find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Competition, Policy & Regulatory
Category: Other | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Work with a well regarded Partner · Sydney CBD
View details
Commercial Litigation Senior Associate
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Lawyers Weekly Australia Partner of the Year 2016, Insolvency
View details
MULTIPLEX Regional Legal Counsel (Vic) | 7 to 10 years + PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Career defining in-house role · Tier One international contractor
View details
Junior Lawyer - Personal Injury Law
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Parramatta & Western Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Highly specialized practice · Challenging role with great opportunities
View details
IR Advisor/Member Advocate
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: St Leonards NSW 2065
· Permanent (0.8-1.0 FTE) role in a developing team
View details
Apple’s patent war hinders law reform

Apple’s patent war hinders law reform

Cashed-up IT companies engaging in “epic patent wars” are preventing the reform of an outdated patent law regime, according to a legal academic.

Matthew Rimmer, a patent law expert at the Australian National University, told Lawyers Weekly that disputes, like Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung, are hindering attempts to modernise patent law.

“Patents have been turned into weapons of war,” he said. “It’s hard to achieve a consensus in terms of patent law reform when the major companies are so split.”

Parliaments and courts must wait for the storm of litigation to pass before attempting to develop cross-jurisdictional laws, which Rimmer believes are necessary given the number of multinationals involved in patent disputes.

“I’m rather gloomy about the prospect of international patent laws with the titans of the IT and communications industry slugging it out,” he said.

The aftermath of the GFC prompted some examination of patent law, Rimmer continued. But, he added, these efforts have come too late, taking a backseat to the disputes between industry heavyweights.

He noted that the 2010 Bilski v Kappos case in the US was one instance where the US Supreme Court took steps to “recalibrate the patent system” by deciding whether business methods are patentable. While the court rejected the Bilski’s claim, Rimmer believes the case shows that debates around patent eligibility are, at the very least, taking place.

Bilski v Kappos was the first case in 29 years in which the court gave a ruling on whether or not a certain patent was valid. The slow-moving nature of patent law is also evident in Australia.

Rimmer referred to the local patent dispute between Apple and Samsung, which has experienced a number of delays, most recently to allow experts time to meet before giving evidence. Judge Annabelle Bennett of the Federal Court of Australia has said she is even willing to hear the case on Christmas Day just to get Samsung’s counter-claim heard.

This behaviour by IT companies has “exasperated judges in Australia and the US”, said Rimmer.

The development of international patent laws is also hindered by what Rimmer describes as the “quirks and peculiarities” of the US system; specifically, the use of a jury to decide patent infringement cases.

Rimmer argued that a jury is not capable of judging patent cases, which can be highly technical and complex.

“Ideally, you need a high level of expertise to make a judgement about patent infringement, and even the world’s finest judges find patent matters difficult,” he said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Apple’s patent war hinders law reform
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Handshake
Sep 20 2017
Silk picked to monitor national security laws
Dr James Renwick SC has been appointed as Independent National Security Legislation Monitor after se...
Two businessman, growth
Sep 19 2017
Aus catching up on international arbitration front
Australia is starting to see a spike in international arbitration with this set to continue over the...
Prison
Sep 19 2017
Manson family killer suffered ‘miscarriage of justice’: former lawyer
A retired Australian barrister has published a book on the Manson Family murders of 1969 and called ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...