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Handhelds Patents The Courts Apple

Apple Loses Bid To Exclude Evidence In Samsung Patent Trial 227

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-cloud-this-issue-with-facts dept.
New submitter Shavano writes with news that Apple's attempt to block Samsung from introducing evidence of a tablet prototype developed in 1994 has been denied by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh. Part of the reason Apple got a sales ban on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 earlier this year was that an Appeals Court said Apple's tablet design was significantly different from earlier designs. Now, Judge Koh has decided that the issue needs to be decided by a jury. "Samsung has argued the design was an obvious variation of tablets existing as early as 1994, including one made by Hewlett-Packard Co. The Korean company supported that argument at the trial with videotaped testimony by Roger Fidler, who heads the digital publishing program at the University of Missouri. Fidler said he started working on a tablet design in 1981. Apple sought to exclude the testimony based on the appeals court ruling. In a written declaration, Fidler said 'Apple personnel were exposed to my tablet ideas and prototypes' in the mid- 1990s when the company collaborated with Knight-Ridder Inc.’s information design laboratory in Colorado."
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Apple Loses Bid To Exclude Evidence In Samsung Patent Trial

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  • Can we just agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @11:22PM (#41042423)

    Can we just agree that neither company were all that original and that the progression to today's design was a natural and obvious path given the technology that became possible?

    Or are we going to start calling in the Science fiction writers next? Because what ever Samsung or Apple might of designed an SF writer likely wrote about it first.

  • We are blessed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @11:22PM (#41042425) Journal

    We are blessed that back in the 1970's, 1980's and in early 1990's there were many inventors decided to share their incredible inventions with the world, and they also decided against patenting their inventions

    That is why we got what we got today - from hypertext to web2, web3

    If the inventors of yesteryears were as greedy as Apple - We are sure going to miss out on the many things that we are enjoying today

    Hooray to the generous inventors !!

    Pox to those greedy patent trolls !!!
     

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @11:36PM (#41042517)

    When a judge, who has shown their bias already, feels compelled to go against their own bias, then Samsung must have a pretty strong case.

  • by TWX (665546) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @12:00AM (#41042653)
    Apple is plenty-rewarded with their profits.

    Regardless of Apple's making it work, we're talking about trademark looks and conceptual functionality. As a designer, if this man did come up with what a tablet should look like and should do, and then if someone else took his work and made it work, that would mean that the someone else has a derivative work.

    Hell, in Star Trek: The Next Generation, they had these tablet computers that they walked around with and used for data access and retrieval. They were even called PADD. They had rounded corners. Yes, they were not real. But, as we've seen, a lot of people want to make real things that work like the fake things they see in science fiction. There's no shame in that, but their works are all derivative works at best. They didn't come up with the idea. They just made it work.
  • by jrumney (197329) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @12:14AM (#41042709) Homepage

    I notice one of them actually works, the other is a piece of plastic with a print of a newspaper stuck to it.

    The creator of which one should be rewarded? (think carefully before you answer)

    It is perfectly reasonable to expect both to be rewarded. What is not reasonable is to reward the creator of the second, working, tablet by blocking any competition that also produces a working tablet with a similar design to the first non-working tablet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2012 @12:16AM (#41042725)

    You don't understand patent law very well. Being successful at bringing someone else's design concept to market does not allow you to block competitors from creating a knock-off. That's what you need a patent for. But for that, you need to show both novelty and nonobviousness, and it's not enough to be the first one to make it "actually work." If someone had the idea for the design 20 years ago, but not the technology, go ahead and patent the novel technology. But if you are using widely available technology, expect competition.

  • by Guppy (12314) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @12:17AM (#41042727)

    I notice one of them actually works, the other is a piece of plastic with a print of a newspaper stuck to it.

    The creator of which one should be rewarded? (think carefully before you answer)

    After thinking about it a bit, this would be my answer:

    For the one that came after (and actually works), I see no reason why they shouldn't be rewarded for the effort on the parts that actually made it work. Patents on novel engineering regarding the guts of the device that made it a functioning tablet? No problem.

    For the one that came first (and doesn't work), the non-functional mock-up offers only style; the external look and design. Those are the only elements he should get credit for -- but it just so happens that elements of style are among the patents at question in this trial.

  • Re:We are blessed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich (1673220) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @12:31AM (#41042803) Journal

    If the inventors of yesteryears were as greedy as Apple...

    Please pick up the white courtesy phone. Thomas Edison and some guy named... Westinghouse? and a couple of folks from RCA and GE would like a word.

    I said, pick up the white phone...

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @12:55AM (#41042911) Journal

    Did that happen in 1994 when Fidler's demo was shown to people? Of course not. It wasn't a real product. It was stardust and dreams.

    This matters not for the purposes of establishing prior art / originality, though. You don't get to claim "well, I started selling it first" and ignore the works that preceded you on those grounds.

  • by theRunicBard (2662581) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @12:58AM (#41042937)
    While I agree with what you've said, as a programmer, I must ask you to never ever say "just made it work" again. We get enough of that shit from management. :)
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @12:59AM (#41042939) Journal

    It's evidence that the notion of a flat tablet-like device with a screen flush fit with the bezel, rounded corners, and a touchscreen, is self-evident due to form following function.

