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Apple, Samsung Patent Slugfest Returns To Courthouse
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anon8560389613
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anon8560389613,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2014 | 12:30:23 PM
Just get over yourself Apple and compete!
As the article says, Apple is now seen more as a bunch of whinners rather than innovators.  What have you done over the last couple of years to really improve your dull and boring user interface?  Not much as far as I can tell.  Don't get me wrong I do admire the quality of your hardware and software (for the most part), but the author is right, there is no wow factor now with iOS and there hasn't been for years.  You changed the color scheme a bit, big deal.


What I really don't get though is how courts can give minor value for licensing purposes to really meaningful patents that deal with being able to do WiFi, use cell phone radios, encryption, etc. but value Apple's stupid icons on a screen, moving your finger on a screen, and rounded corners type of stuff so much more highly!  Which is more important to allowing smartphones to even be worth anything?  I maintain it is the first type of meaningful patents and yet courts tell companies they have to license those features broadly for very little money while they support Apple in their stupid level of patents for much more money. 

There is something basically wrong with our patent system!  I also do not believe there should be ANY software based patents unless someone comes up with something truly meaningful such as real artificial intelligence that can act like Mr. Data from Star Trek ... anything less is just natural evolution of the craft, building on the shoulders of others over and over and should only be Copy Rightable.
Thomas Claburn
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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.
Brian.Dean
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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.
Li Tan
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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.
DamonUBM
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DamonUBM,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2014 | 12:32:19 PM
What a crock of
This article is completely biased against Apple under the guise of objective reasoning. Samsung is not the innovator you make it out to be. You can not discount Apple for failing to innovate because it has not changed it's form factor in some wild way. Samsung plays it's game by manufacturing for other companies and building off the innovation of others. They make quality goods, but its off the backs of others hard work and research. I am so sick and tired of all these idiot writers who never take into consideration how innovation works. Innovation is not being first to market, it is not coming out with more products faster, it is about creating a product that offers a new and usefull experience to the user. Please name one new experience that Samsung has offered its customers that has truly enhanced the lives of its customers, other than being a cheaper bigger alternative to something. That includes TVs, appliances, etc. As for the legal battle, you brought up some good points, but you really belittle the blatant theft that Samsung engages in. Samsung will put as many businesses as it can out of business if it has its way based on its current strategy of owning the supply chain and competing on cost, and Apple is the first company to actually challenge Samsungs abuse of the supply chain (using the information it gains from produceing the internal parts) with companies like Appple. I don't know why I even bother, your mind already seems made up, but hopefully I save someone the disservice of thinking that your words mean anything of relevance.
Brian.Dean
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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.
anon1908515192
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anon1908515192,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2014 | 12:32:27 PM
Contingency Fee Lawyers Never Settle for Less than an NFL Franchise
What if the judge ruled that no patent can be worth more than FRAND payments. How would Apple like that. What if purely fashion decisions were ruled to unpatentable. Apples patent everything tactic backfires?
TC93
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TC93,
User Rank: Strategist
3/31/2014 | 12:36:39 PM
Stupid popups
Please remove the incredibly annoying stupid popups off this website.  It does absolutely nothing except cause people to not want to visit the website.

The one popup I got I can't even close the stupid thing, and couldn't even read the article with it taking up half the browser window.
Uplift_Humanity
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Uplift_Humanity,
User Rank: Strategist
3/31/2014 | 12:38:51 PM
Trash article
The artible seems a bit biased, wouldn't you say?

"The iPhone maker believes devices such as the Galaxy SII and SIII are copycat products"...
"and hopes it exposes what it views as Samsung's theft"...

BELIEVES?  EXPOSES?  VIEWS?

Definitely not true. Fact is, multiple court cases in the U.S. and throughout the world ALREADY PROVED that Samsung DID STEAL patented technology (not just by Apple, also Microsoft and others).  And Samsung lost in its re-suits and appeals.  This case is here ONLY because Samsung is a sore loser -- Apple has to go to court to force the courts to make Samsung pay (even though Samsung lost, it is unwilling to pay).

It's easy to write such trash articles just for page hits - it shows lack of journalistic credibility.
KirkM431
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KirkM431,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2014 | 12:41:38 PM
Biased article
The author seems to be in the tank for Samsung. Samsung is "innovating" while Apple only engages in "incremental" design updates. I would hardly call anything Samsung has or is doing as innovative. Smart watch was already announced by Apple - and Samsung wanted to be first to market with what everyone describes as crap. Fingerprint scannner- uh, already another Apple feature. Health cate focus- another early Apple interest. Gold color phone...Soon, Samsung will be announcing the opening up of their independent stores. They produce quickly, but generlly produce junk operated with borrowed OS...
literacyisgood
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literacyisgood,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2014 | 4:53:33 PM
Re: Biased article
Of course everyone is going to look to you to 'be in the tank' with Samsung, when you have such thoroughly Apple-colored glasses.
KirkM431
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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.
TC93
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TC93,
User Rank: Strategist
3/31/2014 | 12:41:56 PM
Patents
I noticed there is other national news today about the Supreme court and patents.  It sounds like the judges are angry over all the stupid lawsuits, like this one is.
anon4560245797
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anon4560245797,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2014 | 1:50:54 PM
apple/samsung screw job
samsung should just tell apple to go screw itself. walk away and ignore them and the cheap junk they make.
literacyisgood
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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.
AnthonyLiving11
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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.
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2014 | 1:51:52 PM
Again?
Is this the round corners thing again?

Love the graphic btw.
Number 6
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Number 6,
User Rank: Moderator
3/31/2014 | 1:53:47 PM
Litigation vs Innovation
Good summary. Some of the commenters have missed that this is a Commentary column, so you're putting forward your opinions.

I disagree with your comment about "what Apple could create if it spent less time litigating." It's not necessarily an either-or. Different divisions of the company are likely involved with each, so there's no significant opportunity cost in pursuing litigation at the same time.

As for licensing its patent portfolio, that's a possible outcome. Real or threatened litigation is one way to bring a potential licensee to the negotiating table.
Uplift_Humanity
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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.
dentdavi
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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. 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2014 | 11:28:23 PM
Re: Just sEE
Doctors hate him!


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