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How Apple v. Samsung Was Explained To the Jury 330

Posted by Soulskill
from the please-don't-laugh-while-the-lawyers-are-speaking dept.
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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:09PM (#40836393)

    Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one first thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Samsung. Samsung is a electronics maker from the country Japan. But Samsung markets in the country America. Now think about it; that does not make sense!

    Why would Samsung, a Japanese electronics manufacturer, want to market to the United States, with a bunch of 2-foot-tall phones? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major computer company, and I'm talkin' about Samsung! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Samsung lives in Japan, you must convict!

    • by zaphod777 (1755922) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:11PM (#40836403)
      Isn't Samsung from South Korea?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:16PM (#40836467)

        That does not make sense!

      • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:20PM (#40836497) Journal

        Isn't Samsung from South Korea?

        Forget it, he's on a roll.

    • by jd (1658)

      Hey! I didn't know Ben Elton had a Slashdot account! Why are you posting anonymously?

    • by Deorus (811828)

      Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one first thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Samsung. Samsung is a electronics maker from the country Japan. But Samsung markets in the country America. Now think about it; that does not make sense!

      Both Samsung and Lucy Koh (the judge) are Korean, and after reading the article I have full trust in her competence.

  • 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 imamac (1083405)
      Apple has shown prototypes that predate Samsung's. But, regardless, I agree with you--Apple needs to get smacked down a bit on this one.
    • 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.
      • 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 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 berashith (222128)

            yes, but Rothko got away with calling deliberately minimalist rectangles art. He got famous for it, and maybe even rich.

          • 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 jmerlin (1010641)
              I just put my iPhone 3Gs, an iPhone 4, and my Galaxy Nexus side by side by side. Anyone who doesn't clearly see the Nexus as completely different from either of the iPhones is a complete moron. They're nothing alike. This lawsuit is beyond stupid.

              Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK7BiEUBtxw [youtube.com]

              I say slap Apple with a multi-hundred million dollar fine for wasting taxpayer money and to keep them from being dickheads again and require them to put on their website "Samsung Android Phones Do Not Loo
            • Re:Oracle vs Google (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Anubis IV (1279820) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:48AM (#40839185)

              It came out a few days ago when a lot of the discovery material was unsealed that something like 25% of the returns to Best Buy for the Samsung products Apple is citing in this case as infringing were because the customer incorrectly thought they were purchasing an Apple product and returned it once they realized it wasn't.

              As you said, it's something that should be considered, and it sounds like it will be, since they have numbers on it.

              • by Kharny (239931)

                That just proves atleast 25% of best buy customers fail to read even the packaging.

          • by shentino (1139071)

            The problem is that the understaffed USPTO (gee, I wonder why...couldn't be patent lawyers filing a shitstorm of patents) can't do much but rubber stamp things and let the courts sort it out.

            The court however considers that the USPTO's judgement commands deference.

        • by shentino (1139071)

          We already have a thing called "trade dress" to protect distinctiveness.

    • Re:Oracle vs Google (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:33PM (#40836585) Homepage

      "A flat rectangle with a touch screen is not a patentable design."

      I shudder to think what, say, the musical instrument market would look like today if the designs of cellos, violins, classical guitars, grand pianos, and countless other instruments with roughly equivalent shapes were similarly protected.

      • by bws111 (1216812)

        Yeah, because clearly those instruments were all invented within the last 20 years, or even within 20 years of each other.

        • "Yeah, because clearly those instruments were all invented within the last 20 years, or even within 20 years of each other."

          Don't forget about trade dress. Trademarks can last indefinitely.

      • Re:Oracle vs Google (Score:5, Informative)

        by Swampash (1131503) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:05PM (#40836821)

        The Fender Stratocaster was released in 1954 and totally changed the then-new electric guitar market. You can look at well-known electric guitar designs like the Telecaster and the Les Paul and just SEE that they were created before the Stratocaster was released. And you can look at a metric fucktonne of electric guitar designs and just SEE that they were created AFTER the Stratocaster was released. There's a clear point at which the "before Strat" electric guitar industry became the "after Strat" electric guitar industry. The shape of the Fender Stratocaster - influenced by pre-existing stringed instruments like the cello, but still new and unlike any electric guitar made before - became what electric guitars look like.

        Fender did not pursue the Strat-clone manufacturers in court; and then after attempting to trademark the iconic Statocaster contours decades later, a court ruled in 2009 that "the body shapes were generic and that consumers do not solely associate these shapes with Fender Musical Instruments Corporation". The ruling went so far as to say "in the case of the [Stratocaster] body outline, this configuration is so common that it is depicted as a generic electric guitar in a dictionary." (bolds mine)

        Apple ain't making that mistake.

        • Re:Oracle vs Google (Score:4, Informative)

          by santax (1541065) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:54PM (#40837143)
          Just don't copy the shape of the neck-head. That will get you in trouble.
        • by vux984 (928602)

          Apple ain't making that mistake.

          Yes, in this case, the form factor being fought over is called a "tablet" a form so established, we can find examples of 'rounded rectangle tablets for displaying content' that date back to when humans discovered you could bake clay.

          Its not a new design.

        • "Apple ain't making that mistake."

          Which is precisely the problem. If musical instruments were treated the way Apple wants its phones and tablets to be treated, countless makers of now standard instrument shapes would have been forbidden from building such instruments under patent and trademark law. There would be no cellos, violins, oboes or classical guitars as long as trademark rights in their designs persisted.

