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Patents The Courts Apple

Victory For Apple In "Patent Trial of the Century," To the Tune of $1 Billion 1184

Posted by timothy
from the still-unfolding-though dept.
pdabbadabba writes "The jury is in in the epic patent dispute between Apple and Samsung and Apple appears to be coming out on top. The court is still going through the 700+ items on the verdict form, but things seem to be going Apple's way so far. In the case of Apple's various UI patents, the jury is consistently ruling that Samsung not only violated Apple's patent, but did so willfully." Reader bob zee also points to the AP's story, as carried by Breitbart.com, and Charliemopps adds Reuters' take. Reader Samalie contributes a link to a live blog of the (at this writing) ongoing recitation of the verdict. Whether you like it or not, even this verdict won't be the last word.
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Victory For Apple In "Patent Trial of the Century," To the Tune of $1 Billion

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  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:19PM (#41116837)
    In the end the only true winners, are the lawyers.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:20PM (#41116849)

      Apple gets a billion freaking dollars. Are you trying to say that the lawyer fees will be a billion dollars? Not bloody likely.

      • by xevioso (598654) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:24PM (#41116897)

        You don't know the lawyers I know.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2012 @09:39PM (#41119041)
          I work for the law firm representing Apple in multiple jurisdictions (and have met Mike Jacobs personally - really nice guy). I am personally not a fan of Apple products, but understand their allure, and support these devices in our environment as needed. I have sided with many (most?) folks who think the patent system is ridiculous, and side with others that Apple is the new Evil. Granted, the lawyers are making a killing on this - for both sides. These guys and gals are not the ambulance chasers you see in CSI, Boston Legal or whatever. They're corporate lawyers, and for the most part work with corporations who are willing to pay their legal fees (whether with respect to litigation, or more commonly joint ventures, capital markets and other non-criminal type of law). Not to mention the Pro Bono stuff that does a lot of good towards society in general. Not trying to sway the anti-lawyer sentiment, but just wanted to lay out the other side of the "lawyers are money grabbers" side of things. There is a place for law, lawyers, and, where I work, it's a decent bunch of folks with good working conditions.
        • by goombah99 (560566) on Friday August 24, 2012 @11:16PM (#41119699)

          There's not going to be a billion dollars changing hands. This will go on to appeal. Apple can't even afford to punish samsung given they make all the key parts. What apple won was it's certain there will be an injunction against samsung from making things that copy iphoe concepts. Everyone else will get the wake up call. It's good. they will have to think of other designs, come up with their own stuff. They have had plenty of time now.

          everybody wins.

          • by goombah99 (560566) on Friday August 24, 2012 @11:29PM (#41119795)

            Who actually got hurt in this battle? Well apple probably lost some market share. But it's nokia that got killed. Nokia lost out to all the cheap non-apple spamrtphone makers who got ahead on these google powered apple work-alikes. Nokia didn't play that game and look where it got them. Nokia got hurt far worse than a a billion.

            Eric Schmitt is the one that should be paying in the end. The reason the damages were so high is because the jury did't just decide that the two devices looked a bit alike but rather that the similarity was willful. The samsung documents showing that even they thought their innovations just didn't measure up to apples refinements was the nail in the coffin. That is, if all these things were really obvious and easily arrived at by clever engineers then that document woul dnot have existed and googles android not been so slavish a copy of the human interface features.

            Surely there is more than one way to make a smart phone? Yes. Microsoft is clearly answering that question with a much more differentiated product that actually licenses the parts of its OS that are like apple from apple and others.

            Nokia should be suing google.

            • by AftanGustur (7715) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @02:27AM (#41120559) Homepage

              Nokia should be suing google.

              Nokia got killed because they didn't give consumers what consumers wanted, that was entirely Nokia's decision and Google didn't play any part in it.

              The reason the damages were so high is because the jury did't just decide that the two devices looked a bit alike but rather that the similarity was willful.

              Look, regarding Apple "innavation", most of the "look and feel" and even the features were copied from StarTrek by Apple.

              The PADD devices seen on The Next Generation, DS9, and Voyager all did things that are major selling points for the iPad and iPhones.

