Patents Harm Consumers

A German court has ruled that Apple has a legitimately enforceable patent on tablet computer designs that are “minimalist [and] modern”, and in doing so has forbidden Samsung to sell one of its newest, most popular products – the Galaxy Tab 10.1 – to the consumer. Should it attempt to so willingly satisfy the desires of the public by producing a touch-screen device the front of which is dominated by a, well, touch-screen, it will be subject to fines and forced to pay damages because Apple somehow “own” the rights to that design.

Whilst it would be tempting to blame the presiding judge, Johanna Brueckner-Hoffmann, such a move would too easily absolve of blame the German patent authorities who are actively harming consumer choice by granting patents that are by virtually any measure too broad.

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