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Motorola Ordered To Recall Android Phones and Tablets In Germany 190

Posted by Soulskill
from the continuing-to-go-thermonuclear dept.
puddingebola sends word of a German court decision yesterday which found that Google's Motorola Mobility must recall all of its Android tablets and phones that infringe on Apple's patent for "rubber-band" scrolling. From the Guardian: "The dramatic decision, the latest in an escalating war between Apple and the smartphone and set-top box company MMI, follows earlier cases in which Apple had to disable automatic "push" delivery of email to its iPhone and iPads after MMI won a separate patent fight in Germany. The recall will not take effect immediately because Apple will have to request a ban on specific products and provide a €25m (£20m) bond, while MMI can appeal. However, the court indicated that it was unlikely that an appeal against the validity of the patent would succeed. MMI, with Google's backing, is expected to continue the appeal. The court also ruled that MMI owed Apple damages for past infringement."
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Motorola Ordered To Recall Android Phones and Tablets In Germany

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @12:09PM (#41336607)

    Get a clue people. Apple just wants to corner the market and stop consumers of having choices, that are cheaper than theirs. WAKE UP STUPID PEOPLE!...

    Stop buying Apple products...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This isn't an Apple problem, this is a patent problem.

      Google and Motorolla would enforce this patent on Apple if they happened to own it. They already enforced another equally trivial patent on push email, so that Apple devices can't use it in Germany.

      These sorts of concepts are NOT novel and unique and should NOT be patented.

      To use a car analogy, It's like going back in time 100 years and patenting "wheels made of rubber" and "automobiles that exhaust fumes to the air" and "the use of heating elements to

      • George Selden (Score:5, Informative)

        by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday September 14, 2012 @12:49PM (#41337255) Homepage Journal

        To use a car analogy, It's like going back in time 100 years and patenting [...] "automobiles that exhaust fumes to the air"

        Except George Selden [wikipedia.org] patented exactly that.

        • by Orga (1720130)

          TIL some of the earliest automobiles were electric

          The Electric Vehicle Company was founded as a holding company of battery-powered electric automobile manufacturers made up of several car companies assembled by Isaac L. Rice beginning in 1897. It was taken over in 1899 by William C. Whitney and P. A. B. Widener's, thus forming the so-called "Lead Cab Trust," which hoped to develop a monopoly by placing electric cabs on the streets of major American cities.
          The firm actually made and sold about two thousand e

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The Wright brothers also patented everything they could involving aircraft, including ideas first implemented by Chanute & Lilienthal. As a result, American aviation withered for a quarter of a century until the Wrights were forced to place their patents into a common pool.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This is an Apple problem. They are terrified of consumers having a choice, and they are systematically using trivial enhancements to existing idea as ammunition to block alternative products.

        They could quite easily stock pile their silly little patents and use them as an arsenal against patent trolls that come after them. They don't have to remove other companies' products from markets.

        It really is foolish. There might be some short term gains, but the customer will change their minds down the road, it's al

      • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday September 14, 2012 @01:33PM (#41337963) Journal

        Google and Motorolla would enforce this patent on Apple if they happened to own it. They already enforced another equally trivial patent on push email, so that Apple devices can't use it in Germany.

        Except that Google and Motorola have only started to enforce their patents against Apple after Apple started to sue every Android manufacturer in sight.

      • This isn't an Apple problem, this is a patent problem.

        Why do you feel that the problem is mutually exclusive? If there was a loophole in law that allowed me to murder people, wouldn't I still be a major asshole if I abused the loophole to kill as many people as possible? The patent problem is a legal problem and the Apple problem is a moral problem. Please stop conflating the two.

        Google and Motorolla would enforce this patent on Apple if they happened to own it.

        There is a reason why they don't own many

      • by knarf (34928)

        This isn't an Apple problem, this is a patent problem.

        This is both an Apple problem as well as a patent problem.

        Many companies which are active in the same business as Apple have been able to do what Apple is now trying to do - block competition by abusing the braindead patent system. The difference between those many companies and Apple is that the majority of them have not stooped so low as Apple in their abuse of the system. Those companies which did use patents against Apple did so only after Apple fire

    • The problem is, this is a game everybody is playing and we can't seem to make it stop. The only hope as I see it is to encourage these lawsuits. Sue everyone, sue frequently. Let the corporations bleed tons and tons of money. When the corporations decide it's a bad idea because they've gone broke, things will change -- they won't change until then.
    • Will the price of Samsung Tablets drop due to the extra inventory?

      • by cheekyboy (598084)

        They will move all stock to stores just out side the german borders in France+Poland+Chek

        Germans can buy their own countries branded german tablets. There are some, ironically, probably violating the same patent, but still allowed to be sold.

        Thank god Apple will never have such patent luck in China. The Judges , being part of the CCP, will ultimately favour the state and state corporations.

