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Samsung: Apple Stole the iPad's Design From Univ of Missouri Professor 362

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the he-said-she-said-neer-neer dept.
TheBoat writes with a bit from BGR on the Apple vs Samsung case: "We're starting to see a theme develop here. Now that it's Samsung's turn to present its case in the San Jose, California patent trial that regularly has the tech media abuzz, the company is taking an interesting approach. Rather than start out by arguing that its various Android smartphones and tablets do not copy Apple's designs or infringe on its patents, Samsung is arguing that Apple's IP is invalid to begin with. On Monday, Samsung argued that Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent was stolen from Mitsubishi's old Diamond Touch and on Tuesday evening, Samsung made a similar argument regarding the design of Apple's iPad. Samsung on Tuesday presented the jury with videotaped testimony from Roger Fidler, head of the digital publishing program at the University of Missouri. In his testimony, Fidler stated that he began work on a tablet design in 1981. 'Apple personnel were exposed to my tablet ideas and prototypes,' he testified, adding that Apple staff saw his designs in the mid-1990s."
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Samsung: Apple Stole the iPad's Design From Univ of Missouri Professor

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  • by DeathToBill (601486) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @12:49PM (#40998363) Journal

    ...with tales of how Apple had released the F700 way before Samsung started making phones. How Apple had invented the Diamond Touch decades ago. Apple built Roger Fidler from the ground up in 1979.

    Honestly, the barrage of bizarre crap that goes on these threads takes astroturfing to a new level.

    • by alen (225700) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @12:52PM (#40998399)

      apple losing the trial would be worth it just to see what macdailynews.com would have to say about it

      • by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:21PM (#40998817) Journal

        It's all in the way you present it. For example:

        Hillary, an amateur genealogical researcher, discovered that her great-great uncle, Remus Rodham, a fellow lacking in character, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889.

        The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows. On the back of the picture is this inscription:

        "Remus Rodham; horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889."

        In Hillary's Family History, she cropped Remus's picture, scanned it in as an enlarged image, and edited with image processing software so that all that's seen is a head shot. The accompanying biographical sketch is as follows:

        "Remus Rodham was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to service at a government facility, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed."

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @12:49PM (#40998365)

    Many professors draw white rectangles on their blackboards.

  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SternisheFan (2529412) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @12:50PM (#40998381)
    Apple stole these ideas long ago and claims everyone else is a thief!
  • Probably right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @12:52PM (#40998401) Homepage

    Apple itself has a prior art problem. Look at the Apple Newton, designed in 1987, alongside an iPhone. [wikipedia.org] That was more than 20 years ago, so any patents have expired.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      The only similarity I see is that both devices have black faces with a screen in the middle.

      I'm not defending Apple here, but there was no pinch-to-zoom on Newton - in fact it required a stylus. As far as design elements, the Newton splayed outward to sharp corners - pretty much the opposite of rounded corners.

      • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:53PM (#40999181) Homepage Journal

        The only similarity I see is that both devices have black faces with a screen in the middle.

        I'm not defending Apple here, but there was no pinch-to-zoom on Newton - in fact it required a stylus. As far as design elements, the Newton splayed outward to sharp corners - pretty much the opposite of rounded corners.

        Apple stealing these design elements from someone else doesn't bother me. What bothers me is stupid shit like making claims that gesture based UI elements are 'Advances in the Arts and Sciences' worthy if patenting.

        Of course, with Jobs attitudes towards IP, this news is hardly shocking. He seemed willing to change his views 180 degrees when he was on the other side of the fence.

  • by LodCrappo (705968) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @12:54PM (#40998423) Homepage

    If Samsung can find all these examples of prior art, how is it that Apple was granted patents in the first place? These are hardly the only examples of Apple being given patents on things that were obviously done by others well before they "innovated" them.

    • The patent office only checks for prior art in existing patents.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:14PM (#40998737)

        The patent office only checks for prior art in existing patents.

        As a patent examiner, I can tell you this is false. Prior art includes anything published by another within a year of the filing date of the application, as well as anything published by the patent applicant more than a year prior to the filing of the application. This includes articles on the web, prior patent publications, pamphlets, technical papers, and so on. There are exceptions, such as papers given in closed conferences and protected, internal documents. But "prior art" is much, much more than patent publications.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by arthurpaliden (939626)
          Well in that case they you guys are not very good at your job then are you because simple web searches on dubious software patents invariable turn masses of prior art.
          • by jcgam69 (994690) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:27PM (#40998917)
            I'd say it's more of a problem with the entire patent system and not the performance of the individuals.
        • by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @02:55PM (#40999961) Journal

          And that's the challenge with examining patents for prior art. It appears that many of these ideas are not just available in the previous year but instead were put forth decade(s) before the patent was filed - in a time before the need to patent everything was SOP.

