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A jury has ruled for Apple in its huge smartphone patent infringement case involving Samsung and ordered Samsung to pay $1.5 billion.
August 24, 2012 4:40 PM   Subscribe

After a year of scorched-earth litigation, a jury decided Friday that Samsung ripped off the innovative technology used by Apple to create its revolutionary iPhone and iPad. The jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1.05 billion. An appeal is expected.

Quick History

Previously: 1 and 2
posted by mysticreferee (417 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Important question: Will my Android continuing working long enough for me to finish my current Tiny Village upgrades?
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:41 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Part of me wonders if, in the end, this will actually matter very much. Part of me wants to set Cupertino on fire.
posted by chrominance at 4:42 PM on August 24, 2012 [22 favorites]


An appeal is expected.

I don't know about any of you, but I wasn't ready to say goodbye.
posted by Egg Shen at 4:46 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tmonews said Apple could stand up in court and yell "Fatality!"
posted by cashman at 4:46 PM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


So is it $1.5 billion or $1.05 billion?

I'm seeing conflicting reports from reputable sources.
posted by thebestsophist at 4:47 PM on August 24, 2012


Did they decide Samsung ripped off the innovative technology belonging to Apple, or just that one large corporation infringed upon the intellectual property of another?
posted by samofidelis at 4:48 PM on August 24, 2012 [38 favorites]


Vagaries of a jury trial aside, I wouldn't want to be an Android OEM (or Google) right now.
posted by letitrain at 4:48 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


That poor jury. Why didn't the lawyers have mercy on their souls and settle for trial by judge. How many of their careers were affected by this? Also, this isn't like the death knell of Samsung or anything. I happen to think they are a fine company.

Does anyone know if Samsung is enjoined on its products going forward as well? A lot of lawyers got rich off of this one...
posted by gagglezoomer at 4:49 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


An appeal is expected.

Presumably not one in Apple's back yard with a former IP Lawyer for a firm that represents Apple as the judge. This whole thing has stunk from the beginning.
posted by Artw at 4:49 PM on August 24, 2012 [62 favorites]


So does this mean that we won't see any more smartphones with slim designs, black faces, and rounded corners? How many iterations of a smartphone can there possibly be?
posted by Dasein at 4:49 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Lawyers are LOVING it! $$$$$
posted by cusack01 at 4:50 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm very pleased Apple won on the trade dress and design issues, cause, you know, fucking DUH, anyone who questioned that was clearly insane, but our whole patent system is a mess and I would have like to have seen Apple's patents, and hell, Samsung's too, all be invalidated across the board.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:50 PM on August 24, 2012 [22 favorites]


I wish I was qualified to actually have an opinion through patent law, but Apple seemed to be claiming incredibly broad and vague concepts as patents in order to stifle competition. That may well be legal, but it's not necessarily a good thing (for consumers or for the market).
posted by klangklangston at 4:51 PM on August 24, 2012 [18 favorites]


I'm looking forward to the innovative trapezoidal shaped phones with all text interfaces that can only controlled by blowing on them that this lawsuit will no doubt spur.
posted by modernnomad at 4:51 PM on August 24, 2012 [40 favorites]


Basically, if you make a thin black rounded square with icons in it, the jury said you didn't built that (but Apple did and can make you stop or pay to do so).
posted by zombieflanders at 4:51 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why are people cutting Samsung slack for this? It's not as if Apple is suing HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, or any other Android OEM right now.
posted by Apocryphon at 4:52 PM on August 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Rather unfortunate.
posted by juiceCake at 4:52 PM on August 24, 2012


I tried to read the link in Safari and the browser crashed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:53 PM on August 24, 2012 [15 favorites]


How come no one is ever ordered to pay ME $1.5 billion anythings.

Also lol at someone having to pay Apple what they make in one day.
posted by elizardbits at 4:55 PM on August 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm looking forward to the innovative trapezoidal shaped phones with all text interfaces that can only controlled by blowing on them that this lawsuit will no doubt spur.

Well, exactly. I mean, there's sort of limited real estate on a smartphone. What colour do you make the front, sides, and back? Do you round the corners or make it rectangular. How many physical buttons and where? That's about it. There aren't that many ways to answer those questions that are going to appeal to consumers. How can Apple possibly have a patent on the colour black in combination with rounded corners and a home button? Am I missing something?
posted by Dasein at 4:55 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why are people cutting Samsung slack for this? It's not as if Apple is suing HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, or any other Android OEM right now.

Samsung was the other big dog. If they can blunt or reverse Samsung's growth, then the others are next. Of course, the chilling effect of such broad patents being awarded to Apple could just mean they roll over anyway.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:55 PM on August 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Why are people cutting Samsung slack for this? It's not as if Apple is suing HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, or any other Android OEM right now.

Right now.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 4:56 PM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


As someone who used smartphones long before the iPhone came out, claims of their innovation always seem ridiculous to me. It was incremental improvements, not radical innovation.

Why are people cutting Samsung slack for this? It's not as if Apple is suing HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, or any other Android OEM right now.

Is there anyone Apple isn't suing? I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple sue itself by mistake...
posted by wildcrdj at 4:56 PM on August 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Why are people cutting Samsung slack for this? It's not as if Apple is suing HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, or any other Android OEM right now.

Give them a week or two.
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on August 24, 2012


(I'm assuming that comment was a joke, since Apple has sued all of those companies in the very recent past though I don't know if any of those cases are still current...)
posted by wildcrdj at 4:57 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


If this verdict holds, you probably can't make a modern smartphone OS without being a major company. You certainly can't deploy.
posted by jaduncan at 4:57 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


A Google Image Search will come back with tons of hilarious graphics showing how tablets looked before the iPad, and after. Clearly, making a tablet that looks just like Apple's isn't the only way to do it, because nobody was doing it previously. It's just that it succeeded and is ubiquitous now.
posted by ftm at 4:57 PM on August 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


Presumably not one in Apple's back yard with a former IP Lawyer for a firm that represents Apple as the judge. This whole thing has stunk from the beginning.

^
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 4:57 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


A Google Image Search will come back with tons of hilarious graphics showing how tablets looked before the iPad, and after. Clearly, making a tablet that looks just like Apple's isn't the only way to do it, because nobody was doing it previously. It's just that it succeeded and is ubiquitous now.

Ironically (given the focus on them for most of the debate), it was the tablets that weren't found to be infringing. The Galaxy Tab family is in the clear, for instance.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:59 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


As I recall, there's one federal court in California that is specifically set up to hear complex intellectual property cases like this one. It's not a surprise that this case was heard there. (Any CA lawyers care to chime in?)
posted by ryanrs at 4:59 PM on August 24, 2012


lol at someone having to pay Apple what they make in one day

My thought was: $1.5 billion or $1.05 billion? Apple can say: Whichever.
posted by Egg Shen at 4:59 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I lobbied against software patents in the EU, and we won that round.

I'm really very happy about that right now.
posted by jaduncan at 5:00 PM on August 24, 2012 [31 favorites]


I'm sure the usual suspects will be along soon to tell us why this is a good thing. Patents and copyright are both thoroughly broken.
posted by maxwelton at 5:00 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


patents make it possible for all smartphones and tablets to be illegal
posted by robbyrobs at 5:00 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


If the jury consisted of 9 Koreans from Seoul as opposed to 9 Americans from the silicon valley the outcome would be very different. But that's what justice is nowadays anyway. Patent law is just a means to greater corporates profits.
posted by xdvesper at 5:01 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


If the jury consisted of 9 Koreans from Seoul as opposed to 9 Americans from the silicon valley the outcome would be very different.

Actually, in other news, as well as this lawsuit in the United States, Apple today won the balance of a similar lawsuit on Samsung's home turf in South Korea, which surprised me.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:02 PM on August 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


If this verdict holds, you probably can't make a modern smartphone OS without being a major company. You certainly can't deploy.

Y'all got webOS.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:02 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I tried to read the link in Safari and the browser crashed.

It might be because I'm still on Leopard. Or maybe it's Adobe's fault. But Safari is worse than every other browser I have installed (Chrome, Firefox, Camino, Lynx) for stability and resource use.

OK, not worse than Firefox for resource use. Not exactly a bar to clear, though.
posted by weston at 5:03 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Samsung is a pawn. Next move: going thermonuclear on Google. And Google will lose.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:04 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Patent law is just a means to greater corporates profits.

Yes, patent law serves no other purpose but to enrich corporations. This is why the U.S. Constitution contemplates copyrights and patents.
posted by gagglezoomer at 5:04 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Y'all got webOS.

Yes, as deployed by HP and not yet tested in court as it never commercially mattered. It's not different in this case - webOS and Android are both free to install. It just means that when you attempt to deploy it you're going to need insanely big legal teams.

In the US, at least.
posted by jaduncan at 5:04 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess that the Galaxy S IV will take design cues from a different smartphone.
posted by Blue Meanie at 5:05 PM on August 24, 2012


Why are people cutting Samsung slack for this? It's not as if Apple is suing HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, or any other Android OEM right now.

Probably for similar reasons that though some applauded the Eolas patent win over Microsoft for how they implemented plugins that enabled interactive embedded media, others felt that after that "success", they'd go after other companies. They did (Apple, Google, Amazon, Adobe, and many others). Fortunately, earlier this year, the patent was finally ruled invalid.
posted by juiceCake at 5:05 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Samsung is a pawn. Next move: going thermonuclear on Google.

That's why Motorola was worth the purchase. I wouldn't be at all sure that Motorola doesn't have quite a lot of relevant patents for Apple.
posted by jaduncan at 5:06 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually, in other news, as well as this lawsuit in the United States, Apple today won the balance of a similar lawsuit on Samsung's home turf in South Korea, which surprised me.

No, that one was more or less a draw, with small penalties and a narrow focus. This was a completely one-sided decision with enormous penalties and laughably broad sanctions basically giving Apple control over the look of pretty much every smartphone and GUI, as well as essentially granting them inventing the concept of multitouch.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:06 PM on August 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Can someone explain why the Galaxy Prevail carried the largest individual product penalty? Looking at pictures of it, it looks way less like an iPhone than say, the Vibrant.

And why is that something like 'tap to zoom', which is something I presume is pretty much universal across android phones made during the last couple years, including Samsung's, only infringes for some of the products? Does the Nexus S 4G not have tap to zoom? Or is it technical details?
posted by switchsonic at 5:09 PM on August 24, 2012


Y'all got webOS.

In fact, whatever. This is a hugely disingenuous statement. This judgement is currently for $1,051,855,000. How many companies do you think can take on that kind of risk? Certainly Canonical can't, and nor can Red Hat.

That's effectively barring open source entrants from the market.
posted by jaduncan at 5:11 PM on August 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's interesting watching Apple choose to use its 21st century muscle to become a great big bully. It'd better hope the good times continue. As a comparison, when the formerly mighty GAME store chain was in its dying throes earlier this year here in the UK, it's friends were few - but there were many, many businesses who'd suffered for years at its hands and took great pleaaurequeueing up to help make sure it went down hard and fast.
posted by sleepcrime at 5:11 PM on August 24, 2012


All I care about is this-I have a Samsung Galaxy. Am I screwed?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:11 PM on August 24, 2012


Only if you want a new one in a couple of years. It's not like Apple gets to go into people's house and take them away from you.
posted by vuron at 5:13 PM on August 24, 2012


All I care about is this-I have a Samsung Galaxy. Am I screwed?

No, you're not screwed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:13 PM on August 24, 2012


That's effectively barring open source entrants from the market.

And you're assuming that Apple would bother to go after such organizations.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:13 PM on August 24, 2012


I'm just glad Samsung lost out on '516 and '941.

Apple are uncool/scummy for using software patents to beat Samsung over the head but trying to use standards essential patents that should have been available under FRAND terms to beat someone over the head when they KNOW it should be covered by patent exhaustion?

That's the real threat to innovation here, folks. Samsung can't use springy scrolling? BFD.
posted by Talez at 5:13 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


All I care about is this-I have a Samsung Galaxy. Am I screwed?

This isn't going to affect any phones or tablets already sold. Just a financial/licensing issue for Samsung/Apple.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:14 PM on August 24, 2012


'pleasure queueing', that was. Damn these Samsung iPhone knockoffs!
posted by sleepcrime at 5:14 PM on August 24, 2012


And you're assuming that Apple would bother to go after such organizations.

A sternly worded letter should do.
posted by notyou at 5:14 PM on August 24, 2012


All I care about is this-I have a Samsung Galaxy. Am I screwed?

No. This will be about multinationals paying large checks, not you paying anything. You might want to check if any software updates are about to remove features before accepting them though.
posted by jaduncan at 5:14 PM on August 24, 2012


Anyway not a horribly unexpected result considering the current state of the patent troll wars but yet another example of a system that was intended to be used to promote innovation being used to raise barriers to entry in all sorts of markets.
posted by vuron at 5:15 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


And you're assuming that Apple would bother to go after such organizations.

Going by their current behavior, reasonable assumption.

They've sued Motorola, Samsung, Nokia, HTC, etc, etc...
posted by wildcrdj at 5:15 PM on August 24, 2012


Apple is like the Scientology of the tech world, on top of being a patent troll.
posted by Brian B. at 5:15 PM on August 24, 2012 [18 favorites]


Only if you want a new one in a couple of years. It's not like Apple gets to go into people's house and take them away from you.

Well, not yet.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:16 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


From what it looks like to me, Apple stopped making the iPhone when they started releasing those squared-off, sharp-edged electric shavers. I've been holding onto my iPhone 3G, waiting to see if they go back to curvy & sexy with the iPhone 5, but preview shots look ugly as hell - meanwhile, the Galaxy S III looks like the true descendant of the iPhone. I will have to adjust to Android's relative ugliness, but its hackability makes me think I can whip it into some sort of attractive shape.

Sorry, Apple, you invented the sexiest phone I'd ever held in my hand, and you stopped making it. Luckily, it seems like Samsung still does.
posted by scrowdid at 5:18 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


And you're assuming that Apple would bother to go after such organizations.

a) I'm not making a statement that requires that assumption. The management of those companies can't just bet the company that Apple won't. It isn't even just Apple, it's everyone with broad patents. It's now very hard to be a new entrant; consider that if this level of patents and patent enforcement had existed it's likely that both Apple and MS would have been divisions of IBM. There's Google, Samsung, Apple, HP, Nokia. All have patent portfolios. Software has been historically developed without huge patent issues. If that's no longer true that's huge.

b) MS certainly spent quite a while funding SCO. Are you under the impression that Apple are less about legally perusing competitors these days?
posted by jaduncan at 5:19 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Software has been historically developed without huge patent issues. If that's no longer true that's huge.

Yes, on a more general note I think this is pretty much already the case. With some of the ridiculous software patents out there, there is no safe way to develop almost anything these days. You can hope you don't get sued, you might even win in court, but the cost to mount a defense if you don't already have a portfolio to ward others off can itself be prohibitive.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:22 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


This isn't going to affect any phones or tablets already sold. Just a financial/licensing issue for Samsung/Apple.

Wrong. Samsung can, and may have to, remove functionality (via an over the air update) due to patent losses.
posted by MikeKD at 5:25 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Are you under the impression that Apple are less about legally perusing competitors these days?

Depends on if you rip them off. Slide to unlock patent? Fine we'll just make it into a lock screen password. Pinch to zoom? Three fingers up and down to zoom in and out would get around the patent. Bouncy scrolling? Don't snap back, when it reaches a threshold the scrolling snaps around to the start.

These are all ways that have either been implemented or that I can think of to get around some of the patents just off the top of my head.

I'd personally rather see the whole stupid ass software patent system dismantled but one goes to war with the army they have.
posted by Talez at 5:26 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Software patents are horrible but I don't know how much other android vendors need to worry about this. Most of the issues raised against Samsung were for areas in which they diverged from the usual way of doing things in android - bounce back on lists, the app "dock", rounded rectangles for icons, etc.
posted by The Lamplighter at 5:26 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


rounded rectangles for icons

Those bastards!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:28 PM on August 24, 2012 [16 favorites]


I'm personally waiting for the upcoming Google v. Apple trial on the notification center patent that Google owns and how Apple thinks they've gotten around the patent or thinks that it's invalid.
posted by Talez at 5:34 PM on August 24, 2012


Well it's not strictly upcoming but it has to be in the works now that Apple has basically ripped the guts out of some Android features.
posted by Talez at 5:35 PM on August 24, 2012


But Apple is just gearing up to take on Google over Android. They can't afford to let Android get much more dominant without risking the eventual loss of the insanely profitable smartphone and tablet markets. I think once android reaches a certain degree of market saturation the ability for Apple to keep demanding a ridiculous premium for their product line is substantially reduced.

It's not like their devices are really that much better than the android alternatives these days. It's not like the marketplace is so loyal to Apple that it will keep paying the Apple mark-up when a similar devices with similar capabilities is being sold for half the price. And that's really what this about, Apple has a massive user base that they don't want to lose now that the Android alternative is almost as good, and it's not like Apple can produce their phones for much cheaper than Samsung and HTC.
posted by vuron at 5:39 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm personally waiting for the upcoming Google v. Apple trial on the notification center patent that Google owns and how Apple thinks they've gotten around the patent or thinks that it's invalid.

I wouldn't be surprised if they did. If they convinced a judge and jury that something invented in 1983 didn't exist before they came out with the iPhone, then something that someone else implemented a mere 3 years beforehand should be easy.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:40 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wrong. Samsung can, and may have to, remove functionality (via an over the air update) due to patent losses.

They can't force users to take that update though, so the legal repercussions can't directly affect sold devices was my point.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:41 PM on August 24, 2012


I'd personally rather see the whole stupid ass software patent system dismantled

Yes. I have no particular joy about the creativity of the 80s and early 90s being limited to a fairly sterile market of big players.

Again, Apple should look at their history. They got Jobs back from handily able to compete Next, and are running a great deal of BSD on both iOS and OSX. They are simultaneously a company that benefited hugely from open source and the company that is making modern open source phone development impossible.

If the enforcement of patents then resembled Apple's attitude of refusing to licence UI patents now, we'd be talking about features introduced in 1993 becoming generally usable. I guess the Doom 3d world patents would be expiring, and it wouldn't be too far until any innovations in Quake were accessable to the world too. Not Windows 95 innovative steps though. That would be too modern.

Imagining just how much of the history of computing would have been impossible in IP-bizarro world indicates just how much of a clusterfuck software patents actually are.
posted by jaduncan at 5:42 PM on August 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


They can't force users to take that update though

The effectively can given the importance of other updates (e.g. security and compatibility.)
posted by Wood at 5:43 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ironically (given the focus on them for most of the debate), it was the tablets that weren't found to be infringing. The Galaxy Tab family is in the clear, for instance.

It was kind of funny (in a sad way) when I clued on that it wasn't some weird coincidence that all the apple "visual comparison" evidence was always cutting off half of the samsung tablets (by cropping the photo, or the tablet being overlapped by an ipad, or half covered by a piece of paper, or being held behind someone's arm) but was to hide the fact that they're shaped and look so fundamentally different - like widescreen monitor next to a regular monitor.
posted by anonymisc at 5:44 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


All I care about is this-I have a Samsung Galaxy. Am I screwed?