  • Sense? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @12:10PM (#41336613)

    So they are forced to recall their devices because of a GUI animation effect? How the hell is that proportionate? Was that a major advertised feature or something?

    • by edxwelch (600979)

      A company holding the patent for button pressed / unpressed animation could theoretically prevent all software in existance from being sold.

      • All 3d games, simulate a real world in 3D.

        Pressing a REAL button , ie a console with a big red button called, "self destruct".

        Of course it will animate, because it will simulate real life.

        ie the 3d object called button, has a 3d virtual spring underneath it.

        Let them patent their source code, but any deviations by one line, should not violate the patent.

        Descriptions of the end result should not be patentable, stupid patent lawyers. Dumbasses.

    • So they are forced to recall their devices because of a GUI animation effect? How the hell is that proportionate?

      Proportionate isn't generally relevant in patent cases.

    • Or they could just issue an update that removes that little animation and replace it with the animation Jellybeans uses (which is not rubber band like, but which achieves the same purpose).

    • by mcrbids (148650)

      All it means is that they have to flash the phones with software that removes said feature(s). When Samsung lost their suit, I got a mandatory OTA "update" for my phone that removed the rubber banding and puzzle-piece unlock interface. This is on a Samsung Stratosphere, I imagine other Samsung phones got similar "updates".

      The rubber banding was replaced with a green flashing that works pretty well and communicates the same "end of page" message as the springing. (I like the springing better, honestly) The p

      • by Compaqt (1758360)

        The idea of a "mandatory" update is scary.

        In this respect, dumbphones are smarter than so-called "smart" phones.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Taking the phones and tablets out of people's hands. That's one way to kill the competition, also any good will towards your company too.

    Crawl back under your bridge, Apple!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That is the beauty of it, friend AC. The Apple has transcended the need for good will. They are The Apple. They have become the Alpha and the Omega. There is no longer any dark before time, or any scary after time. There is only The Apple. All what remains is the extermination of all heretical followers of the Green Beast, and then the Rounded-Corner Age of iGlory may begin.

      Give yourself to The Apple. The Apple is your friend and mine.

  • Would they send cops after them like they do for stolen stuff?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's a little known fact about patent law that merely using a patent infringing device is itself patent infringement.

      However, this is a civil matter so the police wouldn't be involved. Apple could sue you personally (and win) for using an Android tablet but the negligible damages and appalling publicity mean it's really not worth their while.

    • They'll send soldiers around at night to bust into your home and take it.
    • Nobody is going to bother to try to track down the users. Technically, though, those users really would be violating the patent every time they scroll, and there's no other party to indemnify them. Theoretically, should one of them ever anger a Power, the power could point them out to Apple and get sued.

      I honestly believe Apple would not follow through, though: the PR hit would be too damaging. Even Apple's evil has practical limits. Threatening users is for companies that have no other business plan (

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Nobody is going to bother to try to track down the users. Technically, though, those users really would be violating the patent every time they scroll, and there's no other party to indemnify them.

        I don't believe that is true. You can violate a patent by making an infringing product, but can you really violate a patent by using a device someone else made and which you bought?

        It just seems completely irrational the end-user could be violating a patent they know nothing about and had nothing at all to do wit

        • I don't believe that is true. You can violate a patent by making an infringing product, but can you really violate a patent by using a device someone else made and which you bought?

          If you couldn't, then you could get around any patent by setting up a company that creates the infringing product, sells it to you, and goes bankrupt. But as an end user, you may not actually be infringing. For example, a customer wouldn't be infringing on Amazon's one-click patent.

    • re: subject

      This isn't about Samsung.

  • All your phones are belong to us!
  • by Solandri (704621) on Friday September 14, 2012 @12:25PM (#41336841)
    Any engineer worth his salt was taught about the time response of second order linear systems [wikipedia.org] - spring, mass, damper. The scroll bounce is just the transient response of such a system to a step function when tuned to be slightly underdamped [wikipedia.org] (light blue line in the figure).

    It's obvious as hell and the only reason I can fathom why it's being upheld is because its merits are being judged by people who are clueless about math or engineering. This is as bad as the XOR cursor patent [google.com], which was also a patent on the graphical representation of a function widely known and commonly used in the respective industry.
    • by mclaincausey (777353) on Friday September 14, 2012 @12:42PM (#41337103) Homepage
      I am not an IP advocate, but I'm not sure that logic applies. Just because something is obvious in the physical domain, applying it to a control on a device isn't also obvious necessarily... it's not a skeumorphism for a spring or something, for example, which might make this connection less tenuous. Not defending the IP or IP-based attack, just don't necessarily trust your rationale for saying it's an obvious invention.
      • by Threni (635302)

        > Just because something is obvious in the physical domain, applying it to a control on a device isn't also
        > obvious necessarily

        Sure it is. You just go `i'll do a code version of that`. You see slide-to-unlock on a front door - you do a code version of it. What's not obvious about it? Even if you argue that the first instance of something from the real world being copied on a computer is original and not obvious, the second you see it you should go `ah, yes, I can model other computer visual phen

    • by toriver (11308)

      It's obvious as hell

      Thirty years of UI interface design where the obvious thing was to stop abruptly when you came to the beginning/end say: WHAT?