              * Touchscreen device
              * Played video and sound
              * dynamic user interface could be customized to serve the application
              * Video conferencing
              * Loaded and saved information to the remote storage (In this case the a ship or Starfleet computers would be "the cloud")
              * Data could be synced between devices
              * Device could be re-configured to remotely control a workstation (remote desktop)
              * They even have rounded corners
              * Devices could be encrypted

              All of those functions are demonstrated or spoken of in episodes or described in Mike Okuda's ST:TNG Technical Manual
              (Okuda was the lead designer on most of the newer television Star Treks)

              All of this predated any patent filings by Apple.

      • by jesseck (942036) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:25PM (#41116921)

        Are you trying to say that the lawyer fees will be a billion dollars?

        You're right- the lawyers will charge 2 billion dollars.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:29PM (#41116993)

        If a precedent is set here, someone will use it against Apple in the near future... plus this has cost them what remained of their positive image amongst the rest of the tech community.

        It's quite obvious that Samsung's claims about prior art have merit. Apple's collective belief that they are wholly responsible for the conceptual development of every product they release is both arrogant and farcical, but i guess that's what you get taking your corporate direction from a CEO who'd rather yell at his family for a year than seek treatment for the illness that was killing him.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:30PM (#41117019)

        Not really, both companies will spend the next number of years appealing these cases in all jurisdictions. Eventually Apple, Samsung, and Google will settle things up and form a nice little patent license cartel. (Which is the ultimate goal, these lawsuits are just part of the negotiation.)

        • by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday August 24, 2012 @08:28PM (#41118447)

          Not really, both companies will spend the next number of years appealing these cases in all jurisdictions.

          Maybe. But meanwhile, Samsung has already been reacting to the legal heat and is making devices that are less copycat of Apple devices now.. Which is after all Apple's objective.

    • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:24PM (#41116887) Journal

      Not true. We, the spectators get a free show. That's worth something, isn't it?

      • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:38PM (#41117143) Homepage

        Not if, in the end, I can't use pinch-and-zoom on my phone anymore and all future models have to look and work like crap so Apple won't sue.

        • by tgibbs (83782) on Friday August 24, 2012 @07:03PM (#41117523)

          If you really believe that Apple has discovered the One True Way for smartphones to work. On the other hand, the decision increases the incentives in favor of companies with the creativity to develop approaches that differ from Apple's, and will likely increase the diversity of designs available to consumers.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2012 @07:11PM (#41117623)

            Your logic is pretty absurd. If I had patents for using mouse and keyboard combination for desktop computers and then sued the hell out of everyone who dared using it, would you also just shrug and tell them to be innovative? If Microsoft sued everyone for using right-click context menus and double-click, would you agree with them and again propose linux, Apple etc to be innovative and come up with something else?

            Some ideas cannot be easily circumvented because their alternatives are just too impractical. (Like typing a word document without a keyboard.)

    • Lazy Crap. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fm6 (162816) on Friday August 24, 2012 @07:35PM (#41117913) Homepage Journal

      I agree that the situation is fucked up, but can we do without the brainless cliches for once? Yeah, it's a big payday for the lawyers, but that's true every day in this litigious society. They're not the winners, they're just well-paid peons.

      The winner (of a sort, see below) is Apple. They're the ones that hired the lawyers, and the lobbyists, and the politicians, so that they can cash in big on a few design patents.

      The losers is everybody who depends on innovation. Which is to say everybody, including Apple, though they they will see some short term financial benefits.

      What's the answer? Well it's not to elect Dennis Kucinich, or Ron Paul, or Ralph Nader, or Ross Perot, or whoever the white knight is this week. Even if such a pure-minded soul had the slightest hope of winning an election in the real world, he'd be even less well equipped to fight The Bad Guys than mainstream politicians.

      You've got to fix the system. You've got to throw away the stupid cliches, develop an actual understanding of how the system works, and start electing people who will actually fix it. Not just Presidents. Representatives and Senators too. (How many of you know the name of your Representative and where he or she stands on IP issues?) And you keep an eye on what they're doing, not just wait until it becomes obvious that they've sold out and whine about it.

      That's hard work, and it won't happen overnight. It's so much easier to say "Don't Reward Corruption!" and refuse to have anything to do with mainstream politics. But it's time to give up on the lazy, simple-minded righteousness and actually do stuff.

      • Re:Lazy Crap. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Friday August 24, 2012 @09:07PM (#41118775) Journal

        Nice theory, you are gonna do this....how exactly? In my state we had a DINO for over a decade and when the DINO got so damned arrogant they didn't even bother to pretend anymore we replaced them with...the RINO that had been running for the past decade that is just as big a corporate shill.

