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Tim Cook on the state of IP protection: Our product cycles move much quicker than the court system


During Apple's April 2012 earnings conference call, Tim Cook emphatically stated that he hates litigation.

"I've always hated litigation," Cook explained. "I continue to hate it. I just want people to invent their own stuff."

That notwithstanding, Apple today finds itself embroiled in a myriad patent infringement lawsuits. With Samsung in particular, Apple has ongoing legal battles with its Korean-based competitor in 11 countries across four continents.

Oddly enough, Apple's legal battles were tangentially brought up during Tuesday's congressional hearing which was held to take a closer look at Apple's tax practices. At one point during the hearing, the narrative veered a bit off course when Cook was asked to answer a question about Apple's challenges with respect to protecting its intellectual property in the US.

Cook took a moment to gather his thoughts and answered thusly.

I think the US Court system is currently structured in such a way that tech companies aren't getting the intellectual property protection they need. Our cycles are fast, the court system is very long and the foreign competitors in the US can quickly take IP and use it and ship products with it and they're to the next product as well. I would love to see conversations between countries and see protections between IP globally. For us, our intellectual property is so important, I would love the system to be strengthened in order to protect it.

Cook's remarks regarding product cycles being much faster than the court system certainly resonates given that Apple recently filed a motion to have Samsung's Galaxy S 4 added to its second court case against Samsung in California. Inevitably, by the time that case is adjudicated, Samsung will already have out a new product that Apple will likely take issue with.

Apple has, in fact, referenced this very dynamic in court filings, alleging that Samsung has at times purposefully tried to slow down judicial proceedings as to make the products at issue are irrelevant and outdated by the time trial finally gets underway.

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