No, but a jury just decided you really meant to buy an iPhone.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:45 PM on August 24, 2012 [28 favorites]


So who can Google buy now to increase their portfolio of patents so that any attempts to sue them are basically akin to Mutually Assured Destruction. The Motorola portfolio is pretty good but certainly they can find something else worthwhile.
posted by vuron at 5:48 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was kind of funny (in a sad way) when I clued on that it wasn't some weird coincidence that all the apple "visual comparison" evidence was always cutting off half of the samsung tablets (by cropping the photo, or the tablet being overlapped by an ipad, or half covered by a piece of paper, or being held behind someone's arm) but was to hide the fact that they're shaped and look so fundamentally different - like widescreen monitor next to a regular monitor.

Huh? Not true in any of the pictures I've seen. Do you have an example?
posted by Wood at 5:48 PM on August 24, 2012


Yes, on a more general note I think this is pretty much already the case. With some of the ridiculous software patents out there, there is no safe way to develop almost anything these days. You can hope you don't get sued, you might even win in court, but the cost to mount a defense if you don't already have a portfolio to ward others off can itself be prohibitive.

If your software is successful (in terms of making a lot of money), you will get sued. It's as simple and as foregone as that.

The only way to not get sued is to not have much money/assets, and even that's not guaranteed.
posted by anonymisc at 5:50 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


So who can Google buy now to increase their portfolio of patents so that any attempts to sue them are basically akin to Mutually Assured Destruction.

It's Apple they're fighting with, so... Xerox?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:50 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Huh? Not true in any of the pictures I've seen. Do you have an example?

Here's a start.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:51 PM on August 24, 2012


They can't force users to take that update though

Assuming an update is even available, which wasn't often true even before today's ruling.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:51 PM on August 24, 2012


I guess that the Galaxy S IV will take design cues from a different smartphone.

I was hoping you were going to link to this bad boy.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:52 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's Apple they're fighting with, so... Xerox?

Joking aside, Xerox PARC patents are long dead. There's going to be a hell of an auction battle over Nokia though, and Palm looks retrospectively like it was a bargain for HP.
posted by jaduncan at 5:54 PM on August 24, 2012


Assuming an update is even available, which wasn't often true even before today's ruling.

False.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:54 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


You mean this... this isn't an iphone?
posted by benzenedream at 5:55 PM on August 24, 2012


I was thinking HP might even be a worthwhile target for Google to purchase or merge with simply to stack the deck vs any opposing patent trolls.
posted by vuron at 5:56 PM on August 24, 2012


Apparently they're still announcing/hashing out the details of the jury's ruling. Which they didn't really do exactly right:

"The jury appears to have awarded damages for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE infringing — $219,694 worth — but didn't find that it had actually infringed anything." From The Verge live coverage
posted by skynxnex at 5:56 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah I'm aware of that one, different case and of course not what the OP said which was:

cutting off half of the samsung tablets (by cropping the photo, or the tablet being overlapped by an ipad, or half covered by a piece of paper, or being held behind someone's arm)

So, when you say a "start" do you mean a start towards making that statement true or a start to something else?

Anyway, sorry to intrude on the echo chamber, who cares if some of the echoes are incorrect as matters of fact...
posted by Wood at 5:57 PM on August 24, 2012


I was thinking HP might even be a worthwhile target for Google to purchase or merge with simply to stack the deck vs any opposing patent trolls.

At some point you'd hope that the mobile insustry would do what every other sane industry does and form a cross licenced patent pool. Even AMD and Intel brought themselves to the point of that.
posted by jaduncan at 5:58 PM on August 24, 2012


"The jury appears to have awarded damages for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE infringing — $219,694 worth — but didn't find that it had actually infringed anything."

Wow... Can I get a piece of this pie? I'm not greedy - I'll settle for $100,000 from Samsung for the Tab not infringing on my peanut-butter sandwich!
posted by anonymisc at 5:59 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the jury awarded damages for samsung stuff that they decided didn't infringe. Hooray for our awesome jury trial system. /sarcasm

Yeah, I got called in for jury duty and I'm bitter.
posted by mullingitover at 6:01 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, when you say a "start" do you mean a start towards making that statement true or a start to something else?

Considering the poster you replied to also said "they're shaped and look so fundamentally different - like widescreen monitor next to a regular monitor," and that regardless of docket number it was for the same issue, you can figure it out.

Anyway, sorry to intrude on the echo chamber, who cares if some of the echoes are incorrect as matters of fact...

Which, of course, they aren't.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:01 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is probably why Earth hasn't been invaded by aliens - they are probably shit scares of Apple slapping a patent violation on their technology.
posted by mattoxic at 6:02 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK, I have to ask this:

People who are "supporting" Apple, are you under the impression that this ruling is good for you personally? It seems like a world where random features can be restricted at will is also not exactly great for the future of iOS.

I don't see who in the market benefits from increased barriers to entry and decreased ranges of features on their platform of choice.
posted by jaduncan at 6:03 PM on August 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


jaduncan: "At some point you'd hope that the mobile insustry would do what every other sane industry does and form a cross licenced patent pool. Even AMD and Intel brought themselves to the point of that."

Isn't what they did with standards-essential patents and FRAND licensing? Except Apple gets to benefit from everyone's patents on FRAND terms, then gets to claim exclusive ownership of obvious stuff like pinch to zoom and auto-highlighted text.
posted by mullingitover at 6:04 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is probably why Earth hasn't been invaded by aliens - they are probably shit scares of Apple slapping a patent violation on their technology.

Actually, they may be scared by something else.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:04 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


So who can Google buy now to increase their portfolio of patents so that any attempts to sue them are basically akin to Mutually Assured Destruction.

RIM is the obvious choice.
posted by bonehead at 6:06 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


This discussion will shortly be longer than whatever conversation the jurors had – I am surprised they took only two days. The forms they had to fill out for the various possible infringements by both Samsung and Apple look like the IRS tax worksheet from hell.

Did they first come up with a number and then fill in the blanks until they added up?
posted by zippy at 6:07 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nokia perhaps
posted by bonehead at 6:07 PM on August 24, 2012


I have to imagine that, tonight, a bunch of former SCO/Microsoft lawyers are sitting together at a bar, and wondering how the hell they never managed to get away with something like this.
posted by schmod at 6:08 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I use and enjoy Apple products (since I first tried them a year or two ago), but: fuck Apple.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:10 PM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


zippy: "This discussion will shortly be longer than whatever conversation the jurors had – I am surprised they took only two days. The forms they had to fill out for the various possible infringements by both Samsung and Apple look like the IRS tax worksheet from hell."

If it's anything like the last jury trial I was on, you bet your ass the jury wanted to fill out that worksheet and gtfo. I can't speak for the rest of the jury but I was bored to tears, resented being dragged into their dispute, and I vindictively convinced the rest of the jury to make a judgement that was as unsatisfactory to both parties as possible.
posted by mullingitover at 6:12 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Isn't what they did with standards-essential patents and FRAND licensing? Except Apple gets to benefit from everyone's patents on FRAND terms, then gets to claim exclusive ownership of obvious stuff like pinch to zoom and auto-highlighted text.

Apple bought the basebands as complete packages from Infineon and Qualcomm. If the basebands are infringing on the patents that other people hold those patent holders should be suing Infineon/Qualcomm not Apple. The jury affirmed this just then in the trial.
posted by Talez at 6:13 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm just glad to see the inventors of the rectangle finally getting the credit they so richly deserve.
posted by emmtee at 6:13 PM on August 24, 2012 [15 favorites]


I have to imagine that, tonight, a bunch of former SCO/Microsoft lawyers are sitting together at a bar, and wondering how the hell they never managed to get away with something like this.

I have a fervent hope that history will judge Bill Gates and Steve Jobs by what they did with their money and their lives, but every time I see the line outside an Apple Store on release day, I despair at the thought that their version of evangelicals will probably end up rewriting that history, too.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:13 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was bored to tears, resented being dragged into their dispute, and I vindictively convinced the rest of the jury to make a judgement that was as unsatisfactory to both parties as possible.

Well, if that's not just trolling it certainly makes you sound like someone who shouldn't have been trusted with the responsibility of being on the jury in the first place.
posted by jaduncan at 6:14 PM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


I use Apple products (well not IOS products- I don't really see the point given the alternatives) but it's pretty clear that in terms of the smartphone/tablet market they might just be the baddies. I know that all the major players are gearing up for this sort of shit but come on Apple has to realize that this will just end up fucking them over the not so distant future right?
posted by vuron at 6:14 PM on August 24, 2012


I'm just glad to see the inventors of the rectangle finally getting the credit they so richly deserve.

You'll shit a brick when you find out how many companies own trademarks on colours then.
posted by Talez at 6:14 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


..then gets to claim exclusive ownership of obvious stuff like pinch to zoom and auto-highlighted text.

It's only obvious after someone invents it and implements it.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:15 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's only obvious after someone invents it and implements it.

Which in this case was the early 1980s.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:16 PM on August 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


jaduncan: "Well, if that's not just trolling it certainly makes you sound like someone who shouldn't have been trusted with the responsibility of being on the jury in the first place."

I personally believe that citizen jury trials are farcical and laypersons aren't qualified to interpret the law, and the average citizen shouldn't be trusted with the responsibility. So we are in agreement, I shouldn't have been on that jury trial. But hey, I'm on another one in a couple months! God bless America.
posted by mullingitover at 6:17 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's only obvious after someone invents it and implements it.

[insert technical innovation]...on a phone!
posted by jaduncan at 6:17 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I personally believe that citizen jury trials are farcical and laypersons aren't qualified to interpret the law, and the average citizen shouldn't be trusted with the responsibility.

They probably should at least try, however.
posted by jaduncan at 6:18 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


As problematic as jury trials are I prefer them to the alternative which one where highly political judges with ties to various political parties and donors get to decide every verdict. Yeah like that couldn't possibly go wrong.
posted by vuron at 6:21 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was going to try and say something snarky but, being fairly exasperated by mullingitover's response,......Yeah, what jaduncan just said.
posted by sendai sleep master at 6:21 PM on August 24, 2012


jaduncan: "They probably should at least try, however."

Absolutely, by sitting at home watching Law and Order and playing along, not by deciding real life trials with real consequences. IMHO the law is complicated enough that it's a joke expecting randomly selected people to try it fairly and without bias. It's like expecting random people to be able to walk into a modern hospital and start treating patients.
posted by mullingitover at 6:21 PM on August 24, 2012


You'll shit a brick when you find out how many companies own trademarks on colours then.

At least until Apple convinces a jury that Jobs invented the rainbow.
posted by emmtee at 6:22 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Those who don't know history are fated to repeat it.

From the start of the industrial revolution through the invention of wireless, television and computing, IP law has been used by the richest to maintain their advantage. This is not why IP law exists.

If you don't know the story of Edwin Armstrong, whose IP is in every darn bit of radio tech you own, then go and find out. Then, decide whether IP is doing its job.
posted by Devonian at 6:24 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


People who are "supporting" Apple, are you under the impression that this ruling is good for you personally?

No, but it doesn't seem bad for me, or for anyone else, either. This is the sort of backroom maneuvering that's constantly going on, and bears little effect on what actually ends up in your hands at the end of the day. The most likely outcome of this is some patent cross-licensing deal, hyperventilating notwithstanding.

Look: I'm reading this thread full of people who had only the faintest inkling this lawsuit was going on, and then they hear the verdict-by-headline, and scream "that's NUTS! The jury is SOOO STOOPID!" And it's like, who the fuck are you kidding? You weren't there, you don't know the legal issues, you don't know the full history, and yet it's "oh, man, fuck Apple! after this." And if Samsung had won, it'd be "fuck Samsung." As if your fucking choice of smartphone makes a bit of difference to who sues whom on what grounds.
posted by fatbird at 6:27 PM on August 24, 2012 [24 favorites]


How is any of this bad for innovation? If anything this whole case is about how Samsung is not being innovative. You may disagree about whether or not their products infringe the law, but they are clearly derivative of both the software and hardware of Apple's devices. Best case, this will encourage companies- Samsung included- to seek greater creativity and innovation, to break out of the design patterns established by Apple, and build better, more different products. And this is bad for innovation? This is bad for markets?
posted by Apocryphon at 6:28 PM on August 24, 2012 [18 favorites]


fatbird I can't favourite you enough.
posted by Talez at 6:28 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


How is any of this bad for innovation? If anything this whole case is about how Samsung is not being innovative. You may disagree about whether or not their products infringe the law, but they are clearly derivative of both the software and hardware of Apple's devices. Best case, this will encourage companies- Samsung included- to seek greater creativity and innovation, to break out of the design patterns established by Apple, and build better, more different products. And this is bad for innovation? This is bad for markets?

I will just point out that every single Apple product currently runs on modified BSD. It's probably good for Apple that AT&T didn't just restrict all uses of the OS concepts via patents.
posted by jaduncan at 6:30 PM on August 24, 2012 [17 favorites]


People who are "supporting" Apple, are you under the impression that this ruling is good for you personally?

That made an offer I couldn't refuse: Hypercard for Mac OS X.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:31 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I will just point out that every single Apple product currently runs on modified BSD. It's probably good for Apple that AT&T didn't just restrict all uses of the OS concepts via patents.

Last time I checked it's been more than 20 years since AT&T had anything to do with BSD.
posted by Talez at 6:32 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's both a non sequitur and pretty different from the actual cases going on of the smartphone wars. That's like comparing an orange with a hypothetical bone-dried cattle skull in the middle of the desert.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:40 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


How is any of this bad for innovation?

Because the revolutionary stuff typically comes from smaller nimble startups, and allowing the established players to squash competition in the courts instead of losing fairly in the marketplace, removes a lot of incentive to stake everything on making better way, and has been holding back our lifestyles for years.
What was unusual and newsworthy about this case was that both sides are an established player - man bites dog - instead of the usual everyday cases where the courts are used to stomp the new kid whose innovations threaten the established.
posted by anonymisc at 6:41 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm an apple fan, though I think these trials are stupid and self destructive and I wish all these companies would call a truce, but the evidence against Samsung was damning. They copied apple, pure and simple. They should have settled a long time ago.
posted by empath at 6:43 PM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


(Speaking as an innovator who isn't bothering to bring certain innovations to certain markets because of how certain industries are fueled by litigation instead of innovation)
posted by anonymisc at 6:44 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's both a non sequitur and pretty different from the actual cases going on of the smartphone wars. That's like comparing an orange with a hypothetical bone-dried cattle skull in the middle of the desert.

On the contrary, if Apple was using BSD today it wouldn't currently be encumbered by AT&T patents anyway making the point moot.
posted by Talez at 6:46 PM on August 24, 2012


Last time I checked it's been more than 20 years since AT&T had anything to do with BSD.

Not true. Do you think the project would have continued in the face of AT&T patents? The project only finished reimplementing all AT&T code in 4.4BSD (1994 release), and it was only at the point of Networking Release 1 (Net/1) (1989) that the work didn't require an explicit AT&T paid licence. I'm not sure that contributors would have worked for another five years (or, indeed, now just over 13) on something that required an AT&T patent licence to be able to distribute anyhow.

OSX and iOS are based around 4.4BSD-Lite2 and FreeBSD, so that would be the 1994 version and later FreeBSD patches. You may insert the FreeBSD authors regarding patents if you wish.

If you prefer UI, it's clear that early Apple would have had huge issues with both IBM and Xerox patents.
posted by jaduncan at 6:46 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Glad that I ordered a GSM Galaxy Nexus this morning (to replace my current CDMA one).
Love this phone to bits; Android 4.1 completely eliminated any possibly iPhone5 envy.

I've played both sides of the field - went from an iPhone 1 to a Nexus One to an iPhone 4 to the Galaxy Nexus, and use Macs all day every day at work, have owned every revision of iPad, but also have a couple of Nexus 7s. My iPad3 has been relegated to Netflix and streaming radio duty.

I can say that I won't be buying any more Apple products that aren't laptop or desktop computers.
posted by mrbill at 6:47 PM on August 24, 2012


It's probably good for Apple that AT&T didn't just restrict all uses of the OS concepts via patents.

Then Apple would've paid licencing fees. Or they'd have picked up BeOS instead of Next. If things were different they'd be different.

It's a pet peeve of mine when people discuss rulings and crap on juries and talk about how the fix was in with the judge. We weren't there. But more than that, we tend to discuss things like this in an over-determined way, like this

Remember when Microsoft was found to be a thoroughgoing monopolist with Windows? That was supposed to be this watershed moment in the history of commercial computing, and it turned out to be... not that big a deal, considering. MS is still here, Windows is still dominant, and what's done MS in is their own maturing as a corporation, Bill's retirement, and Ballmer's ascension to the throne. They became IBM. Lots of things happened besides the antitrust ruling that turned out to be far more consequential.

So no, I don't think this will benefit me personally. I don't think it'll matter personally all that much. Samsung will take a hit, HTC will change the corners and Motorola will modify the scroll behaviour, and the smartphone wars will go on. In a decade or two we might be able to identify the key moment that determined the winner. This, like most legal victories of the last few decades in computing, will almost certainly turn out to be less consequential than various business decisions that constantly occur.
posted by fatbird at 6:47 PM on August 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


On the contrary, if Apple was using BSD today it wouldn't currently be encumbered by AT&T patents anyway making the point moot.

I was referring to jaduncan's hypothetical situation wherein Ma Bell somehow reunifies into the Bell System and uses its BSD patents.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:49 PM on August 24, 2012


While there are some slight problems with the details of the sentence, on the whole Samsung was rightfully punished for their past ripoffs. They're now (Galaxy S III vs. I & II) actually innovating and differentiating themselves from Apple! This will lead to more innovation and more peaceful cross-licensing (Microsoft has a non-cloning agreement with Apple). As of now I can't see Apple as evil. Future actions may change that. Don't defend the poor little chaebol.
posted by Baldons at 6:49 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's probably good for Apple that AT&T didn't just restrict all uses of the OS concepts via patents.

BSD hasn't had any AT&T bits in it since June 1994 when 4.4BSD-Lite was released.
posted by mrbill at 6:49 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I personally believe that citizen jury trials are farcical and laypersons aren't qualified to interpret the law

Juries aren't supposed to interpret the law. They determine fact.
posted by ryanrs at 6:50 PM on August 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


People are annoyed with the constant use of IP and patent law to make sure that no innovation takes place in the marketplace because you never know when a jury will be convinced that your software feature or design was inspired by someone with a pre-existing patent and you will be sued into oblivion.

Samsung can absorb this hit because they are already a massive multinational corporation with large reserves of cash but if I was a tech start-up and I knew that I could be crushed at any time by any number of established parties I would be rightfully terrified.

Yeah there is always the chance that my new product or invention could be the source of massive revenues when I become a patent troll 10-15 years down the road but it seems more likely that I'm going to get squished like a bug.

That sort of chilling effect stifles innovation despite the ostensible reason of protecting innovation. That's not a great system.

Honestly there really wasn't going to be a winner and will continue to be a bunch of losers until we do something about the out of control nature of patent claims.
posted by vuron at 6:51 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


fatbird: "Remember when Microsoft was found to be a thoroughgoing monopolist with Windows? That was supposed to be this watershed moment in the history of commercial computing, and it turned out to be... not that big a deal, considering. MS is still here, Windows is still dominant, and what's done MS in is their own maturing as a corporation, Bill's retirement, and Ballmer's ascension to the throne. They became IBM. Lots of things happened besides the antitrust ruling that turned out to be far more consequential."