        The thing you seem to forget is by the time they even make it to state rep they've been whoring so damned long for cash they might as well have permanent kneepads grafted. The only way you could possibly change it is to gut and rebuild the entire election process, and considering we are talking about a multi-billion dollar business, one of the big winners of which is the MSM who will happily crucify anybody who attempts to cut off their money train? yeah...good luck with that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:22PM (#41116863)

    I call bullshit, that jury was stacked. You can't sift through such a complex case in 22 hours and come to an informed decision.

  • poop. (Score:5, Funny)

    by xevioso (598654) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:23PM (#41116875)

    I guess I better get ready to pony up to Apple for those brownies with rounded, beveled edges I made last night.

    sigh. :-(

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:23PM (#41116879)

    "UI patents", more like patents on basic shapes and positioning.
    Apple should be burned for even being granted such a retarded thing, even if it is the patent systems fault.

    What the hell do you expect Samsumg to do? Make a damn oval phone? A TRIANGLE?
    Fuck Apple and every single person that defends them. Pure scum, both Apple and them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:23PM (#41116885)

    Ya know, as much as I get patent infringement as a patent holder, alot of this is really really trivial. The iPhone isn't really so much different than the Treo I used years before there was an iPhone. Most of this is obvious (in patent terms) and iterative but the bottomline is that I'm not buying another iPhone. Apple owns a large portion of marketshare, it's stock is sky-high and I'm going to vote the dollars of me personally to other vendors. Enough is enough.

    Tim Cook, Shame on you....

    • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:40PM (#41117175)

      Without going and looking stuff up, can you, personally, name one innovation Samsung has brought to the table in the phone industry in the last 5 years? I'm not just talking minor megapixel or processor upgrades, but something game changing. I'm sure they've done something, but I certainly can't think of anything other than a few gimmicky ideas that didn't stick and never went anywhere, so I'm curious what innovation it is that you think Apple is stifling in this case (quick note: I won't deny that they are doing so in cases against other companies, since they are, but I don't see that holding true with Samsung, which is about as shady a company as they can come (see censorship of journalists that they've engaged in, that their CEO was convicted and thrown in jail for maintaining a multi-million dollar slush fund but was let out less than a third of the way through his sentence so he could assist with South Korea's Olympic bid and resume his role as CEO, and the rampant nepotism taking place)).

      And this is hardly the first time Samsung has been caught copying. Before they were copying Apple, they were copying Blackberry, Motorola, and others. For instance, go take a look at the Samsung Jack. It was formerly called the Blackjack and looked like one of the premier Blackberries of the day. RIM successfully sued Samsung and managed to force them to change the name of it. Prior to that, they had a phone that looked just like the Motorola RAZR after the RAZR proved to be popular.

      Samsung has been the "me too" of the market for the better part of a decade or more. The only thing that's changed anytime recently is that the target of their copying is a more profitable source of ideas for them this time around.

      • "Samsung is Copying!" -- This, from a life form made of trillions of copies of a single cell, which was itself a derivative work: Combined partial copies of two other life forms. Using language, an idea copied between minds for millions of years, over a network protocol who's creator explicitly did not assert artificial patent restrictions over.

        Life's very battle cry is: "Copy the best bits as much as possible!" ... and Owning ideas is some how acceptable to you? Get a grip -- maybe on a steering wheel? Then imagine every vehicle having a different set of controls.

        I don't see how you humans stand to share resources with such wastes of flesh.
        It's no wonder no one will trust you with a warp drive.

  • Appeal in progress (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:24PM (#41116901)
    We all know this won't be over for a long time to come, appeal after appeal after appeal.
  • Breitbart (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:25PM (#41116923)

    Why'd you have to link to the AP article via that (dead) troll Breitbart?

    Here are some other sources, thanks Google:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-19377261 [bbc.com]
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444358404577609810658082898.html [wsj.com]

    I'm sure the AP article can be found via a more... reputable site.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to don a biohazard suit and hide from all the Apple fanboys masturbating wildly to the news.

  • R.I.P. Innovation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by craznar (710808) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:27PM (#41116953) Homepage

    When it costs a small developer millions of dollars to patent search and licence obvious designs, we have killed innovation.

