At the D10 conference today Apple CEO Tim Cook talked about the many patent wars his company is involved in. Declaring that patents are a “pain in the ass,” Cook echoed Steve Jobs when he said, “We just want people to develop their own stuff and not rip us off.”
Cook compared patents to an artist drawing a painting. “We can’t take all of our energy, and all of our care, and finish the painting and have someone else put their name on it.” Apple doesn’t want to be the “developer for the world.”
The patent system is severely broken, according to Cook. No one should be sued for standard-essential patents, like the ability to connect to a 3G network. “Apple has not sued anyone over standards essential patents that we own, because we view that it’s fundamentally wrong to do that.”
“It’s kind of gotten crazy,” Cook remarked. “It’s not going to stop us from innovating, but it’s overhead. It’s overhead that I wish didn’t exist.”
Apple is still suing many companies, including Samsung and HTC, over multiple patent violations. Cook and the CEO of Samsung recently met to talk about settlements, but Cook did not disclose the outcome of that meeting during his interview today.