While speaking in front of the Senate today, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook asserted that it was not just the United States corporate tax code that was broken, the country’s intellectual property regimen needs work too. Cook took time to address IP laws during his defense of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) tax practices around the world.
An AppleInsider.com article, authored by Kevin Bostic, brought attention to the little noticed part of Tim Cook’s appearance before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations today.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook Requires Work on IP
When the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO was asked about the benefits of U.S. intellectual property laws, a question designed to imply Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s reliance on the United States and tenuous tax residence based on that concept, Cook said “I actually think that we require much more work on IP in this country.”
The Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) issue highlighted today was the company’s international tax regime, and its refusal to name a country that it was tax resident in. Senator Kelly Ayotte, the New Hampshire Lawmaker who asked the question, was attempting to have Cook bemoan the state of intellectual property law outside of the United States, particularly in China.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) probably has more experience in dealing with intellectual property law than it does with tax law, and the company has some incredibly useful experience to share with American lawmakers on the subject. Unfortunately, the Senators chose not to pursue that particular line of questioning in today’s session.
Cook did get time to point out one of the flaws in the system that harms companies like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). According to the CEO, “The U.S. court system is currently structured in such a way, that it’s currently difficult to get the protections a technology company needs, because the cycle is very long.”
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had to fight bitterly in U.S. courts over patents that it said Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) had copied illegally. As any fan of the company knows, the trial went on for an extremely long time, though Apple was vindicated in the end, receiving a $1 billion payout from Samsung for damages.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) knows all about intellectual property law, so when the company’s CEO says something about it to the U.S. Senate people should sit up and listen. Unfortunately it seems unlikely that lawmakers will choose to do so.