Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Apple

Apple Launches New Legal Attack On Samsung 490

Posted by samzenpus
from the history-repeating dept.
walterbyrd writes "Apple Inc has asked a federal court in California to block Samsung Electronics Co Ltd from selling its new Galaxy Nexus smartphones, alleging patent violations. In a suit filed last week in San Jose, Apple said the Galaxy Nexus infringes on patents underlying features customers expect from its products. Those include the ability to unlock phones by sliding an image and to search for information by voice."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple Launches New Legal Attack On Samsung

Comments Filter:
  • hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tmann72 (2473512) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:20AM (#39019221)
    These kinds of software patents are patently bogus.
    • by ganjadude (952775)
      Let me slip on my patent penny loafers, This is going to be a long and bumpy ride.
    • Re:hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JDAustin (468180) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:52AM (#39019705)

      It's not that they are bogus but that there is substantial prior art for each of them that wasn't given to the patent office.

    • Re:hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:20AM (#39020153)

      Apples is clearly scared shitless of Sumsung's hardware + Android.

      Since Apple is so eager to endorse Sunsung as a superior hardware alternative, sounds like it needs to be my next phone purchase.

      • ...or they could simply not want their billions of dollars invested in R&D to be stolen by competitors... They spent money licensing and developing features so that they could be competitive differentiators. Try to look at it from the perspective of someone trying to run a business.
        • Re:hmmm (Score:4, Interesting)

          by foradoxium (2446368) on Monday February 13, 2012 @12:17PM (#39020935)

          you mean from the perspective of businesses that Apple has stood upon?

          On my windows mobile 6 phone, I had a "slide to unlock" screen; So how many billions of dollars did Apple spend R&D'ing that?

          I'm sorry, but Apple is everything they used to speak out against, they are the suits. The amount of "new" things that Apple has patented is very small. Everything else is just a tweak from something else.

          • On my windows mobile 6 phone, I had a "slide to unlock" screen

            How do you know there wasn't a license fee for that? Or, more likely, some MS-Apple cross-license agreement?

    • by Skapare (16644)

      Not only that, it also violates my patent on slimy business practices.

      • Not only that, it also violates my patent on slimy business practices.

        Sorry, there's 5000 years of prior art WRT your patent! :P

  • Voice Search (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:20AM (#39019229)

    ....has been on Android long before it was on iOS. I guess we know Apple is going to use their warchest to be anti-competitive.

    Yay software patents.

    No slide to unlock? Perhaps we should make a "place genitals here" unlock mechanism. At least that may not be patented yet.

    • by vlm (69642)

      No slide to unlock? Perhaps we should make a "place genitals here" unlock mechanism. At least that may not be patented yet.

      Finally a use for that "embed an Arduino in womens clothing" idea that just won't go away and has mostly been used to implement flashing lights...

    • Re:Voice Search (Score:5, Insightful)

      by poetmatt (793785) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:42AM (#39019543) Journal

      Let them keep it up. They're just building a case for patent misuse - the B&N case will be a simple how-to sue for patent misuse to be used on Apple.

    • Re:Voice Search (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MogNuts (97512) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:49AM (#39019665)

      Yup. Now all the fanboys see Apple for what they are.

      I just laugh at all the comments over the years. Every time Apple applies and gets a new patent, every Apple lover replies with "b-but but but they'll never use them! And they're probably doing it to protect themselves!" or some other lame excuse.

      Well now the answer is clear. And they're worse than even SCO or Microsoft. At least they just wanted a cut of the money. Not Apple. They want to hinder one of the most useful and important things that benefit people today.

      Though what is interesting is, *for Apple to do this*, must mean that they are scared. Very scared. Can't compete with inferior tech, so let's litigate. They wouldn't do this if they were confident that its product really is superior, and really is "magical."

      • Re:Voice Search (Score:4, Informative)

        by Canazza (1428553) on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:03AM (#39019867)

        whats even funnier is that Siri is just Wolfram alpha with a screen reader.

      • Re:Voice Search (Score:4, Insightful)

        by geminidomino (614729) on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:12AM (#39020031) Journal

        Yup. Now all the fanboys see Apple for what they are.

        If only that were true.

        You need to remember that it's the fanboys that defended Apple's idiotic "look and feel" patent based on rounded fucking corners and square icons. They'll defend this just as insipidly.

        They wouldn't see Apple for what they are if Zombie Steve Jobs came back to fuck them in the eye.

