Richard Posner: “It’s not clear that we really need patents in most industries"
Posner said some industries, like pharmaceuticals, had a better claim to intellectual property protection because of the enormous investment it takes to create a successful drug. . . .Well, it is hard to see how one differentiates the theory of patents based on the size of the investment. Whether it is five small investments or one large one the issue of encouraging investment and letting recoup their investments seems the same. In any case, how much did Apple spend developing the iPhone? It is hard to believe that your average drug involved a larger investment than the iPhone.
Apple apparently began developing the ideas behind the iPhone when they original started working on the iPad. It was: "A revolutionary UI, the result of years of development -- the result of years of development." The interface development started in the "early 2000s."
If Posner doesn't want to let Apple patent the different component features, can he let them patent the phone itself? Obviously not. You have to patent the features. The question Posner has to ask is whether we want more of these interface developments to occur.