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Android EU Iphone Patents The Courts Apple

Dutch Court Says Android 2.3 Violates Apple Patents 195

Posted by samzenpus
from the glad-that's-cleared-up dept.
jfruhlinger writes "A Dutch court came to some interesting conclusions in the Apple-Samsung patent case raging there. The court rejected claims that Samsung stole intellectual copyrights, or that it slavishly copied Apple's iPad and iPhone. It did decide that Android 2.3 violated an Apple photo management patent — but said that Samsung could get around this simply by upgrading its phones to Android 3.0."
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Dutch Court Says Android 2.3 Violates Apple Patents

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  • Patent, singular (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @04:37AM (#37203018)

    The court find that it violated one patent. It also decided that all of the other patents Apple cited were either not violated, or were likely to be invalid. Early days but it's pretty heavy stuff.

    • Out of a dozen patents that should be either invalid or are invalid, the fact that the court recognized one as valid is still a loss, even if it is a small one. This is a victory for Apple, even if they "lost".

      http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/description?CC=EP&NR=2059868A2&KC=A2&FT=D&date=20090520&DB=&locale=en_EP [espacenet.com]

  • Perfect. While you're at why not install windows xp on it to avoid patent issues.
    • ... you do realize that Apple's lawsuit was about their contention that the Samsung Galaxy Tab was a ripoff of the iPad? Putting Honeycomb on a Galaxy Tab doesn't really seem like that much of a stretch....

  • by Simon (S2) (600188) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @04:51AM (#37203090) Homepage

    No matter what alarmists will tell you, net result is:

            Samsung can continue to sell current Galaxy phones and must provide a trivial change to the picture gallery in the next 7 weeks.
            Samsung can continue to sell the Gaöaxy Tab.
            Apple has LOST all design and copyright related claims.
            Apple has LOST the infringement claim on one patent and the court deemed a third patent broken anyway.

    http://jan.wildeboer.net/2011/08/samsung-v-apple-in-nl-happy-selling-samsung/ [wildeboer.net] [cache [googleusercontent.com]]

    • You forget a major part here, sure Apple mostly lost because only one minor patent was upheld, but it still means that a judge in Europe considered (again) that a "software patent" is valid.

      I would call this a victory!!!

      • by renoX (11677)

        Oups sorry for the cut.

        I would call this a victory for patent trolls, big companies and lawyers, but a defeat for everyone else!!!

      • by SETIGuy (33768) *
        For Apple, you can call it a minor victory. For Europe, it's a major loss.
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        it's an user interface patent. you know. like patenting rectangular pixel areas as meaningful. not sw!

        on the upside, this is a highly visible case bringing attention to stupid patents and stupid design/patent law.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Samsung can continue to sell current Galaxy phones and must provide a trivial change to the picture gallery in the next 7 weeks.

      If they actually need to have end users updated I say good luck to them. Optus only recently rolled out 2.3.3. Virgin, Telstra and other Australian carriers still haven't made the switch. The firmware was released in Europe in March. The carriers are REALLY slow in rolling out updates provided by Samsung.

      I fully anticipate 0.1% of Galaxy users to have non-infringing firmware by sometime next year.

      • by SETIGuy (33768) *
        They don't need an OS upgrade. They need a replacement for the "Gallery" app through the Marketplace. Of course, they can't really force users to take the upgrade.
  • I am really confused now. I thought software patents weren't valid in the EU? How can this happen? Did the members of the Europarliament sneakily approve software patents anyway? Wouldn't be the first time they ignored the population. (I didn't say voters; they are not elected and the EU is not democratic)
    Can someone explain how software patents became valid in the EU?

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      Software patents aren't valid.

      HOWEVER, if you can make your software patent sound like a normal patent you might get around it.

      "Use of a computer device to display images controlled by swiping motions" (something I just made up) doesn't sound much like a software patent.

    • by Spad (470073)

      They aren't. It's not a software patent [espacenet.com].

      • by gomiam (587421)
        I think I will try and patent turning a screw exactly four turns around. No, I'm not going to: it's as stupid as patenting specific hand gestures over a screen.
      • by sosume (680416)

        Yes it is. There are several things wrong with this patent.

        1) "[0001] The disclosed embodiments relate generally to portable electronic devices, and more particularly, to portable devices for photo management, such as digital photographing, 5 photo editing, and emailing photos."
        The Galaxy phone is a phone; not a portable device for photo management. Its main function is to call and provide PIM functionality. But this is not related to software patents.

