If you have a smart phone, can you pinch your fingers together while touching the screen to make the images smaller? And move your fingers apart to make the images bigger?
Well, that so-called “pinch to zoom” technology was invented by Apple for its iPhones, even though other cell phone makers are now also including the feature. But this was one of the patents upheld by that recent court ruling in Apple’s suit against Samsung.
Some people are indignant that Apple is able to patent a gesture, saying that pinching the screen to change the image is so “natural” that everyone should be able to do that, complaining further that Apple is harming consumers by limiting their choices, and that sort of thing.
I say that Apple is entitled to their patents and to the fruits of their creativity. Some years ago, Apple lost a patent lawsuit against Microsoft, which copied Apple’s point-and-click device known as a “mouse.” Microsoft also lifted Apple’s graphic interface, that is, the use of icons, which simply have to be clicked by said mouse, as a way of accessing software and all that a computer can do. Apple deserves to win this patent dispute, at least.
All Samsung or other cell phone manufacturers have to do if they want to include this feature is to pay Apple a licensing fee, as they do for other patent holders.
Is there any argument–based on justice and equity–why Apple should give away their intellectual property? Other than someone wanting them to or the desire to have iPhone features without having to pay for an iPhone? But those arguments lack justice and equity.