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Patents The Courts Apple

Why Juries Have No Place In the Patent System 387

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-only-we-had-robots-to-evaluate-patents dept.
New submitter Isara writes "GigaOm's Jeff John Roberts has a compelling writeup about patent trials and how juries are detrimental to justice in such cases. Roberts uses the recent Apple-Samsung trial as the backdrop for his article; although the trial lasted three weeks, during which hundreds of documents were presented and the finer points of U.S. patent law were discussed, the jury only took 2-3 days to deliberate. 'Patents are as complex as other industrial policies like subsidies or regulatory regimes. When disputes arise, they should be put before an expert tribunal rather than a jury that is easily swayed by schoolyard "copycat" narratives.'"
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Why Juries Have No Place In the Patent System

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @04:02PM (#41155283)

    Samsung copied the same capabilities that Apple copied and put into their products.
    There's a difference.

    Apple copied the rectangle with rounded corners from 3000+ year old clay styluses.
    Apple copied the finger swipe, pinch resize and other touch screen capabilities from other manufacturers.

    Sure they put them together in a way many hadn't seen, but that doesn't make them original, that just makes them smart.
    Problem is, there are a lot of smart people in the world that can put them together as well.

    There's nothing original in any of Apple's products - just different packaging that can be lied about on patent applications using words like "on a tablet" or "on a phone" - these are shams, false patents - using others IP to try and bolster an otherwise failing company. (yes Apple is failing - it wouldn't be suing like it is if it wasn't).

  • So then why...? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @04:04PM (#41155333)
    Why is it that every other country where this case was brought to court denied apple's claims?
  • Re:Ugh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tony (765) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @04:05PM (#41155361) Journal

    This would put patent renewal in the hands of the wealthiest, further tipping the balance in the favor of the rich.

  • Re:flamebait? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by DJRumpy (1345787) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @04:15PM (#41155565)

    Not ignorance. Reason.

    My hands are wet with blue paint. The person next to me has his hands painted red. You are color blind. The evidence has red paint on it. You have no idea if the paint on the paper is red or blue. You are presented with evidence stating the paper has red paint which is accepted into evidence. You can only judge by the evidence provided. That is a key concept of law.

    "The law is reason, free from passion" - Aristotle

  • Re:Or you know... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @04:29PM (#41155825)

    I think one problem is that patent lawsuits are just assumed to happen. It seems, too often, the patent office just approves patents figuring that they'd get sorted out in the courts. Meanwhile, the courts just assume that patents must be valid by default if they've been approved by the patent office.

  • Re:flamebait? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @05:13PM (#41156735)


    BOTH sides had patents they were trying to enforce. He could easily have sided with Samsung with respect to their patents, but he didn't.

    You are attributing a motive to someone because you didn't like the outcome so now you are coming up with rationalizations for why it turned out the way it did.

    Everyone is coming up with their own conspiracy theory.

    Oh, its an attack on FOSS
    Oh, the judge was paid off
    Oh, the jury was biased against a foreign company.
    Oh, we are all doomed because of round rectangles.

    There are people on the other side of the coin that thought the outcome was just. What was their motive? They were just seduced by Apple?

    I don't like software patents as much as the next guy. Until they change, this is the game that we have to play. This is why Google spent so much on Motorola to get its patents.

    If everyone would just look around, the same BS happens in many other areas, automobile innovation, tv's, biotechnology.

  • Re:flamebait? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @06:10PM (#41157671)

    The fact that he held patents at all means he should have been dismissed. There's a reason why, for example, in Oracle v Google, potential jurors that are in the technology sector or had used Java were excused. That reason: because only evidence brought into trial is supposed to be used to determine the outcome. By having patents in his head, he has information that he can't avoid tapping into during deliberation.

    You're making up reasons to believe the trial was unfair because you didn't like the outcome. Stop that.

    If the trial was about the validity of the patent system itself and the outcome influenced the validity of patents in a global sense, being a patent holder would be a legitimate reason for exclusion.

    But that's not what the trial was about. At all. I realize you slashtards are groupthinking yourselves into believing some gross miscarriage of justice must have happened because you don't like the outcome, and therefore are reading a lot more into events than is warranted, but back in the real world the main question put before the jury was whether Samsung violated Apple's patents.

    Samsung could (and did) try to defend itself by attacking the validity of those patents, but overturning them would not have threatened the foreman's own patent.

    Lawyers typically screen for that kind of thing and it's surprising they didn't. Perhaps because modern-day patents are all about corporate ownership, and the idea that an individual could hold one is outside their understanding.

    Are you fucking kidding me? Listen to yourself. That's the sound of blatant over-the-top rationalization. Just stop. You're making a fool of yourself.

    That he wasn't dismissed turned out to be a gamble for Apple and a blunder for Samsung.

    Or maybe... just maybe... both of them thought he wasn't biased and were confident enough about their cases to believe that he'd go with them.

    Further reading here []. Choice quote:

    The foreman told a court representative that the jurors had reached a decision without needing the instructions.

    You're regurgitating this crap where Groklaw abuses a statement out of context to imply the jury completely disregarded instructions? That kinda says it all.

"Buy land. They've stopped making it." -- Mark Twain