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Apple Can't Block US Sales of Samsung Devices 213

Posted by timothy
from the magic-not-strong-enough-roll-again dept.
An anonymous reader snips this good news (for Samsung fans) from Edible Apple "In April of 2011, Apple kicked off what would soon become a global and complex series of litigation disputes when it sued Samsung in the U.S. claiming that its line of Galaxy smartphones and tablets infringed upon Apple's intellectual property and were nothing more than 'slavish' copies. As part of its suit, Apple requested a preliminary injunction that would bar Samsung from selling said products in the U.S. This past Friday, Judge Lucy Koh denied Apple's motion for a preliminary injunction."
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Apple Can't Block US Sales of Samsung Devices

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  • Good to see. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xclr8r (658786) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @07:58PM (#38253562)
    Finally some judges are realizing they are being used for judgements to enforce business ^H^H^H^H^H...monopoly by via litigation.
    • Re:Good to see. (Score:5, Informative)

      by tysonedwards (969693) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @08:04PM (#38253614)
      No judgement, but a denial of a preliminary injunction that would presumably prevent Samsung from "further irreparably damaging Apple's Brand, image, copyright and patents".

      Apple's contention within the case is that Samsung is misappropriating Apple's intellectual property, namely patents related to the design of the iPhone devices, user interface designs, icons, images, and methods of operation.

      Samsung's contention is that "there are only so many ways to build a smartphone", and that the elements that Apple is complaining about are either "too broad" or are obvious, and thereby not enforceable.

      The judge in this particular case has decided that Apple had not presented sufficient evidence in pre-trial proceedings that would show that Apple would be irreparably damaged through Samsung continuing to sell the products in question within the United States.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        patents related to the design of the iPhone devices, user interface designs, icons, images, and methods of operation.

        Patents are supposed to be for inventions.
        The terrorists have won.

        • by Solandri (704621)

          Patents are supposed to be for inventions.

          Except for the bouncing animation patent (which seems dubious to me, since bouncing when reaching a limit has been a staple of cartoon animation for decades, and of rubber balls for centuries), the patents in question are design patents [wikipedia.org]. That's the main reason the judge denied the injunction. A design patent (in the U.S.) has to be purely ornamental - e.g. the distinctive shape of a Coca-Cola bottle is purely artistic and serves no function purpose.

          To paraphr

    • Hell yes! It is about time too...

  • Seems fair... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus,slashdot&gmail,com> on Saturday December 03, 2011 @08:12PM (#38253666) Homepage Journal
    Preliminary injunctions are valid where irreparable harm will ensue if they're not issued, and injunctions generally are issued where monetary damages would be inadequate relief. But that's very rare.

    This is similar to the recent reversal of the Apple-Samsung injunction in Australia - there, the court said that an injunction was unwarranted, but that Samsung would have to keep detailed records of every penny earned on the products, because they could be on the hook for all of them. Same thing here - if the patents are found valid and Samsung is found to have infringed, they'll owe damages to Apple... but there's no reason to preemptively make those damages $0 by stopping the sale of the product.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, 2011 @08:21PM (#38253722)

    Plain and simple.

    "Oh my god, their tablet is like ours! Ban it!"

    • No kidding (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @02:40AM (#38255432)

      Particularly since the "design patent" they are whining about it violating is stupidly broad. More or less it is "A black rectangle with rounded corners." Oh wow. What an amazing design. I haven't seen that anywhere before except TVs, computer monitors, computer cases, picture frames, speakers, furniture, and so on.

      I think Apple is really scared right now because Android is a major threat. It has been making big inroads on their iToy market and that is where all their money has come from. I mean they have a computer market, don't get me wrong, but their were a smaller company when that was what they did. Consumer electronics are where they've risen to massive profitability. Android is threatening that and I don't think they have a "what's next" a different market to move in to that they can try and dominate.

      So instead they try and shut down competition.

  • by teh31337one (1590023) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @08:23PM (#38253738)

    Phone Arena:

    Apple gives Samsung advice on non-patent infringing designs

    In order to disprove Samsung’s claim, Apple needed to provide alternate design options to prove that Samsung did, in fact, blatantly copy Apple’s design. Some samples from these suggestions include:

    Smartphones:
    * Front surface that isn't black.
    * Overall shape that isn't rectangular, or doesn't have rounded corners.
    * Display screens that aren't centered on the front face and have substantial lateral borders.
    * Non-horizontal speaker slots.
    * Front surfaces with substantial adornment.
    * No front bezel at all.

    Tablets:
    * Overall shape that isn't rectangular, or doesn't have rounded corners.
    * Thick frames rather than a thin rim around the front surface.
    * Front surface that isn't entirely flat.
    * Profiles that aren't thin.
    * Cluttered appearance.

