Lukas Mathis makes some good points:
This trade-off does not apply to many software patents. I only need to spend five minutes on Amazon’s site to figure out how one-click shopping works. There is nothing useful I can learn from reading the patent. Likewise, I only need to turn on an iPhone once to figure out how to unlock it. This means that Amazon or Apple don’t give up anything when they patent these ideas.
My response was simple. “Steve, I was just watching your last presentation, and Keynote looks identical to Concurrence – do you own that IP?” Concurrence was a presentation product built by Lighthouse Design, a company I’d help to found and which Sun acquired in 1996. Lighthouse built applications for NeXTSTEP, the Unix based operating system whose core would become the foundation for all Mac products after Apple acquired NeXT in 1996.
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