When Steve Jobs was still running Apple back in 2006 the famed CEO told officials he wanted to “patent it all” in regards to the company’s new iPhone smartphone.
Because of that decision Apple employees were forced into monthly “invention disclosure sessions” in which Apple patent attorneys would document even the dumbest of ideas.
According to the New York Times the company was so aggressive in filing patents that according to one employee it would submit an item “even if we knew it wouldn’t get approved.”
It is no secret that towards the end of his life all Steve Jobs appeared to care about was sinking Google Android and creating a treasure chest of patents. In fact in 2007 the Apple CEO introduced the iPhone with a bullet point of patented features while telling the crowd “And boy have we patented it.”
Steve Jobs became paranoid about patent issues after the company Creative ended up paying $100 million to settle a dispute regarding a “portable music playback device” patent.
The effect of Steve Jobs’ iron fist ruling of patents is now being felt throughout the tech industry. Apple and Google now spend more money on patent creation and buying than they do on original research and development.
Apple in the meantime continues to defend its rigorous lawsuits, in a public statement the company says:
“Apple has always stood for innovation. To protect our inventions, we have patented many of the new technologies in these groundbreaking and category-defining products. In the rare cases when we take legal action over a patent dispute, it’s only as a last resort. We think companies should dream up their own products rather than willfully copying ours, and in August a jury in California reached the same conclusion.”
Apple may innovate but the company never actually creates new product types, instead choosing to add sleek new features and then calling the space its own.
Apple recently won a $1.1 billion patent judgement against tech giant Samsung.
Because of the numerous patent filings in recent years many patent judges have begun to speak out against what they see as the rampant abuse of the patent system.