Originally Posted by Slug
...As to accusations of "lack of innovation"... I think you'll find that is exactly what both parties are contesting in their respective suits e.g. they did the innovating and the other infringed on the patents supposedly protecting these.
Well therein lies the problem. The innovations companies (MS, Apple and others) are trying to patent are things that you shouldn't be able to patent if you don't want a monopoly. Current US patent law is outdated and was written in a time when you built mechanical machines, there was no such thing as computer software. It was much easier to regulate making machines with no software involved.
As we've evolved with computers and software and user interfaces etc, you have many more software concepts (like using a touchscreen UI) and less patents on machines.
They need to rewrite US patent law once and for all to bring it up to speed with the computer software age. Many of the "patents" that people have now around concepts like using a touchscreen or using multiple fingers to perform a specific action are concepts and shouldn't be able to be patented. This is the only thing that drives multiple companies to compete with one another, and as you are seeing now that is precisely when you get the most innovation.
If it was just Apple making touchscreen smartphones and no one else, it would be a pretty boring marketplace with little to no innovation. With Samsung and others breathing down their neck, they can't afford to sit back and be complacent.