  • by Golgafrinchan (777313) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:28PM (#41116973)
    Based on how the trial went I'm sure Samsung's already preparing an appeal.

    The only thing that was resolved today was which company gets to appeal the decision. And I suspect Samsung has a lot of grounds on which to appeal.

  • Why not leave US? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by should_be_linear (779431) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:28PM (#41116979)
    I wonder why Samsung wouldn't just leave US market, after all, it is only some 20% of worldwide smartphone market and shrinking. Just like Google left China with search engine nad let Chinese eat their own Baidu dogfood, US market is broken, so it is better left to Apple alone.
  • AAPL (Score:4, Funny)

    by allanw (842185) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:28PM (#41116983)
    Well, I'm glad I have some AAPL stock.
  • by PCK (4192) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:28PM (#41116987) Homepage

    until all the facts are in, but I'm guessing that the $1bn number is the least of Samsungs and other smartphone manufacturers problems. Apple will now go after everyone else and I'm sure they wont be licensing anything to their competitors. Of course however an appeal is 100% guarenteed.

    • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Friday August 24, 2012 @07:10PM (#41117621)

      Apple already licensed a number of patents related to the iPhone and iPad to Microsoft, with a stipulation added that was along the lines of any device using those patents would need to look and feel different. The Surface was announced several months later, and there's certainly no mistaking it for an iPad. They also apparently offered to license various patents to Samsung, though it sounded like their rates were outright extortion to me.

  • by redaction101 (1309783) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:31PM (#41117027)
    Which is a significant problem with having juries in thorny, complex civil trials. Emotion, procedural rules and the voire dire triumph over expertise and reason. It can work in your favour or against you, but it is impossible to verify that the thinking processes of the jury are rigorous. At least judges sitting on their own have to explain the process by which they reached their decisions. Here the reasoning process appears to be a badly filled in sudoku...
  • Thank you San Jose (Score:5, Interesting)

    by timeOday (582209) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:32PM (#41117053)
    I see the trial was in San Jose. I am curious whether Koreans will be suspicious of the verdict. Maybe such trials should be on neutral ground. For what it's worth, halfway from San Jose to Korea from West to East appears to be, roughly, France.
  • by kye4u (2686257) on Friday August 24, 2012 @06:42PM (#41117211)
    The patent system is broken. The real question is should the patents that Apple claims Samsung infringed upon been granted. Imagine if this happened in the car industry. Only the first car company to put anti-lock brakes on their cars would ever be allowed to use the technology. Good ideas get copied. That is what is called progress. Only the specific implementation of that idea should be patented.
  • Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) on Friday August 24, 2012 @07:02PM (#41117513)

    If they keep this up, they'll tear the patent system to pieces and we'll be forced to start again.

    More please. Bring it on. Its about time we got two companies in the ring who simply hate each other.

    Cross-licensing agreements only benefit the companies involved - and they're a boring spectacle.
    A battle to the death, however, benefits all of us.

  • by voiceofworldcontrol (1805010) on Friday August 24, 2012 @10:12PM (#41119295)

    Actually the only real loss for Apple was the most talked about design patent. The D'889 iPad Design patent infringement alleged against Samsung's tablets was rejected by the Jury. This was the rectangle with rounded corners patent. So this is the one bright spot in this travesty.

    The other design patents D'087 affected just a few phones, and D''677 effect most of the phones. But since they didn't effect all of the devices these patents probably won't have much of a long term impact (other than costing Samsung a lot).

    The D'305 patents is a user interface patent on a grid of rounded square icons on a black background (can you believe they actually got a patent on that - sounds like most GUI interfaces the last 20 years). This impacted most of the phones but not all again so it shows this will probably not have a long term impact beyond the jury verdict itself.

    The killer is the '381 "rubber band" patent and the '915 multi-touch/pinch-to-zoom patent. These are just patents on basic ideas. These are ideas, not inventions. All that is required to implement them is just the idea. A programmer could go and implement these features never having seen them before. These basic ideas are pretty much going to follow from using your fingers as the user interface so removing these features will make a pretty crappy user experience.

    But the experts the idiotic news organizations interview say this big Apple win will lead to a lot of new innovation because competitors will have to jump through hoops to get around these patents. I know, we'll have a tongue interface. Double lick to zoom anyone!!

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