MS has been under the supervision of the DoJ for a decade. There's no telling what they might've wreaked if the manacles hadn't been on them for ten years, it's entirely possible (likely, I'm convinced) that they would've prevented Apple from becoming the force that it has. It's noteworthy that only a few months after getting off supervision, they give their OEM partners the shiv.
posted by mullingitover at 6:54 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


That sort of chilling effect stifles innovation despite the ostensible reason of protecting innovation. That's not a great system.

As opposed to what happened to Netscape? And Word Perfect? And Lotus 1-2-3?
posted by Talez at 6:54 PM on August 24, 2012


anonymisc, I agree with your interpretation of the case. However, this was not a case of companies using patents to squash innovation. This seems to be the opposite of that. And even if these smartphone war cases are scary and annoying and so forth, this is not a situation where innovation was threatened.

(Speaking as an innovator who isn't bothering to bring certain innovations to certain markets because of how certain industries are fueled by litigation instead of innovation)

I'm being snarky, but this sounds like the same vein of musicians going "piracy will decrease the quality of our content." Previously!
posted by Apocryphon at 6:56 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Look: I'm reading this thread full of people who had only the faintest inkling this lawsuit was going on, and then they hear the verdict-by-headline, and scream "that's NUTS! The jury is SOOO STOOPID!" And it's like, who the fuck are you kidding? You weren't there, you don't know the legal issues, you don't know the full history, and yet it's "oh, man, fuck Apple! after this." And if Samsung had won, it'd be "fuck Samsung."

It's a pet peeve of mine when people discuss rulings and crap on juries and talk about how the fix was in with the judge.

You do appear to assume that everyone here hasn't followed the trial, has no understanding of the legal system, and indeed lacks relevant legal qualifications. I can assure you that isn't true.
posted by jaduncan at 6:59 PM on August 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


It's noteworthy that only a few months after getting off supervision, they give their OEM partners the shiv.

There's much to criticize MS over the Surface, but it can be argued that they're not pursuing vertical monopoly in this case, but are rather doing something similar to Google does with its Nexus line- provide products running their software so their OEM partners have a standard of quality to work towards. Microsoft just happens to be bad at handling those relations.
posted by Apocryphon at 7:01 PM on August 24, 2012


BSD hasn't had any AT&T bits in it since June 1994 when 4.4BSD-Lite was released.

The actual code being removed doesn't mean that the patented concepts are. You'd be confusing copyright and patented subject matter.
posted by jaduncan at 7:02 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seconding jaduncan. I have some legal experience and patent experience, and if I were on that jury, while I am not sure how I would decided on the facts (not being there to hear them) I do know it would have taken me, without distractions, more than two days to decide who owed whom how much.
posted by zippy at 7:02 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


If there weren't massive incentives to hold onto every possible patent that could be used to eke out every ounce of profit from potential competitors or be used as a disincentive to being sued by a rival patent holder which is where are currently at there would probably be much more downstream innovation going on because technological progress is generally incremental in nature. One invention unlocks another innovation, etc. But since there is limited to no incentive to let people use your patents without extract the proverbial pound of flesh those later incremental technologies are strangled in the crib.

Certainly we could come up with an alternative that rewards a company for getting the first to market like netscape or word perfect but doesn't mean that the only alternative in the browser market is lynx and netscape and the only word processor is WP 5.1.

Because as much as I dislike MS for the underhanded shit that they pulled the current regime seems even more hostile to innovation.
posted by vuron at 7:04 PM on August 24, 2012


Jaduncan - if small and/or open source entities can disrupt the phone industry, they will. They won't be able to ripoff anyone, but that's not disruption anyway. Disruption is obliterating, changing the game.
posted by Baldons at 7:05 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


In your hypothetical, wouldn't AT&T calling in its BSD patents be in pretty freaking violation of FRAND?
posted by Apocryphon at 7:05 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


However, this was not a case of companies using patents to squash innovation. This seems to be the opposite of that.

You're right, it isn't about squashing innovation - it's about squashing competition. Squashing innovation is just a side effect. Samsung was playing follow-the-leader in a lot of ways, but if they weren't, you think they wouldn't have used something as bog-standard as double-clicking to zoom in?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:08 PM on August 24, 2012


How would small open source entities disrupt the smartphone industry when the Local Exchange Carriers have access to the actual phone networks on virtual lockdown? It seems like you ultimately have to play ball with someone in order to actually get something like a smartphone to market.
posted by vuron at 7:10 PM on August 24, 2012


Then let a more worthy competitor with actual innovation arise. Apple has been doing quite well in recent years in the laptop market, setting trends while the PC makers scramble to compete with ultrabooks and the like. And has Apple sued HP or Dell? Much less Acer, ASUS, Lenovo?
posted by Apocryphon at 7:11 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, there was a game, apparently unchangeable. Apple changed it. Someone can change it again, in a surprising way. Think Skype vs. telephony, cinema vs. theatre, Polaroid vs. slow developing cameras. Can someone change the tv game? Doesn't look like it. Just as the 2006 phone market.
posted by Baldons at 7:14 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


In your hypothetical, wouldn't AT&T calling in its BSD patents be in pretty freaking violation of FRAND?

No. AT&T would have had to agree (typically at a standards body) to licence on a FRAND basis for this to apply at all. The question itself suggests you do not understand patent issues very well.
posted by jaduncan at 7:20 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm being snarky, but this sounds like the same vein of musicians going "piracy will decrease the quality of our content."

That's an interesting analogy. Putting aside that it being hard to sell something isn't the same as the case of selling something attracting legal assault from giants, I think it's both true, but also unimportant. There are no shortage of musicians (and innovators) who will make music regardless of how much money is or isn't in it, what noticeably suffers in music if the bottom drops out of the market is the contribution of expensive and large production teams and what they bring to the table. It's a bit sad if music ceases to be profitable enough to keep as much production-team behind music, but only a bit. If the state of the art of music is retarded by X years, we're still all having about a good a time as we would be if it wasn't.
I don't feel the same way about standard of living. In a technological society, retarding technology means people that would be alive, are dead, if I may be melodramatic. Things that would be cheap, are expensive - or not available. etc. I get to talk to my mother (long distance) whenever I feel like it, instead of a few times a year, briefly, at considerable expense. etc etc.

Basically, when people drop out, I personally care more if they are the people who define our future prosperity, than if they define the particulars of our entertainment de jour.
posted by anonymisc at 7:22 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Then let a more worthy competitor with actual innovation arise. Apple has been doing quite well in recent years in the laptop market, setting trends while the PC makers scramble to compete with ultrabooks and the like. And has Apple sued HP or Dell? Much less Acer, ASUS, Lenovo?

Ummm, innovation != trends.
posted by MikeKD at 7:22 PM on August 24, 2012


Well, there was a game, apparently unchangeable. Apple changed it.

See, that's the thing. There was a game, and it hadn't changed in a while, but it was inevitably going to change. Apple was the first to capitalize on it, but iPhone or no iPhone, capacitive touchscreens were coming and that meant multitouch. Apple was among the first to market, and they hit the sweet spot of what people wanted with a smartphone, leaving everybody else playing catchup. But they also used the patent office to get exclusive rights to a ton of things that followed the form "standard UI convention, on a touchscreen." They enlisted the US government to protect their marketshare until the next game-change, and possibly beyond if the next generation still uses capacitive touchscreens, by virtue of being fast, not by being innovative, because the things they were patenting aren't actually innovations.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:25 PM on August 24, 2012 [14 favorites]


I will be very surprised if Apple continues its legal binge in the same way as it just finished. It is truly bizarre to see people slag Apple for taking action against another 900 pound gorilla that essentially admitted to turning their mobile phone business aesthetic on a dime to duplicate the one unforeseen competitor that showed up to kick their ass in the mobile phone market. Apple made their point in court and the money is a nonissue. Any startup that has a revolutionary design or idea should feel like they have a chance in hell of defending their ideas because of this case.
posted by docpops at 7:28 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


No, the game I was referring to was the power game between phone manufacturers and carriers. The awesomeness of the iPhone forced AT&T to accept very little control on the device. No more controlled software, bloatware, filtered updates... I can imagine the old game going on with multitouch phones, but gladly it didn't, and now we can have nice things like iPhone and jelly bean and nexus 7s.
posted by Baldons at 7:29 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


That FRAND thing is looking a bit stupid now, being basically a way of rendering your patents worthless.
posted by Artw at 7:30 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't understand how apple can successfully sue for things like "slide to lock" or the location of icons, but Zynga is allowed to whole-cloth duplicate others' games and that's just fine.
posted by Mr. Big Business at 7:30 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, there was a game, apparently unchangeable. Apple changed it.

Apple did so whilst being invoved in massive litigation for innovative steps they took (including from Nokia). The ability for Apple to absorb this is not an argument that a smaller company could do the same.

A quick example of a claim: "a telephone that can communicate with other devices (e.g., a computer) over a path other than the telephone network". That's taken from Fujifilm's complaint against Motorola. You should understand that this is ludicrously overbroad, and very unlikely to stand up in court. It would cost companies large amounts of money to prove this, and thus the larger companies can prevent small entities from entering the market.

Now consider the ability to exclude new entrants that is possessed by HTC, Google, Samsung, Apple and Nokia. It is impossible to make a product that will not infringe huge amounts of patents.
posted by jaduncan at 7:31 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Any startup that has a revolutionary design or idea should feel like they have a chance in hell of defending their ideas because of this case.

No. Startups know from the outset that they lack the necessary millions lying around to throw at lawyers on the off-chance a jury might see things their way.
posted by anonymisc at 7:32 PM on August 24, 2012


I don't understand how apple can successfully sue for things like "slide to lock" or the location of icons, but Zynga is allowed to whole-cloth duplicate others' games and that's just fine.

Zynga preys on poor people. Also companies.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:32 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


No. AT&T would have had to agree (typically at a standards body) to licence on a FRAND basis for this to apply at all. The question itself suggests you do not understand patent issues very well.

I don't claim to have much knowledge of it beyond Groklaw's coverage. Though really I'm less knowledgeable of BSD, and AT&T's history with it.

Basically, when people drop out, I personally care more if they are the people who define our future prosperity, than if they define the particulars of our entertainment de jour.

My point is that claiming both are equally ludicrous. Is our patent system broken? Yes. But do companies regularly go around killing upstarts left and right for innovation? If that was happening, there would be no innovation happening. While this case shows the power of software patents in the current system, how does it suggest that death is certain for innovation? Surely it can't be that bad.
posted by Apocryphon at 7:33 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Exactly anonymisc, even if the incumbent party has a ludicrous claim they can simply bury an emergent company in a ridiculous amount of legal overhead and effectively nuke an startup from orbit if they so desire.
posted by vuron at 7:34 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


"a telephone that can communicate with other devices (e.g., a computer) over a path other than the telephone network"

To explain this further, that means that any device with an internal modem and some other form of non-telco based IO (Bluetooth, wifi, USB cable) to another device is claimed to infringe.

How much can you change the game in handsets that this fuctionality is not required?
posted by jaduncan at 7:35 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


You gotta change the game, if you're small. When Apple was small, it could have never built a better mega-mainframe than ibm. Maybe you change the game by beginning to do something completely different and then attacking more entrenched markets. Is that Facebook's trajectory? It was really small a few years ago.
posted by Baldons at 7:37 PM on August 24, 2012


Is our patent system broken? Yes. But do companies regularly go around killing upstarts left and right for innovation? If that was happening, there would be no innovation happening. While this case shows the power of software patents in the current system, how does it suggest that death is certain for innovation? Surely it can't be that bad.

That's not true. If this was happening, there would not be no innovation going on, there would be much less innovation going on, which is what we see when we look around. Look at all the dead businesses that came to market with something cool, and were sued into oblivion. When most people get their idea of the state-of-the-art from what is on the store shelves, naturally most people don't see what is missing.
posted by anonymisc at 7:39 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


But do companies regularly go around killing upstarts left and right for innovation? If that was happening, there would be no innovation happening.

"Acquisition exit strategy" is the polite term for expecting you're going to get the old "join us or be destroyed" talk. It means you're expecting to join them.
posted by jaduncan at 7:40 PM on August 24, 2012


You gotta change the game, if you're small. When Apple was small, it could have never built a better mega-mainframe than ibm. Maybe you change the game by beginning to do something completely different and then attacking more entrenched markets. Is that Facebook's trajectory? It was really small a few years ago.

Ah. Your argument appears to be that a small entity can enter the market as long as it first becomes a large entity in another market. This is perhaps an argument of limited usefulness for demonstrating that a small entity can enter the market.
posted by jaduncan at 7:42 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Innovation happens when it makes the 800-pound gorillas money. It's in the app stores, or from companies that get acquired.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:42 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like the rate of innovation we're having right now. Of course I'd like more... Stomping Samsung's past wrongdoing is a step towards it. Another one would be stomping Samsung.

I don't like any kind of ripoff:
Ripping off someone who's bigger than you, eg. Game loft, someone who's about the same size as you, eg. Samsung, someone who's smaller than you, eg. Zynga.
posted by Baldons at 7:45 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Those exit strategies are often pursued because startups can't adequately monetize their product, or cannot compete in the market (not through patent suits) with potential products created by the big players, or just because the talent involved want to work for Google. I concede perhaps they are killed in competition with the big players, but hardly through patent lawsuits. This whole smartphone wars phenomenon is between big, established players, not Goliaths piling on the little guys. Did Danger die because of patent suits? Did Palm? (Well in their case it was more of incompetence in handling their own patents, but still)

Look at all the dead businesses that came to market with something cool, and were sued into oblivion. When most people get their idea of the state-of-the-art from what is on the store shelves, naturally most people don't see what is missing.

Some cited examples would be nice. Certainly in tech there are all sorts of issues with startup culture. But I dispute that the threat of patent lawsuits is as crippling to innovation as claimed. Surely it is a problem, but it seems ludicrous for a self-proclaimed innovator to go, "I can't/won't innovate because I'm afraid of getting sued by the big players." Really? It's that big of a minefield right now?

But I digress. This case really does not seem to be one between an established power and an innovator. It's just another boxing match between two established powers. The only way this case could lead to loss of innovation is if anyone seriously thinks that Apple will use it to strangle innovative upstarts. Has Apple ever used patents in such a manner?
posted by Apocryphon at 7:50 PM on August 24, 2012


I don't understand how apple can successfully sue for things like "slide to lock" or the location of icons, but Zynga is allowed to whole-cloth duplicate others' games and that's just fine.

I don't understand how "Move your finger across a specific part of the screen to unlock it" is a patentable concept.
posted by kafziel at 7:51 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jaduncan, I think this oblique strategy is the way things work right now. Entrenched markets require huge undertakings to be conquered. You need room and time to grow. How would an hypothetical small company do it without changing markets in an hypothetical bully-free, patent-free, might-makes-right-free world? I'm thinking of examples. Maybe Firefox vs. IE? That is software, though, whole different game, much more doable.
posted by Baldons at 7:52 PM on August 24, 2012


Maybe Square vs. preexisting payment systems?
posted by Apocryphon at 7:55 PM on August 24, 2012


A small entity can enter a truly emergent market or a market without a massive incumbent party and become really successful, Google obviously did this in regards to search, Facebook managed it with social media, etc. They can also enter a flexible market and try to grow rapidly enough to avoid acquisition prior to the patent trolls getting a good case through the courts. It also seems that a viable strategy is risky possibly violate patents and add additional innovations in the hope that you will be swallowed by one of the established parties because your new feature is deemed really cool by the market.

The smartphone market is calcifying around IOS and Android (RIM is basically dead, Windows Phone is going nowhere). Yeah each new version of IOS and Android have new feature sets but what is the likelihood a new competitor entering the market when MS can't really break back in?

And we have the inevitable patent fight between Google and Apple looming on the horizon for eventual dominance over the market. Will the jury in that case accept these same sorts of broad claims by Apple and pummel Android or will they be forced to come to some sort of detente? Who can say but it seems like the smartphone market is far from a friendly sea for new fish to swim in.
posted by vuron at 7:56 PM on August 24, 2012


Slide to unlock is obvious? It looks like that to 2012 me, but watch its 2007 presentation, and people are amazed, delighted... I remember I was, too. You get accustomed to things, and it's a force for laziness, against innovation. I don't know if Apple deserves to hold the right for it, but I'm sure there are ways around it that are better, different, not lazy.
posted by Baldons at 7:56 PM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Baldons: "but watch its 2007 presentation, and people are amazed, delighted..."

They never saw Predator.
posted by the_artificer at 8:05 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why do you want an example of that in hardware when these are software patents? Remember, Google never produced a phone, and the model is largely to licence your production to OEMs (see MS, RIM and Google).

The patents at issue aren't the fundamental hw tech. Apple licences them on FRAND from actual hw engineering companies (and that isn't a knock against them; everyone buys in). The multitouch patent is entirely software. The gesture patents are software. Both are nothing to do with the patents on the capacitive screen.

Apple has almost no engineering patents. It therefore viciously guards software patents as their special sauce, since they are integrating their software with commodity hardware. I don't think anyone here is arguing that FRAND hardware patents are bad. It's software patents that are causing issues.
posted by jaduncan at 8:06 PM on August 24, 2012


it seems ludicrous for a self-proclaimed innovator to go, "I can't/won't innovate because I'm afraid of getting sued by the big players." Really? It's that big of a minefield right now?

It's not a minefield, it's basically a certainty. By contrast in a minefield it's not certain that you will step on a mine.
It's not a certainty that you will be sued to oblivion, but it is a certainty that you will be sued if you are successful. And not just from competitors - patent trolls and opportunists also use courts as business models.

I can make a very comfortable living in the tech industry as an employee. A start-up on the other hand is a huge investment of passion and life. The idea of pouring years of my life - that I will never get back - into a baby while knowing that even if it succeeds technically, I'd then be up against lawyers and could lose it all on a whim, makes the 9-5 security seem unduly appealing.
The odds of a start-up succeeding are longer, not shorter, because of all the litigation, and the longer those odds, the fewer people will take a spin on them. I'm surprised this is surprising to you. You calculate your risks before you jump in the deep end.
posted by anonymisc at 8:10 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


(Also, it's not the case that I won't innovate - I believe I can get my innovation fix in other, less litigation-reliant markets.)
posted by anonymisc at 8:13 PM on August 24, 2012


Jaduncan - I asked for a hardware example because mobile is hardware+software. Google has been software-only (less and less) only by teaming up with hardware manufacturers. That's why we're talking about Samsung. Also, commodity hardware? Retina display, unibody, liquid metal?
posted by Baldons at 8:16 PM on August 24, 2012


Anonymisc - I think innovation happens everywhere, before or after. If you're an incumbent, either you fight competition fairly and gradually fight it, or you fight it unfairly, get entrenched for a while, but then get swooped away by a disruption. It's only a question of time.
posted by Baldons at 8:19 PM on August 24, 2012


What specific field of startups? Are competitors suing Path? Or Pinterest? Or Kickstarter? Or Uber? Or AirBnB? Did Facebook sue Instagram into oblivion, or Google sue Sparrow? What mythical widespread innovation-threatening lawsuits are you talking about? Startups are definitely risky and not the way for everyone, but I don't see how patent lawsuits are the biggest threat to startups. There are all sorts of complications that come before that anyway, and I don't see how it's a certainty, unless there's some sort of census that reports that for any given class of YC, most startups even get far enough to be sued.

