Patent lawsuits are filling court dockets, big name companies like Apple and Samsung are catching headlines with their cases, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos thinks it's time for governments to step in and put an end to the patent wars. The current patent system, he said, is choking innovation instead of promoting it.
"Patents are supposed to encourage innovation and we're starting to be in a world where they might start to stifle innovation," Mr. Bezos told Metro. "Governments may need to look at the patent system and see if those laws need to be modified because I don't think some of these battles are healthy for society."
Bezos: It's time for governments to stop the patent wars
Much of the news surrounding the current state of patent litigation surrounds Google's Android operating system, which is used on a long list of smartphones and tablets competing against Apple's iPhone and iPad powerhouse. Amazon's own Kindle Fire ebook reader and tablet even runs on a customized version of Android.
With Apple targeting companies like Samsung, Motorola Mobility and HTC with lawsuits alleging their Android devices infringe on its patents, Mr. Bezos is likely thinking that his company can't be too far behind.
Apple's highest profile patent fight so far has been with Samsung. Both companies have accused each other of using patented technology without licensing, and Apple also claimed Samsung blatantly copied its iPad when designing the Galaxy tablet line.
Apple won a major courtroom victory in August when a jury ruled that Samsung infringed on a long list of the company's patents and hit Samsung with over US$1 billion in damages. Unless governments intervene companies can expect to face more rulings like that, Mr. Bezos surmises, and ultimately innovation will suffer.
Losing that innovation would be a serious blow to companies and consumers, especially now, he thinks. "I love technology, I love invention, I like rapid change, and really it's the golden age of wireless devices and mobile devices," he said.