  • We Are Cursed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by qbitslayer (2567421) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @01:13AM (#41043001)

    Either humans suck or the patent system sucks or both.

  • by Mattcelt (454751) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @01:21AM (#41043043)

    The point of contention for which this was presented is the design patent; the inner workings are irrelevant (cf. here [wikipedia.org]).

    Apple is seeking to prevent Samsung (and, by extension, most other tablet manufacturers, if the case succeeds) from selling anything that resembles their design (namely, the rounded corners, form factor, etc.) based on the idea that they came up with an original, non-obvious design for the iPad and should be awarded exclusive rights to it. Samsung's evidence points to the idea that Apple were beaten to the design by almost 20 years, and were exposed to it then, and therefore their idea is neither original nor non-obvious, thus invalidating their patent.

    Again, none of this requires "working" hardware. Patents don't require it, except for perpetual motion machines; for those, a working prototype is mandatory [wikipedia.org].

  • by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Sunday August 19, 2012 @01:28AM (#41043081) Journal

    I notice one of them actually works, the other is a piece of plastic with a print of a newspaper stuck to it.

    The creator of which one should be rewarded? (think carefully before you answer)

    Since it's a matter of trade dress (read: design) I'd say whoever designed it first. That would be the piece of plastic with newspaper stuck to it. Nice attempt at redirection, though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2012 @02:09AM (#41043261)

    Every time Steve showed a feature in the iPhone in 2007, I didn't gasp, I thought "My phone does that, though poorly". The iPhone was a good product, but what it did wasn't new. It was just that they made it work. That's commendable, but doesn't make the ideas themselves original.

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @03:13AM (#41043481) Homepage

    I notice one of them actually works, the other is a piece of plastic with a print of a newspaper stuck to it.

    The creator of which one should be rewarded? (think carefully before you answer)

    The creator of the idea should be rewarded for the idea.
    The creator of the design should be rewarded for the design.
    The creator of the functionality should be rewarded for the functionality.
    The creator of the implementation should be rewarded for the implementation.
    The creator of X should be rewarded for X.
    Any more difficult questions?

  • by XeroSine (1067136) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @03:39AM (#41043589) Homepage
    I REALLY hope samsung wins this one....I'd rather not have to carry an iphone...My Android device is a wonderful piece of work and no Macintosh product will EVER usurp it....because i can mod mine without breaking its warranty.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2012 @03:50AM (#41043621)

    No it isn't perfectly acceptable for both to be rewarded. In his video, Fielder talks about emergent technologies. Some things naturally come out of the combination of new technology. Why should anyone be able to patent the obvious? It's garbage - and society is hurt by this mindset and attitude.

    Now, real inventions, like compression algorithms, noise reduction algorithms, etc. deserve a patent (albeit a very limited life so that society is not hurt), but not garbage like "rounded corners". Anyone that tries to patent such garbage should be "bitch slapped" repeatedly until they admit they are being assholes - regardless of WHO it is (Apple/Samsung/Google/etc). Evil is evil.

    Having said that, if Fielder patented something that was significantly different and unlike anything around (ie. a new field or a completely new technology), then that would be fair game for some protection. Apple is NOT EVEN CLOSE to achieving this with its iPad, IMHO.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2012 @04:07AM (#41043671)

    When Steve showed the iPhone in 2007 I felt the same.

    I then wondered where the fuck all the basic fundamental features every other phone I'd had for at least 6 years prior were, such as MMS support.

  • Re:We are blessed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by narcc (412956) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @05:35AM (#41043999) Journal

    I know that Tesla worship is all the rage, but does he need mentioned every time someone brings up Edison? Hell, bringing him up here only implies that he was a "greedy entrepreneur" -- probably not the message you wanted to send!

    I agree that Tesla isn't given the historical credit he deserves. Still, we can't go on about Tesla as if he was the genius of geniuses who did nothing but amazing work.

    The truth is that most of Tesla's inventions were squarely in crack-pot territory. From his earthquake machine to his camera for photographing thoughts, Tesla was the 19th century equivalent of the peswiki.com community all wrapped up in one crazy package.

    Let's find a little balance here.

  • Re:We are blessed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cryptolemur (1247988) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @08:41AM (#41044801)
    Hear, hear!
    Touchscreens are great for ereaders, ok for angry birdish stuff but make pretty much everything else a PITA. On the other hand, after a generation of users forced into the captivity of "mouse only" interface, I believe there will be a CLI revival for the next generation...
  • Re:We Are Cursed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shentino (1139071) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @08:57AM (#41044883)

    Humans invented the patent system.

  • Re:We are blessed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2012 @11:56AM (#41046161)

    > Touchscreens are great for ereaders, ok for angry birdish stuff but make pretty much everything else a PITA.

    Not great for ereaders. You get fingerprints on what you are trying to read. Lots of people prefer physical buttons.

    What is so difficult about physical buttons?

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