This whole discussion seems awfully tangential to the lawsuit in the OP, anyway.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:20 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are competitors suing...

As far as I'm aware, every company you listed has been or is being sued, yes.
That they have survived so far doesn't mean they didn't have to fight the lawsuits (and/or are not currently fighting lawsuits)
posted by anonymisc at 8:24 PM on August 24, 2012


Apocryphon: "This whole discussion seems awfully tangential to the lawsuit in the OP, anyway."

The case really hinged on software patents, so the discussion is completely topical.

I kinda think that when future historians look back and try to deduce the cause of our civilization's rot and collapse, they'll be forced to conclude that it was when we, in a fit of naked corruption, started allowing people to lay legal claim to mathematical formulas.
posted by mullingitover at 8:36 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


The U.S. Constitution says: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

The purpose of patents and copyrights is to promote the progress of science, not to provide excessive monopoly profits to companies. Patents are government enforced monopolies and monopolies are detrimental to market competition. Companies should compete on who can build the most attractive product and sell it at the lowest possible price. Patents allow companies to charge above market prices and restrict competitors. This is a loss for consumers and antithetical to the constitutional intent of patents to promote public welfare.

Awarding Apple a monopoly does not promote the progress of science and the useful arts. It simply stifles competition.
posted by JackFlash at 8:37 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, you are putting words into my mouth suggesting I think patent lawsuits are the biggest threat to startups. Consider instead that confidence that my widget is better does not give me confidence a well funded legal team couldn't crush me regardless.
The greatest threats to a startup may be other things, but those other things can be areas I have a lot more confidence in, leaving litigation as a concerning wildcard.
posted by anonymisc at 8:40 PM on August 24, 2012


Grr, refresh just lost me a long reply.

Short version about commodity HW: everything the SW level touches looks standard (processor, SOC). The SW and case are the differentiation; Apple don't design or build the retina display.

Parts sellers don't want to be OEMs. The only patents at issue here are sw (save the side Samsung chip licence issue), and given that HW manufactures are OS agnostic this is to be expected. One wouldn't expect there to be non-case HW patent issues either; Samsung create a lot of the chipsets within the iPhone.

There's therefore not a lot of point in discussing HW patents, especially given that none were at issue in the above litigation. The design patents, SW patents and trade dress issues are separate from the hardware save the case. Nothing else exists in this case on the Apple side.

I'm going to bed.
posted by jaduncan at 8:43 PM on August 24, 2012


It's like expecting random people to be able to walk into a modern hospital and start treating patients.

"I wasn't sure they should let me look after the patient...so I stabbed him out of frustration."
posted by jaduncan at 8:46 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Patents are temporary legal monopolies. They reward innovation by providing preferential protection for a finite interval. To maintain otherwise demonstrates fundamental ignorance of the concept. Apple isn't evil for protecting its innovations.

Samsung, Google, HTC... they are not to be praised for trying to do with smartphones what sidewalk vendors in NYC do with Kate Spade bag knockoffs. Consumer choice? No. Theft. Pure and simple.

You wanna see evil, go look up the patent battle between Armstrong and DeForest regarding radio in the early days. That battle wasn't resolved until the 1960's, and it was joined in the 1920's. That battle lasted longer than most mefites have been alive. It didn't end until after Armstrong jumped out of a window to his death. He was eventually declared the winner.

Good on Apple for winning. THey took the risk. They invented the market. They get to exploit it as long as they are permitted and as long as they keep innovating.

Apple's solutions are not the only possible universe of solutions. Samsung is free to come up with its own. Once they get over their self-admitted "Crisis of design", perhaps they will.
posted by FauxScot at 8:54 PM on August 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


Patents are not just for advancing science. The "useful arts" above means "technology."
posted by zippy at 8:56 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


referring to JackFlash's comment above
posted by zippy at 8:57 PM on August 24, 2012


Calm down, you're only fucked if you ordered your R&D and design teams to rip off Apple and left a paper trail to prove it. Google and Motorola, and most US-based OSS projects used to US style patent hell, are simply not that stupid. Clean Room design is a thing here in the States.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:00 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


What technology is advanced by giving Apple a monopoly? What technology would be we missing if Apple were not given a monopoly. Could we not have phones with rounded corners without a monopoly?
posted by JackFlash at 9:01 PM on August 24, 2012


JackFlash: "What technology is advanced by giving Apple a monopoly? What technology would be we missing if Apple were not given a monopoly. Could we not have phones with rounded corners without a monopoly?"

Come now. Without patent protection, Apple would conceal their inventions as trade secrets, and then nobody would be able to figure out how they implemented slide-to-unlock and pinch-to-zoom. We'd all be worse off.
posted by mullingitover at 9:20 PM on August 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


Is the size of the award even meaningful? $1 billion is a considerable about of the company's $84 billion equity, but still...

And can't Samsung make modifications to the design of its devices in order to avoid future litigation?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:30 PM on August 24, 2012


The presentation photos that Apple assembled for the trial looked really damning.

... until you realize that 99% of the convergence is due to recent models being minimalistic, touch devices. What Apple would really LOVE to do is to say that nobody can ever do minimalistic touch devices ever again, but even they know that's ridiculous so they have to come up with things like icon colours, rounded icons, barf.
posted by rainy at 9:40 PM on August 24, 2012


In other news, Apple's core IP is worth about as much as Instagram.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:42 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm just glad to see the inventors of the rectangle finally getting the credit they so richly deserve.

So, yeah. Rectangle patent.
posted by underflow at 10:07 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yet somehow Microsoft of all companies came out with a valid alternative that preserves minimalism on a touchscreen device with the Metro UI. If Apple started suing them for design patents maybe that is too far. But as it stands all of this wailing and gnashing of teeth isn't disproving that Samsung designs look eerily familiar. Even if it wasn't a matter of lawsuit they would still look more like Apple devices than those made by other Android OEMs, and do little to advance the state of the art.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:19 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Apocryphon writes...What specific field of startups? Are competitors suing Path? Or Pinterest? Or Kickstarter? Or Uber? Or AirBnB? Did Facebook sue Instagram into oblivion, or Google sue Sparrow? What mythical widespread innovation-threatening lawsuits are you talking about? Startups are definitely risky and not the way for everyone, but I don't see how patent lawsuits are the biggest threat to startups.


it happens; look up Netlist vs. MetaRam. Netlist tied up Metaram with a completely bogus patent lawsuit, on patents they had filed but not yet been granted. This prevented MR from selling itself or going public. They had some very interesting technology.

Still, probably an exception and not the rule.
posted by joeblough at 10:25 PM on August 24, 2012


The bigger problem for samsung isn't the cash judgement (they make $18 billion profit) - it's going to be the injunctions. The three utility patents - pinch to zoom/shrink , double tap to auto zoom, and bounce-back on ends of lists - are basically infringed upon by every android device, and basically every other smartphone os to some extent.

bounce-back can be redone by using 3d part-tilt (as you see in the current launcher when you hit the end of the screens). double tap could arguably be replaced by a more awkward gesture or just removed altogether, but pinch to zoom in and out is a fundamental touch gesture that I can't see a work around for. Bar removing it altogether and going back to plus/minus buttons which is a big step back in functionality.

The injunction hearing is next month; based upon the depth of this win, that's looking like a sales ban for every single device on the list, though they're all old. More worryingly, given those patents are now judged valid, big time, that's grounds for a ban of every current single samsung made device in the US - Judge Koh has already banned the galaxy nexus with a preliminary injunction on the basis of other utility patents from Apple, so I could see a wholesale ban on every android device they make.

And since the three particular utility patents are universal ones, Apple now has grounds to seek a ban on every single smartphone in the US - not just Samsung's, but everyones - and they could argue that samsung need to issue an update to remove those functions from extant smartphones.

And that's without even touching the trade dress claims.

Thank god I live in the UK where the high court judge ordered Apple to publish that Samsung didn't copy them. I just hope they don't give us US-compatible firmwares.

While Samsung will obviously appeal, I'll be surprised if Koh allows a hold on the injunctions that are about to flood out until the appeals happen.

And this is only the start - the slide-to-unlock, unified search, word suggestion and action-links patent case by Apple is still pending, and before the same Judge.

Not a good time to be a US customer who wants anything other than an iphone. Though if motorola has any joy with their non-FRAND patents against Apple at the ITC...
posted by ArkhanJG at 10:36 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh, and regards samsung's FRAND 3G patents - Apple won against those on the basis on patent exhaustion. Not because qualcomm has a licence - it doesn't - but because Apple licences those patents from Intel, who has a cross-licence agreement with Samsung.
posted by ArkhanJG at 10:48 PM on August 24, 2012


They effectively can given the importance of other updates (e.g. security and compatibility.)

Even if you're running stock Android? My Nexus S is thankfully very different than my sister's iPhone. No change is needed. For those who have that horrible Touch Wiz or whatever Samsung currently calls it, a change to stock Android may well be hailed.

As opposed to what happened to Netscape? And Word Perfect? And Lotus 1-2-3?

Netscape was pretty awful. I worked directly with them. The browser was behind in CSS support at the time and the server products, though not bad, were not great. The way they ran business was horrendous.

Word Perfect failed to keep up with the times in much the same way that we still see POS systems written in the DOS days barely upgraded to run on Windows.

Lotus went to the enterprise. Talk to those in Enterprise that continue to use them.

They all made some pretty horrible business decisions which cost them dearly but we often here it was Microsoft's fault.

Slide to unlock is obvious? It looks like that to 2012 me, but watch its 2007 presentation, and people are amazed, delighted... I remember I was, too. You get accustomed to things, and it's a force for laziness, against innovation. I don't know if Apple deserves to hold the right for it, but I'm sure there are ways around it that are better, different, not lazy.

Some people, myself included, feel that adapting something from one world to another, such as the concept of unlocking something by sliding it out of a slot that locked the door (i.e. in public washrooms) shouldn't be protected. Opening a folder in the real world and opening a folder on a computer is another example. Should opening a folder on a computer be a function that a company should own and license? Besides, slide or swipe to unlock was on the Neonode before it was in iOS.
posted by juiceCake at 11:00 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't understand how apple can successfully sue for things like "slide to lock" or the location of icons, but Zynga is allowed to whole-cloth duplicate others' games and that's just fine.

Zynga are biters and douchebags, but a core game-mechanics concept isn't copyrightable (Except, I guess, for Tetris? I'm not well-informed on how that happened). Since they (presumably) aren't stealing any actual art assets or code, they get off scott-free.

The difference between that and this is, despite two games being thematically/mechanically identical, it's not that hard to tell them apart. One says "The Sims Social by EA" and the other says "The 'Ville by Zynga" on the splash screens, and though the art depicts the same things, it's still obviously different art. They're two cans of chicken noodle soup, made by two different companies, with two different-colored labels. Zynga wants you to know you're playing a Zynga game.

What we have with Apple vs. Samsung is, Samsung worked out the soup recipe, and then put it in a can with the same color label as Apple's, with a photograph of the same soup bowl, and wrote "Chicken Noodle Soup" using the same typeface.
posted by rifflesby at 11:12 PM on August 24, 2012


FauxScot: “Patents are temporary legal monopolies. They reward innovation by providing preferential protection for a finite interval. To maintain otherwise demonstrates fundamental ignorance of the concept.”

Do you realize that you just claimed that one Richard Posner, the foremost legal scholar in the United States who isn't on the Supreme Court, has "fundamental ignorance" of the concept of patents? His argument for why patents actually cripple the tech sector and stifle innovation are good arguments: because the cost of invention is low, no reward for innovation is actually needed, and in fact the reward just becomes a prize fought over by teams of lawyers, and ultimately the field becomes a battleground where innovation is difficult at best.

Maybe notice that great minds and accomplished legal scholars see the massive problems in our patent law system, too, before you shrug and dismiss everyone who believes there are problems with patents as "fundamentally ignorant."
posted by koeselitz at 11:17 PM on August 24, 2012


...but pinch to zoom in and out is a fundamental touch gesture that I can't see a work around for.

Seriously? I was able to come up with a couple of alternative gestures, neither of which I've seen used in other contexts and neither of which is particularly strained or convoluted, right off the top of my head.

Pinch-to-zoom is intuitive as all hell but multitouch allows for a huge array of alternatives—the inability to come up with even one shows a serious failure of imagination.
posted by Lazlo at 11:19 PM on August 24, 2012


Looking at Bill Buxton's history of multitouch the use of the pinch gesture for scaling seems pretty consistent, I'm guessing it's probably the most natural and, ahem, immediately graspable way of doing it. It's use for that purpose also predates the iPhone but I assume they have a bunch of "in a phone" clauses.
posted by Artw at 11:33 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seriously? I was able to come up with a couple of alternative gestures, neither of which I've seen used in other contexts and neither of which is particularly strained or convoluted, right off the top of my head.

Yes, seriously. pinch to zoom also is spread to zoom out. So to replace it you need
a) an analog gesture that allows to you both shrink and enlarge, the amount depending upon how much you do the gesture
b) not be used for something else

tapping is right out because it's not fine controllable. Besides, double tap to autozoom is also patented. One and two finger scrolling is already in use, in both directions. Two finger rotate about a point is somewhat awkward, and also already in use for rotate.

One fingertip held down with another sliding up and down is a possibility I guess, but I use that one on my touchpad and its awkward and definitely not intuitive.

Other than that, no I can't think of a replacement. There's a reason pinch to zoom in/out has been the standard multitouch gesture for that action since the 80s. Feel free to share your obvious alternatives.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:58 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whither licensing?
posted by Apocryphon at 1:09 AM on August 25, 2012


Seriously? I was able to come up with a couple of alternative gestures, neither of which I've seen used in other contexts and neither of which is particularly strained or convoluted, right off the top of my head.

Congratulations. You are now a wealthy man. Can I invest?
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:25 AM on August 25, 2012


A small entity can enter a truly emergent market or a market without a massive incumbent party and become really successful, Google obviously did this in regards to search
Yeah but only because DEC didn't enforce their "get search results on the Internet" patent.
posted by fullerine at 1:57 AM on August 25, 2012


Samsung will have no choice but to pay a licensing fee to Apple. Probably slightly above the 4.6 billion previously requested by Apple. This will serve as the template for the other Andriod makers.
posted by humanfont at 2:33 AM on August 25, 2012


1. Touch and hold the lower left corner with one finger; zoom out/in by drawing a second finger along a diagonal from above the first finger through a point to its right. Allow the gesture to be mirrored left-to-right to accommodate users with different hand dominance.

2. Swipe left/right or up/down with two broadly spread fingers (at a distance from each other that significantly exceeds the "natural" distance between the pads of the middle and index fingers when they touch the screen for a regular two-finger swipe) to zoom in/out.

3. Touch and hold in place for 1-2 seconds to enter "zoom mode", after which spiraling the touch in clockwise circles zooms in and counterclockwise circles zooms out (or vice-versa). "Zoom mode" exits when the touch ends. Zoom amount could have an exponential relationship to the speed of the swipe, allowing you to "dial in" a specific zoom level with good precision. It also allows for unlimited zoom in either direction in a single extended gesture, which you can't do with pinch-to-zoom.

4. Zoom with three-fingered left/right or up/down swipes, with the "zoom" behavior (rather than the "usual" three-finger-swipe behavior) triggered by having the outer two fingers touch at approximately the same time and the center finger touch a half-second later.

You may not like any or all of them, but they're all clear alternatives to pinch-to-zoom, and multitouch allows for plenty of others.
posted by Lazlo at 2:44 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


A good result. Innovation is good, flagrant plagiarism is bad. Apple innovated and Samsung did what they have always done, copied. This is self-evidently true except to to rabid fandroids who see copying as good, nay, a moral crusade if you are copying from Apple.

Oh and what happened to the fandroids who were all parroting the line that the Samsung designs predated the iPhone and iPad? Gone a bit quite on that one haven't we?

The patent system in the US is ridiculous but innovation must be protected against competitors who simply make no effort. Samsung should have stuck to plagiarising smaller competitors.
posted by epo at 2:50 AM on August 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Touch and hold the lower left corner with one finger; zoom out/in by drawing a second finger along a diagonal from above the first finger through a point to its right.

Still pinch to zoom, and covered by the existing patent.

3. Touch and hold in place for 1-2 seconds to enter "zoom mode"

Touch and hold already in use for other gestures. Single finger spiral without a pre-indicator will just look like swiping (first left, then up for a clockwise spiral)

Swipe left/right or up/down with two broadly spread fingers
Zoom with three-fingered left/right or up/down swipes

You do realize this needs to work on a phone, yes? I've just tried both on a 3.5" screen and my fingers don't physically fit on the screen in these positions, let alone have room for horizontal gestures. Heaven help you on a 3" screen.

triggered by having the outer two fingers touch at approximately the same time and the center finger touch a half-second later.

OK, now you're just shitting me. "neither of which is particularly strained or convoluted" my arse.

they're all clear alternatives to pinch-to-zoom. I'm afraid I have to rather strongly disagree with you there.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:18 AM on August 25, 2012


epo: "This is self-evidently true except to to rabid fandroids who see copying as good, nay, a moral crusade if you are copying from Apple."

Surely there's room in your frothing rant for the concept that people can think copying ideas and implementations in the tech industry is something so old and so vital to its development that they find it offensive that Apple can benefit from the things they copy but use the courts to punish others for copying them?

We can accuse each other of being "rabid fandroids" all day, but when I can use my (beloved) iPod Touch and note UI element after UI element borrowed from desktop OSes, other phones, and tech demonstrations from years before its ancestor launched I can't help but think of people who demand the pass-the-parcel of ideas stop with iOS as having one eye closed and staring a bit too hard with the other.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:21 AM on August 25, 2012 [13 favorites]


Apple wouldn't have become Apple if this type of patent idiocy existed when they began. Which I think is the main problem people have with this, humans finding hypocrisy abhorrent as a rule.
posted by fullerine at 3:55 AM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm a little late to the party here, so apologies if this was already stated but -- let's not forget that Samsung and Apple share a quite cozy bed with one another.

It may look like this trial was two growling dogs snarling across the table, but Apple is among Samsung's largest OEM customers. In 2010 Apple bought over $5B of components (chips, screens, etc) from Samsung for use in a variety of Apple products including mobile devices and laptops. In 2011-2012 this amount is projected to be over $11B.

Whether this $1B damages award sticks or not, Apple will continue sourcing components from Samsung, and most likely all of this will be worked into negotiations for components pricing. You might even make a case that Apple customers will be subsidizing some of the penalties that befall Samsung.

Aside from the mess of our patent situation, this case also illustrates how in the modern tech era, companies who seem to be mortal enemies in the courtroom actually have a much more complex relationship.
posted by thebordella at 4:50 AM on August 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Apple innovated and Samsung did what they have always done, copied. This is self-evidently true except to to rabid fandroids who see copying as good, nay, a moral crusade if you are copying from Apple.

