At least temporarily, because it’s proven bad for innovation
by Braden Kelley
I came across an article in The Hill, titled ‘Apple flexes lobbying power as Apple Watch ban comes before Biden next week‘ that highlighted how Apple has been found guilty by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) of infringing upon the intellectual property of startup AliveCor to provide its wearable electrocardiogram features in its Apple Watch.
Apple is now trying to get President Biden to veto the ruling (I didn’t know that was a thing) so that they can keep selling Apple Watches. In my opinion this is a matter for the courts and yet another example of how big tech (and big companies in general) far too often brazenly misappropriate the intellectual property of the little guys. So much so in Apple’s case that over the last 30+ years a popular term has emerged for it called ‘Sherlocking’.
According to the new Microsoft Bing (with ChatGPT):
Sherlocking is a term that refers to Apple’s practice of copying features from third-party apps and integrating them into its own software¹². The term originated from a search tool named Sherlock that Apple developed in the late 90s and later updated to include features from a similar app named Watson²³.
President Biden must let the courts do their job and not intervene if innovation is to thrive in America.
Apple has been found guilty by the ITC and should be forced to stop selling Apple Watches if that is what the court has decided. They should pay damages and redesign their product to design out the intellectual property theft. And, if they feel they are innocent, then they have an avenue of appeal and should exercise it.
But, bottom line, turning a blind eye to intellectual property theft is bad for innovation. We must encourage and protect entrepreneurship for innovation to thrive.
I’ll leave you with this clip from the movie Tucker to ponder on the way out:
And a trailer from probably the best movie on the subject of the struggle of the innovator against big business, based on the real life story of the inventor of the intermittent wiper – Dr. Robert Kearns, it’s called ‘Flash of Genius’:
Hopefully President Biden will stay out of it and let the courts decide based on the evidence.
SPECIAL UPDATE: On February 21, 2023 the Biden Administration elected NOT to veto the ITC ruling, leaving the courts to decide whether Apple is innocent or guilty.
Source: Conversation with Bing, 2/18/2023
(1) Apple ‘Sherlocking’ Highlighted in Antitrust Probe—Google Also …. https://www.itechpost.com/articles/105413/20210422/apple-sherlocking-highlighted-antitrust-probe-google-questioned-over-firewall.htm Accessed 2/18/2023.
(2) What Does It Mean When Apple “Sherlocks” an App? – How-To Geek. https://www.howtogeek.com/297651/what-does-it-mean-when-a-company-sherlocks-an-app/ Accessed 2/18/2023.
(3) Sherlock (software) – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock_(software) Accessed 2/18/2023.
(4) All the things Apple Sherlocked at WWDC 2022 – TechCrunch. https://techcrunch.com/2022/06/13/all-the-things-apple-sherlocked-at-wwdc-2022/ Accessed 2/18/2023.
Image credit: Pexels
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