    They also have a great depiction of what such a tablet may look like [phonearena.com]

    • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @08:52PM (#38253898) Homepage Journal
      What a bunch of horseshit. It would be come immediately clear how stupid those guidelines were if Apple ang Samsung were both car designers squabbling over a car model. I mean, you don't see Bentley [customwheels.ro] suing Chrysler. [chryforum.com]

      When you're pimping a Chrysler, people know it's a Chrysler. Despite the similarities, there's no way in hell anybody with half a brain would confuse a Chrysler with a Bentley. And Bentley, being classy, is aware of that and that suing Chrysler would be a very tacky and un-classy move.

      Apple could learn a few things from that little case study, but they want to be tacky and don't have enough faith in consumers to be able to distinguish the two.

      Oh, I just clicked preview and saw that you're now at +5 funny and I've been trolled. I may be too dumb to get sarcasm, but I'm still not dumb enough to confuse a Galaxy with an iPad.
      • by alvinrod (889928)
        Maybe it's just me, but those two vehicles don't look similar. From a broad point of view, they might both be trying to convey the same ideas through their design, but they're different in so many individual aspects that I think it's a poor comparison for the point you're trying to make. Then again car analogies on Slashdot have never been good, so perhaps I'm judging too harshly.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Maybe it's just me, but those two vehicles don't look similar.

          Really? Not similiar? Hell, they're almost IDENTICAL! Both have windshields of clear glass trimmed with chrome.
          Both have round steering wheels. Both have the driver's seat facing forward. They even both have four round wheels in diametrically opposite corners. I could go on and on...

        • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @10:30PM (#38254422) Homepage Journal
          That's because I was in a hurry and couldn't readily find a picture of an older, boxier Bentley. Here are the obvious similarities:

          - The headlights are recessed from the Grille. Think of the center grille section as kind of a "nose" between the "eyes."
          - The fender areas are tightly "wrapped" around the wheel wells and there is a small distance between the top of the wheel and the hood. Also note that both vehicles have big, spoked rims and small street-tires, all contributing to both models' "low-slung" appearance.
          - On both vehicles, the angle of the front windshield is larger than the angle of the back windshield, and the roof itself is sloping downward toward the rear.
          - Both vehicles are black with silver trim, and are generally intended to evoke a luxury appearance. Chrysler is obviously paying homage to Bentley.
          - An obvious difference between the two pics I provided is that the Chrysler's grille extends to the bottom, and there are fog lights on its bumper. However, using this [automotivescycle.com] bentley pic as a reference, once again there is more similarity.
          - While we're talking about the fronts, take into consideration the logos of the Bentley [gotbroken.com] and the Chrysler [gotbroken.com] here. Both logos are encapsulated in an oval, adorned with wings, and located on the top center of the grille.

          I was saying earlier that Apple should appreciate that others are paying homage to them instead of trying to stop their shipments. It is apparent to anybody with half a brain which is which, especially when the GUIs are visible.

          If Apple still wanted to stop Samsung, they could have at least compared the radius of the corners rather than just saying, "rounded corners," for example.
        • It's just you. The chrysler 300 is widely regarded to be a bentley lookalike. There are even logo conversion kits out there people put on ther 300s.
      • These were actually some of the design options Apple said Samsung had to make their products more differentiated, and not infringe on their design products. While some of them are just crazy, others aren't too bad. Here's the original article: http://www.theverge.com/2011/12/2/2596527/apple-samsung-design-patent-iphone-ipad-work-around [theverge.com]

    • by Kenja (541830) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @08:53PM (#38253904)
      Basically the claim is that all phones and tablets after the iPhone and ipad must look nothing like the phones and tablets that existed prior to the iPhone and iPad. Apple has retroactive inventors rights.

      Pity really, I like Apple products (other then iOS which is too restrictive for me) but they seem to have some crazy people working there these days.
      • by Baloroth (2370816)

        The people at Apple aren't the crazy ones. No, the crazy people are a) the legistlators who made the laws that Samsung is (supposedly) infringing on, and b) the judges who allow the laws to stand. In the US, at least, judges can invalidate laws if they find them bad enough (not sure how bad they have to be) and I imagine they can in other countries was well.

        Apple is just using the system to get an advantage. Unfair, of course, but they don't care.

        • by khipu (2511498) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @10:02AM (#38256682)

          The law doesn't and can't define where the line is between patentable and unpatentable designs; that is for the courts to sort out, and they are trying to sort it out.

          The reasons this is coming up now and is such a problem are twofold. First, product cycles and market opportunities are very short lived. Samsung had a few months to turn a profit on the 10.1 and Apple killed that. Now, the Transformer Prime is coming out and the lawsuit doesn't matter anymore. Second, most companies focus on making good products and don't, as a habit, go around suing each other over trivialities--it wastes everybody's time.

