It’s no secret that patent trolls are a danger to innovation, imagination, and a whole lot of other inspiring concepts that make the world a better place to live in. Pick any major technology company and you will without fail find them involved in some sort of patent litigation.
Steve Wozniak, the man who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, is familiar with patents in the technology world. When he designed the Apple II computer, he begrudgingly had to fork over some money to RCA because the company owned an unused patent that Wozniak unintentionally impeded upon. Speaking to the Australian Financial Times, Wozniak said, “We actually wound up paying them two bucks for every computer we shipped just for that simple idea.”
Given his experience with patent obstacles, it may not be surprising that Wozniak isn’t a fan of patent-mongering companies. Since most of the companies that are involved in the ongoing patent disputes, Wozniak shared his wonderment over the state of technological development.
Wozniak says that, while a growing number of technology specialists think the patent system should be scrapped, he still believes it is essential to encourage young inventors who aspire to do something new.
He can appreciate the argument that Apple has now come to represent to today’s entrepreneurs what RCA was to him, but Wozniak believes Apple’s record for continued innovation means it is less guilty than any of the other large tech firms.
“Apple is the good guy on the block of all of them,” he says. “It is creating so much and is so successful and it is not just following the formulas of other companies – [Apple is] totally establishing new markets that didn’t exist.”
Well, that wasn’t exactly a surprising opinion, but Wozniak does make an interesting point in saying that Apple is the only company currently trying to shape new markets instead of simply trying to carve out a take from existing markets. As far as developing new technology goes, Apple has certainly been the industry flagship. Protecting that status is part of what drove Steve Jobs to famously declare that he would spend every cent in Apple’s coffers to crush Android, Google’s rival platform, which he claimed was a “stolen product.”
Think these companies should spend less time sniping each other and perhaps more time just focusing on inventing new technology? Agree or disagree, we want to hear what you think.