Tuesday, 9 August 2011

To boldly go where no court case has gone before?

After reading and hearing about a number of reports of Apple suing or seeking injunctions in several countries against Samsung, I raised my eyebrows. I am a science fiction fan from way back. When I heard that Apple believes Samsung is infringing on its intellectual property in relation to the look of its products such as the iPad/iPad2, and the swipe and gestures of a range of products, I couldn’t help but think maybe both companies have been inspired by science fiction shows. I present below a couple of exhibits for my reasoning.

Exhibit A – the tablet computer

I am not saying the tablet computer on Star Trek the Next Generation is the same as a variety of products in the market place. I am saying that life often imitates art, and that many ideas, sciences, technology, and products are inspired by such shows. I think that if Apple wants to try and argue that Samsung is inspired by Apple products, Samsung may be able to counter such an argument and say that both companies may be inspired by other sources – such as science fiction.

Exhibit B – the swipe motion
The swipe motion is not new. Movies such as the Minority Report have used such gestures in their creation of a futuristic society. The fact that companies such as Apple, Samsung, and even Microsoft have all developed technologies that allow humans to swipe rather than type, is cool. However, for any one company to suggest that they own the intellectual property rights to this, seems pretty silly. I like typing and swiping, and I do this not just in the computer and tablet world, but even at the checkout - and I hope no one is about to claim this gesture as an infringement as well!

Exhibit C – life imitates art
I remember seeing mobile phones with flip lids. I though these were very cool, and couldn’t help again thinking that inspiration had been drawn from communicator devices – such as on those in the original Star Trek series. I think I may have even been drunk a couple of times, and flipped my phone and said ‘beam me up’.  My point is there are still a variety of phone manufacturers that make phones that flip up. Not just the flip is inspired, but the mobile phone itself is inspired by devices used for personal communication – from science fiction.

I hope that companies, owners, and those that own the rights to or interests to shows such as Star Trek, Star Trek the Next Generation, and the Minority Report, all understand that I am not seeking to infringe on their intellectual property rights by adding the pictures to this blog. I am just seeking to demonstrate that these are all very cool ideas. And these are the sort of ideas that inspire companies to develop products that help us in our everyday lives. These products can make our lives a little more convenient, and sometimes they are very cool.

 I think for most people that buy these devices, they do it with a certain level of knowledge about what these devices are capable of, and what they are not capable of. Technology doesn’t sit still, and for those companies that make a product that can offer something those other devices cannot, they will have an edge in marketing their products. Whether consumers chose these products, is another question all together. 

If one company is saying that it owns the intellectual property rights for something that may have been inspired by science fiction, well perhaps they need to be beamed up to sick bay, and perhaps they need a full scan done to see if any alien life forms are affecting their ability to make illogical arguments about their products. Some of their advertisements might describe these products as ‘magical’, but really they are just inspired and useful. I am going to send this blog to Samsung, not in the want to hurt or destroy any one company, but in the hope that such devices will continue to inspire innovation, and create better and improved products for you and me. Cheers :-)