Thursday, August 30, 2012

          Professor Robin Feldman on Apple v. Samsung

          It seems you can’t turn on a tech program or slip into the Twitter stream without hearing Professor Robin Feldman extol what’s wrong with the patent system, both in her new book and as a much sought-after commentator in the Apple v. Samsung intellectual property litigation.

          The publication of Feldman’s book, Rethinking Patent Law (Harvard University Press, 2012) just happened to coincide with the very public patent fight between smartphone makers. As such, Feldman has been doing TV, radio and print interviews, on what seems like a daily basis, as journalists around the globe look for the broader context.

          Feldman has done several NPR news programs, including Marketplace, Science Friday with Ira Flatow, and KQED’s Forum. She’s been interviewed by AP TV, Capitol Correspondent (part of Voice of Russia radio), and a Seoul, South Korea radio program. Closer to home, Feldman has been quoted in the San Jose Mercury News, Wired, VentureBeat, Bloomberg, and CNET. She does interviews from UC Hastings, from her home, at television and radio outlets, and even on her laptop via Skype while traveling.

          The book has arrived at a critical time for American companies. “Companies everywhere are plagued with patent problems,” Feldman says. “It is not about who invented something. Every patent is now a potential weapon in complex, multi-dimensional battles. With patents at the center of attention, people want to understand how modern patents operate.” The book provides a clear explanation. It describes patents in the context of bargaining, explains how we got to where we are today, and what to do about it.

          While consumers typically don’t pay much attention to patent litigation, Feldman suggests that consumers stand to lose the most. “There are global wars being fought throughout technology. When companies spend so much time and money on legal battles, there is less attention left for innovation.” It is the consumer, Feldman says, who ultimately suffers. And it is society that must rein in a patent system that is out of control.

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