        2) "5 [0008] One aspect of the invention involves a comp

        • by troc (3606)

          I am not going to comment on the validity of the patent as such and please don't take what I'm saying as implying in any way that I believe the patent is valid or invalid. I've not analysed it and it's not in my field of expertise anyway. Saying that, I do have a few patent law (and specifically, European patent law) related bits of info you might like to read:

          1) In patent law the words "suitable for" are always implicitly present in a statement such as:

          The disclosed embodiments relate generally to portable

        • by umghhh (965931)
          So what you did is t his:
          • found out what the patent is
          • investigated which parts are not valid and why
          • found out the patent is not valid
          • found out that EPO is right in issuing the patent as it cannot be revoked
          • profit?????
        • by jrumney (197329)

          2) "5 [0008] One aspect of the invention involves a computer-implemented method in which a portable electronic device with a touch screen: displays an array of thumbnail images corresponding to a set of photographic images; replaces the displayed array of thumbnail images with a user-selected photographic image upon detecting a user contact with a corresponding thumbnail image in the array, wherein the user-selected photographic image is"

          The above is clearly software.

          And possibly just a little bit obvious

      • by znerk (1162519)

        They aren't. It's not a software patent [espacenet.com].

        Hmm... quacks like a duck...

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      It amounts to a software claim in a patent for a whole device. It'll be interesting to see how the court takes the validity of that.

    • by he-sk (103163)

      The members of the European Parliament are directly elected by the people of the EU. It is the European institution that has the best claim to democratic legitimacy.

      • by Xest (935314)

        Yes, in part because it also uses proportional representation so is far more democratic than even national institutions like the British parliament where a party with 30% support can get effective 100% of power, and where 60% of voters votes don't even count.

        For many Europeans such as those Brits stuck under the fucked up first past the post system, they actually have more of a vote in the European Parliament than they do in their national parliaments because the proportional system much more fairly recogni

    • I didn't say voters; they are not elected and the EU is not democratic

      Not confused, clueless about the institutions. The European Parliament members are elected every 5 years by deirect election (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2009). You must mix up Parliament and Commission.

      • Not directly elected - Because this is Proportional Representation, you vote for a candidate, they get less votes than another candidate and get in anyway, or you vote for a candidate and another person from the same party gets in because of your vote ...

        First past the post is at least a vote for a candidate not a party ...

    • by julesh (229690)

      am really confused now. I thought software patents weren't valid in the EU? How can this happen? Did the members of the Europarliament sneakily approve software patents anyway?

      The law was never entirely clear. For a while it looked as though the way case law was going was that most software patents were invalid, with only a certain class valid (those that had a "technical effect", which is similar in some ways to the recent US appeal case that held that a mere calculation cannot be patented). Case law since then has widened the scope, but it's still much harder to get and enforce a software patent in the EU than it is in the US.

      There was an effort a few years ago to get the eur

  • "but said that Samsung could get around this simply by upgrading its phones to Android 3.0."

    Good, I've been waiting for an upgrade to 3.0.

    Thank you European Court.

    • by zarzu (1581721)
      3.0 is only for tablets, so they won't update the phones to it. Next major update for phones will be Ice Cream Sandwich which isn't out yet.
    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Boy did you get this backwards.

      Samsung will not upgrade to 3.0 (a tablet OS) for the phone. They will either simply remove their customized version of the gallery or release an update for it involving a whole 5min of coding.

      Also how on earth can a court claim an animation that happens when a user doesn't flick his finger properly violates a patent be considered a win for consumers. If anything it just shows how absurd the patent system is and how trivial it is to reduce competition in the market.

  • The judge decided only whether what Apple presented was enough to get a preliminary injunction or not. It is about stopping Samsung from selling right now or not. So this judge doesn't decide whether patents are valid or not. He decides whether he or she thinks that the patents would be found valid and infringed in a real court case. All the patents will be looked at for real at a later stage.
    • by servies (301423)

      Incorrect: the judge in this case rejected all the other patents Apple brought in... This was not for a preliminary injunction, that case is still pending in Germany and probably will be hugely influenced by this outcome...

      • by Asic Eng (193332)

        that case is still pending in Germany and probably will be hugely influenced by this outcome

        That's possible I suppose, but it shouldn't. The case in Germany is solely about the shape of the device, not about the software.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Mod this up. The parent is right. These are expedited proceedings that only cover the question whether there is enough ground for a preliminary injunction.

      IANAL, but here are some interesting snippets from the court's findings:

      4.18 The court issues a preliminary judgement that the implementation used in the Galaxy S, SII and Ace is covered by EP868.
      4.19 Samsung has posited that patent EP868 would be nullified by prior art WO458. However, WO458 does not in any way describe or allude to the "bounce on first m

  • Looking at a 3.0 gallery app, and the 2.3 gallery app, they appear to do the same thing.
    Wonder what the difference actually is that allows one to be ok and the other not.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Given that patents are supposed to be about how your invention does something and not what it does, one would hope that this sort of thing happened more often.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Who knows, the patent [espacenet.com] seems to have some 40 claims to cover waving a fucking finger.