        • by nbahi15 (163501)

          As a likely candidate for the fanboy title, since I seem to be accused of it fairly regularly, I will say that the whole issue is whether you like software patents or not. I don't like software patents, but that is the environment you live in. Apple operates within that environment, as does the opposition. They all use patents as a competitive weapon. So what? Don't like it? How about changing the law? I'm waiting.

    • by Tsingi (870990) <graham.rick@gOPENBSDmail.com minus bsd> on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:59AM (#39019815)

      ... Perhaps we should make a "place genitals here" unlock mechanism. At least that may not be patented yet.

      Yeah, Lotsa prior art there. I could send you some.

      • ... Perhaps we should make a "place genitals here" unlock mechanism. At least that may not be patented yet.

        Yeah, Lotsa prior art there. I could send you some.

        Yeah, I can see where you come from.

    • by JosKarith (757063)
      Combine that with an electric shock security system and we might just have a tamper-proof phone.
      Or the latest sex toy for the seriously jaded...
  • Yawn. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by piripiri (1476949) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:21AM (#39019245) Journal
    This is starting to become childish.
    • Re:Yawn. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Moheeheeko (1682914) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:35AM (#39019441)
      You havent seen anything yet

      Wait till Apple finds out that Samsung phones "allow people to communicate via text and voice"

    • by Zemran (3101)

      Apple and Samsung are both overpriced but while they fight it out LG are quietly bringing out some really good cheap and cheerful phones with all the bells and whistles at much better prices.
      http://www.lg.com/uk/mobile-phones/all-lg-phones/all-lg-phones.jsp [lg.com]

  • Facepalm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NF6X (725054) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:21AM (#39019255) Homepage
    I like my Apple products, but this endless pissing match between them and Samsung doesn't endear them to me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Truedat (2545458)

      I like my Apple products, but this endless pissing match between them and Samsung doesn't endear them to me.

      The alternative is that they and similar companies silently cooperate with each other with practices like price fixing, cross licensing of patents and behaviour befitting a cartel.

      So on balance I prefer it when these companies engage in a fight to the death, no one else is powerful enough to keep them honest.

      • Re:Facepalm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jedidiah (1196) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:54AM (#39019737) Homepage

        No. The alternative is that they win the market BY BUILDING A BETTER PRODUCT.

        You're the perfect example of what's wrong with the current state of corrupt corporate culture. Actually competing on merit is something that isn't even considered.

        • Re:Facepalm (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gstoddart (321705) on Monday February 13, 2012 @12:12PM (#39020863) Homepage

          You're the perfect example of what's wrong with the current state of corrupt corporate culture. Actually competing on merit is something that isn't even considered.

          More to the point, I don't think it's even possible.

          Between all of the players, damned near everything is patented. And anybody who owns a patent (no matter how absurd) wants everyone else to pay them crazy licensing fees (Microsoft gets paid something like $5 for every Android device), and sues to keep you out of the market if you don't.

          Sadly, it seems like innovation has taken a back seat to lawyers, and it doesn't seem to be showing any signs of getting better.

          If you designed a better product, unless you were already a company with deep pockets, there's simply no way you could bring it to market.

          I blame the patent system more than I do the players -- it's been set up in such a way as to encourage lawsuits more than creating actual products. And, since we're talking about markets in the billions, I doubt companies can afford to purely compete on the merit of their products.

          Since the USPTO has now changed it to "first to file" instead of considering prior art, it's only going to make this worse. Pretty much every company is going to have to try to patent the most trivial ideas in order to give themselves something to fight back with. Because they no longer care if you've taken someone else's idea ... only that you filed first.

          If patents are still filling their role of fostering innovation, it's sure as hell hard to see it.

          • Re:Facepalm (Score:4, Informative)

            by Necroman (61604) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:48PM (#39023421)

            I think you should read up what the First To File change actually has to do with. Prior Art is still considered. If I develop and ship a product, then Company B comes around and patents something already in my product (that I didn't patent), their patent can be invalidated by my product as prior art.

            What this really is supposed to "fix" is 2 companies that develop the same tech around the same time and file for patents around the same time (lets say within a year of one another), but before either has gone to market. In the system prior to "First to file", a really expensive and long lawsuit would have to occur where each side had to try and prove that they invented the patented idea first. This would involve both sides submitting design documents, emails, and any other forms of recorded communications that could be used to prove they invented it first. This was a timely and expensive battle.

            With First to File, whoever filed the patent first (assuming there is no prior art) will win, keeping lawyer fees down. This also puts us in line with the rest of the world as to how to handle similar patents filed near one another.

      • by iapetus (24050)

        I'd prefer them to fight to the death on the quality of their products, not shitty overstretched patents that don't do the end user any good.

        Apple, however, have clearly decided they're not capable of doing that any more.

