Opinion: Injunctions – How Communist China Is Demonstrably Better Than US at IP Protection
by Seton Motley –
Intellectual Property (IP) is the cornerstone building block of any successful society.
It means nothing if you protect physical property theft – if you do not also protect the IP that made the physical property possible.
If you won’t let people steal Microsoft’s new operating system disc from Office Depot – but will allow them to without paying download it online – you are destroying your economy.
If you won’t let people steal music discs from Barnes & Noble – but will allow them to without paying download from the Web the same music – you are destroying your economy.
You are destroying your economy – because if everyone can take everything…no one will ever again make anything.
If you do not take IP protection seriously – you are not taking your society seriously.
One way the United States (US) is fundamentally unserious about IP protection – is its decided lack of use of injunctions in IP theft cases.
Let us briefly visit the legal dictionary:
Injunction: “A court order by which an individual is required to perform, or is restrained from performing, a particular act.”
In IP legal cases, this means the people using the contested IP – and alleged to be doing so without permission from the IP holders – must stop using the contested IP until the courts have settled the case.
Which only makes very basic, very common sense.
“(F)or years and years – through generation after generation of iPhone – Apple has signed all sorts of contracts with Qualcomm. Promising under penalty of law to pay Qualcomm for the use of Qualcomm’s patented ideas.
“Except since April of 2017 – Apple hasn’t paid Qualcomm a penny….
“Apple has sold – by now – way over 200 million $1,000-per iPhone Xs. And hasn’t paid Qualcomm for any of them.
“Oh – And how much is Apple contractually obligated to pay Qualcomm per $1,000 iPhone X? Less than $20….
“Apple still had and has – signed contracts with Qualcomm. In which Apple was and is obligated to pay Qualcomm for the use of Qualcomm’s patents. Apple just isn’t paying.
“Apple filed lawsuits to get out of the contracts they themselves signed. And bizarrely decided they would stop paying Qualcomm – until the court cases were decided.
“Ummm…that’s not how it works. The contracts are valid – unless and until they are invalidated. Which means Apple is on the hook to Qualcomm – unless and until they’re not.”
That mess was finally settled in April 2019. But you see how quite obviously reasonable an injunction would have been in the case.
In fact, you shouldn’t need signed contracts – to get injunctions against thieves of your IP….