Given the broad nature of the copying (i.e. rounded black rectangles), then I'm sure you'd be perfectly happy to, say, have Apple stop producing OSes with a GUI and icons.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:55 AM on August 25, 2012


Samsung partitions itself pretty completely; I was reading comments from one of their phone makers that they pay the same amount that everyone else does for the products being made by the fabs, and don't get any preferential access to anything.

Can't help but wonder if that's not going to change; if Apple doesn't want to play fair, Samsung doesn't have to, either.
posted by Malor at 4:58 AM on August 25, 2012


Sorry, phone designers, not phone 'makers'.
posted by Malor at 4:59 AM on August 25, 2012


I think we can probably all agree that a jury that took two days to decide all these issues wasn't engaging with the prior art issues very deeply.
posted by jaduncan at 4:59 AM on August 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Given the broad nature of the copying (i.e. rounded black rectangles), then I'm sure you'd be perfectly happy to, say, have Apple stop producing OSes with a GUI and icons.

Don't hold me to the math, but I'm fairly sure the $1M pre-IPO investment Xerox made in exchange for giving Apple access to PARC would be worth ~$13.5B today. Xerox may have let the fox into the henhouse but they did so willingly and were reasonably compensated.

After their experience accidentally licensing the Mac OS concepts to Microsoft it's not surprising that they are zealously guarding their IP. One of Steve's bullet points at the iPhone unveil was "we patented the hell out of it."

I think IP law is pretty screwed up but can't help but feel that if anyone deserves protection then Apple probably has a good claim to some itself.

If I had to use one word to describe the iPhone in 2008 it would be "revelatory." Apple invested a lot of capital to create a product that redefined the smartphone market. I doubt any consumer would prefer the alternative.
posted by polyhedron at 5:33 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I need to know is what does this suit mean for the job creators? And can I stop occupying Wall Street now?
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:58 AM on August 25, 2012


On my Archos 5 Android, which has a resistive touch screen, as soon as you scroll with your finger icons appear in the corner that you can tap to zoom in or out. It works pretty well, as I've never missed not having pinch to zoom.
posted by rfs at 6:07 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think we can probably all agree that a jury that took two days to decide all these issues wasn't engaging with the prior art issues very deeply.

The judge appeared to make every effort to rule prior art inadmissable.
posted by Artw at 6:35 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


After their experience accidentally licensing the Mac OS concepts to Microsoft it's not surprising that they are zealously guarding their IP.

Which is fine, except they define "their IP" as "anything they used that wasn't common in phones before," regardless of where it actually came from. And seeing as smartphones themselves weren't common before, basically any and all touchscreen and GUI conventions fall into that category.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:41 AM on August 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


It seems that Samsung was found guilty of biting Apple's style, which is true, but it's a real shame Apple had to be a patent troll in order to call Samsung out on it.
posted by furtive at 6:58 AM on August 25, 2012


I owned or used most PDA platforms and prior to the iPhone owned a Treo. The only difference between a smartphone and a PDA is an always-on data connection (I still have a 2400 baud Newton modem somewhere).

Apple isn't some shell company acquiring vague under-licensed patents and suing for dirty lucre. They spent years, probably hundreds of man-years before seeing any returns on their investment, developing a product that turned a boring, tiny market segment into an enormous growth-segment that reaches all demographics and yet people want to believe nothing Apple did is worthy of IP protection.

I don't get it.
posted by polyhedron at 7:10 AM on August 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


polyhedron: "yet people want to believe nothing Apple did is worthy of IP protection.

I don't get it.
"

Well, pinch to zoom certainly isn't. The prior art is as clear as the nose on your face.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:21 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't get it.

There's a lot of personal dislike of Apple, for various reasons. Combine that with questionable ruling here and the crappy state of patents and IP law and you get a wonderful buffet of Apple hate.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:22 AM on August 25, 2012


There are definitely some elements of the iOS design and the iPhone design that are novel. Stuff like multitouch doesn't appear to be. If an advancement is obvious or covered by existing software designs then the validity of that patent should be questioned. It seems like the jurors ultimately decided violations based upon visual appearance (which is admittedly similar) without really evaluating whether some of the core technologies claimed by Apple like multitouch are truly patentable.
posted by vuron at 7:26 AM on August 25, 2012


St. Alia of the Bunnies: All I care about is this-I have a Samsung Galaxy. Am I screwed?
Blazecock Pileon: No, you're not screwed.


Well, not any more screwed beyond the usual baseline of owning a shitty phone.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:51 AM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Galaxy series are pretty nice phones, actually. Looking into a Galaxy Nexus or a second-hand S2 for my next phone.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:01 AM on August 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I like my Samsung Galaxy, except it seems to need a little more internal memory.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:10 AM on August 25, 2012


"Today, values have won and I hope the whole world listens." -- Tim Cook

More reactions via NYTBlog.
posted by mazola at 8:11 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


How the Jury Decided: Point by Point.
posted by mazola at 8:20 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a Galaxy Nexus, and I'm very happy with it. My largest complaint is probably that the aftermarket apps are fairly inconsistent in terms of interface, but the stuff that comes with the phone is all quite nice.

The reason I bought it is because it's easily rootable. I want to actually own the phone. But the base firmware has so many features, and is open enough, that I haven't even felt the need. I didn't like the Google store, so I was able to easily switch to the Amazon store by clearing one checkbox and installing one program, no root access required.

THAT is how you do a walled garden.
posted by Malor at 8:28 AM on August 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


The current patent regime is obviously essential to promote innovation. Without the rewards from this lawsuit, Apple would have to settle for merely being the most valuable company in the history of the world as a reward for creating the iPhone.

(In all seriousness, I think copying expensive things and churning them out cheaply is also a very important form of innovation.)
posted by akgerber at 8:28 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I will buy nothing more from Apple.
posted by schyler523 at 9:14 AM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is interesting.

I remember way back in the olden days when the upstart radical kid Apple took on Microsoft over Microsoft's ripoff of the Macintosh. Apple got their ass handed to them, and everyone wrung their hands over the result. How any huge company could rip off ideas from a truly innovative one, and just beat them to a pulp in court.

Now the innovative upstart is now a huge company, and they're pounding the copycats in court.

So here's the deal. Until there is a true reform in patent law (in the USA), this is what we get. There should be some protection for innovation (Apple vs. Microsoft), but then there should be some kind of standards (Apple vs, Rest of World). I see this also as something that is USA vs rest of world. At what point does the USA become less important than a global presence. It really seems that phone technology increases faster in a country like Japan for example.

We came to this place from a time where it was smart to have approved monopolies because of infrastructure issues. To a time now where any little idea, no matter how minuscule, can become a point for contention. Where does the idea of a basic form of something common, like a house, or a phone interaction or functionality, become property? God forbid the hallway becomes patented. Or the bathroom...

I don't know enough about law to know if this was a good or bad decision according to USA law. I do know that it is an interesting view on it considering the history of this kind of thing.
posted by Eekacat at 9:17 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


yet people want to believe nothing Apple did is worthy of IP protection.

I don't get it.


Well, if you're going to conflate certain general (and pre-existing) aspects of smartphones and tablets with everything Apple did, I can see why.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:46 AM on August 25, 2012


I was amused that this jury, sequestered only a few Km from Apple HQ, deliberated for less than two minutes per question (~700 in total, 22 hours in deliberations). And as this timeline indicates, they were so eager to get the hell out of the building by 6pm Friday and hand the keys of the kingdom to Apple, they even awarded damages to Apple for Samsung products and claims not even found liable. Koh sent them back to revise their "deliberations" for those ones.

I'm thinking, if Apple ever gets it stuff together to actually, you know, advance the iOS interface past its 2002-era WinCE-style "wall of icons" and includes widgets and dynamic info displays/tiles, will it get sued by the Android makers? I'm still surprised it bolted on its Android-style notification panel in there without legal objections. Google hasn't really begun the "scorched earth" thing.
posted by meehawl at 10:01 AM on August 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


JKF: I'm very pleased Apple won on the trade dress and design issues, cause, you know, fucking DUH, anyone who questioned that was clearly insane

This chart says otherwise.
posted by meehawl at 10:06 AM on August 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I remember way back in the olden days when the upstart radical kid Apple took on Microsoft over Microsoft's ripoff of the Macintosh.

I'm pretty sure both companies have been around for the same length of time, give or take a year.
posted by Artw at 10:07 AM on August 25, 2012


Apple will end up like Gillette. Gillette make fantastic razors and are a leading brand. They have also used their early market leadership and cash to secure pretty much any innovation in razor technology. The result is that pretty much every razor sold in the world ends generating revenue for them.
posted by humanfont at 10:08 AM on August 25, 2012


THAT is how you do a walled garden.

Nobody has a problem with a walled garden as long as it has a gate to allow one to wander in and out.
posted by jaduncan at 11:00 AM on August 25, 2012


schyler523: I will buy nothing more from Apple.

You will also buy nothing more from Samsung that was copied from Apple. Don't be bitter, Apple is helping you not buy what you want.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:30 AM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jaduncan - one can:
- use web apps
- jailbreak
- not buy an ios device.

Three big exits in this garden.
posted by Baldons at 11:49 AM on August 25, 2012


Samsung actually won.

Both Apple and Samsung won, this entire trial was a sideshow made at the expense of every other smartphone manufacturer.

Everybody won (and lost).

This trial has as many interpretations as the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:26 PM on August 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Samsung actually won.

It was a tie! /otto
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:10 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jaduncan - one can:
- use web apps
- jailbreak
- not buy an ios device.

Three big exits in this garden.


I wasn't talking about Apple. Not everything is about Apple, and not liking this judgement doesn't mean that I dislike Apple's products.
posted by jaduncan at 1:11 PM on August 25, 2012


I'm sure the usual suspects will be along soon to tell us why this is a good thing. Patents and copyright are both thoroughly broken.
posted by maxwelton


Yeah, calling out those with differing opinions before they have a chance to join the discussion is great for conversation. Good job.

Ignoring that, please show me all the Apple fans/websites that believe this is a good thing? I'm waiting... The fact is most Apple fans do NOT believe this is a good thing. The believe it stifles competition, and points to how broken the patent system remains.

The reason the jury took just 2 days is because the trial was so incredibly one-sided, a knock out. Samsung could not have put up a more pitiful defense. Not only did they shamefully copy apple, but they left a paper trail showing they did so.

Comments like this:

I'm just glad to see the inventors of the rectangle finally getting the credit they so richly deserve.
posted by emmtee


Are moronic. The whole 'this is over rounded corners' rhetoric is a strawman argument. The imitation went far beyond rounded corners and rectangles, and anyone that actually wants to understand the depth of the copying instead of throwing out idiotic one liners for favorites can find the links if they want to (but they won't, they don't care).

I have no sympathy for Samsung, a giant company that got rich by following Apple's lead (This wasn't David vs. Goliath). But as someone that prefers Apple products, I want competition, and if companies are scared, or unable, to honestly compete with Apple, everyone loses. And this is not lost on the majority of Apple fans.

They can't afford to let Android get much more dominant without risking the eventual loss of the insanely profitable smartphone and tablet markets. I think once android reaches a certain degree of market saturation the ability for Apple to keep demanding a ridiculous premium for their product line is substantially reduced.
posted by vuron


Nonsense. You're comparing an OS spread across many companies to a phone belonging to one company. How much of the PC market does Apple have? 9 percent? And they're still not making 400 dollar laptops. (you're also confusing not making crap products with demanding a 'ridiculous premium', but that's another topic. Seriously, go to best buy and just play around with all their laptops from 399 to 700. They all feel like fisher-price toys, bad ones at that.)

As someone who used smartphones long before the iPhone came out, claims of their innovation always seem ridiculous to me. It was incremental improvements, not radical innovation.
posted by wildcrdj


It's a shame this tripe is brought up in every metafilter thread on smart phones. I bought a phone a few months before the iPhone. The phone they were pushing in all their windows at the time? The Razr. No, Apple did not invent touch screens. They put existing features into a package that changed the market place. Why, even if you hate Apple, people have a hard time admitting this is beyond me. It's almost as if some people hate Apple so much they simply refuse to admit any credit (I guess the fact that the iPhone was such an obvious next step was why Ballmer famously laughed at it). To deny the iPhone led the way and changed the smart phone market dramatically is just breathtakingly shortsighted.

It is truly bizarre to see people slag Apple for taking action against another 900 pound gorilla that essentially admitted to turning their mobile phone business aesthetic on a dime to duplicate the one unforeseen competitor that showed up to kick their ass in the mobile phone market.
posted by docpops


1. It's Apple
2. This is Metafilter

If someone came along and copied Metafilter all the way down to the colors and started taking away page views we'd have a metatalk thread a thousand comments long demanding blood.
posted by justgary at 1:29 PM on August 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yeah, calling out those with differing opinions before they have a chance to join the discussion is great for conversation. Good job

Someone who can actually collapse the concerns that people have about this to 1. It's Apple 2. This is Metafilter" has (a) zero claim on any high ground from which to criticize anyone and (b) likely doesn't have much insight to contribute to the discussion.

If what you wanted was to mark yourself this way, mission accomplished. If what you wanted was to articulate some kind of defense of Apple, though, I hope you *feel* good about it, because that's all you're going to get.
posted by weston at 1:43 PM on August 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


justgary: "Comments like this:

Are moronic.
"

God forbid anyone poke fun at two incredibly rich companies! Who will defend them against such light-hearted ribbing?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:51 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


justgary: I bought a phone a few months before the iPhone. The phone they were pushing in all their windows at the time? The Razr.

Your limited awareness of good smartphone choices before Apple's marketing onslaught in 2007 should not guarantee Apple a patent on black rectangles with rounded edges.

justgary: Apple did not invent touch screens. They put existing features into a package that changed the market place ... To deny the iPhone led the way and changed the smart phone market dramatically is just breathtakingly shortsighted.

I'm not aware that anybody is denying Apple's success in smartphones: it's all around us. But I think what you're picking up on is many people's surprise that Apple can claim State-sponsored monopoly protection for, as you say, putting together existing features. Apple has already been handsomely rewarded in the marketplace and the stock market for its recent business acumen. Grabbing monopoly protection for trivialities is just about establishing legal-financial barriers to entry and blatant rent seeking, especially when you have a court local to Apple effectively confirming its ludicrous patents such as pinch-to-zoom (first implemented by Myron Krueger in 1983) and slide-to-unlock (actually patented three years before Apple by Swedish company Neonode).
posted by meehawl at 2:10 PM on August 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


The company spent most of the past month telling the jury that the iPhone was a revolution five years in the making, and that Samsung had taken just three months to copy it, without bearing any of the costs or risks involved.
posted by justgary at 2:17 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The original iPhone may have had a revolutionary interface, but it's hard to have any warm feelings towards Apple about it since they decided to sue almost every other smartphone provider in range, and since they decided, from the beginning, to tightly lock down their device so it could be used in only Apple-approved ways.

For someone who isn't an Apple fanatic, there's no reason to defend or approve of Apple's actions when they so often act in such a controlling and monopolistic manner.
posted by honestcoyote at 2:20 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


justgary: I bought a phone a few months before the iPhone. The phone they were pushing in all their windows at the time? The Razr.

Furthermore, there was a weird time in that early-to-mid part of the 2000s when that Razr form factor was abnormally popular, despite the fact that it from my perspective could do very little worthwhile. There were these thin Razr clones everywhere that emphasized thinness and the flip form factor, and seem to have sacrificed a lot of "smart" functionality to get there. I was happier with my chunky HTC rectangular phones with rounded edges. And Apple was busy with the Razr people bringing out the dreadful button-happy candybar ROKR and missing the PDA/smartphone design boat completely. It took Apple two years to switch its designs and copy the emerging XDA-style PDA/smartphone mashup for the iPhone. But the takeaway point is that, as you say, the Razr was the dominant design fad at the time. It was then replaced in the marketplace when people's preferences changed. It didn't require Motorola suing the crap out of all Razr lookalikes under "trade dress" to maintain its multi-year dominance.
posted by meehawl at 2:32 PM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Samsung made the mistake of documenting what they did. That pretty much left Apple with one of two clear choices: Either do nothing and let the biggest revenue-generator in your company get copied to the point where you'll be nearly bankrupted, like what happened in the mid-90s, or you take the biggest copycat to court and let the lawyers hash it out, while you still get to sell your invention.

Seems like an easy decision for a business to make, really. Google has been making the same decision, by feeding patents here and there to HTC and other parties. Perhaps they just aren't as honest about their business.

The only take-home message here is the same lesson that Microsoft had to learn during the DoJ antitrust lawsuit, and Google/Motorola during the Skyhook trial: If you're going to break the law, don't write down what you're doing for the benefit of posterity.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:08 PM on August 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


One of the reasons -- perhaps the main reason -- the jury was able to deliver a verdict in Apple's (AAPL) landmark patent infringement suit against Samsung in less than three days was that it chose as its foreperson a 67-year-old retired engineer with two grown children, three civil cases under his belt, a 35-year career in hard-drive technology (Memorex, Storage Technology, Digital Equipment) and a U.S. patent in his name.

I guess "jury or your peers" is apt here, but why didn't they just go whole hog and get a few apple employees on the jury.
posted by Big_B at 3:19 PM on August 25, 2012


The real lesson should be that none of these extremely broad patents should have been granted to Apple (or Google or Microsoft or whoever) in the first place, let alone granted legitimacy in court, because they're being abused to the point of being criminal.

Or to use your terminology, Apple wasn't suing to protect their invention--and given all of the technology and design it borrowed from prior sources, that's a fairly inaccurate description of it--they were suing their biggest rival to retain their generation of revenue.

And honestly, the glaring lack of other defendants in what is not doubt the first of many trials should be an enormous red flag. But no, Apple is the poor downtrodden underdog, and everybody else just isn't as honest. Bullshit. When Google starts to sue over pull-down notifications, iCloud backups, and Twitter/Facebook integration, or RIM takes on Apple over iMessage maybe I'll believe that's the case.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:28 PM on August 25, 2012


The real lesson should be that none of these extremely broad patents should have been granted

That's your opinion, and not one that either the court or the jury seemed to share. You can argue about it with someone, I suppose (that's not going to be me) but other than through some crazy jury nullification in favor of Apple, a decision was made based on the facts of the case and the law as written. Even if there's a theoretical moral argument that Samsung somehow didn't copy Apple, they sure jumped through a lot of hoops to make it look like they did to the court, on a functional, operational level.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:38 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Either way, it's pretty clear that this only serves to stifle innovation. Apple didn't win with the iPhone by creating something new and patentable; nobody gets an iPhone because they love slide-to-unlock, or because they think rectangles are cool, or because they want to pinch to zoom. People buy iPhones, and buy them by the millions upon millions, because they work, and because they were a better and slicker version of a touchscreen device than any company had designed and created thus far.

The outcome of decisions like this is that it now costs many, many millions of dollars just to do the legal work to bring a smart phone to market. That's a clear stifling of innovation. It's insanely expensive and difficult just to know whether you're infringing on any patents at all – and even if you don't seem to be, a patent troll can easily come along and stomp you into the ground anyway.

