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Australia Patents The Courts Apple

Aussie Judge Declares Apple-Samsung Patent Battles "Ridiculous" 69

Posted by timothy
from the posner-south dept.
New submitter Ahab's compliments writes "Score another point for sensible judges — the judge in point wants to know why this dispute over the wireless technologies developed by Samsung and used by Apple shouldn't be settled through mediation. 'Why on earth are these proceedings going ahead?' Bennett asked the lawyers in court today. 'It's just ridiculous.' The judge also rejected a request to hear the various patent infringement claims from either side in separate cases."
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Aussie Judge Declares Apple-Samsung Patent Battles "Ridiculous"

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  • Deceptive Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by SJ2000 (1128057) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @09:07AM (#40748091) Homepage
    Keep in mind Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett was referring to why this wasn't in mediation, that's it.
    • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @11:10AM (#40749935) Homepage Journal

      Keep in mind Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett was referring to why this wasn't in mediation, that's it.

      And it's a fair point by the judge, things don't go to negotiation first, they go straight to court. Reminds me of squabbles by rich people in my old home town, fighting over every little stupid perceived slight or whatever, driving their El Dorados over each others lawns, etc. Judge had enough and forced them to sort out who owned what by a court appointed mediator. Judge was furious this family tied up the courts rather than settle things among themselves. Court should be last resort, not first. But I don't suppose you're going to hear legal counsel say that, unless they are company lawyers who would rather be doing something other then fighting in court all the time.

  • If it was me, I would print out their patent summary cover sheet on a piece of paper, fold it into a paper airplane, light it on fire, and throw it at them at the start of the proceedings. That might give them a hint as to what I think about their patents lol. But seriously, does anyone know if that type of situation allows the judge to invalidate the patent itself or would that have to be a different case or a different person?
    • Re:What I would do (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Schmorgluck (1293264) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @09:12AM (#40748167)

      I think the judge's intent, especially in refusing to separate the cases, is to wrestle both parties into playing nice, stopping their tantrums, and actually trying to reach a reasonable compromise.

      In other words, emphasizing the "civil" in "civil court".

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        I think the judge's intent, especially in refusing to separate the cases, is to wrestle both parties into playing nice, stopping their tantrums, and actually trying to reach a reasonable compromise.

        In other words, emphasizing the "civil" in "civil court".

        A college prof of mine, who was still a practicing attorney, pointed out that 99% of all law is based upon common sense. Not a load of fiddly technical things forced upon a people by their government, but sensible stuff so we can all get along. The Ten Commandments were same thing, when you think about it - don't steal, don't lie, don't covet stuff that isn't yours and you'll get along much better with the neighbors.

        Disappointing how we seem to have a society (including businesses) which treats laws as a w

    • Given that it's an Australian court, and Australia is required by treaty to recognise American patents, I'm not sure it's even possible for an Australian judge to invalidate them. At best, they could only be invalidated in Australia.

      • Re:What I would do (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @09:25AM (#40748381)

        It is absurd if a patent set up in the first country must be recognised in a second country, but the second country does not have the power to declare an invalidation which is also recognised in the first.

        The implication is that it is more important to create patents (no matter how absurd they are) than to repeal bad patents.

        There are many problems of this sort with inter-state EU legislation, too.

        • Re:What I would do (Score:5, Insightful)

          by neyla (2455118) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @09:48AM (#40748647)

          Indeed. Congratulations on spotting one of the many imbalances in the current system.

          Indeed this is the status quo: if something is patented in one country, other countries have agreed that they too will honor the patent. Yet if something is *invalidated* in one country, there is no requirement that this invalidation is honored elsewhere. And this is true despite it being easy, simple and cheap to get a patent, compared to the enormous expense and close scrutiny that goes into getting one invalidated.

          In other news: why does the berne convention only specify that countries should have a minimum length of copyright, and that countries that have too *short* protection are in violation - while saying nothing at all about the maximum duration and allowing countries to set copyright to a million years with no issues. Where's the -balance- in that ?

    • by sosume (680416)

      That might give them a hint as to what I think about their patents lol.

      We are talking covering data transmission over the 3G wireless spectrum here, not rounded corners or slide to unlock.

  • curious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mug funky (910186) on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @09:09AM (#40748117)

    it's curious that perhaps the change we've all wanted for so long is not coming from a foundation, or lobby group, or grassroots uprising, but just from a bunch of annoyed judges who don't particularly enjoy these cases or the wasted time they come with.

    • by Shavano (2541114)
      I don't think that's particularly surprising. Judges are the people who have to deal with the disputes.
  • I feel maybe we should. They are wasting taxpaper dollars through their squabbling. (Plus other reasons like using Foxconn to build their devices & locking-down users' freedom.)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @09:23AM (#40748343)

      Samsung is just defending themselves. If someone attacks you, and you hit them back in an attempt to get them to stop, I'm not going to call you a violent person.

      Boycott Apple.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>>Boycott Apple.

        Why? What are Apple's sins I'm not aware of any (except the Foxconn 80-hour-a-week worker labor thing).

