The US judge who tossed out one of the biggest court cases in Apple’s smartphone technology battle is questioning whether patents should cover software or most other industries at all.
Richard Posner, a prolific jurist who sits on the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, told Reuters this week that the technology industry’s high profits and volatility made patent litigation attractive for companies looking to wound competitors.
“It’s a constant struggle for survival,” he said in his courthouse chambers, which have a sparkling view of Monroe Harbor on Lake Michigan. “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.”
Posner, 73, was appointed as a federal appeals court judge by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and has written dozens of books, including one about economics and intellectual property law.
Posner is arguably the most cited legal scholar on the 20th century.
Patents for software now seem to be used mainly to block innovation, rather than to protect it.