Comments
Apple, Samsung Patent Slugfest Returns To Courthouse
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Li Tan
50%
50%
Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
4/2/2014 | 9:23:52 AM
Re: Just get over yourself Apple and compete!
This is really something hard to define - IPR is very important but how we protect it properly is another thing. Can you simple define the value of specific UI/UX design? Apple wants blood from Samsung but does it all make sense? Apple should compete in the market in a more realistic manner.
dentdavi
50%
50%
dentdavi,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/1/2014 | 11:43:42 PM
Re: "Obvious" ain't so obvious if you're living in the future...
It is true that patents allow companies to invest in R&D knowing that they can monopolize on 'inventions' for a period of time. However there is a fine balance. No idea or invention is created in a vacuum. All inventions are manipulations of existing ideas or technologies that are iterated to something new. The iPhone contains all type of technogies that have been developed over the years. All of it's parts had been created or imagined in other ways before. Certainly they added a few new ideas an then put things together in a novel way, but Apple didn't invent CPU's, metal cases, operating systems, rectangular objects, icons, mobile phones, etc. If we give too much power through patents to one company we stifle the ability to advance technology. Monopolies are not good either. They stifle innovation and keep others from improving and evolving products. 

The world has changed. We need new laws to manage our complex, rapidly moving society. Current patent laws are antiquated and inadequate at protecting true ideas while letting product evolution continue. There is no place for 20 years of holding a patent in a world that changes every day, and it is questionable whether software should even be patented (rather than copyrighted). It is like patenting music. 

Since all creations are combinations of existing ideas that develop from the evolution of human thought and design, we need to be careful that we don't give up the freedom to keep thinking, building and creating to companies that will sue to keep everyone else from moving forward. 
Brian.Dean
50%
50%
Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
4/1/2014 | 8:06:13 AM
Re: What a crock of
What innovation would a coal driven steam engine bring to the world if it is so inefficient (high cost to run) that it can only be operated at the side of a coal mine? 

I think innovation should be measured relative to cost and mass user adoption that it brings to the global economy.
Brian.Dean
50%
50%
Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
4/1/2014 | 7:49:54 AM
Re: Just get over yourself Apple and compete!
Great points: it's complicated. I don't see how Apple could put a dollar figure on a segment of a device that might have been sold and bought by the consumer based on a different segment. For example, if a device costs $400 and a consumer buys it because it has a quad-core processor then how can Apple value a UI at $40? I am not against companies suing other companies, but if UI is the issue then shouldn't this be an Apple v Google case.
AnthonyLiving11
100%
0%
AnthonyLiving11,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/1/2014 | 4:03:22 AM
Re: apple/samsung screw job
I totally agree with you. I think that Apple have just lost their shine after Jobs' death.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2014 | 11:28:23 PM
Re: Just sEE
Doctors hate him!
Uplift_Humanity
0%
100%
Uplift_Humanity,
User Rank: Strategist
3/31/2014 | 7:26:20 PM
"Obvious" ain't so obvious if you're living in the future...
Patents are complex, and most lay people on the internet (including this "author" and many commenters here) have only a rudimentary understanding of what is patentable innovation or protectable.  They cite "rounded corners" and "swipe to unlock" as things obvious (though, this is just their perception).

Do these people think of color television as an "obvious" change from black-and-white TV? How about a self-closing refrigerator door?  Is a lightbulb made up of LEDs patentable or just an "obvious" change from the incandescent light bulp?  I'm sure many people would these of these as obvious - but there were/are valid patents on each of these technologies.  The reason is, at the time/year those patents were issued, such capabilities were not obvious or even possible, especially to the brightest engineers of the time.


Similarly, there are software patents - many involving specialized algorithms.  Algorithms are the "magic" that gives a specific capability through software.  For example, routing software in every GPS (critical to even a basic GPS), software-only radios (that powers satellite radios and modern mobile radios), and lossless compression technologies -- all incorporate patentable algorithms.  Without patent and copyright protections, few companies could justify the immense resources (time, money, free food) needed to fund their internal engineering teams and skunk-works projects.

Each patent has a long history -- a backstory -- that never gets told.  So people on the outside think of it as something very simple.  And 30 years later -- those "simple" things start to look "obvious".  So that's where we are with many patents.  Apple has a long history of patents and copyrights -- for more than 30 years.  That's more than nearly every one of their competitors in their industries.

