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Aside from the "Some important lessons" section (which seemed very patronizing, although OXO seems to be in the right here considering the expired patent aspect), it seems that OXO handled themselves pretty well. It pointed out Quirky's side of things, and then presented their own side. With quite a bit of citation where appropriate.

Quirky[1] went straight for the "justice" aspect in their post without presenting much info or even a cursory discussion of related patents.

[1] http://www.quirky.com/blog/post/2013/01/rise-up-quirky-seeks...

IMO the lessons aren't really patronizing.

I'd TL;DR them down to "Whatever your bright idea is probably isn't as original as you think. If you think nobody else has thought of it you probably haven't looked very hard, or if you're very lucky the numerous other people who thought of it at the same time as you or before you never pursued it".

We all live in the same world (now more than ever), we're all influenced by the same things and IMO ideas are more tied to a time and the zeitgeist than they are to any person, every personal and historical "bright idea" I've ever encountered backs this up in my experience.

This is why ideas are a "dime a dozen" and execution is everything.

I actually loved that part. Even better was showing the many obvious quirky rip-offs from OXO products.

Very gentleman like response and correction, well done OXO.

Comparing this to the patent fights between Apple and Android et al, it is interesting to see how calmly OXO is responding. No "thermonuclear war" here over the various copies Quirky is making of their products. (Of course, I don't think the cost of design and manufacturing a plastic kitchen object can compare to the iphone). However, it is good to see an established firm like OXO acknowledge that they are being copied, to not freak out over it, and to acknowledge that the best way to respond is with continued innovation and the best product you can make. I think smartphone and tablet makers would be wise to follow that lesson.

With OXO and quirky, we're in a realm where hiring a team of $700/hour lawyers would wreck both companies. For Samsung and apple, the cost of legal advice is a rounding error.

While you make great points, the cost/risk of designing a cutting board or a dustpan is orders of magnitude lower and the response should be commensurate.

I don't think it's wise for Apple to not defend the things it believes it has patented but that's an argument for a horse of a different color.

The fact that Apple's products are more profitable on a unit basis, and can fund more expensive lawyers for longer periods of time, does not mean it is a good strategy.

I can't see any real benefits that have accrued to apple from their patent wars. The shortest evidence of this is that Android has now >50% market share. if the patent wars were a good strategy, this would not have happened.

Having more money does mean you can afford to waste more money, but it still doesn't make wasting money wise.

Not really relevant to the patent issue, but your second point is a bit of a fallacy. It's possible that android would have even more market share without a patent war, or that the patent war was a risky strategy which had positive expected value at the time it was begun, but which didn't pay off.

My frame of reference for this statement was prescription drug patents. Manufacturers can get 18 years of exclusive sales of their product. Whatever one may think of the ethics and behavior of the drug companies, it is a very effective use of patents. Other drug makers can copy what the drug is intended to achieve, but not the drug's exact composition. That seems like a reasonable parallel for how things should work in the smartphone market.

I am not sure that positive expected value was really ever the intent here. From most accounts, Steve Jobs felt personally affronted by the competition, and that is not necessarily a rational place to initiate a major action. I think the best case to make is that it delayed the growth of Android, but even that seems questionable. Android has copied them in virtually every respect, rolled out devices with little encumbrance, and shows no sign of stopping.

There's also the aspect of the patent wars where conflict become self-destructive. For example, a flame war in comments where people get increasingly nasty and lose sight of what they were even talking about. Google bought Motorola for defense, a patent portfolio. Counter suits are now possible.

Dissipating the focus of an organization's executives on rent seeking instead of innovation carries its own costs.

Both companies end up winning here, for different reasons. OXO is the voice of reason that calmly explains what's what while Quirky looks like the protector who goes to bat for their inventors and community.

To me, Quirky looks like the crazy person who escalates in a big way without even bothering to talk to the supposed wrongdoers. Not someone I want to do business with.

My thoughts exactly. They also look like hypocrites and thieves. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Well, at least they "Think Different" – "Here's to the crazy ones…"


To a lot of us, it looks like yet more pointless time- and effort-wasting squabble from the "design" crowd.

It's a matter of reputation and business for both participants in the squabble, so it's not a waste of time for them. You might have wasted your time reading it and commenting on it (if you didn't find it interesting), but that's your fault. I found it fun to read, so it didn't waste my time.

And you said '...the "design" crowd'. What are your quote marks for? Are you implying they're not actually designers, or are you mocking the idea of product design as a profession, or something else?

It's far more a waste of their time and effort than it is of mine.

Pointless drama like this does not result in new products, it does not result in improvements to existing products, it does not reduce their cost of doing business, and otherwise has no beneficial properties.

Like I said before, even from a marketing perspective, it probably does far more harm than good for both of them.

And I put "design" in quotes because I don't know how else to refer to them. They apparently don't like being called "hipsters", which is the only other word I could think of that would describe them, collectively.

I'd say the main benefit to Quirky is the publicity. OXO has been a household name for a long time, Quirky not so much.

Sadly this has backfired badly - the first I heard of Quirky story was from this post, and I am now unlikely to ever buy one of their products. Oxo on the other hand is an amazing story in the design thinking community, and it is nice to see their rhetoric match their product quality.

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