The USS Quad Damage

Daring Spitball

John Gruber is such a mac fanboi I'd almost call him a troll. If he'd just think through what he was saying he'd realise he was talking shit

Screw John Gruber. I think in his zeal to paint some party lines and siding quite definitively with Apple every single time, he’s said some shit about patents which pisses me off.

Here’s the relevant section:

How is Google’s argument here different than simply demanding that Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, et al should simply sit back and let Google do whatever it wants with Android, regardless of the patents they hold? And, let’s not forget, give Android away for free.

Here’s the thing: The idea behind patents is that you do some magic, you tell everyone how you did that magic, then no one else can do the magic for 20 years, because they’d be cheating off you. It’s a way of making sure secrets don’t die out with the inventors and the inventions.

But Google didn’t go around looking at the patents themselves copying patent ideas. If they did they’d know exactly which patents to buy. They just built Android the most obvious way they could think of. It just so happens that a bunch of patents cover the obvious ways of doing obvious things. Now, you can legally defend against one, but can you legally defend against a thousand? Can you guarantee that you haven’t violated a thousand patents?

That’s the whole point of being a patent troll. You sit under the bridge until someone wants to cross, then charge them. If everyone knew you were on the bridge, they’d choose a different path.

And that brings up the larger point: These patents don’t contain any “magic”. If you don’t have to cheat off it, it’s clearly easy enough that the idea is not novel. Gruber is basically saying that it’s OK for these easy ideas to have more value than a working implementation. It’s as if Google gave me a free car, and Microsoft charged me for thinking of the idea of a car before Google.

I don’t really care about defending Google, but just because Apple is on one side of the argument doesn’t mean you can sit there and pretend that patents are all hunky dory.