Breakingviews

Fake Goldman Sachs belies a real China strength

August 27, 2015

The U.S. investment bank joins a long list of counterfeits that includes Apple stores, police stations and British villages. They’re easy to mock, but also veil a broader readiness to bend rules in search of profit. Properly channelled, that ingenuity and pluck could be powerful.

NY judge gives 1970s sitcom a Silicon Valley spin

April 2, 2015

A “Three’s Company” parody didn’t breach rights to the TV hit, despite similarities. Like rulings on Google Books and Aereo’s video streaming, the verdict reflects Big Apple legal thinking that ideas are for sharing. It’s a philosophy tech firms might want more courts to follow.

Supremes ride shotgun with Tesla down open road

June 19, 2014

The top U.S. court unanimously ruled that abstract ideas even if run through a computer can be freely adapted. Elon Musk’s electric carmaker also just opened up its technology. Both decisions spread an important message to the vicious world of patent fighting: share, don’t hoard.

Apple patent case exposes trade arbiter’s flaws

June 5, 2013

A ban on U.S. imports of older iPhones is a big win for rival Samsung — and yet another example of the International Trade Commission being too quick to block products on dubious grounds. President Obama plans to tighten ITC standards. He could start by nixing the Apple ruling.

U.S. justices square the helix on gene patents

June 13, 2013

The Supreme Court ruled that companies can hold exclusive rights to synthetic human genes, but not naturally occurring ones. That allows biotech businesses to reap rewards for their work without stifling the research of others. The decision serves science, industry and the law.

Twitter may grow fat and happy on low-patent diet

November 1, 2013

The soon-to-IPO social network has an incredibly slim IP portfolio. Its nine patents may leave Twitter vulnerable to lawsuits and light on proven assets. But a policy of allowing engineers control over their inventions speeds innovation, lures top talent and cuts legal costs.