      • Those were not touch screens though where the idea tends to be that you're physically manipulating simulated objects with your finger. This "obviously" leads to more simulation of basic physics principles.

        Think of it another way: Motorola might have to recall their phones because their shit goes "bounce" when it scrolls. It's intuitively ludicrous without any logical deduction.

      • by Solandri (704621)

        Thirty years of UI interface design where the obvious thing was to stop abruptly when you came to the beginning/end say: WHAT?

        Try 25 years of UI interface design when computers didn't have power to spare to do anything more profligate than stop abruptly when you got to the end of a scroll. Smooth scrolling is relatively new too. Do you think it's worthy of a patent just because nobody had the spare CPU cycles to do it before?

        • The amiga did scrolling smoothly, made the PC look like shit.

          Nothing like accurate interrupts synced to screen refresh or using vblank signal.

    • the only reason I can fathom why it's being upheld is because its merits are being judged by people who have been bribed immensely by Apple

      FTFY...

  • Would that not mean that cell phone providers would be obligated to discontinue carrier service to customers who had purchased one through them?
  • Too much (Score:5, Funny)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Friday September 14, 2012 @12:35PM (#41337009)

    Geeze, first I thought I had to buy Samsung products to support them in their fight against Apple, now I have to buy MMI products too? I'm going to go broke trying to support companies that anger Apple. Maybe it's cheaper and easier to just go to the dark side and buy an iPhone and move into the Apple Ecosystem.

    • by the_B0fh (208483)

      I wish I have mod points :) Funniest comment in this thread.

    • by toriver (11308)

      You can justify it by saying you are buying an iPhone to support Apple in their fight against Motorola?

  • I shouldn't take so much pleasure from Moto's misfortune, but fuck it. Motorola are evil bastards, and they deserve to burn for their crimes against Android and humanity. A company that burns with such pure evil, Google's had to send in the entire Vatican several times to try and exorcise the company's senior management... and had to guarantee the Pope himself tickets to Google IO for the next 5 years to get them to come back after the casualties they suffered during last month's attempt.

    I'd be *thrilled* i

  • The recent version of firefox has this on by default. Should every Firefox user be forced to return their computer now?
  • by klek (1237566) on Friday September 14, 2012 @12:47PM (#41337207)
    All these microscopic patents on tiny "innovations" are preventing the positive evolution of excellent devices. Our devices should be getting better (easier to use, more capable, etc) by using the earlier innovations that truly work better. Yet these copyright battles force companies to create clunky workarounds... Windows GUI is a great example. Why can't we find a way to credit the creator, and still make the best and widespread use of the innovation? Gaah!
  • While we're at reforming copyright and related rights, might as well reform patents, especially software patents, registered designs, and any other kind of IPR-related name-it-and-there-is-some-right-for-it as well. Consumers are the ones losing out here, lawyersharks and the "pilot fish" around them for the smaller scraps the only winners.
  • Software patents suck, but even if the patent system can't be changed and even if their patents are found valid, the patents Apple is using to litigate are extremely easy to work around or have already been worked around in the latest versions of stock Android. Then what will they do?
    So, in the end, Apple is spending a lot of money in lawyers, in counter-lawsuits and damaging it's own image and brand (even if only in vocal minorities) trying to fight a situation that will obviously be impossible to revert
  • by blind biker (1066130) on Friday September 14, 2012 @01:39PM (#41338033) Journal

    Even if Apple removed every competitor from the market, I'm not buying any of their products. I don't want to turn into a moron. [youtube.com]

  • In a sane world, all Motorola 'should' have to do is firmware update the "rubber band" effect to a different effect, like a hard stop (that isn't patented, I hope) or a changing of screen color when the page ends it's travel. These worldwide nitpicking lawsuits/verdicts have really gotten re-gosh-damned-diculous.
  • I wonder if it will be a crime to resist the recall, since the owner of the phone is in this case a disinterested third party to the lawsuit. Will they force people to hand them over?

  • Wouldn't it be better to get them to push an update that disabled the scrolling? A recall would get back devices still at the retailers, but I doubt people who already own one will be returning them voluntarily,
  • This is dumb. Way dumb. But if the braindead judge is requiring a recall, why don't they just issue an OS patch via their own network or at shops? It doesn't make any sense in the world even for no-brains (oops zombies ate my brain) judge to order a physical recall for what is just a visual effect. That the effect is actually just a portrayal of how a spring works, which is why the whole physical gadget must be scrapped for what could be hundreds of millions of dollars is like really, really dumb. DUMB!

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