John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Monday, August 27, 2012
  Samsung, Apple and International Law
This Story about Samsung shares dropping following a patent case highlights some interesting questions.

I haven't studied the details of the cases around the world, but superficially it appears that the US Courts have found for Apple and non-US courts have found for Samsung.

If this is true then in itself it raises questions about the differential effect of the rule of law in different countries. I do study this for the purposes of family law as should become clear in a few days. However, it is not something we can ignore as if it stands up to detailed scrutiny - which of course it might not - it raises concerns about the enforcement of court orders from one country in another. The activity of Argentina in the energy sector is a good example of a clearly wrong decision of one country and its legal system and how that should be responded to by other countries. I tend to take a more robust approach on this than many.

There are also questions about the BBC report as to whether copyright and patents have been conflated. I don't know, but of course it is possible. There are differences between jurisdictions as to what can be patented.

Behind this is also an important point that patent law is really a law for larger companies particularly in the UK where the system really does not act to protect people with ideas, but no money. The problem in the UK is that court action and the associated costs are basically unaffordable for financially weak litigants. There are solutions to this, but I don't think the government as yet recognises the truth of the issue.

 
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