. On the contrary, being already a large company with global recognition, Coca-Cola still has plans to market to consumers whom they have never marketed to before. For instance, due to Pepsi being the leader in the market of soda in Russia, Coca-Cola plans on heavily advertising during the Olympics in Russia. Coke plans on taking over the market through local advertisement and large exposure brought by the Olympics. Coca-Cola has been successful in dipping its hand in a variety of different markets by sponsoring athletes, products, and businesses. Through market strategy, Coca-Cola has remained relevant.

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Apple tends to market its products the same way through different forms of media. It has been considered number one in brand value partially due to the cult following have with its products. Most recently, the iPhone 5s was released and although it is essentially the iPhone 5 with some tweaks here and there, it was still able to produce a groundbreaking release. Last year when the iPhone 5 was released, five million units where sold, while this year the iPhone 5s produced a whopping nine million unit release. Thus, through globalization and advertising, Apple has been able to continue being successful.

Both Apple and Coca-Cola have a tremendous brand value. However, I believe that because of how relevant Apple is in society and how it markets to its consumers it has been able to create more brand value. Coca-Cola has been a household name for many households for a very long time, and now Apple is becoming a staple in people’s lives. Through offering a large range of products, Apple has been able to become leader in brand value. 

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References

Gross, D. (2013, September 30). Apple passes coke as world’s “top brand”. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/30/tech/innovation/apple-coke-top-brands/index.html?hpt=hp_bn5

 

Barr, A. (2013, September 23). iblockbuster weekend for apple’s new iphones. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/09/23/apple-iphone-nine-million/2853755/

 

Poking at Apple

Microsoft’s Windows Phone crew posted a long advertisement on YouTube that takes a punch at Apple and the two new types of iPhones that the company released last week. The video is called “a fly on the wall in Cuptertino.” If you watch the interesting video above, it shows two fake Apple employees (that are rumored to depict look-a-likes of the real Apple CEO and vice President, Tim Cook and Jony Ive).
This commercial is different from the commercials that Windows usually makes when poking fun at iOS and Android cell phones. In the video, the person who the two employees are pitching their ideas to looks just like Steve Jobs. In the video, it shows the two workers calling the iPhone 5c phones fancy colored names (saying “vermillion,” when it is just pink and “chartreuse” for green). The commercial makes fun of the fact that it took Apple 6 months to create the idea of coming out multi-colored phones.
The commercial then moves on to attack Apple yet again after saying that they created the newer phones out of plastic to save money. The man jokes and says that the company will not tell the customers that they are actually made out of plastic.
Another memorable joke that they use against Apple is regarding the fact that the new iPhone 5s can not come in gold. The man says, “everyone likes gold, pirates, leprechauns and this guy (a random hairy-chested man, which I did not understand why it was meant to be funny).
The video closes with a black backdrop and the hashtag “#timetoswitch” (implying the idea that consumers need to switch from IPhone to the Windows products).
Right after I saw this advertisement, I rolled my eyes at how desperate and embarrassing Microsoft look in this ad. A day after the video was released on YouTube, Microsoft released the statement and said that they intended for the video to be a “light-hearted poke at our friends from Cupertino. But it was off the mark, and we’ve decided to pull it down.”
In my opinion, I think the real reason they removed the video is because they realized from all of the negative comments and feedback from viewers that the video was very poor in creating a funny or good attack at Apple. We all know that these two are really competitive companies, so I expected a lot more from Microsoft.
Although the company took it down, the parody commercial still lives on. I was reading the YouTube comments and one comment that got many likes on the site simply said, “lamest ad ever!” I agree that this was a bad move on Microsoft because they look really stupid at trying to come up with an attack on iPhone and then failed miserably at creating it. If anything, it just makes Apple look better!