          The last point may also be the solution to this problem: Samsung and everybody else being sued by Apple should tie up Apple's designers and executives in court, for years. Given how marginal Apple's claims are, the court should grant wide latitude to the defense to depose and question these people. When Apple's employees spend more time in court than doing work, maybe they'll figure out that these kinds of lawsuits are not productive for anybody.

      • Uh what tablets and phones looked and behaved like an iPhone/iPad before the two devices came out?

    • by JAlexoi (1085785)
      Shape that isn't rectangular and cluttered appearance :-D Brillant!!!!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by gnasher719 (869701)

        Shape that isn't rectangular and cluttered appearance :-D Brillant!!!!

        Stupid you. Google for "sony tablet" or for "toshiba tablet" and you will find two nice tablet designs that are rectangular and look nothing like an iPad. If Sony and Toshiba can do it, then surely Samsung can do it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Shape that isn't rectangular and cluttered appearance :-D Brillant!!!!

          Stupid you. Google for "sony tablet" or for "toshiba tablet" and you will find two nice tablet designs that are rectangular and look nothing like an iPad. If Sony and Toshiba can do it, then surely Samsung can do it.

          Actually, the iPad also doesn't look all that much like whatApple filed in its design patent paperwork either.

          But, anyway, many of the Toshiba tablets look similar to the iPad (because they iPad has a very generic design)

          http://www.reviewphones.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/toshiba-thrive-tablet-vs-ipad-21.jpg

          And here is one from Sony:

          http://www.gayakuman.com/uploads/2010/02/sony-tablet.jpg

        • Stupid you. Google for "sony tablet" or for "toshiba tablet" and you will find two nice tablet designs that are rectangular and look nothing like an iPad. If Sony and Toshiba can do it, then surely Samsung can do it.

          I'll give you the SONY Tablet S - that's definitely quite different. At least, from the side. From the front it's just like most other tablets.

          Which brings me to the "Toshiba Tablet". You're saying it looks "nothing like an iPad".
          http://cdn.cbsi.com.au/story_media/339308309/toshiba-tablet-10- [cbsi.com.au]

        • by X.25 (255792) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @04:48AM (#38255716)

          Stupid you. Google for "sony tablet" or for "toshiba tablet" and you will find two nice tablet designs that are rectangular and look nothing like an iPad. If Sony and Toshiba can do it, then surely Samsung can do it.

          Then why did Apple feel like they should copy the design of tablets/phones that existed before iPhone/iPad?

          They could have invented some new design too.

  • by decora (1710862) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @08:35PM (#38253796) Journal

    I don't want some muslims ripping off American technology and implementing a Muslim Caliphate. Did you know that in the Muslim World, women are raped if they drive a car? That young girls cannot go to school or their heads are cut off and fed to dogs?

    This is what is at stake, when terrorist groups like Samsung attack our American values. We have to defend America first, and to hell with everyone else.

  • by fostware (551290) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @08:40PM (#38253816) Homepage

    The worst part of these preliminary injunctions is they kill the biggest sales time - pre-Christmas.

    While there may be merit on both sides, aborting the product in it's first large sales growth period is a sure-fire way of killing off a competitor.

    What Apple has done, is polarise a significant portion of people against them. It's almost as if they modelled themselves on Microsoft...

    • by Waccoon (1186667)

      What Apple has done, is polarise a significant portion of people against them. It's almost as if they modelled themselves on Microsoft...

      With regards to this Christmas season, I doubt a significant portion of people even know Samsung makes a tablet, or that the Streisand Effect will kick in. Apple is still a media icon, and people don't even bother to check out what the competition has to offer.

      Even today, just about every advertisement on the radio reminds you that they have an app "for your iPod or iPad". Hearing someone mention Android (at least) is a rare occasion. I assume non-tech magazines are in that same boat.

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        With regards to this Christmas season, I doubt a significant portion of people even know Samsung makes a tablet

        To provide you with some insight to how things worked in Australia. The Samsung Galaxy Tab was about the only tablet other than an iPad you could find at most Carrier stores. It was one of the few tablets you could actually buy on a plan like the iPad. The majority of the tablets sold here are sold at consumer electronic stores, many of which don't / can't actually carry Apple devices. On top of that actual Apple stores here are few and far between.

        The place where they managed to initially get the Galaxy Ta

      • by Issarlk (1429361)
        Enters Joe Average, browsing the Wallmart tablets: "Hey, look at all these iPads they have."
        To a non tech user, iPad is interchangeable for "Tablet". They'll buy Samsung or Apple or HTC or whatever as long as it has Youtube and Angrybirds.
    • While there may be merit on both sides...

      like what?? i fail to see this as anything but an underhanded act of a company that does not want to compete.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @08:51PM (#38253878)

    Apple is scared to death, because they know Samsung is making a better product.

