I read an article on WIRED magazine the other day
It talked about the legal battle between Oracle (who bought the company that created JAVA) and Google on weather Android, the operating system that is widely used on smartphones, is copying from JAVA source code.
JAVA started as an open source language by a company called SUN. Later SUN commercialized some JAVA libraries. Android is an open source operating system originally developed by Google developers, most of who, as open source coding guru, should be pretty good at JAVA.
Now SUN has been bought by Oracle, and they want to cut a piece of the pie created by the fast expansion of the Android phones. I see this as the continuation of the battle between software licensing and open source movement. To make a larger argument, it is a war between intellectual property protection and limitation of creativity.
I left the following comments with this article:
“I really think we should figure out a way to protect intellectual property but still encourage improvement of those protected intellectual property.”
Today I got a reply from a user called Gnurkel:
“Try this sentence instead: “I really think we should figure out the best way to stimulate creativity”. Copyright is a means to an end, not an end unto itself.
If you stare yourself blind on “protecting IP”, then you loose many things – amongst them human rights (privacy, freedom of communication etc), but also the loss of creativity based on building on something others have made (also known as progress) that assuredly comes with granting exclusive monopolies on knowledge.
The theory that a near perpetual, exclusive Copyright regime is the best way of stimulating creativity has never been proven, and I can name half a dozen peer-reviewed papers that indicate the exact opposite – that current patent and copyright regimes are a net barrier rather than encouragement.
the current systems are fundamentally flawed, and are way due for reform.”
He improved my exact question to this dilemma with more accuracy and insightfulness. So I decide to write this blog.
He also added these comments later on
“Edit: I noticed you make protection cases – what if you were sued by someone who had patents for making “protective envelopes for screen-based mobile technologies”, by Apple for using the trademarked word “iPod” or the Apple logo without permission – or by a photographer for Copyright infringement when using the background image on the iPad? What if the lawsuit itself was enough to drive you out of business, even if it never stuck in court?”
Here’s my answer: As a human being we can question a lot of rules and regulations, but as a business owner, who wants to run a successful business, we have to pay attention to these things. My goal is making money. Not following rules will cost us, so when we do a new design, we check patent registrations to make sure we can use our own creative idea because no one else has thought about it first and decided that no one else can profit from it. When we write product descriptions, we cross our i’s and dot our t’s, and we only use trademarked terms for the purpose of description not promotion. And we always use paid photos and images.
I agree to the point that if we are making money on something owned by others, they are entitled to a share. That is why we need the copyright laws and patent laws. However, I hope the law makers can figure out a way to distinguish a disguised infringement of copyright from a true improvement of a patented idea. Also, for the patent review authorities, they should really think about whether or not a patent, although used to protect a pretty good idea, is going to limit people from using a eventual common sense.
I’d like to use a KaysCase product to finish my blog.
We launched a new iPad back case series to work with the Apple smart cover. It’s working great. People love it. Later, we got some customers emailing us and telling us about a similar product. It’s a back case with a magnetic metal piece curved into the back, so when you fold the smart cover to the back and read the iPad as a book, the smart cover will be attached to the back by magnet and will not flip around.
This is a brilliant idea, we instantly decided to improve our product with that. The first thing we would like to do is check if the product is patented. While that’s been going on, one of my colleague came up with another brilliant idea. We decide to sell a soft magnet tape made of EMC Absorber, which can be applied to any back case, to achieve the same effect of attaching the smart cover to the back.
This is definitely an economical and flexible solution. First of all, we don’t have to carve into the case to install the metal plate, which requires certain thickness of the case, so we can still keep the KaysCase Smart Solution Hard Shell case as thin as just 1.1mm, the thinnest among all. The tape can be applied to the inside of the case, so you will have the continuation of the rubber feel of the whole back. It’s soft, and will not scratch to your iPad. It can be applied multiple times. Also, you can be creative with the tape by cutting out different shapes and patterns. I probably should talk about that in another blog.
After all, if you just want a back case with magnet strip installed, you can always purchase it from us here:
My whole point, with the magnetic strip back case, is that, I understand if the first company who created the back case with a metal plate decided to patent that, so other companies cannot copy it to make a profit. However, I disagree if the patent is on any method to attach the smart cover to the back of the case. We respect patent, but we respect creativity even more.