Patent law is really, really bad for the tech sector. It's good for things like pharmaceuticals, yes; but it is bad for technology.
posted by koeselitz at 4:10 PM on August 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


To be a little clearer: I think Apple is enormously successful because they put together the best hardware and the best software in the most seamless way. I don't believe that they're successful because they came up with any one thing that nobody had done before. I believe they simply did all those things better than anybody had. That's not due to patents. It's due to quality. This is how the tech sector works: key innovations are rewarded if they work, with or without patents, but it's actually easy to innovate in the tech sector. What's hard is coming up with a seamless product that works, and that's not something that's patentable. That's why Apple and Google and Samsung and the rest are grasping at straws with ridiculously arcane patents that don't seem to even mention the core features of the products they offer.
posted by koeselitz at 4:27 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Koeselitz, you make it sound like there are smartphone startups that could bring new, innovative smartphones to market, but for the millions they need for legal fees.

A big part of the iPhone's success is the quality vs. the price point, for which Apple spent years building a supply chain that could handle it. Long before legal issues ever came into it, a prospective smartphone vendor would have to spend millions upon millions just trying to figure how to actually build the damn thing. After that, millions would be spent trying to cut a deal with AT&T or Sprint or some other phone company to get your phone into their stores.

Smartphones are a big company game. Millions in legal fees are chump change compared to the rest of the business issues surrounding bringing a new one to market. Pointing at this verdict as if it's keeping garage startups out of the market ignores much more dominant realities to the market.
posted by fatbird at 4:46 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Big_B, you're not alone in your opinion, but I find it incredibly odd that being an engineer and holding a patent is considered enough to be in Apple's pocket, much less in Samsung's pocket instead. Among the panopoly of tech engineers, Apple is generally held in low opinion except for software engineers. As for having patents meaning that one would be in favor of Apple, Samsung, Google, and all engineers worth their salt file patents. Even Samsung wouldn't want to eliminate patents. In fact South Korea is one of the major hubs for international patent filing these days. Patents are a universal across the tech industry, and have been since the early days of silicon.

The idea that no patents are valid is an extremely radical opinion. Patents are the absolute backbone of computer hardware. Try to find one solid electrical engineer that doesn't think that their novel inventions should be patentable, and that they should be prevented from copying the circuits that others have been able to patent. I've never heard an even halfway rational argument against hardware patents, other than people so confused by their hatred of software patents and ignorance of non-software patents that they lash out at the very concept of a patent.

It's software patents are tricky. Software patents were forced upon an unwilling USPTO by the Supreme Court, and the USPTO started issuing both reluctantly and recklessly. If the patent office had better software patent agents and guidelines for those agents, it's quite possible that the current software patent situation wouldn't be so tragic. They are now finally opening a satellite patent in San Jose, so perhaps now they will have the talent pool in order to properly assess both prior art and non-obviousness. It is possible that even without a Supreme Court reversal on the patentability of software that a much much better situation will be worked out.

It was clear from the presentation of evidence in this case that Apple was going to win at least some chunk of money. I know GrokLaw is fighting the good fight, but at some point one has to acknowledge the reality of Samsung's copying and that even if some of these patents are bad patents that should be invalid, Samsung's reckless intellectual dishonesty would annoy jurors to the extent that they would punish them. Hell, even a South Korean jury found Samsung guilty of infringement on pinch-to-zoom. Though I'm fuzzy on the particulars of pinch-to-zoom, my intuition is that it should never have been granted in the first place, but that's something that could be fixed by better patent office work.

But even with these bad patents, it's incredibly easy to work around them without having to give up on pinch-to-zoom entirely. People often confuse the title of patents, which describes a general idea, with the claims, which should describe an actual concrete invention. The line isn't always clear, but they should be distinct, and it's the patent office's responsibility to make that line a useful one. And this is how it usually works, normally Apple would complain to Samsung about infringement, Samsung would make some minor tweaks to get around the particular wording of the patent, and then the modified devices start shipping. That it didn't happen in this indicates that these patents are particularly bad patents, or that Samsung is incompetent/idiotic/arrogant. Based on their performance in the trial, and documented instances of Google telling Samsung to stop doing such direct knock-offs, it's the latter and Samsung's culture just fundamentally doesn't understand "do not directly copy shit." Samsung stopping that is not a bad thing, it means more innovation rather than less. Apple did not discover the platonic ideal of smartphones, forcing other phone manufacturers to not directly copy will result in better interfaces and more innovation, not less.

In short, there's a tendency to look at this patent ruling and think the sky is falling, the system is corrupt, and we'll be stuck with current technology rather than better things we could have in a different world. But I don't see it that way; I see the future of software patents improving through better administration, I see more innovation moving past the iOS interfaces, and I see Samsung producing better phones than they did in the past. $1 billion sounds like a ton of money, but it's only like 20% of what Apple paid Samsung last year for their parts. So basically the result of this ruling is that Apple got a 20% discount on their parts for a single year; Samsung won't really feel that much pain and will continue to produce all sorts of Android phones. The real pain for Samsung is that Apple is gradually moving away from using Samsung as a parts supplier because Apple's thinking "screw these guys."
posted by Llama-Lime at 4:50 PM on August 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I guess "jury or your peers" is apt here, but why didn't they just go whole hog and get a few apple employees on the jury.

That's not how jury selection works, but even if it was, Samsung's lawyers would have rejected them.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:23 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


fatbird: “Koeselitz, you make it sound like there are smartphone startups that could bring new, innovative smartphones to market, but for the millions they need for legal fees. A big part of the iPhone's success is the quality vs. the price point, for which Apple spent years building a supply chain that could handle it. Long before legal issues ever came into it, a prospective smartphone vendor would have to spend millions upon millions just trying to figure how to actually build the damn thing. After that, millions would be spent trying to cut a deal with AT&T or Sprint or some other phone company to get your phone into their stores. Smartphones are a big company game. Millions in legal fees are chump change compared to the rest of the business issues surrounding bringing a new one to market. Pointing at this verdict as if it's keeping garage startups out of the market ignores much more dominant realities to the market.”

I don't think that's really true. The supply chain is not that concrete; we're not talking about a feudal system here. Apple has spent years working on theirs, and their great success there has driven their ability to dictate price points, but all the same not that long ago there were startups in this field (like Android, for instance, or Danger) and I think there still are. There are hardware startups all over the place. Look at Raspberry Pi, for example - different product, but has some applications here.

The point isn't that startups are being stifled, anyway. The point is that innovation is being stifled.
posted by koeselitz at 6:31 PM on August 25, 2012


fatbird: "Smartphones are a big company game."

Except this isn't just about smartphones, it's about the entire tech industry. You don't need to be a big company to create innovative software but you're going to need money to defend yourself from the patent trolls.
posted by the_artificer at 6:34 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


nobody gets an iPhone because... they want to pinch to zoom.

Pinch to zoom made the mobile web possible. You could just render the page as it appeared on a regular computer and then let the user zoom in or out as necessary. It's a huge part of why I bought the original iPhone.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:44 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rock Steady: “Pinch to zoom made the mobile web possible. You could just render the page as it appeared on a regular computer and then let the user zoom in or out as necessary. It's a huge part of why I bought the original iPhone.”

This strikes me as a great deal of hyperbole. There are many, many workable ways to do zoom that are not pinch to zoom. Tap to zoom, for example, seems more integral to the development of the mobile web to me, and if I'm not mistaken that was Opera's innovation.
posted by koeselitz at 10:04 PM on August 25, 2012


Via Hacker News: "Best billion dollar ad-campaign Samsung ever had."
posted by koeselitz at 10:24 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Opera was sort of impressive before the iPhone came along, but pinch to zoom kicked its ass.
posted by Artw at 10:38 PM on August 25, 2012


So you really think people buy iPhones solely for that feature?
posted by koeselitz at 11:02 PM on August 25, 2012


The foreman wasn't just an engineer, he is an engineer with a *terrible* patent who explained patent law to the rest of the jury and was the one who stated that looking at the jury instructions was unnecessary.
posted by jaduncan at 2:54 AM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Money quote: "I was thinking about the patents, and thought, 'If this were my patent, could I defend it?' " Hogan recalled. "Once I answered that question as yes, it changed how I looked at things."

Another juror, Manuel Ilagan, confirmed to CNET that Hogan's influence on the jury was significant. "He had experience," said Ilagan. "He owned patents himself...so he took us through his experience. After that it was easier."

Emotional investment in his own terrible patent - it isn't hugely surprising that the man dismissed prior art claims. The abstract is this:
"A personal video recording/storage apparatus for downloading streaming video and data contents from a number of sources and storing the video files to an internal storage device, such as a disk drive. The apparatus further has the ability to offload the video files (e.g., originally stored in the fixed storage device) to an internal removable media storage device. The video files stored in the internal storage devices may thereafter be retrieved, processed, and provided for viewing on demand at a later time (e.g., on a standard television set, a high-definition television set, flat panel display, computer monitor, or an equivalent output device). One embodiment of the invention includes an apparatus equipped with a wireless keyboard and software that enables a user to access the Web and email services, edit recorded material, download new coder/decoder (Codec) software, order a movie on demand, and/or perform other functions."
In 2002! Here's the link; the claims don't get better in quality.
posted by jaduncan at 3:03 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jury didn't want to let Samsung off easy in Apple trial: foreman

"We wanted to make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist," Hogan said. "We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable."

Hogan worked as an engineer for decades before he retired, and holds a patent of his own. He said jurors were able to complete their deliberations in less than three days - much faster than legal experts had predicted - because a few had engineering and legal experience, which helped with the complex issues in play.

Once they determined Apple's patents were valid, jurors evaluated every single device separately, he said.

"We didn't just go into a room and start pitching cards into a hat," he said.

At one point during the second day of deliberations, jurors turned off the lights in the room to settle a debate about the potential influence screen brightness might have on Apple's graphics interface. Their verdict: Apple's designs were unique.

"All of us feel we were fair, that we can stand by our verdict and that we have a clear conscience in that we were totally not biased one way or another," Hogan said.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:09 AM on August 26, 2012


Exclusive: Apple-Samsung juror speaks out

"We found for Apple because of the evidence they presented," Ilagan said. "It was clear there was infringement."

Asked to point to some of the more compelling evidence Ilagan said:

"Well, there were several. The e-mails that went back and forth from Samsung execs about the Apple features that they should incorporate into their devices was pretty damning to me. And also, on the last day, [Apple] showed the pictures of the phones that Samsung made before the iPhone came out and ones that they made after the iPhone came out. Some of the Samsung executives they presented on video [testimony] from Korea -- I thought they were dodging the questions. They didn't answer one of them. They didn't help their cause."...

Another sign that the jury wasn't just just checking off Apple boxes on the jury form in an attempt to get home was that the group denied some of Apple claims. They found that Samsung infringed Apple's utility and design patents with some but not all of the accused Samsung products.

Jury members also concluded that Samsung had violated Apple's trade dress for the iPhone but decided that Samsung had not violated Apple's unregistered trade dress claims regarding the iPad.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:13 AM on August 26, 2012


Sure; I'm specifically commenting regarding the attitude to technical patent prior art. That doesn't have a lot to do with the design patents or trade dress claims.

I don't actually have a problem with the trade dress claims; they seem fairly reasonable.

My central problem is with the overly broad utility patents, and the lack of consideration of prior art.
posted by jaduncan at 3:19 AM on August 26, 2012


When the iPhone debuted, it was widely criticized for having no buttons/keys. Now people think the iPhone’s design is “obvious.”
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:31 AM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Prediction: the public admission of not having read the instructions will be a matter of a Rule 50(b) appeal by Samsung:
(b) Renewing the Motion After Trial; Alternative Motion for a New Trial. If the court does not grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law made under Rule 50(a), the court is considered to have submitted the action to the jury subject to the court's later deciding the legal questions raised by the motion. No later than 28 days after the entry of judgment—or if the motion addresses a jury issue not decided by a verdict, no later than 28 days after the jury was discharged—the movant may file a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law and may include an alternative or joint request for a new trial under Rule 59. In ruling on the renewed motion, the court may:

(1) allow judgment on the verdict, if the jury returned a verdict;

(2) order a new trial; or

(3) direct the entry of judgment as a matter of law.
posted by jaduncan at 3:37 AM on August 26, 2012


Even if the rules-lawyers prevail and an appeal succeeds to some partial degree, I suspect Samsung will always carry that stain of being a lousy, second-rate copycat. The jury spoke pretty decisively and honestly on that point, whatever else happens from now on. Steve Jobs was vindicated on that, at least.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:45 AM on August 26, 2012


Even if the rules-lawyers prevail and an appeal succeeds to some partial degree, I suspect Samsung will always carry that stain of being a lousy, second-rate copycat. The jury spoke pretty decisively and honestly on that point, whatever else happens from now on. Steve Jobs was vindicated on that, at least.

Ah, now it makes sense. I think we are talking to different issues. I'm not taking a view that they aren't, I'm taking the view that the multitouch patent has prior art that hasn't been well-examined by the jury. That makes a lot more sense in the light of the fact that the foreman thinks a net video recorder could be patented in 2002; his prior art skills do not appear to be great.

Again, that has no bearing on the design patent or trade dress issues.
posted by jaduncan at 3:58 AM on August 26, 2012


(and I would think that we could probably both agree that taking the 109 page document of jury instructions and reading none of it isn't great jury behaviour).
posted by jaduncan at 3:59 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tap to zoom, for example, seems more integral to the development of the mobile web to me, and if I'm not mistaken that was Opera's innovation.

I honestly am not sure if this discussion is sarcastic or if people have forgotten Apple's patent ('163) on tap-to-zoom.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:37 AM on August 26, 2012


For those that believe Samsung can copy an iPhone wholesale in only 3 months, you must be impressed by their engineering prowess and efficiency.
posted by juiceCake at 7:35 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Samsung made half the parts in the iPhone.
posted by empath at 8:26 AM on August 26, 2012


These jurors sound like they had no idea what they were doing.
posted by koeselitz at 8:37 AM on August 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


The lack of review regarding the prior art claims definitely sounds like the jury foreman had a definite axe to grind and the rest of the jury was more than willing to follow his lead because you know weekend deliberations after a long trial suck.

I'm ambivalent about some of the design patents or trade dress issues because yeah it's pretty obvious that Samsung rushed out phones and tablets that pretty closely followed the form of the iPhone and iPad because those were the market leaders. I think if you are going to reward design patents regarding the visual look and feel of a product then Samsung probably skirted too close to the Apple designs for comfort.

All of the tech patents regarding multitouch pinch to zoom or slide to unlock are pretty damned sketchy though I kinda hope someone manages to break out those software patent issues into a separate case.
posted by vuron at 8:42 AM on August 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Samsung made half the parts in the iPhone.

First of all, most of that is generic stuff like storage and RAM. By that metric, Samsung has probably made half the parts in most smartphones in existence. Second, the actual number, at least for Apple products, is much closer to 20%. And finally, they didn't write any of the code for the software.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:43 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it legal to sue the patent Office for negligence? Because I blame them for this way more than the companies trying to preserve a balance of power.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:02 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Given that the same jury was also examining Samsung's counterclaim against Apple, and found that Apple infringed on absolutely zero of Samsung's patents, the issue of bias seems pretty well settled.
posted by kafziel at 9:10 AM on August 26, 2012


Even if the rules-lawyers prevail and an appeal succeeds to some partial degree, I suspect Samsung will always carry that stain of being a lousy, second-rate copycat.

"Wait, so what they're saying is, Samsung is the same as Apple?"

"I know, right? Makes me think twice about how much I paid for my Mac Book."

"Seriously."
posted by weston at 9:39 AM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


What's Wrong With this Picture?
posted by weston at 9:41 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


mullingitover:

I personally believe that citizen jury trials are farcical and laypersons aren't qualified to interpret the law, and the average citizen shouldn't be trusted with the responsibility

AND . . . mullingitover wins the thread.

His opinion of juries is completed vindicated by the jury itself.
posted by flug at 9:45 AM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Seriously."

It's a good spin for people seriously contemplating paying more for Samsung and getting less. In other Google Plus news, there's a list of possible astroturfers possibly on a possible payroll out today.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


weston: that is some Grade A choice fan fiction.

and naturally it's posted on google+.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:32 AM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


that is some Grade A choice fan fiction.

Yes, I thought that.

Jake: "Yes, Lucy. It seems to offer a blend of great value! and amazing features!"

Voice from behind camera: "Cut. Why did we hire the dialogue writer from a porn film?"
posted by jaduncan at 11:38 AM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Never in my life have I been approached in a cafe, coffee shop, railway station, or departure lounge and asked detailed questions about my laptop (which is -- gasp! -- a Samsung). Maybe I don't have that trustworthy "I post on Google Plus" air about me.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:31 PM on August 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


entropicamericana: “weston: that is some Grade A choice fan fiction.”

It was a joke. That's why I posted it above. I thought it was funny. I still do.
posted by koeselitz at 12:47 PM on August 26, 2012


BP: I suspect Samsung will always carry that stain of being a lousy, second-rate copycat

I know given your long-standing background that you're pretty chuffed over the jury's decision, but this seems a little strong. Even if you accepted that Samsung "copied", how can you call it "second-rate"? There are Samsung Android devices available in an impressive range of shapes and sizes (for phones even up to the rather fetchingly absurdly large Galaxy Note which when I see people using it, I think of Alice in Wonderland shrinking down). And Samsung has been comprehensively outselling Apple globally for smart devices. Many of the Samsung phones manage to be both wider yet thinner and lighter than Apple's phones, even with their incorporation of a greater range of hardware features.

If you take a historical analogy, you could look at it as Apple is to Ford ("any phone as long as it's 'black'") as Samsung is to GM. Having popularised the motor car, ford clung too long to the idea of its consumers as uneducated, naive, and desiring of limited choice because of their existential dread of these new-fangled contraptions. By contrast, GM was able to create a more diverse supply chain that enabled it to create more modern cars in a larger range of styles and sizes that catered to the new generation of more experienced, less naive car buyers.

As some of the poster above illustrate, this could be a Pyrrhic victory for Apple. The amount is sure to be reduced on appeal (with even a mis-trial possible given the boneheaded public disclosures by some of the jurors), and Samsung may take it all the way to the SCOTUS given the evidence of a lack of consideration of the obvious prior-art component. So it could end up as a definitive assault on software patents in general.

Meanwhile, Samsung has been handed a huge publicity windfall, a pseudo-Streisand Effect. Outside the US Samsung is *huge* (it seems to own mindshare for pretty much most of India and Asia for example). Now even in the US so many fundamentally disinterested people, for whom previously "smartphone" *meant* "iPhone", have now heard there's this *other* phone, that copies Apple so well they had to pay money for it? And you can get it in all kinds of shapes and sizes? And it works "exactly just like my iPhone"? And I can get it on pretty much any carrier? And a lot of the time it's cheaper? A lot of people will be secretly processing that quote, you know, the one Jobs stole from Picasso: "Good artists copy, great artists steal" and concluding on some barely conscious level that Samsung must be a Great Artist because it plain stole the iPhone right out from under Apple. Samsung as a Great Artist may become the new unconscious meme of our time.
posted by meehawl at 2:41 PM on August 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Samsung as a Great Artist may become the new unconscious meme of our time.