  • Correct me if I'm wrong here - but I'm pretty sure that Android 3.0 is for tablets and not for phones.
    Also why is Samsung being sued and found at fault for a software feature in an operating system that it does not own / write - its just a partner / vendor of Android - not the originator of the OS - so surely this should be a finding against Google - and not Samsung. I wonder what that dutch court is smoking...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by F.Ultra (1673484)
      Every one in the chain, including the end user, is viable for patent infringement. So it does not matter who made the software, Samsung uses the software / distributes it so Samsung can be sued in a patent court. If Apple knew that you as an end user had millions they could have sued you as well (there is a case where some end users of MS SQL got sued do the patent infringement some years ago).
      • by jools33 (252092)

        Thanks for the informative reply (I'd mod you up if I could) - I hadn't realised that patent law worked quite like that. I doubt that end users can be sued - unless they can be proven to be profiting directly from their end user activities that violate the patent - also I would imagine that this interpretation of patent law probably varies per country - which is another reason why a European ban enforced by a single European country based on patent law - is unusual - as the interpretation of patent law acro

        • by jrumney (197329)

          I doubt that end users can be sued - unless they can be proven to be profiting directly from their end user activities that violate the patent

          It's not so much that they can't be, more that it isn't profitable chasing each individual infringement one by one. The damages due for each individual infringement wouldn't pay enough for the lawyer's secretary to write "John Doe" on the court filing, let alone track them down and collect the damages.

        • Nope parent is right. End user's can be sued, and in rare cases HAVE been sued. It's very rare because there usually aren't enough of them but it has happened and can happen again.

          There have even been cases where users of a piece of software received downgrades in the mail after the vendor's only recourse to a patent troll was to remove a feature, the downgrades came with a letter informing the users that removing the feature upstream protects the vendors but if they fail to install the downgrade they thems

          • >. It's very rare because there usually aren't enough of them but it has happened and can happen again.

            Sorry, I put that horribly, I meant there usually aren't enough money to be made that way - you have to sue them individually for amounts they may actually pay. Generally the companies demand a license fee rather than going straight to filing suit and would only go to suit if the users don't pay the license fee.
            That has happened many times already.

      • by znerk (1162519)

        This is not a Google-written application... it was written by Samsung, thus that's who got sued.

    • by sorak (246725)

      During the SCO case, Microsoft was touting that Windows provides "indemnification" against law suits. My memory is quite hazy, but that's where I first heard that term. Apparently, one of the advantages of closed source is that you can legally CYA better than with open source. In fact I wrote a paper discussing the possibility of a company intentionally contributing their own code to a competing open source project so that they would have the option to sue if the project got too big. (IANAL, btw)

  • by RedK (112790) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @05:42AM (#37203312)

    Wow, did the summary ever get this wrong. The court said that the Samsung supplied Photo Gallery application infringes on an Apple patent related to a swipe gesture to move from picture to picture that bounces back to the current picture if the swipe is not completed.

    The default Android Photo Gallery application does not do this, but Samsung customized the version included on its phones with TouchWiz (hence the Nexus S does not infringe and is not part of the ban or the Tab 10.1 that uses stock Android too) to replicate this functionality of iOS.

    Also, the solution is not to provide Android 3.0 for the phones, Samsung will simply remove this extra functionality from the application (either by reverting back to the stock Android application or by simply removing it from their customized app) and provide an update for the affected models, thus negating the ban.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      They've already announced that an update is on the way for the affected devices, removing the offending animation. Given that the decision's not effective for about two months I think they'll have it fixed before it even becomes an issue.

    • It's still bad that such simple idea is patentable according to the court.

  • by Pastis (145655) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @06:35AM (#37203578)
    So one can block the sale of a device on a whole continent because it possibly infringes on a functionality that represents 1/10000 of the default functionality of the phone. My phone can call, video call, chat, do my email, take and edit videos, upload pictures to the net, scan bar codes for maintaining list of books and dvds, do anything a browser can do, play games like a console, be my alarm clock, and I can't buy it because of the way it reacts if I scroll half way my pictures in the photo editor ?

    This is just wrong.
    • So one can block the sale of a device on a whole continent because it possibly infringes on a functionality that represents 1/10000 of the default functionality of the phone. My phone can call, video call, chat, do my email, take and edit videos, upload pictures to the net, scan bar codes for maintaining list of books and dvds, do anything a browser can do, play games like a console, be my alarm clock, and I can't buy it because of the way it reacts if I scroll half way my pictures in the photo editor ? This is just wrong.

      No, it's fucking A right. Using existing law to reduce competition is morally, ethically, and economically sound. If you disagree with the existing law, get it changed.

  • Samsung Photo App violates one of Apples patents.

    The sensational half truths that pass for headlines these days make me think I've wandered onto Digg by mistake
  • My dutch is very limited to sinaasappelsap but I believe this is the ruling:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/62981838/KG-11-0730-en-11-731-Apple-Samsung [scribd.com]
    Maybe some dutch person can translate the it?

    This is supposed to be the patent (in english):
    http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/description?CC=EP&NR=2059868A2&KC=A2&FT=D&date=20090520&DB=&locale=en_EP [espacenet.com]

    What really bothers me is that this is clearly a software patent of the ridiculous kind (How to stroke a touch sensitive device h

  • It took a lot of Dutch Courage for the court to say that.

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