      • Re:Facepalm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by realityimpaired (1668397) on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:11AM (#39020007)

        The alternative is that they and similar companies silently cooperate with each other with practices like price fixing, cross licensing of patents and behaviour befitting a cartel.

        Cross-licensing of patents is actually a good thing, and something everybody in the cell phone market (except Qualcomm) was already doing for decades before Apple decided to enter the market. Price fixing, bad. But using ridiculous patents like "sliding an image to unlock the screen" is worse. They want to drive the competition out of business, and when they realized that they can't do that on the actual merit of their product, they have decided to resort to litigation. When they finally do establish the monopoly they seem to want, gods help us all.

        The amusing part of it is that Samsung has a very large number of patents they can bring to bear against Apple, if they really wanted to go for a full on trade war. Samsung is trying to cooperate with them, but when they finally do realize what Apple's game is... how long do you suppose Apple could last if Samsung and LG decided to stop selling them LCD's? For anything, including their desktop and laptop computers. You do realize there's only two companies producing anything approaching a significant number of LCD panels in the world today, and that everybody else is just reselling either a Samsung or an LG panel?

    • I don't what it will take for you, but Apple has no allure for me anymore. I have had their products for many years and still have three in house, but I am done with buying their products going forward.

      Fortunately Samsung just announced a Android 4 tablet coming in March, seven inch form factor which the Kindle Fire convinced we was best, so I may just be able to ditch that iPad.

      This certainly ain't a property of Apple post Steve, they started down this road before he died and after reading quotes attribute

    • Blame Apple 100% (Score:5, Insightful)

      by walterbyrd (182728) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:59AM (#39019823)

      Please do not blame Samsung, that is just not fair. If a guy gets mugged in an ally, and tries to fight back, do you blame the victim or the mugger? Apple is the mugger.

    • Actually... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by KingSkippus (799657) on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:03AM (#39019869) Homepage Journal

      Actually, I hope that this results in an all-out patent war between the big players. Right now, they have little incentive to pour money into lobbying Congress to change the patent system because they're all benefiting from it. As long as they all don't sue each other and only pick on little guys, why would they want to upset the status quo?

      However, if the mutual assured destruction scenario actually plays out and they all start suing the crap out of each other, only then would they finally realize that buying tens of thousands of patents as a defensive measure against getting sued is not an acceptable solution to the patent problem. Ultimately, the answer is that software/business process patents need to permanently go away. That can only happen when they stop spending so much on lawyers building, defending, and in some cases, using as weapons their patent portfolios and start actually making meaningful changes in the system.

      Yes, they'd have more competition. Yes, that means that sometimes, competitors might mercilessly steal some of your clever ideas. But it also means that instead of spending billions of dollars on lawyers, you can now redirect that money towards research and development to blow competitors away with awesome products (thus gaining brand and product loyalty) instead of trying to blow them away in a courtroom (which is nothing but a colossal waste of time and money).

  • by nitsew (991812) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:24AM (#39019279)
    That has been going on since the advent of language. Walk into a crowded room... "HAS ANYONE SEEN MY KEYS?!?"

    Nothing new... :)
    • Maybe they got a patent on searching *by* the keys instead of searching for the keys. People these days are crazy.

  • More to follow? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jamesl (106902) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:25AM (#39019283)

    This will become interesting only when Apple files suit against Microsoft (one if Apple's largest shareholders) for searching for information by voice -- a long time feature of Windows phones.

    • Re:More to follow? (Score:5, Informative)

      by bkaul01 (619795) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:33AM (#39019415)
      Even setting aside Apple having been last-to-market with voice search, don't Apple and Microsoft already have patent cross-licensing agreements in place? I'm pretty sure there are a number of Microsoft patents they'd rely on every bit as much as Microsoft might rely on theirs. Android OEMs are an easy target due to Google's lack of indemnification and apparently lax attitude towards patent issues, but I suspect Microsoft would already be in the clear with licensing even if there were valid patent issues there.
      • Re:More to follow? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ganjadude (952775) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:40AM (#39019519) Homepage
        apple has been making phones since what 2007? samsung/windows/rim/ pretty much everyone else in the game has been making phones since the 90s? moto in the 80s? I remember a phone I had in the late 90s I could do voice search on.

        I am almost forgetting about sony being evil with every new lawsuit out of apple.
      • by tgd (2822)

        Even setting aside Apple having been last-to-market with voice search, don't Apple and Microsoft already have patent cross-licensing agreements in place? I'm pretty sure there are a number of Microsoft patents they'd rely on every bit as much as Microsoft might rely on theirs. Android OEMs are an easy target due to Google's lack of indemnification and apparently lax attitude towards patent issues, but I suspect Microsoft would already be in the clear with licensing even if there were valid patent issues there.