          • by Swampash (1131503)

            countless makers of now standard instrument shapes would have been forbidden from building such instruments unless they simply obtained permission to do so

            FTFY

            • countless makers of now standard instrument shapes would have been forbidden from building such instruments unless they simply obtained permission to do so

              FTFY

              Just like Samsung could make perfect replicas of iPhones were Apple to give them permission to do so. Apple, of course, would never allow it. Knowing they could adds nothing of value to this discussion.

      • by cyfer2000 (548592)
        guitars? [google.com]
        • guitars?

          I said classical guitars. If any two guitar designs don't look nearly identical, you can be sure that one of them (at the very least) is not the design for a classical guitar.

    • by thephydes (727739)
      Agree. For one, a round cornered rectangle (with a rounded back and a touch screen as well) is exactly the shape of my palm z22 which if I recall correctly was from around 2005. Actually a round cornered rectangle with flat sides is exactly the profile of an old HDD sitting on my desk. Frankly design patents are a crock as are software patents.
    • Re:Oracle vs Google (Score:5, Informative)

      by docmordin (2654319) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @07:54PM (#40836745)

      A flat rectangle with a touch screen is not a patentable design.

      This is an erroneous claim. To see why, it is instructive to see what the US Patent Office has to say about design patents:

      "A design consists of the visual ornamental characteristics embodied in, or applied to, an article of manufacture. Since a design is manifested in appearance, the subject matter of a design patent application may relate to the configuration or shape of an article, to the surface ornamentation applied to an article, or to the combination of configuration and surface ornamentation. A design for surface ornamentation is inseparable from the article to which it is applied and cannot exist alone. It must be a definite pattern of surface ornamentation, applied to an article of manufacture.

      The Patent Law provides for the granting of design patents to any person who has invented any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. A design patent protects only the appearance of the article and not its structural or utilitarian features. The principal statutes (United States Code) governing design patents are:

      35 USC 171: Whoever invents any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title. The provisions of this title relating to patents for inventions shall apply to patents for designs, except as otherwise provided.

      [...]

      35 USC 102: A person shall be entitled to a patent unless: (a) the invention was known or used by others in this country, or patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country, before the invention thereof by the applicant for patent, or (b) the invention was patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country or in public use or on sale in this country, more than one year prior to the date of the application for patent in the United States, or (c) he has abandoned the invention, or (d) the invention was first patented or caused to be patented, or was the subject of an inventor’s certificate, by the applicant or his legal representatives or assigns in a foreign country prior to the date of the application for patent in this country on an application for patent or inventor’s certificate filed more than twelve months before the filing of the application in the United States, or (e) the invention was described in (1) an application for patent, published under section 122 (b), by another filed in the United States before the invention by the applicant for patent or (2) a patent granted on an application for patent by another filed in the United States before the invention by the applicant for patent, except that an international application filed under the treaty defined in section 351 (a) shall have the effects for the purposes of this subsection of an application filed in the United States only if the international application designated the United States and was published under Article 21(2) of such treaty in the English language; or (f) he did not himself invent the subject matter sought to be patented, or (g) (1) during the course of an interference conducted under section 135 orsection 291, another inventor involved therein establishes, to the extent permitted in section 104, that before such person’s invention thereof the invention was made by such other inventor and not abandoned, suppressed, or concealed, or (2) before such person’s invention thereof, the invention was made in this country by another inventor who had not abandoned, suppressed, or concealed it. In determining priority of invention under this subsection, there shall be considered not only the respective dates of conception and reduction to practice of the invention, but also the reasonable diligence of one who was first to conceive and last to reduce to practice, from a time prior to conception by the other.

      35 USC 103: (a) A patent may not be obtained though the invention is not identic

      • 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.

    • I hope so as well, as much as anyone else. Unfortunately, I don't think we're going to be as lucky as we were in the Oracle case. Judge Alsup really was one of a kind, even going out of his way to school himself on Java in order to better understand the case. Judge Koh doesn't seem particularly enlightened or intelligent, particularly since she already issued an injunction on Apple's patents, which are trivial to say the least.

      But let's hope for the best. The case is still going to be decided by a jury, so

  • 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...

    Hahaha!

  • 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 Swampash (1131503) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @08:39PM (#40837043)

      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.

      Yet strangely enough no-one actually did all this totally-obvious stuff with a phone before the iPhone was released.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by santax (1541065)
        Ever looked at the nokia-line? 3310? 8850? And a zillion other phones just like that?
        • by Swampash (1131503) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:13AM (#40838595)

          Ever looked at the nokia-line? 3310? 8850? And a zillion other phones just like that?

          What, you mean phones that are NOT flat on the front, have LOTS of interface elements (shit, count the frickin' buttons), are NOT flat in the back, and are NOT rectangular - and in the case of the 8850, actually change shape and size depending on what you're doing at the time?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        LG did.

    • by Locutus (9039)
      I saw this in the 1990s with US car designs. They all started to take the same aerodynamic shape and then it was like a switch was thrown. They then all started adding square corners here and there. To the front( Cadillac ), the rear( Taurus ) and even down the sides of the car. Certain design goals will lead you to a common shape and design and in the car industry it was aerodynamics. Apple did this when the iPhone used a huge display screen on the front with next to nothing else but the screen.

      LoB
    • by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2.anthonymclin@com> 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.

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