          What this captures is a competitive patent condition where technology may be developing in close parallel and is co-opted by another, but ignores the patenting of older ideas which were considered either too trivial, economically unfeasible, or simply not worth of patent protection (whether too obvious or not commercially viable) at the time.

    • by ndavis (1499237) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:04PM (#40998571)

      If Samsung can find all these examples of prior art, how is it that Apple was granted patents in the first place? These are hardly the only examples of Apple being given patents on things that were obviously done by others well before they "innovated" them.

      As my father-in-law was a patent clerk he said they stopped checking into prior art when he left in the 90s and they seemed to rubber stamp multiple things. He tended to take pride in searching for prior art as he didn't want a company to get patents on existing things. This was lost as they brought in managers who went with quotas rather then actually vetting everything thoroughly.

      • by Theaetetus (590071) <<theaetetus.slashdot> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @03:31PM (#41000359) Homepage Journal

        If Samsung can find all these examples of prior art, how is it that Apple was granted patents in the first place? These are hardly the only examples of Apple being given patents on things that were obviously done by others well before they "innovated" them.

        As my father-in-law was a patent clerk he said they stopped checking into prior art when he left in the 90s and they seemed to rubber stamp multiple things. He tended to take pride in searching for prior art as he didn't want a company to get patents on existing things. This was lost as they brought in managers who went with quotas rather then actually vetting everything thoroughly.

        Around 90% of applications are rejected in the first office action, so if the USPTO is rubber stamping them, it's not with an "ALLOWED" stamp.

    • If Samsung can find all these examples of prior art, how is it that Apple was granted patents in the first place? These are hardly the only examples of Apple being given patents on things that were obviously done by others well before they "innovated" them.

      "Prior art" is, by definition, anything that existed before someone applied for a patent. Prior art in itself doesn't invalidate anything, it has to be _published_ prior art. Something that was hidden away does _not_ invalidate a patent.

      That out of the way, prior art must also make the patented invention obvious. That is not at all clear. Samsung can of course find prior art, but they have to prove that this prior art actually makes anything that followed later obvious. And the answer to that question is

      • by Dragonslicer (991472) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:20PM (#40998811)

        "Prior art" is, by definition, anything that existed before someone applied for a patent. Prior art in itself doesn't invalidate anything, it has to be _published_ prior art. Something that was hidden away does _not_ invalidate a patent.

        Incorrect. 35 U.S.C. 102(a): "(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". The "known or used by others... before the invention" part does not require publication. It does have to be before the date of invention, though, which is not the same as the date that the patent application was filed.

        You may be thinking of 35 U.S.C 102(b), which covers public knowledge more than one year before the date of application, regardless of the date of invention.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jo_ham (604554)

      Design patents are not utility patents.

      Design patents can even cite prior art as part of the application itself - for example, Apple's design patent for the Macbook Air references earlier "ultrabook" designs by Sony.

    • because the us patent office doesn't validate patents. they just take the money and issue numbers.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      Just because Samsung claims these things are similar enough to be considered prior art doesn't make it so - just as Apple's claims that the similarities between their products and Samsung's are too strong doesn't make it so, either.

      It is all a matter of degree. Basically this means capitalism is now a judged sport, where government decides who deserves how much credit for what advances. This is annoying, but I don't know how avoidable it is. Certainly I don't see high-tech companies clamoring to abolis

  • "No Steve Jobs Ghost - It's like be both snuck into Roger Fidler's place one night to steal his TV, and we both found Dave from 2001 A Space Odyssey had gotten there first."

  • Subway Commercial (Score:5, Insightful)

    by organgtool (966989) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @12:58PM (#40998489)
    Every time I hear arguments like this, I can't help but think of adults whining in children's voices like those Subway commercials. "He copied my drawing!", "she keeps repeating everything I say and do!". Just shut the fuck up already. I hope one day we are able to look back on this and realized just how childish our species is acting. Nothing is created in a vacuum, so get the fuck over yourselves and get back to making products!
  • Good for Samsung! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fallen1 (230220) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @12:59PM (#40998491) Homepage

    I'd like to see some sanity return to patents, since nothing exists in a vacuum. Everything new has been influenced in some way by past experiences and influences. From a rock rolling down a hill to rocks turned into wheels to wooden wheels to modern rubber tires, it has all been an improvement on the previous improvement. I hope Samsung prevails with this line of defense to the utter ruination of Apple's patent-ly bullshit attempt to stop their competition.

