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Android Patents The Courts Apple

How Apple v. Samsung Was Explained To the Jury 330

jfruh writes "10 jurors have been sworn in for the Apple v. Samsung case, which is at the heart of the ongoing patent disputes over the companies' smartphones. While most Slashdot readers are familiar with many of the facts of the case and the law, the jury is at least in theory supposed to be something of a blank slate. Thus, it's interesting to see the detailed instructions Judge Lucy Koh gave to the jury, covering everything from the differences between utility and design patents to how to measure the credibility of witnesses."
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How Apple v. Samsung Was Explained To the Jury

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  • Oracle vs Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zaphod777 (1755922) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:10PM (#40836397)
    I am hopping that Apple gets smacked own as hard as Oracle did in the Oracle vs Google case. A flat rectangle with a touch screen is not a patentable design. Plus Samsung had many similar prototypes in the works before the iPhone even debuted.
  • by bhagwad (1426855) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:17PM (#40836471) Homepage
    Agreed. To my mind, this trial should NOT be about whether Samsung "copied" Apple designs. It's about all of Apple's smartphone "design patents" being invalidated and them being sanctioned for misusing the judicial process by applying for frivolous patents. Then they should also pay Samsung's legal fees and a public apology for being dickheads.
  • Hahaha! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:26PM (#40836533)

    While most Slashdot readers are familiar with many of the facts of the case and the law...


  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:30PM (#40836563)

    I think the patent office needs to be smacked down a bit, too. This entire class of patents is ridiculous. You shouldn't able to patent a shape unless that shape advances science and the useful arts. Create a 4th dimensional Hypercube? Fine, that deserves a patent. Create a rectangle made of glass an, metal and plastic? Hell no!

  • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:34PM (#40836601)

    I don't see her doing that. She seems to be explaining the boundaries of the case that she and the lawyers have "agreed" to, and what the jury needs to decide on. I didn't notice her telling them how to think.

    The fact is the case is so broad and there are so many nits to pick, I'd be surprised if the jury could do anything rational with it.

  • Re:Judge Lucy Koh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NatasRevol (731260) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:48PM (#40836693) Journal

    Wait, you mean a judge previously issued a legal ruling?


  • by LordLucless (582312) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:53PM (#40836733)

    Design patents serve a somewhat useful purpose, although I think things like trademark and trade dress serve the purpose better. Just like utility patents, the problem isn't necessarily that they exist, but that USPTO is handing them out like candy. A deliberately minimalistic design with no distinguishing features other than its minimalism shouldn't qualify for a design patent, just as an extremely obvious patent that is just performing an existing operation on a new class of device shouldn't qualify for a utility patent.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:05PM (#40836827)

    You want a screen on the front. Ok it will be flat in front.
    You want to minimize cost. Ok as few elements as possible
    You want to use it flat on a desk. Ok it will be flat in the back.
    You want it to fit in a pocket. Ok it will be rectangular. .... form follows function. Similar function means similar form.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:11PM (#40836865) Homepage

    Those appearance patents are only meant to prevent another companies product being sold in the same guise as the patent holder's product. The point of protection being if people were buying the Samsung product in the mistaken belief it was an iPhone. That should be the only thing viewed by the judge. If people are buying the Samsung product based upon preferring the software Android, then that should be the end of it, they are not confusing the offerings, this is clearly a gross abuse of the intent of design patents.

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:13PM (#40836879)

    The clear issue that stands out there, is that apple's design is neither new, nor original, and therefor not applicable for patent protection.

    As others have pointed out, the combination of "rectangular, thin, with rounded corners and a small bezel border" is not new, and existed in aesthetic designs of personal devices prior to apple's adoption of the aesthetic feature set.

    Apple is more claiming that it has taken the old and made it its own, which is now an apple signature appearance-- sure, they can do that, but that falls under trade dress and trade mark, not patent. Similarly to marvel owning red and blue packaging with a spiderweb motif for spiderman products. Making a generic product called "arachnaboy" and packaging it in red and blue blister packs with spiderweb motifs is a trade dress violation. Not a patent violation.

    Apple should not have been granted this patent, due to prior art for other personal electronic devices. Claiming "but never a phone or tablet computer!" Does not magically make the aesthetic design novel, nor new.

    I hope apple gets their precious little patent used as toilet paper, because in its current form it is completely without value.

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bhagwad (1426855) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:24PM (#40836947) Homepage
    A time comes for every electronic device where the basic form factor becomes obvious. Let me tell you that I was using pure touchscreen devices with rounded corners long before Apple came out with the iPhone. Apple was the only company dickish enough to patent the designs the industry was already converging on. For that they should be sanctioned.

    I mean, even in a world where corporations are generally assholes, Apple managed to outdo the other players in the industry in sheer assholery. That's the only thing they deserve a patent for.
  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bhagwad (1426855) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @09:05PM (#40837213) Homepage
    It's amazing how deep you're encased in Apple's lies to the extent that you can't even believe that there were other similar phones before. Tut tut.
  • Re:Judge Lucy Koh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @09:43PM (#40837477)

    It could very easily exist in the form of a digital picture frame, which would then look very much like an idevice, and be a digital device.

    Claiming "but not in a digital device!" Is like claiming "On the internet!" Or "On a computer!" In a patent for something done commonly for years, as if it were not obvious.

    While comonly granted, such protections should not have been enacted.

  • by zaphod777 (1755922) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @09:59PM (#40837597)
    But did he try and sue and try to prevent anyone else from painting rectangles?
  • by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2@an t h o n> on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:39PM (#40837913) Homepage

    You want a screen on the front. Ok it will be flat in front.
    Yet before Apple, every smartphone and tablet had substantial bezels encroaching the screen to "protect" the screen if you put it face down, plus give you a space to grab onto. Apple made significant design impact that changed the market radically.

    You want to minimize cost. Ok as few elements as possible
    Actually, Apple has spent far more to achieve the minimalist design. This is common as minimalist designs (from products to architecture) usually require far more expensive manufacturing processes to achieve more precise tolerances since any minor manufacturing mistake is much harder to hide. Also, sacrifices must be made to assembly parts, often requiring all new parts be created to meet the form-factor constraints. Not to mention labor costs in design are much higher.

    You want to use it flat on a desk. Ok it will be flat in the back.
    Is Apple really challenging a flat back? Didn't think so.

    You want it to fit in a pocket. Ok it will be rectangular
    There have been many different ratios of screensize and device. Apple's particular ratios were not common in mobile devices pre-iPhone.

    Now, combine everything together so that the design patents are seen as a whole, and yes, Apple made a fairly innovative product that has dramatically changed the smartphone market (including triggering the downfall of RIM and Palm). Pretending that what Apple did is somehow uninovative because other products had this or that feature before is ignoring reality.

    And here's the big kicker. So what if Samsung had internal prototypes and designs that look similar to the iPhone before the iPhone launched? Apple got to market first, and used the Design Patent system as it is intended to protect their design from knock-offs and wannabees. Sucks to be Samsung, but thats how this is meant to work.

  • Re:Judge Lucy Koh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by justforgetme (1814588) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:33AM (#40839069) Homepage

    Bias towards what? Common sense?

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982