I know I've already quoted Otto from A Fish Called Wanda, but it really was a tie!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:58 PM on August 26, 2012


In general it is best to take a position based on the issues rather than the parties in any case; there was a lot of heated commentary that seemed more emotional than rationally based.
posted by jaduncan at 3:35 PM on August 26, 2012


Well, time will tell if somehow Samsung as a brand reaps some weird paradoxical benefit from losing this case. I guess in a society where 30 percent or more of the populous believes cavemen coexisted with dinosaurs anything is possible, but seriously, Samsung is about as faceless as GE. It's known by name but it isn't associated directly with anything (until now). If someone is truly stupid enough to think this verdict puts them on a par with Apple I can surmise that that person was not likely in the strata of potential consumers Apple could ever hope to attract. I imagine they'll be OK.

I also wonder, for the sake of clarity, how closely Samsung is allowed to mimic the iphone before people who disagree with the verdict would finally stop and say they went too far. Or is that line even in existence? How is it that copying a woman's purse is criminal but a $600 chunk of circuitry and modern design is totally OK?
posted by docpops at 5:04 PM on August 26, 2012


Once they actually make something that it's possible to buy without realizing that it's a Samsung product instead of an Apple one, then that comparison becomes valid. So at minimum, they'd have to stop plastering their name across the top of their stuff.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:17 PM on August 26, 2012


How is it that copying a woman's purse is criminal

I'm given to understand that it's actually *not* a violation of the law unless there's a reproduction of marks.
posted by weston at 5:45 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also wonder, for the sake of clarity, how closely Samsung is allowed to mimic the iphone before people who disagree with the verdict would finally stop and say they went too far.

Talking about the verdict in toto is fairly non-productive; I'm perfectly capable of thinking that the trade dress claim was reasonably, but the patents were dubious due to prior art.

Indeed, I do. Why conflate all the issues?
posted by jaduncan at 5:49 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can copy the basic look of a Fendi or Gucci back all day long because let's be honest purses aren't horribly complex items and it's pretty clear that a design patent on a purse is unlikely to happen. It's when the knockoffs violate trademarks that they get into trouble.
posted by vuron at 6:24 PM on August 26, 2012


How is it that copying a woman's purse is criminal

This is disingenuous. Samsung in now way counterfeited Apple's products.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:23 PM on August 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


D'oh!

"...no way..."
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:23 PM on August 26, 2012


koeselitz: "So you really think people buy iPhones solely for that feature?"

Well, maybe not solely, but I'd say that having a usable mobile Internet experience was... I'm going to say 80% of why I bought the first iPhone. If you tell me Opera was just as good as Mobile Safari in the pre-iPhone days, well OK, but I know I never saw it, and the first time I tried surfing the web on an iPhone in an AT&T kiosk at my local mall, I knew I had to have one.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:25 AM on August 27, 2012


Never in my life have I been approached in a cafe, coffee shop, railway station, or departure lounge and asked detailed questions about my laptop...

I have, many times. But it was a netbook rather than a laptop. Also been asked about my tablet many times, which is an Android tablet.

I also eat breakfast.

As for Samsung's reputation suffering, I doubt many people frankly give a fuck. I'll take a much thinner phone over the thicker iPhone any day, as well as a system that gives me, personally, more options. Now that's just me. Other people, frankly, don't give a fuck about those things, but value other things, in which case an Apple or Sony product might be best for them. It's really as simple as that most times. Those who tie their identity and value to products are hardly the norm I'd say, though they are the loudest in a room.
posted by juiceCake at 7:38 AM on August 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


What Koreans are saying about the verdict.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:02 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


How Google has Avoided Apple's Patents, Trade Dress and Other Claims

This verdict really does seem to be specific to Samsung's design and, in software, their TouchWiz shell. Anyone looking for a broader application of this verdict to other manufacturers or to stock Android (ie Google-branded devices) will be disappointed, I think.
posted by bonehead at 8:05 AM on August 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


So at minimum, they'd have to stop plastering their name across the top of their stuff.

I know, totes.
posted by MikeKD at 10:54 AM on August 27, 2012


The Deadly Tin Inside Your Smartphone
posted by homunculus at 11:08 AM on August 27, 2012


juiceCake: "I have, many times. But it was a netbook rather than a laptop."

I even have a netbook! Curious would-be Samsung buyers of the world, is there something wrong with me?

As a result of all this I discovered that my mother, given my phone and my iPod to hold (and instructed not to turn them over to look at the logos on the back) can't tell me which is the Apple product.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:09 AM on August 27, 2012


bonehead: "How Google has Avoided Apple's Patents, Trade Dress and Other Claims"

That link has just reminded me how much I'm looking forward to getting a pair of Galaxy Nexuses for my and my partner. I think it's the nicest phone available right now (as well as affordable off-contract; bonus!).
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:12 AM on August 27, 2012


docpops: "How is it that copying a woman's purse is criminal but a $600 chunk of circuitry and modern design is totally OK?"

Hah! If only the tech industry had the fashion industry's IP rules.
posted by mullingitover at 12:28 PM on August 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I mean, granted, it would be terrible for lawyers, but for everyone else in the world, huge win.
posted by mullingitover at 12:29 PM on August 27, 2012


Analysis: Friend and foe; Samsung, Apple won't want to damage parts deal

Both companies are intertwined pretty deeply. Apple would have to find new suppliers pretty quickly if Samsung decides to give up its contracts with Apple, but Samsung doesn't want to risk losing the billions those contracts make them, either.

If anyone has the skills to make that transition, it's probably Cook, so in addition to the legal victory, Apple probably has the generally stronger hand there, going forwards.

Those who tie their identity and value to products are hardly the norm I'd say, though they are the loudest in a room.

Still not as loud as, say, people who come into these threads and bully others in a shrill and passive-aggressive way when, for example, a court case doesn't align with their own biases.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:31 AM on August 28, 2012


Both companies are intertwined pretty deeply.

They're both treading water here. Apple is insane if they aren't looking for an exit strategy. There are any number of ways an unhappy supplier can play games with an end manufacturer and vice versa. Doing business with an untrustworthy partner is never a long term plan for success.
posted by bonehead at 11:21 AM on August 28, 2012


Apple Jury Foreman: Here's How We Reached a Verdict

"We focused right on the evidence... We went patent by patent, claim by claim."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:31 AM on August 28, 2012


Samsung: Mr. Cook, we've looked over the balance sheet for next year. Due to some hiccups in our supply chain, we've found that costs are going to be up. Expect your net costs for our components to rise by $1.05 billion. This is a one-time increase, and the following year should see costs return to normal.
posted by mullingitover at 11:32 AM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and the verdict is going straight to appeals. Do not pass go, etc etc.

That jury foreman, bless his heart.

The foreman told a court representative that the jurors had reached a decision without needing the instructions.

I hope Samsung sends him a fruit basket.
posted by mullingitover at 11:36 AM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


About 8:45 into that interview is pretty funny.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:37 AM on August 28, 2012


9:15, too.

I'm not a fan of Samsung or anything. I have a Galaxy phone and I think it's a total piece of shit, and my next phone will absolutely be an iPhone. However, the slide to unlock and pinch to zoom patents are a travesty, up there with Amazon's one-click purchase patent. The jury squandered a huge opportunity to inject sanity into IP law.
posted by mullingitover at 11:44 AM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Apple Jury Foreman: Here's How We Reached a Verdict
The software on the Apple side could not be placed into the processor on the prior art and vice versa. That means they are not interchangeable. That changed everything right there.
That doesn't sound like prior art.
We focused right on the evidence... We went patent by patent, claim by claim.
Which is directly contradicted by the Galaxy Tab findings.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:49 AM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


That whole Bloomberg interview was fascinating. Anyone who thinks the jury was biased towards Apple should really sit down and watch it through in order to hear one of the jurors speak in his own voice, nearly entirely unfiltered by sound-bite editing by partisans (on either side).

Here, he explains the process and how they reached a decision, from start to finish. After watching this, if you still think they acted in bad faith, after he explains that they don't own iPhones, after they agreed some Samsung phones didn't infringe, and after they had started with the idea that the two companies were in a stalemate, I don't know if any piece of video or written first-person citations could ever be convincing of the fact that they acted in good faith and with the intent to reach a decision through a logical process of understanding of the law and evaluating the evidence provided by both sides.

The jury may have still gone into deliberations with a mistaken understanding of the law, but that would have been the fault of Judge Koh for failing to explain the relevant parts of patent law to the jury, and that entirely hypothetical mistake does not go anywhere near to proving any bias or malice on their part. And it's clear the judge has no particular love for either side of this case, so why she would deliberately misinform the jury in order to push them to a ruling in Apple's favor is a position that seems completely unfounded and without any basis in reality.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:57 AM on August 28, 2012


The jury may have still gone into deliberations with a mistaken understanding of the law, but that would have been the fault of Judge Koh for failing to explain the relevant parts of patent law to the jury,

Or their own fault for not reading the instructions.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:01 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't think the foreman was biased in favor of Apple, but I can see Samsung pointing out that he set himself up as an expert witness in the jury room, and they weren't permitted to cross-examine his testimony. That's enough to get the appeal.
posted by mullingitover at 12:04 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The bias or malice claims are a strawman. People are reacting to what appears to be misunderstanding several important aspects, which at the very least, the foreman has demonstrated publicly.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:06 PM on August 28, 2012


Also, I'd like to say the jury's willingness to talk to the press indicates either supreme hubris or a degree of humility I doubt I'd possess in that position. If a judge told me to decide a hugely precedential, billion-dollar verdict based on the arcana of the U.S. patent system, I'd want people who actually know the rules inside and out to be able to double-check my decisions – and make sure that I didn't fuck up the law. But at the same time, I'd be terrified of being made a laughingstock if I did turn out to be utterly wrong. These guys are either extremely open to criticism or unreasonably convinced of their own infallibility, but either way it's better for all concerned than if they stayed quiet and made whatever errors they committed that much harder to correct.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:02 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Still not as loud as, say, people who come into these threads and bully others in a shrill and passive-aggressive way when, for example, a court case doesn't align with their own biases.

Sure. Thankfully that isn't the case in this thread and on MeFi for the most part. YouTube would be a different story.
posted by juiceCake at 1:06 PM on August 28, 2012


The bias or malice claims are a strawman.

There have been several comments in this thread that claim the jury was biased. This is no strawman, at all.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:07 PM on August 28, 2012


There have been several comments in this thread that claim the jury was biased. This is no strawman, at all.

Setting aside the the fact that your comment implied there was a preponderance of claims of bias (you mention it or a variant five times vs. misunderstanding twice), please point these several comments out.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:16 PM on August 28, 2012


There have been several claims of bias on the part of the jury and judge:

"Presumably not one in Apple's back yard with a former IP Lawyer for a firm that represents Apple as the judge. This whole thing has stunk from the beginning."

"If the jury consisted of 9 Koreans from Seoul as opposed to 9 Americans from the silicon valley the outcome would be very different. But that's what justice is nowadays anyway."

etc.

Anyway, if you have time to watch the interview, it's worth watching. It should put even more burden on people to actually back up what are unsubstantiated claims of bias, if not dismiss those claims altogether.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:22 PM on August 28, 2012


Also:

I guess "jury or your peers" is apt here, but why didn't they just go whole hog and get a few apple employees on the jury.

Given that the same jury was also examining Samsung's counterclaim against Apple, and found that Apple infringed on absolutely zero of Samsung's patents, the issue of bias seems pretty well settled.

I doubt it's hard to tell which side of the argument I'm on, but still.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:23 PM on August 28, 2012


Agreed, there's no strawman to speak of here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:25 PM on August 28, 2012


3 reasons juries have no place in the patent system
posted by mullingitover at 1:27 PM on August 28, 2012


In general, I think debates over the validity of court verdicts, at least below the Supreme level, could do with a healthy dose of Hanlon's Razor.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:28 PM on August 28, 2012


It should put even more burden on people to actually back up what are unsubstantiated claims of bias, if not dismiss those claims altogether.

Then all 3 of them can do it. In the meantime, this interview and the ones with other jurors point out a (sometimes shockingly) poor adherence to both their duties and understanding of the law.

Agreed, there's no strawman to speak of here.

Conflating <1% of the comments as the majority or plurality position, as your comment does, certainly strikes me as a strawman.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:31 PM on August 28, 2012


Conflating <1% of the comments as the majority or plurality position

Now, see, that's a strawman.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:51 PM on August 28, 2012


I don't think the jury was biased, so much. I am sure that they believed in their hearts that they set aside any previous beliefs they had about Apple and Samsung. But they clearly knew very little about how IP law and patent law work. I have friends who are law professors, and every single one of them feels strongly that this jury made a massive number of mistakes in rendering the verdict. Important factors were completely ignored; whole chunks of important points were simply dropped. As one of them told me, he would have given a lot to be a fly on the wall in that jury room, and he can't know exactly what was talked about, but if the jurors were students in his class, judging from every interview he's heard with them they would all have earned a solid D.

This has very little to do with who is right or wrong, Apple or Samsung. By virtue if its confused, unreasoned, and irrational rendering, the verdict sets patent law back by years.
posted by koeselitz at 6:16 PM on August 28, 2012


(However, I actually do think there might be one sense in which the jury foreman at least was biased - not in favor of Apple or against Samsung, but in favor of patents and against supposed infringers. I say this because he's indicated in several interviews that he ignored in an egregious way very important parts of the process in coming to the verdict because he personally believed he had expertise on patents and convinced the other jurors to trust him.)
posted by koeselitz at 6:22 PM on August 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


They're biased because Samsung lost. Patent law has nothing to do with it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:59 AM on August 29, 2012


Bp, you're doing that thing you do again...
posted by empath at 7:28 AM on August 29, 2012


Blaze, I appreciate the effort at self-parody regarding bias (that is was it was, right?), but it is possible to believe that the jury came to the wrong conclusion for reasons other than belief that they were biased in favour of one party over the other.

Juries get things wrong all the time -- it's why every common law jurisdiction has an appeal system. Hell, many common law jurisdictions (such as my own) have entirely done away with jury trials in civil cases, because the issues can be so complex that the belief is you need to rely at least on people with legal training to come to a fair conclusion. In fact, in some areas, only judges with specialized knowledge are allowed to sit on patent-related trials, because the belief is that they can be so complicated that even a judge with many years of experience might be out of his or her depth. Had Apple v Samsung been heard in Canada, for instance, there would have been no jury. And even then, there would still be an appeal route whichever way the judge of first instance ruled.

Now, I don't have the expertise to accurately predict for you what will happen on appeal, because despite my legal background I am not a patent lawyer in the American system. I get that you're giggly with glee that the 12 people with no legal training plucked off an American street agreed with your ideas (also based on no formal legal education or experience) of how the case should be decided, but try and keep some perspective on what it all means. If you think that you understand patent law by virtue of simply reading newspapers and court documents that are released, you are either an idiot savant (in which case, all respect!) or grossly misinformed.
posted by modernnomad at 7:41 AM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Idiot savant is not the preferred nomenclature, dude.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:52 AM on August 29, 2012


Blazecock Pileon: “They're biased because Samsung lost. Patent law has nothing to do with it.”

Is it my paranoia, or does it seem like you're accusing me of something here? I tried to make a clear and direct argument without demonizing anybody. Could you treat me with the same respect?
posted by koeselitz at 8:14 AM on August 29, 2012


Idiot savant is not the preferred nomenclature, dude.

apologies.
posted by modernnomad at 8:27 AM on August 29, 2012


12 people with no legal training

One juror, at least was personally familiar enough with patent law to be able to get the deliberations worked through, quote, "patent by patent, claim by claim". I get that you don't agree with the end result, but to call them ignorant is, itself, ironically enough, ignorant. Worse than that, they are being called ignorant, not because they couldn't understand the law (apparently they did, or the judge is incompetent) or because they weren't familiar with the law (at least one person was), but because the end result didn't go your way.

And now there's the idea being put forward that court cases shouldn't be tried by a jury of peers, which is about as odious and undemocratic an ideal I've ever seen spewed here in a long time. Let's just get rid of the judicial system altogether, while we're at it. Again, only because the end result didn't go your way.

Lastly, if you are now joining others celebrating with glee the idea that cheaters might get off on a technicality, then maybe it would help to step back and think about whether the case would be overturned on its merits, as opposed to some procedural fault that has nothing to do with the actual problem at hand, which is to decide if copying original ideas and claiming them as obvious is an okay thing to do. I work in science, and original ideas are our currency. Seeing thieves get away with stealing ideas (and implementing a poor copy, no less) just rankles me on that level alone, Apple aside.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:12 AM on August 29, 2012


Again, only because the end result didn't go your way.

This is not true at all. It's just a different opinion and perspective. It is not a dishonest one.

Some of us feel that some of these ideas are hardly original. Slide to unlock was patented by Neonode before Apple did it but I feel that adapting real world functionality to virtual environments should not be owned by one company so I feel, personally, that neither Neonode nor Apple deserves to own the concept and execution of the equivalent of opening a locked bathroom stall door. The players don't matter, the concept does. That effectively the same patent can be awarded twice points to some flaws in the system.

Others, disagree, and feel the opposite way. That's fine. That's their perspective and their opinion. People see things differently. I believe it's just as honest an opinion as my own as is, I believe, yours.

Now perhaps you know a lot more about this than I do, or others do and that's great. Saying some of our opinions are our opinions only because the results didn't go our way does not help. We'd much rather you lay your wisdom upon us without the denigration.

I personally thought the decision against Microsoft all those years ago in favour of Eolas was wrong. Years later, after Eolas then went after Apple, Adobe, Google, etc., the decision was reversed.
posted by juiceCake at 10:28 AM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


They're being called ignorant of the law because they talked openly about how they disregarded the judge's instructions on the law. And then they talked about how they set damages to "send a message" when they were explicitly told not to levy punitive damages. And they talked about how they decided whether prior art existed, using a definition of "prior art" that they apparently came up with on their own, guided by the aforementioned foreman. And so on. We have said this. Multiple times. If you're not going to read posts, just don't respond to them.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:29 AM on August 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


Actually, claiming oneself familiar with patent law would be grounds to be struck off the jury had that juror claimed that prior to the case beginning, as it means the person would be functioning as an expert witness in the jury room without the ability to be cross-examined (indeed, this will probably also be one of the grounds Samsung uses to appeal). Again, I know you aren't privy to how cases like this work, but it's not a small point.

Funnily enough, as I've explained to you before, unlike yourself I don't have an idea in my head that the result could go "my way" or not -- I'm not invested in either Samsung or Apple on an emotional level, nor do I feel like I am part of their team. I use exclusively use Apple products in my daily computing, but to me they are nothing more than a massive corporation that churns out aesthetically pleasing consumer goods.

I am approaching this case not with a view that one side is "mine" or that the result could go "my way", but purely as a lawyer with interest in patent law. Again, I'm not American so I'm not privy to all the unique aspects of that system, but I have my opinions based on what believe the fundamental purpose of patent law to be, which is to encourage innovation whilst not stymieing competition. My view is that the broad range of patents granted here tilt the balance too far to stymieing competition. I couldn't give two shits about Samsung as an entity and don't own a single android-powered device, but I do care about the health of the tech industry as a whole, and believe this interpretation of patents to shortsighted.

I'm sorry we disagree, but i think you fail to understand the reasons I disagree with you. For most people, myself included, this is not about allegiance to a consumer electronics company or service, it's about the normative function of patent law. The very fact that you see this issue through the prism of "your side" or "my side" is both telling and ludicrous.
posted by modernnomad at 10:33 AM on August 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


You're playing the expert card in a subject you seem to admit having no familiarity with, as far as where this trial was held and how laws actually work there. Yet you also continue to dismiss what the people involved said about their own experience with the subject.