    Frankly, the way things are moving, it might not be too long before software patents are gone and "look and feel" and other such patents actually have very limited lifespans or are disproven because the "look and feel" are based on a previous incarnation. I'd love to see THIS improvement made to patents and then improved upon again with copyrights included. You know, that whole "secure for a limited time" thing...

    • by GigsVT (208848)

      "Look and feel" was a copyright concept that has been pretty much universally struck down in court. It had nothing to do with utility patents.

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:11PM (#40998679)

    Moses did come down from the mountain caring some curiously rounded corner rectangular tablets after chatting with God. Moses was the first one to steal this idea.

  • Steve's Legacy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Steve Jobs was a fantastic marketing person and Apple's success was due in no small part to his marketing skills.

    But in terms of technology and innovation, his standard mode of operation was to observe a piece of technology being developed someplace else and then figure out how to productize and market the technology. Personally, I am happy to see people starting to tear down these bogus Apple patents by pointing out where the technology actually came from. Hopefully the trend will spread to tear down so

    • by Quila (201335)

      his standard mode of operation was to observe a piece of technology being developed someplace else and then figure out how to productize and market the technology.

      More like he observed product categories being marketed, determined why they sucked, figured out how to make them not suck, and then sold the de-suckified version. There is a huge amount of design and engineering in the "make it not suck" part of that.

  • by oh2 (520684) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:12PM (#40998713) Homepage Journal
    Just watch some Star Trek TNG episodes and see everyone use thin and flat touchscreen computing devices with rounded corners.
    • by PortHaven (242123)

      Yes, and that in and of itself should have been sufficient to dismiss this case with prejudice.

      But hey, Congress is a bunch of lawyers passing laws to the benefit of lawyers

    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:56PM (#40999209)

      They don't have a row of permanent icons along the bottom and a four by four grid of icons above that though. Nor do they meet any of the several other claims. Nor are they easily confused with the iPhone or iPad, which is what the trade dress part of the suit requires.

  • From the movie 2001 a space odyssey, they showed a flat screen touch tablet very similar to an iPad. Apple has been known to steal ideas from others, example - the GUI from Xerox, and the Mouse. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKt9ZyDmA44 [youtube.com]. Apple is not the first to come up with this idea!
  • by davidwr (791652) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:16PM (#40998759) Homepage Journal

    U. of Missouri grads and employees can forget about getting job interviews at Apple, and Apple employees can forget about being allowed to collaborate with researchers at U. of Missouri.

  • The only people prospering from all this are the lawyers and the journalists. STOP THE MADNESS!

  • by backslashdot (95548) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:32PM (#40998969)

    In 2005 I predicted on slashdot that large touchscreen phones would be a success (as did others) .. nearly 2 years before the release of the iPhone. http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=163341&cid=13644457 [slashdot.org]

    Samsung oughta have me testify.

  • by Migraineman (632203) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:51PM (#40999163)
    If there's any pattern here, it's that companies will violate a competitor's patent by claiming the patent is invalid (ergo the violation is completely justifiable.) Here's a pretty classic example from the telecom bubble:

    Dr. David Huber gets booted from Ciena corporation, and founds a competing entity - Corvis. Corvis builds a product that does exactly what Ciena's products do - they multiplex several optical signals onto a single fiber. Ciena has patents for synthesizing a higher-rate signal by bundling several lower-rate signals together. The process is called "inverse multiplexing," and has been around since the analog telephony days. You can inverse mux several analog telephone modems together, and some companies did. Ciena got patents by basically putting "on fiber optic cables" after the well known technique. Since Huber used to work at Ciena, he knew the technique had a long history, and consequently moved forward with the expectation that any patent infringement could be easily dismissed by claiming Ciena's patents were invalid by prior art.

    So how did that work out? As you might expect, not so well for Corvis. [ciena.com]
  • by Ice Station Zebra (18124) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @03:06PM (#41000079) Homepage Journal

    We wouldn't have all these other fucking car brands here in 'Merica, but cars would cost $100K each, wouldn't have hoods and the fuel tank would slowly fill with sludge forcing you to buy a new one every few years.

    I remember in the 90's when all the apple fanboi's were OS8-9 is the greatest and my power-pc mac is so much better than your pentinum running Linux.

    I laugh everytime I see someone using any apple product, knowing that they paid too much.

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