        Yup, which is why you don't see that happening with MSFT, and why you don't see Android licensing patents between MSFT and the companies that also sell PCs *and* have IP MSFT needs -- because they agreements are already there. Its just the newcomers that needed them. And like any patent licensing agreement, the dollar price is usually directly proportional to the IP imbalance between the two parties. I'd bet AAPL and MSFT very nearly wipe their hands in that arena.

      • Re:More to follow? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by andydread (758754) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:48AM (#39019653)

        Android OEMs are an easy target due to Google's lack of indemnification and apparently lax attitude towards patent issues, but I suspect Microsoft would already be in the clear with licensing even if there were valid patent issues there.

        Lax attitude towards patents? SOFTWARE SHOULD NOT BE PATENTED. Google just happens to be on the right side of that issue. Software is authored works and hence should be protected by copyright which it already is. Just like books and movies and music. So do you have a lax attitude towards the patenting of book story concepts? Or are you in favor or patenting the concept of a love story or wars in space or whatever. Lets just say the concept of wars in space was patented so no one could write a book about wars in space regardless of the content. Would you be lax about those patents? or would you support and cheer for them? Do you write software? would you like your code to become subject to trivial patents that claim wholesale ownership of your code?

    • by MogNuts (97512)

      They won't. They know while Google may take it, MS will bury them into the ground in court. MS would probably at the end of the day prevent them from ever selling the iPhone at all. There goes 2/3 of Apple's future revenues.

      Though maybe MS or other vendors should. Apple attempt is going to threaten the very core of the mobile future and make no mistake will prevent you from getting a Google or MS or any other smartphone. They're taking away competition and choice.

    • Except that the same agreement that you're alluding to with your mention of being Apple's largest shareholders (which, by the way, they are not), also included a cross-licensing agreement between Apple and Microsoft, in order to make the QuickTime lawsuit go away.

      Microsoft sold those shares long ago, at a nice profit.

  • by djsmiley (752149) <djsmiley2k@gmail.com> on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:25AM (#39019291) Homepage Journal

    That google has had for a long time, and they had search by image. Please apple try and infringe on this. I hope google sue you into oblivion.

    • by andydread (758754)
      Well as sofware-patents are rubbish Google is right now to file for patents on crap like this so they can't sue Apple.
  • Apple vs Samsung. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jimpop (27817) * on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:27AM (#39019307) Homepage Journal

    Apple is an outsourcing manufacturer of niche products. Samsung is a global innovator AND manufacturer.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      By "global innovator" do you mean "will copy designs of companies from all over the globe"? ;)

      DISCLAIMER: I love the Galaxy II S and think the whole lawsuit farce is stupid.

  • "search for information by voice"?!

    Telephones do that. We had automatic, electronic voices answering questions more than five years ago.

    They were as stupid as Steve Jobs and Siri combined and either stood no Turing test at all.

  • As other manufacturers catch up and begin to take serious market-share from Apple, they'll fight back like the cornered animal they are.

    It's not like Apple has the vision and single-mindedness of Steve Jobs to fall back on any more.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:30AM (#39019379)

    In the end, this only benefits lawyers and kills future innovation.

    I don't see how Apple is benefitting long-term from this mentality and cultural mindset. It's a shortterm win at best and then a death by a thousand cuts as any of it's own innovations will be dealt with the same way by other companies.

    I don't particularly blame Apple for this, but they certainly could afford a few lobbyists to turn this crap system around.

  • BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Murdoch5 (1563847) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:32AM (#39019409)
    Apple should of never been allowed to get that patient! I would say the ability to unlock a phone through touch motion is active public domain knowledge and should fall outside the requirement for filing a patient. I think it's time for some major change in the US patient office. Technically Apple can now block EVERY single touch screen phone on the market and being developed. They have been allowed to secure a monopoly in a growing field, how on earth it that fair? Whats next is Apple going to patient toilet paper and go to court with everyone who goes to the bathroom?
  • bad first sentence (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:35AM (#39019447)

    What is up with the first sentence of TFA?

    "In a suit filed last week in San Jose, Apple said the Galaxy Nexus infringes on patents underlying features customers expect from its products."

    I think it's supposed to be saying "patents OF underling features THAT customers expect"... But this seems to imply that the reason that the patents are valid is because customers expect Apple to have the features that these patents cover, which is not a basis for a patent, and certainly not the basis for a patent infringement claim.

