Maybe Samsung Wasn't Ripping Off iPhone And 'NYT' looks at a patent system that's out of date in digital world By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Oct 8, 2012 7:44 AM CDT 7 comments Comments A woman walks by a billboard of Samsung Electronics's smartphones in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man) (Newser) – Not long after Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $1.05 billion over patent infringement, unredacted court documents are telling a different story. A perusal of the materials reveals that Samsung bosses apparently called on employees to "make something like the iPhone"—not to copy its design, notes Chris Matyszczyk at CNET. In the documents, an exec says the Apple product is already the industry standard, and that Samsung needs to think "six months ahead"; he asks his staff to "be people with creativity." Apple lawyers reportedly avoided mentioning that particular quote in court. The report comes amid broader questions over a murky patent system that many say is outdated, taking a toll on technological progress. The New York Times highlights the issue in a lengthy report today, noting that the last two years have seen $20 billion spent on patents and related legal battles; indeed, Apple and Google spent more on patent issues than on research and development last year. While patents were designed for mechanical technology, digital patents can "effectively grant ownership of concepts," allowing firms to strike down competitors' work on barely-related products. Click through for the full piece.