    Apple can control its sheeple users, but they have no right to control other companies or the right to block buyers from the competition.

    When will Apple be called out for doing all the horrible shit people think Microsoft does?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by erick99 (743982) *
      And, Apple has lost Steve Jobs and when his legacy of ideas is used up, I don't see Apple doing well. Apple has not done well in the past with Jobs and they won't in the future. Jobs was Apple. Jobs is gone. Apple will not continue to innovate and bring out "game changer" products because they lost the guy who envisioned those products and knew how to bring them to market.
      • by tsa (15680)

        I'm afraid you're right. I am very curious to how Apple will be doing in 5 years from now. That is what makes tech interesting: the stuff itself is fun but the policies and doings of the companies that make it are even more fun to watch.

    • by aeoo (568706) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @10:15PM (#38254306) Journal

      When will Apple be called out for doing all the horrible shit people think Microsoft does?

      I call them out all the time. But the problem is that ever since Apple adopted a Unix-y OS for its OS X, a large number of geeks have become fans and thereafter switched their brains entirely off. It's sad.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sonicmerlin (1505111)

      Every time an autistic freetard calls millions of users "sheeple" I want to pull their tongue out of their body and strangle them to death with it.

      • by knarf (34928)

        Every time an autistic freetard calls millions of users "sheeple" I want to pull their tongue out of their body and strangle them to death with it.

        Read your reaction again, please. Does it remind you of something? It does for me.

        That reaction sounds very much like the type of reaction you'll encounter when 'offending' some religion. And isn't that more or less what those 'autistic freetards' you talk about claim about the'sheeple'?

        I'd say your reaction is proof that the 'autistic freetard' is at least partl

  • Only so many ways (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, 2011 @10:13PM (#38254294)

    When I was in university, I had a CS assignment in an assembly language course. The prof. accused about 15 people in the class of plagiarism. I got 100% on the assignment, but wasn't one of the ones accused. The assignment was quite specific about expectations, and the code size was small (about 15 lines of code). The prof. openly accused one guy, and the guy asked: is there another way of writing this code and getting a correct result? The prof. stopped and thought for a minute, then said 'no', at which point he stopped. There are lots of ways of making a cell phone. Round corners isn't proprietary. Colorful icons aren't proprietary. Clicking once or twice isn't proprietary. Apple is hoping for a judicial monopoly, but developing a market doesn't mean you get an instant monopoly on that market.

    • Ah yes, the "it's obvious!" argument. Where were these obvious implementations before the iPad and iPhone? Why didn't anyone try something remotely similar? Why did Android convert from a Blackberry ripoff to an iOS clone 9 months after the iPhone's release?

      • by PitaBred (632671)

        Because fashion changes. That's how things go. Apple is a fashion leader, but having a monopoly on any "style" of design is just... stupid. Or should Ferrari be the only car company that can design supercars, because they were the first?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Because fashion changes. That's how things go. Apple is a fashion leader, but having a monopoly on any "style" of design is just... stupid. Or should Ferrari be the only car company that can design supercars, because they were the first?

          Design patents are like trademarks. They are designed to prevent companies from making clone products that confuse consumers, even if they don't have the exact trademark of the company. A design patent (even were it granted) on rectangular black phones would be un-enforcable by itself. That said, Samsung's conduct goes well beyond that. They cloned the basic look of the iPhone, the layout of the GUI buttons, the color, gradient, and icons on some of the buttons (trademarked icons by the way), the packaging

        • by tsa (15680)

          They were not the first. Bugatti was there much much earlier (1909 vs 1929).

      • by X.25 (255792)

        Ah yes, the "it's obvious!" argument. Where were these obvious implementations before the iPad and iPhone? Why didn't anyone try something remotely similar? Why did Android convert from a Blackberry ripoff to an iOS clone 9 months after the iPhone's release?

        The obvious implementations before iPad/iPhone have been mentioned so many times (on Slashdot and every other tech site), that I find it amusing you would even say something like this.

        Hell, even on this page you will find at least 1 reference to something that predates iPhone/iPad.

        I was an Amiga fan (zealot), and I though that was the worst kind imaginable, but Apple fans are way worse.

  • by khipu (2511498) on Sunday December 04, 2011 @09:44AM (#38256630)

    It really pisses me off that Apple is trying to monopolize the market for thin, rectangular tablets and phones. They didn't invent that form factor, they weren't the first to produce devices in it, and they should not have a design patent on it.

    So, I'm supporting anybody who fights Apple, including Samsung and HTC.

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