    I am very, very frustrated with the state of tech reporting regarding patents, and the tortured English and tortured understanding of the nature of the suit even in the very first sentence of this article just makes it worse.

    • by Sez Zero (586611)
      Interesting bit from FOSS Patents:

      In light of all this, my personal feelings about preliminary injunction motions have changed from "negative" to "neutral", and my view of their tactical suitability has changed from "overly ambitious" to "apparently necessary". Apple needs to get leverage, especially in the United States, but also in other jurisdictions, before it comes under too much pressure due to some companies' FRAND abuse. (Again, without the things that happened during those past eight days, I would also have reacted differently to this week's motion).

      • by Guppy (12314)

        In light of all this, my personal feelings about preliminary injunction motions have changed from "negative" to "neutral", and my view of their tactical suitability has changed from "overly ambitious" to "apparently necessary". Apple needs to get leverage, especially in the United States, but also in other jurisdictions, before it comes under too much pressure due to some companies' FRAND abuse.

        Thing is, if Apple successfully manages to fend off FRAND abuse while enforcing it's own patents, we end up with a very perverted situation -- the more frivolous a patent is, the more it's worth -- because "rounded corner" patents are free of mandatory licensing requirements, while fundamental technology patents have their value capped.

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:38AM (#39019485) Homepage

    The Slide-to-unlock patent in question: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=7657849.PN.&OS=PN/7657849&RS=PN/7657849 [uspto.gov]

    It's important to mention that a Dutch court where Apple tried to claim infrigement on the same patent has already ruled it as invalid, after Samsung presented the Neonode N1m as prior art.

  • by wjcofkc (964165) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:39AM (#39019509)
    I am long time apple user. I love their OS, their software, and they way they implement those things on elegant hardware. I will probably always be a mac (and linux) user. (disclaimer: I use an android).

    But all I can say anymore to mainly apple and a lesser extent other manufactures is:

    Give me a fucking break already! Aim for cooperation and interoperability. Those two things would benefit end users on both sides more than spending billions on squabbling! All of these endless back and forth lawsuits is ruining both the mac and android experience for me. I know I'm kinda rambling but I'm getting to a tipping point. Looking forward to WebOS this September.
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@ l y n x.bc.ca> on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:40AM (#39019515) Journal

    "Search for information by voice"? Prior art: 411

    Not to mention, of course, that the concept of making any sort of vocal request and having it acknowledged and responded to in a comprehensible fashion is entirely obvious, even if the exact implementation of how to get a computer to do it is not.

  • by s0litaire (1205168) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:42AM (#39019547)

    ...
    If you can't innovate
    litigate!

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:46AM (#39019629) Homepage Journal
    ... When tech companies actually sold products consumers wanted, instead of suing each other over the common features of said products?

    Pepperidge Farm remembers.
  • by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Monday February 13, 2012 @10:58AM (#39019807)

    Can Apple sue Bell laboratories- the earliest phones were voice operated for searches.

    "Operator, can you connect me to Oswaldina McWeaney in Memphis Tennessee please?"

    - incidentally I wonder if any operator was named Siri?

  • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:04AM (#39019879)

    given that Android has had voice search for more than two years now (introduced i think in 2.0 or so) and Winmobile had it also for 7 or more years.
    When will this patent madness finally end?

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday February 13, 2012 @11:14AM (#39020049)
    I am not suggesting that Apple is not now a very valuable company. It is. It has large sales of high margin products. It has a lot of cash. But its stock price is still a bubble; it is inflated by projected earnings on the apparent assumption that it will have no competition for years to come. That is probably true of a Microsoft or an IBM, but unless Apple can prevent it, smartphones are pretty much interchangeable.

    In view of the actual lifetime of a mobile phone, and the Apple cash mountain, I'd suggest a realistic valuation is between $200 and $300 billion.

    In order to maintain the appearance of invulnerability Apple must sue, sue and sue again - just like SCO - as part of the preservation of the image that no other company can (or will be allowed to) possibly compete. If it starts to lose too many patent suits, its share price will suffer, and if, post-Jobs, it has somewhat lost direction (or is up against growing technological barriers like battery life), it doesn't really have a counter.

    While the Chinese economy continues historically weak I don't thing the rulers of China will rock the boat - but at some point I suspect they will look at Apple's profits and say, in effect "Hey, we do all the work, we deserve some of that". One option would be a dramatic rise in factory gate prices. Another would be a slow rise in the currency.

  • by kawabago (551139) on Monday February 13, 2012 @12:56PM (#39021505)
    I always said Apple would be worse than Microsoft if it was ever given a chance. I hate being so very right.

Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.

Working...