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back to article Woz warns that patent palaver will stifle startups

Apple cofounder and number-one fanboi Steve Wozniak has warned that the current land rush for patents is going to stifle innovation and could cripple the next generation of startups. "I care so much about the young person that has some technical knowledge and wants to start their own business," Wozniak told the Australian …

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"Apple is the good guy on the block of all of them"

Really? With "slide to unlock" and claiming Galaxy tab is a copy? WOZ IS FULL OF IT!

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Anonymous Coward

I thought it was

The 1st of April when I read this.

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Unhappy

As much as Woz is my all-time favorite human being,

he does need to lay off the apple-aide a bit.

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Re: As much as Woz is my all-time favorite human being,

Woz was my favorite hero, too. That is until they locked down the Apple ][ Plus by removing the original reset-to-mini-assembler reset button. And, Apple didn't create the Apple ][, Woz did, with almost no help from Jobs. And The Woz published all of the source code to the mini-assmebler, Integer and Floating Point (AppleSoft) Basic. Then he included all the logic to the board. This was way before Stallman claimed to be the GodFather of Open Source. Had Jobs not been such an aspiring Capitalst Jerk, Just maybe they would have OpenSourced the world, instead of Linus 15 years later. Then we would have had mass transit with colorful trolley cars serving neighborhoods, free Bubble-Up and Rainbow stew ....for FREE!!! We COULD be wearing dazzling white togas, with winged golden sandals and olive wreaths on our heads. But oh no! We got Jobs instead.

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Re: Apple is the good guy

In a world of relativism and taken over the lifetime of Apple he is correct. Apple haven't been as nastily entangling and preventative as most of the others. And there's more than a little truth to the claim that to the extent Apple do it today, they do it because others did it to them first and now they are just a little bit better at it.

And I say these things as someone who has never owned an Apple computer, although I have bought a refurbished iPod that still mostly gathers dust in my house.

Speaking specifically of the US, I think all of our IP laws need a serious overhaul because they are now inhibiting the very things they are supposed to encourage. Problem is, I trust the people who would be the ones to reform it even less than the people who are abusing it.

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Mushroom

I wouldn't call them the good guys...

But at least Apple are open about which (ludicrous?) patents are supposedly being infringed by Android. Whereas Microsoft will make you an offer you can't refuse or talk about, so no one knows what, if anything, is infringing their (equally ludicrous?) patents.

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Apple made new products?

I'm sorry, but I don't think Woz has looked around much. Just because there are a lot of people being "inspired" by Apple doesn't mean Apple's ideas are new. If anything Apple has a talent for taking the state of the art and making it mainstream.

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Re: Apple made new products?

"If anything Apple has a talent for taking the state of the art and making it mainstream."

Seems like an important talent to me; take something kinda works if you prod it enough whilst swearing, and turn it into something that works well and smoothly.

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Re: Apple made new products?

Yes but taking a tablet and make it a smoother user experience doesn't give a patent on the rectangle

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Anonymous Coward

only half an article

i can only read half the article, a large chunk is covered by what may be an advert

wtf?

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Re: only half an article

You see advertisements on the Internet?

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FAIL

Re: only half an article

There's a serious problem in personnel!

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WTF?

Re: only half an article

Yeah, it covers my screen too.

WTF!

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Apple owns the OS

thanks rather to the largess of the regents of a well know University and the Open Source community.

PS, bad example to choose Woz, HP (your old employer) own quite a few Operating Systems.

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Re: Apple owns the OS

Yeah, but none that they use in their consumer products. Woz's point still stands.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple owns the OS

" Woz's point still stands"

It does?

WebOS...?

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Coat

Apple are just good at refining and packaging, a bit like the Japanese with cameras, cars and motorbikes.

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@just good at refining??

In many ways that's the difficult bit. As exemplified by how far the personal computer industry (small capitals,as a whole) still has to go in achieving devices that are friendly and reliable for anyone to use. It depresses me how poor the products of the industry I work in still are...

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Anonymous Coward

Jobs takes the credit again

"It is hard to judge yet because Apple products still look like they did under Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs has stamped his mark on products that are three years in the queue,"

I believe Jonathan Ive stamped his mark on the products and Jobs promoted them. The design is likely to stay pretty similar as the designer was, from what I have read, given free reign to design under Jobs' rule and that is likely to continue.

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Pint

Wah?

How can patents stifle startups when startups should be all about new ideas? Talk about twisted logic here. I could come up with a million ways to rearrange X, Y & Z. But they should never be patented unless its in a product that's sold commercially.

Beer please. :)

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Re: Wah?

When there are patents on "comparing online data and presenting a decision based on the data" or "collecting money for an online service" it's pretty difficult to use our new idea

Anyway - I have a patent on claiming that patents stifle innovation so Woz will have to pay up as soon as I can get to East texas

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Re: Wah?

Most patent exemptions now are based on "prior art" from 20 years ago... so since EVERYTHING is being patented today, what will become of the "prior art" we will need 20 years from now to continue innovating?

Painting ourselves into a corner, and all that. I've been ranting about this very thing for YEARS.

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Anonymous Coward

New Apple CEO?

TIme for Woz to make his return to the fruity one... and bring back some of their erstwhile sturdy build quality! ;D

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geeee .. I seem to recall a time when Apple was close to going under and had Microsoft in court over the Graphic User Interface hoping to collect some 100s of million$ .. Jobs was gone but Billg had not forgotten about Xerox and walked them in .. opps .. MS pays a cheap $150 million to settle all patent and licensing problems and IIRC, called Steve and had at least some hand in Steve's return to Apple

kinda sad Steve didn't get to see Apple hit $600 billion cap .. finally becoming more valuable than the only company that had got to $600 billion before .. Microsoft

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Gimp

The irony...

So quaint, since that his govt is busy trying to bully NZ into NOT getting rid of patents for software, which is currently on the agenda.

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Mushroom

I have a saying that is most apropos here, Wozniak

"The vilest evil is that which is convinced of its own virtue."

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Stop

"mobile phone operating systems were doing just fine before Apple came along"

Now, I'm a long way from becoming a member of the Apple fanboisie, but I do take issue with this. Before Apple came along, we mostly had Symbian S60 and Windows Mobile. I would describe neither of them as 'just fine', and their passing will not be mourned.

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Naive and wishful thinking....

Here's an idea: All the companies should donate their existing patents to a holding company. All the donors then get to use those patents in their own devices for a very small fee per patent per device. All profits of the holding company go to charity or medical research etc.

When a company comes up with something new, they can use it exclusively for 12 months before it gets put into the pool. If a company infringes on the new idea before it is in the pool, the price they have to pay for any patent goes up permanently.

Small start-ups will be able to afford the low patent fees to get into the markets and will have a 12 month head start on new ideas they introduce.

Companies will be forced to innovate so that their products can be differentiated from all the similar ones created as a result of all others sharing the existing patents.

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Re: Naive and wishful thinking....

I have an idea. What about some government office to manage and examine patents, staffed by experts in the field to judge whether the invention is obvious or has been done before and reject it. The application could also describe the implementation in such a way that somebody 'skilled in the art' could reproduce.

The same office, with technically proficient judges, could then asses any violations of the patent.

Alternatively you could leave it all upto who has the most lawyers and what a jury of 12 East Texans with nothing better to do that day, think

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