I don’t think I speak for just myself when I say that the whole news world goes mad sometimes. Everyone has had that moment where they read something from their most beloved news source and say, ‘Wow, could that have been any less true?’. Unfortunately it happens to me on a daily basis and most of these come from the media’s obsession with one thing; Patents.
This does, incredibly, give us an insight into the inner workings of even the tightest-security companies including Apple, Microsoft (debatable) and Samsung. Patents allow both the public and the competition to view the next-generation ideas, but this is where the first signs of problems start to occur. I have seen some incredible ideas come out from the US Patent Office such as Microsoft’s ‘Whack-a-Phone’ to stop it ringing – perfect for the moment you forget to put it on silent and Call Me Maybe blares out from your pocket in a meeting, to pretty much countless phone patents filed by Apple (dual screen with a hinge springs to mind). The problem with these ‘cool’ patents is that most don’t see the light of day. They are a great idea in principle, but it seems the companies just want to use these as ammunition in case any of their other competitors creates something remotely similar.
In this way, it seems the patent system is flawed as the media begin to speculate what the next killer feature of flagship devices will be. Siri, of course, came from Apple buying the company rather than the patent, and it seems most of their new USP’s came from this system. The ‘Air Scrolling’ patent filed by Samsung last year has emerged in the Smart Scroll capacity (which I am not buying one bit), but again seems rather loosely linked.
The media has much power in industries such as tech, which is a positive for startup companies and budding enthusiasts, but can also destroy high-end product makers. Only this week did we start to hear rumours of Panasonic not making TV’s anymore. Really? The basis of new and exciting ideas should be coming from developers and product makers, not from the automatic publishing of greatly crafted drawings of products that we know and love with an extremely fancy title.
So what am I saying? I’m saying that the patent system creates too much hype around ideas that won’t emerge, and take the focus off what really is important; the hard work of designers, developers and artists. Remove the attention on the ability to change the temperature of a room by moaning with real emphasis on the people behind the work that is put in, and maybe we could stop complaining about the lack of new features and appreciate the great advancements we have today.