.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:47 AM on August 29, 2012


Uh, no. But thanks for playing along.
posted by modernnomad at 11:03 AM on August 29, 2012


(Which is to say, I have plenty of familiarity with patent law in common law jurisdictions generally, but each of those jurisdictions has its own slightly different takes on it, and I'm was simply attempting to be very clear that I am not holding myself out as an expert on American patent law specifically. But I'm quite happy to defend my beliefs in what the function of patent law has historically been under the common law, both in the US and elsewhere, and which interpretations of it and which judicial approaches to it that I think are beneficial and which are not).
posted by modernnomad at 11:07 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


One juror, at least was personally familiar enough with patent law to be able to get the deliberations worked through, quote, "patent by patent, claim by claim".

He had one patent, and has publicly stated the wrong interpretation of one the biggest portions of the law you claim that he has such a good understanding of.

I get that you don't agree with the end result, but to call them ignorant is, itself, ironically enough, ignorant. Worse than that, they are being called ignorant, not because they couldn't understand the law (apparently they did, or the judge is incompetent) or because they weren't familiar with the law (at least one person was), but because the end result didn't go your way.

Yeah, no. You've now made this accusation 3x-4x as much as it actually appears in the thread. And no one here is from Samsung or identifies with them in any professional fashion, let alone devotional.

And now there's the idea being put forward that court cases shouldn't be tried by a jury of peers, which is about as odious and undemocratic an ideal I've ever seen spewed here in a long time. Let's just get rid of the judicial system altogether, while we're at it. Again, only because the end result didn't go your way.

You do know this happens all the time, right? And that it's an established part of the law in many jurisdictions in the US? In fact, the judge in this case has ruled on the merits of Apple v. Samsung several times without a jury present, including at least one decision directly contradicted by the jury in this case.

Lastly, if you are now joining others celebrating with glee the idea that cheaters might get off on a technicality, then maybe it would help to step back and think about whether the case would be overturned on its merits, as opposed to some procedural fault that has nothing to do with the actual problem at hand, which is to decide if copying original ideas and claiming them as obvious is an okay thing to do.

Most of us are saying the problem is ideas that those merits are based on is the problem, that they're too broad or being applied in an uneven fashion.

I work in science, and original ideas are our currency. Seeing thieves get away with stealing ideas (and implementing a poor copy, no less) just rankles me on that level alone, Apple aside.

If that was the case, then you'd be agreeing on the many things that Apple is blatantly guilty of copying from others. Instead, you've discounted or ignored them from your narrative, never once discussing the several large pieces of functionality or design that Apple has copied wholesale from others into their products. That, combined with your subjective quality statements, sounds a lot like you're the one who's concerned about something going "their" way.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:32 AM on August 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


Also: And now there's the idea being put forward that court cases shouldn't be tried by a jury of peers

Ah yes, the peers of these enormous multinational corporations. Where have I heard this before?
posted by zombieflanders at 11:56 AM on August 29, 2012


Pinch-to-Zoom and Rounded Rectangles: What the Jury Didn’t Say

How did so many get this so wrong? I fear it betrays something ugly about the way tech reporting works–and doesn’t work–these days. Depth, expertise, and reflection are all lacking. So is serious research. If you are going to write about a patent case, it’s a good idea to read the patents in dispute. Reading patents is not a particularly pleasant business. The language is tedious, legalistic, and often deliberately obfuscatory; you want to give the Patent Office the required information while giving away as little as possible to your competitors. But reading the claims, the critical section of the patent, isn’t all that difficult. There are a total of 101 claims for the three patents and they fill about five printed pages. Yet I suspect very few of the people who wrote about the trial actually made the effort. If they had, they would have known that the range of gestures covered was much narrower than has generally been reported.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:57 AM on August 29, 2012


odious, childish, tantrum-based demands to get rid a core principle in the American judicial system,

Are you for real? Have you now actually resorted to claiming that people who disagree with your interpretation of one particular jury decision are anti-democratic or anti-American and are seeking to overthrow the American judicial system?

The criticism was that in cases of patents, which are highly technical and complex (as the link you just cut and pasted pointed out), that jury trials are not always the best choice. As other jurisdictions have concluded. In Canada, for instance, all patent litigation is heard before a judge of the Federal Court, which has exclusive jurisdiction over anything to do with patents. Maybe you're pulling a Scalia and ignoring what the rest of the world does legally, but bouncing ideas around is usually helpful for most people.

Anyway, I gotta say it took a pretty impressive leap for you to get from a narrow consideration of the wisdom of jury trials in patent litigation to "getting rid of a core principle in the American judicial system" though; I'm kinda impressed. I also liked your 'tantrum-based' insult. It was also kinda funny, though not seemingly grounded in reality on my reading of this thread, in which I can see a lot of reasoned opposition to you, which seems to get filtered through your internet connection as "OUTRAGEOUS ANTI APPLE BIAS".
posted by modernnomad at 12:17 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


[This is now in MetaTalk, please try not to make this Apple thread into some big war and please be mindful of your own tendencies to be That Guy in these threads and dial it back some? Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 12:52 PM on August 29, 2012


There's one thing I don't understand (well, there's more than one thing…) about invention patents and software.

Imagine that Bob discovers how cams can be used to turn rotary motion into intermittent motion. He files and receives a patent for this invention.

Now, Larry discovers how solenoids and an electrified piano roll can be used to turn rotary motion into intermittent motion.

It's my understanding that a product made based on the principle that Larry discovered would not infringe on Bob's patent, because patents don't cover the purpose of the invention (converting rotary motion into intermittent motion) but the process by which the purpose is accomplished. (right?)

If this is the case, then what kind of evidence did Apple present to establish that the method in which the Samsung phone accomplished pinch-zooming was the same method as the one described in the patent, instead of being one of multiple different methods I could imagine being used?
posted by jepler at 6:40 PM on August 29, 2012


Apparently pinch to zoom wasn't even part of the claims, though it gets mentioned in reporting a lot. It was inertial scrolling with bounce back, which IMO was genuinely innovative and a big part of the iPhones appeal, patents for multitouch gestures in general, which i dont know the details of, and tap to zoom, which seems super obvious to me, and I don't understand how it was patented.
posted by empath at 7:03 PM on August 29, 2012


Empath, I'm pretty sure that "pinch zoom" was one of the items the jury was to determine infringement on. "Claim 8 of the '915 patent" (US7844915) is what people are talking about when they talk about "pinch zoom". Claim 8 says in part "…scaling the view associated with the event object based on receiving the two or more input points in the form of the user input."
posted by jepler at 7:31 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The patents are overly broad and stifle innovation. You don't need to be a patent attorney to see that. Note the language quoted above: it's not trying to claim pinch zooming, but rather any scaling method that relies on using two or more user input points. This is what a company will always try to do. Where the hell was the patent office when they reviewed and approved this? At least they are experts in patent law. Can't blame the jury too much.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:35 AM on August 30, 2012


I work in science, and original ideas are our currency. Seeing thieves get away with stealing ideas (and implementing a poor copy, no less) just rankles me on that level alone, Apple aside.

Last I looked, original ideas were a dime a dozen in the sciences and the heavy lifting was in the falsification of these ideas was where all the heavy lifting took place.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:24 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


And that little bit of stream of conscious writing is what I get for not having coffee this morning.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:26 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Samsung Beats Apple in Japanese Patent Lawsuit
posted by homunculus at 4:51 PM on August 31, 2012


I work in science, and original ideas are our currency. Seeing thieves get away with stealing ideas (and implementing a poor copy, no less) just rankles me on that level alone, Apple aside.

They used to say that about Apple.
posted by Brian B. at 10:59 PM on August 31, 2012


Myth: Copyright Theft, Apple Stole GUI from Xerox PARC Alto

tl,dr: Xerox sold their GUI work to Apple. Xerox licensed their GUI research to Apple, in exchange for 100,000 shares of AAPL stock for $10, pre-IPO. A few years later, when Xerox realized they had underestimated the value the work they licensed, they sued Apple for infringement and lost, but that started the myth of Apple stealing from Xerox.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:21 PM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


they sued Apple for infringement and lost, but that started the myth of Apple stealing from Xerox.

From the link:

G. Gervaise Davis 3d, a copyright lawyer in Monterey, Calif., said the decision in the case ''is not a bit surprising.'' He said Xerox had waited too long to file a copyright infringement case and had to resort to a weaker charge of unfair competition. ''I think it's unfortunate,'' he added, ''because Apple is running around persecuting Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard over things that they borrowed from Xerox.''
posted by Brian B. at 4:39 PM on September 1, 2012


That Apple paid for, not borrowed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:31 AM on September 2, 2012


That Apple paid for, not borrowed.

Nobody involved claims that, which is why the hypocrisy claimed by quoted experts. They were originally sued for the "look and feel" issue related to the on-going Apple versus Microsoft lawsuit because Xerox saw that Apple was claiming copyrights against Microsoft that Xerox felt it owned but never sued Apple for. The judge dismissed the Xerox suit on procedural grounds, because as the lawyer quoted above said, it was filed too late among other things. From two links above:

No one disputes that many of the ideas behind such interfaces were born at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970's, although the Star was not a marketing success. But the question of how similar one interface has to be to another to constitute copyright infringement remains unanswered.
posted by Brian B. at 1:46 PM on September 2, 2012


It's a myth, like the patent on rectangles myth:

The compensation for the Xerox PARC technology sharing deal with Apple was in the form of one million dollars of pre-IPO Apple stock. The rationale: if Apple does well, Xerox will benefit from Apple’s success. The compensation is not bad for showing some prototypes that Xerox didn’t know what to do with.

“November: Steve Jobs and software engineer Bill Atkinson visit the Xerox PARC lab in Palo Alto, California. More Apple employees will visit a month later.” [2]

“Jobs and several Apple employees including Jef Raskin visited Xerox PARC in December 1979 to see the Xerox Alto. Xerox granted Apple engineers three days of access to the PARC facilities in return for the option to buy 100,000 shares of Apple at the pre-IPO price of $10 a share.” [3]

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:55 PM on September 2, 2012


It's a myth, like the patent on rectangles myth:

Yours is the myth required to believe that Apple could bully others over the borrowed technology; the myth being that copyrights were explicitly sold, not simply borrowed.
posted by Brian B. at 4:21 AM on September 3, 2012


Somebody around here seems to be a litigant for Apple on websites.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:49 AM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Xerox offered three days of access to their PARC facilities in exchange for pre-IPO Apple stock. They did not offer Apple copyrights; they did not offer Apple "look and feel" claims. They just offered Apple exposure to the research. Similarly, Samsung can pay a few hundred dollars to hold an iPhone in their hands and be exposed to the research that was done to create it. Does that grant Samsung a license to copy anything they wish?
posted by koeselitz at 9:38 AM on September 3, 2012


They just offered Apple exposure to the research.

And a licensing deal to use the research.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:02 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


And a licensing deal to use the research.

There is no mention of a licensing deal in any of the fact checked articles, only from Apple users defending the brand online. Perhaps they reason there must be one because Apple would look suspect without it. The license deal is also notably lacking in these retrospectives from people who were there and ordered to only give "demos" which were intended for "business development" between companies.
posted by Brian B. at 11:57 PM on September 3, 2012


This is in the believe it or not category, but the foreman in the Apple v Samsung trial is *still* talking about the verdict and why the jurors did what they did. And the more he talks, the worse it gets for that verdict.
posted by Artw at 10:22 PM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Heh. This has got John Gruber in a right huff.
posted by Artw at 9:29 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


He makes valid points.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:34 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The take away to me seems to be that if the original creator is flattered that it's an homage, but if they object then it's just a rip-off. Very conveniently for Apple.
posted by bonehead at 11:41 AM on September 6, 2012


Did you miss the part where Gruber mentioned that Apple and Braun similarities were mostly different products (i.e. computer versus a radio) and all separated by decades?
posted by entropicamericana at 11:55 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, I did not.
posted by bonehead at 12:02 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, just checking. Because it seems like you did.
but now I see you're just being willfully obtuse
how eponysterical of you
cheap shot i know
but it feels so good
burmashave

posted by entropicamericana at 12:37 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Basically timeless design elements can only be borrowed, not owned, but dammit Apple has dibs on those ones right now!
posted by Artw at 12:47 PM on September 6, 2012


Basically timeless design elements can only be borrowed, not owned, but dammit Apple has dibs on those ones right now!

Brilliant idea, let us call it "a patent!"
posted by entropicamericana at 12:58 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Giving somebody dibs on an old idea they didn't create would be the opposite of a patent. It'd be a tnetap.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:09 PM on September 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ok, I call dibbs on the Ames chair, oblate spheroids and macaroni and cheese (but only as a side dish).
posted by bonehead at 1:16 PM on September 6, 2012


Nobody is giving Apple dibs on a Braun design. While some of Ives' designs are obviously inspired by Rams, I don't think one of Braun's lawyers would confuse a Braun radio and the Mac Pro that pays homage to it from across a courtroom.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:37 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, how you guys love to bring up that little chestnut. And yet, the Galaxy Tabs were found not to infringe on Apple's industrial designs.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:41 PM on September 6, 2012


I doubt that apple would object to Samsung paying homage to the iPhone, with say, a toaster. The patents and trade dress only apply to mobile devices.
posted by empath at 3:07 PM on September 6, 2012


Apple cuts memory chip order to Samsung for new iPhone: source

Apple Inc has reduced its orders for memory chips for its new iPhone from its main supplier and competitor Samsung Electronics Co, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:18 PM on September 6, 2012


Cyanide & Happiness's take
posted by jeffburdges at 9:11 AM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


seems Apple is having some issues at foxconn again.
posted by xcasex at 1:49 AM on September 13, 2012


Woz on the trial:

“I hate it,” Wozniak said when asked about the patent fights between Apple and Samsung. “I don’t think the decision of California will hold. And I don’t agree with it -- very small things I don’t really call that innovative.

“I wish everybody would just agree to exchange all the patents and everybody can build the best forms they want to use everybody’s technologies.”

posted by Artw at 9:34 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Boy, Woz sure took a different lesson from Apple's battles of the 1980s than everyone else, didn't he?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:53 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Every since that gizmodo piece about his backpack I've loved reading Woz's comments because now I picture him as a muffled voice that comes from somewhere underneath a nebulous, ever-shifting mass of cameras, smartphones and GPS units.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:56 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Apple's "secrecy" about its product announcements looks like one of the casualties of the trial and having to diversify its supplier base.

The iPhone 5: a secret unkept
posted by bonehead at 6:43 AM on September 14, 2012


It's also (whisper it) kind of boring compared with the 4S release that was supposedly such a disapoinent - the 4S brought us actual working voice recognition that wasn't some glitchy gimmick, and by convincing that with context made the intelligent agent concept work. The 5... I dunno, it has a different shaped screen and is a bit faster? Plenty of phones like that.
posted by Artw at 7:15 AM on September 14, 2012


Still sold out in an hour.
posted by empath at 7:28 AM on September 14, 2012


Boring

The iPhone is boring only to the rumor mongers who published every blurry picture of a motherboard they could get their hands on and the simps who think a feature checklist determines a gadget’s merit. However, isn’t it hypocritical that the gadget blogs that drowned their readers with post after post containing every little unconfirmed detail leading up to the iPhone 5 announcement are now the same gadget blogs lamenting how boring it all is because “we’ve seen it all”?

The worst thing to happen to the consumer electronics industry is the gadget blog, but you know what? People aren’t stupid:

``Apple on Monday said its iPhone 5 was pre-order more than 2 million times in 24 hours when it became available on Friday.''

That’s double what the iPhone 4S sold last year during the same period.

So, what can be gathered from this? Are these two million people just sheep following the herd? Have they not heard the good word from the saviors on Mount Verge that Apple isn’t innovating anymore because their case designs aren’t shaped differently?

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:32 AM on September 18, 2012


Maybe, but back to bonehead's link in terms of keeping things secret for the launch I really don't think they had anything much in the way of secrets worth keeping.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on September 18, 2012


iOS is "boring" now in the same way that Windows is "boring". It's a dependable safe choice which the public now really understands. Blackberries were popular for the same reason, consistency, don't have to relearn everything when you get a new one, compatibility with your last one.

If a company has a big hit, like the iPhone, big redesigns risks turning off the established base of users. The smartphone market, particularly in the US and Europe is saturated. Apple isn't selling to people new to smartphones as much now, but to people who already own one and want to upgrade. Incremental change is therefore their optimal sales model. "

"Boring" is the opposite of unpopular. "Boring" is mainstream. "Boring" is a mature product in a mature market at the height of its profitability.
posted by bonehead at 11:35 AM on September 18, 2012


Pretty much. It moves toward a bigger screen (using Android handset sales as market research here, I'd imagine), upgrades the hardware under the hood, finally brings in 4G – none of this is new in the smartphone market, but it's all good. Nobody complains about a better processor. 4G is marching toward ubiquity on at least one carrier. Handset sales show that people demonstrably prefer the more elongated screen shape (if only Samsung had patented it!). None of this is in any way revelatory, but it keeps the iPhone at the front of what people want their phones to do. And clearly people who use iPhones did in fact want this stuff (my bet is that 4G is driving the lion's share of those preorders – a combination of Apple users champing at the bit for higher speeds, and Android users who were never gung-ho for Google's ecosystem, but were sold on the bigger numbers).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:11 PM on September 18, 2012


I think if apple does something radically new, it is not likely to be a phone. They established the market, they're just going to keep tinkering with it, but are unlikely to make any revolutionary changes. They aren't afraid to radically innovate when introducing a new product line, though. Basically, we'll see if apple still has it when and if they ever release the apple tv set or maybe some crazy new product line like an electric car, or whatever else they might have in the pipeline.
posted by empath at 12:30 PM on September 18, 2012


The biggest risk the new iPhone takes, in my view, is the new dock connector. It's disruptive to Apple's installed base and to their third-party vendors (including a whole bunch of cars). However, Apple has always viewed their customers as high-profit centers, so they do a crazy $29 adapter and a $39 sold-separately cable. They view the third-party market as frenemies at best, much as Microsoft treated third-party utility software vendors through the 80s and 90s, so no sleep lost there either.

It's still a proprietary connector---no surprise, this is Apple---but kind of a missed opportunity, in my view. A cool, innovative, but not terribly disruptive change would have been to go entirely wireless with this phone. The new iPhone, the first phone without wires, would have been a big deal, very much in the Jobs tradition of simplification.

Instead Cook has rolled the dice on a connector that's apparently not even as good as USB3. If they were going to make a break, why not just make a mini thunderbolt and be done with it? Analog transfers are primitive, horrible things, necessary perhaps when the original iPod came out, but not the elegance one would normally expect from Apple in 2012. I don't know, but I do think "lightning" will be seen as a bit of a whiff in a few years.
posted by bonehead at 12:58 PM on September 18, 2012


One thing the dock connector supports is USB hosting. Maybe Apple is working on opening up peripheral support, but when it can be done right (safely and easily).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:46 PM on September 18, 2012


Swiss railway says it's 'proud' Apple is using its iconic clock design, still wants to get paid
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


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