 

The "rounded corners" issue needs explanation, for those who obviously lack an understanding of the facts.  This involved a novel algorithm for drawing rounded corners on screens.  This idea came about in the late 1970s.  Apple was developing the Macintosh computer (introduced in Jan 1984).  At the time, there were no equivalent computer that was entirely graphical.  Only specialized "graphics workstations" costing from $50 000 to $300 000 were the only devices capable of drawing "corners" on their displays.  However none did - because it was a very CPU-intensive activity.  So no company or engineer thought of writing specialized code to put rounded corners (at each corner) of the video screen.  Apple (specifically Steve Jobs) wanted his Macintosh to look more "human", so he asked for rounded corners on the original Mac screen.  Andy Hertzfeld was one of the lead engineers involved on this, and he said it was difficult to do so quickly.  Remember, the CPU was responsible for drawing EVERY pixel on the screen -- which for those days was alone an unbelievable task.  And adding a routine to keep drawing rounded corners on the screen would take up more CPU cycles than he felt was wise.  Steve Jobs relented, and Andy came up with a novel algorithm to do it with very few CPU cycles.  At the time, software was not patentable, so Apple could not protect this "invention".  The original Macintosh was introduced with rounded corners (on the physical exterior, AND on the screen).  These were symetrical, and constituted a certain "aesthetic" that Apple was looking for.  It became a major part of the Macintosh's (and subsequently Apple's) brand.

Even if you don't believe this constituted an invention, it became and mostly continues to be a part of Apple's branding.  Meaning, Steve Jobs made it a point to have every new product introduced since then to have rounded corners on the screen.  Many shapes Apple used -- including icons -- also had rounded corners.  And all of the rounded corners had a very specific shape/radius.  Every iPhone and iPad (nearly every Apple product - even their MacBook laptops and iMacs) ALL have very similar rounded corners.

So Samsung's copying of this copyrighted "rounded corners" feature was the same as if they took Apple's corporate logo.  Legally, there is no difference.

Since software patents were not possible, Apple obtained a legal copyright on this feature -- their branding feature.  Brands are powerful symbols for companies, similar to their corporate logo.  And for those who know, rounded corners were for many years exclusive to Apple products.  It is a part of Apple's history -- AND it was copyrighted.

So when Samsung started wholesale copying of this and other copyrighted features, Apple made the gutsy decision to sue Samsung.  History shows that Samsung LOST the lawsuit and penalties were set by the court.  Samsung counter-sued and appealed the decision, which they lost (both strategies).

And now, after the original verdict was again upheld approx. a month ago this year, Apple wants Samsung to begin paying for the damages that it fought hard to prove (and multiple court cases upheld).

So this is not a new case - it is Apple's attempt to get justice for and to remedy the wrong (harmful theft of their branded) done to them by Samsung.  The amount they want is not under dispute - the court itself set the penalty amount it.
KirkM431
0%
100%
KirkM431,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2014 | 5:52:29 PM
Re: Biased article
Yes - happy and loyal customers are what every company, including Samsung, want.. However, Samsung doesn't have loyal customers in numbers- so they revert to copying, and playing the numbers game. Samsung's dubious market strategy is based on creating over 100 products spread across a 30% market share- which means their ROI strategy is not sustainable aganst the bottom feeders. Apple plays the smart strategy with leveraging a few products and firmly in control of the mid to upper market.
literacyisgood
0%
100%
literacyisgood,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2014 | 4:55:25 PM
Re: apple/samsung screw job
Cheap junk? Apple hardware is good quality.

Its the software which makes apple's mobile devices really suck.

If Apple made an android phone, it would be very high quality.  Might even be as good as HTC's.  Too bad apple is commited to the inferior iOS.
Thomas Claburn
100%
0%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
3/31/2014 | 4:54:16 PM
Re: Just get over yourself Apple and compete!
It's not an easy issue, particuarly given the complexity of the patents involved. On the one hand, companies shouldn't be able to freely copy Apple. On the other hand, Apple's closed nature begs to be copied because the company insists on owning everything -- can you imagine how much an iPhone would be if Apple were the only company allowed to use the touchscreen model it pioneered? Frankly, it's hard to side with either company. Our patent system is a mess. But the alternative, rampant copying, doesn't work well -- see the app market. Many of these rules which made sense in the industrial age no longer work in the information age, when designs can be knocked off in days...but lawmakers seem unwilling to try bold fixes. So we're stuck with a system that's bad for everyone.
Page 1 / 3   >   >>


IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.