        • Patenting anything that's already patented, but with the words 'using a touchscreen' appended, then suing anyone and everyone who tries to compete.

          I've probably overstated it, but it's not far wrong.

    • by bhagwad (1426855)
      If Apple agrees to back off, I'm sure that Samsung will back off as well. But if Samsung backs off, will Apple back off? No. So it's obvious who needs to be boycotted here.
  • Misleading title (Score:5, Informative)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @09:14AM (#40748215) Homepage Journal
    According to the judge, the ridiculous part isn't the patents (and feel free to have your own opinions regarding those), but rather the license dispute:

    Apple refused to pay a license fee for the technology that allows phones to conduct multiple tasks including taking calls while uploading photos to the internet, Samsung's lawyer Neil Young said at the start of the trial. Apple was willing to pay and Samsung refused, the Cupertino, California-based company's lawyer Stephen Burley said.

    Apple says "we were willing to pay a license fee, but they wouldn't take it," and Samsung says "they refused to pay a fee." Translation: Apple was okay with paying, but not the price that Samsung wanted. So this isn't so much a patent dispute, as it is just an argument over a license fee... in which case, yes, mediation would be a lot more reasonable.

    • by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerteNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 24, 2012 @09:25AM (#40748365)

      This is bullshit. I don't usually defend faceless corporations, but I do defend the truth. Apple has been attacking samsung for a long time, and since the system is screwed, the only defense samsung has is hitting them back.

      Saying they are at each others throats is bullshit. Apple has been at samsung's (and everybody else's) throat for a long time, and samsung is hitting back.

      • by Truedat (2545458)
        Although the other side to that argument is that according to Apple, Samsung has been constantly at their throats only with a different weapon than the courts. And as an Apple fan I would like a bit of convincing that that this latest act of aggression from Samsung is merely retaliation for earlier acts of aggression from Apple - that's if you aren't just preaching to the choir. Citing some timeline of legal action where Apple is plotted first isn't evidence.

        You see another theory would be that Samsung ar

        • Samsung has been constantly at their throats only with a different weapon than the courts.

          You are absolutely right. Samsung has been attacking apple in a terrible, awful, unethical way. Samsung has actually been attacking apple by putting better looking, more functional, and generally better products into the market. And this, unlike apple's offering, are open, you can install whatever firmware you want into them, you can install any app you want, even if they are not in the market, and they are cheaper!. How dare samsung do such a thing!

          Really, what other "weapons other than the courts" are yo

          • by Truedat (2545458)
            Ok, but why be obtuse about it, it's well documented that Apple have accused Samsung of copying isn't it? So of course that's the weapon I'm talking about. I'm not saying that Apples accusations have any merit because I've not seen any Samsung products to comment, but that would be the "first strike" from _Apples_ point of view. Don't confuse my analysis of what Apple may be thinking with my own personal opinion of the rights and wrongs of it all.

            Besides that wasn't event the point I was making: which is

    • by zlives (2009072)

      i think the mediation would take time where one manufac could still sell its product while the other had to wait till its resolved, and in todays market where time to market for a product can make a significant profit difference, a lawsuit may be a way to block both products until its resolved?

    • There's no requirement that Samsung gives Apple a license at any price, let alone the price Apple thinks they should pay. And if someone's been busy trying to sue you out of existence in every nation on the planet, how likely would you be to sell them a license?

      • There's no requirement that Samsung gives Apple a license at any price, let alone the price Apple thinks they should pay. And if someone's been busy trying to sue you out of existence in every nation on the planet, how likely would you be to sell them a license?

        Since the patents in question are part of a communication standard and subject to FRAND licensing, then, yeah, there is a requirement that Samsung give Apple a license, and not at "any" price, but at a Fair, Reasonable, And Non-Discriminatory price. So, their saying "$1 million dollars per phone sold" wouldn't fly.

        And Apple hasn't been trying to sue Samsung out of existence. Who do you think makes the A5 chip in every iPad?

    • by dbIII (701233)
      They patented multitasking? Shouldn't something so obvious have expired a decade or two ago? Adding "with wireless" or "while riding a bicycle in a blue tshirt" shouldn't be enough to extend something so obvious, even if that's a old trick with pharma etc patents.
      • They patented multitasking? Shouldn't something so obvious have expired a decade or two ago? Adding "with wireless" or "while riding a bicycle in a blue tshirt" shouldn't be enough to extend something so obvious, even if that's a old trick with pharma etc patents.

        1) It's an old "trick" with pharma patents because small molecule chemistry is unpredictable. 6-Fluoro-3-piperidin-4-yl-benzo[d]isoxazole is an irritant, but 5-Fluoro-3-piperidin-4-yl-benzo[d]isoxazole is a useful intermediate product for making V1a receptor antagonists. There was a similar one in a court case a few years back - a specific molecule was moderately helpful in curing a disease, and was based on a benzene ring. If you moved the hydroxyl group by one space, it became super efficient at curing th

  • How much longer will it be before the public stops equating these name brands with lawsuits instead of electronics? As it is right now when I see the name "Apple" in print I cringe.

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

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