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Android GUI Input Devices Iphone Patents The Courts Apple

Apple's Pinch+Zoom Patent Invalidated By Preliminary USPTO Ruling 149

Posted by timothy
from the always-more-complicated dept.
skade88 writes "Apple has lost its patent on Pinch+Zoom. This is the patent that won Apple their billion dollar verdict against Samsung. GrokLaw has an article, too." The ruling is only preliminary, though, not final.
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Apple's Pinch+Zoom Patent Invalidated By Preliminary USPTO Ruling

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  • Refund? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:16PM (#42353141)

    So does that mean they owe a refund to Samsung? (I am a legal newbie)

    • Re:Refund? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Baloroth (2370816) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:27PM (#42353243)

      Samsung hasn't paid any money yet, the final details of the case aren't 100% settled yet. This isn't the only patent involved in the case Apple has lost since the judgment, either. Most likely, damages will be reduced. By how much is yet undetermined (my guess would be "considerably", but then I would also have guessed Apple wouldn't have won in the first place).

      • Re:Refund? (Score:5, Informative)

        by SternisheFan (2529412) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:30PM (#42353277)
        Apple is appealing this. From USA Today: SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple today filed notice of appeal in its battle with Samsung, in which a judge this week denied its injunction request. The highly anticipated move comes after U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh late Monday rejected Apple's request, stating the company has not been able to show that Samsung's actions support a ban of its products. Apple is taking the matter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit along with "all other orders, rulings, findings, and conclusions underlying and related to that order," according to the court filing. Judge Koh stated Monday, "Apple's evidence does not establish that any of Apple's three design patents covers a particular feature that actually drives consumer demand." The judge's ruling came after a San Jose jury in August found Samsung violated six of Apple's patents and awarded a whopping $1 billion in damages. Jurors had sided with Apple in deciding that Samsung had violated key designs covering iPads and iPhones. Apple shares closed 0.87% lower at $521.73. http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2012/12/20/apple-samsung-iphone-ipad-patents/1783017/ [usatoday.com]
      • Re:Refund? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:35PM (#42353805)

        Samsung has paid a ton of money directly and through damage to reputation defending themselves.

        Effective anti-patent troll reform would make patent holder, if loser, pay some factor say 10 x (costs to defend + what they were asking as damages to the party they were suing + lost sales + etc.).

        Of course, Apple has lost much of the tech segment as customers due to their trolling, but that is a tiny bit of their income. Getting spanked for $10-50 Billion once or twice would make them re-think their troll strategy-- if it didn't change minds of board members / C execs, the shareholders would revolt to the same effect.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by anagama (611277)

          "Of course, Apple has lost much of the tech segment as customers due to their trolling, but that is a tiny bit of their income."

          I wouldn't be so sure of that. I can think of 9 mac laptops that people I know have purchased based on my suggestion. And this is with approximately 30 seconds of thought. The number is surely higher than that.

          As for why I've liked them -- I can easily run much of the X11 based software I use directly on them, or can do X forwarding over SSH in a totally straightforward manner f

          • Re:Refund? (Score:5, Funny)

            by AmiMoJo (196126) * <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Friday December 21, 2012 @09:37AM (#42359309) Homepage

            You made recommendations to non-technical friends based on your ability to run X11 apps and SSH easily?

            • by anagama (611277)

              Obviously no, I was explaining why I like OS X. That's all that part was about.

    • Re:Refund? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:36PM (#42353339)

      I think that would be reasonable. If you get a patent invalidated you should be forced to repay all money you have gained from it, or even double that money or something. Maybe that would stop companies from filing piss-patents.

      • Re:Refund? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by colin_faber (1083673) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:56PM (#42353505)
        This is actually an interesting thought, though I wouldn't go so far as to attach punitive damages to invalided patent, I see nothing wrong with charging a minimal interest rate on the monies paid as royalty fees on the patent.
        • Re:Refund? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by backslashdot (95548) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:29PM (#42353753)

          I would .. F it .. Too many people are willfully or negligently filing patents on stuff they didn't invent or are obvious increments to existing technology. There has to be something to discourage it.

          • I think both could be accommodated in law, however I'm not sure that you need the wilful version. If a company is demanding money for a patent that they knew at time of filing (or subsequently) had prior art that made it invalid, then they have committed fraud. No need for new laws, just prosecute them for this. If it's invalidated on the grounds of being obvious, then that's a bit more tricky, because this is quite a subjective judgement and it's hard to prove malice.
        • by CAIMLAS (41445)

          Minimal interest is what banks pay for simply allowing you to hold onto "your" money for you and use it for their interests.

          It would be more than 'minimal interest', because it would be money used, under coercion, against their will, AGAINST their interests (sort of like taxes in many regards, really). So the interest rates on Payday loans seem more in keeping with the nature of the 'loan'.

      • by c++0xFF (1758032)

        The problem is that the USPTO is awarding "piss-patents" and so companies naturally file them. That's the problem that needs to be fixed.

      • I think that would be reasonable. If you get a patent invalidated you should be forced to repay all money you have gained from it, or even double that money

        You should be charged with fraud. That would tend to help focus.

  • Sick of this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kc67 (2789711) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:16PM (#42353143)
    I am sick of hearing about patent lawsuits. It is sad that the industry can't work together to create unique products and actually innovate instead of stagnating one another.
    • Re:Sick of this (Score:4, Insightful)

      by arbiter1 (1204146) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:43PM (#42353387)
      Yea a lot of people were showing their disgust with this case after the results from the jury was read. Even from apple fans as well that are not happy with how apple is going about things, they decided to try to stop competition by litigation instead of being innovative. When case was decided by the jury, sales of samsung GS3 spiked after the trial.
      • Re:Sick of this (Score:5, Interesting)

        by erroneus (253617) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @07:12PM (#42354155) Homepage

        Many Apple fans rejoiced. There was a lot of "in your face" and "got what they deserved" in response to the rulings followed by desperate attempts to justify a dishonest juror and the major crap he pulled. He "sent a message" alright. Problem is, just like other 'bad guys' he was stupid enough to brag about it. Had he said "it was a tough decision, but I felt the evidence was in Apple's favor and the other jurors agreed" things might be a little different right now.

        But let's say the judge in this case was shown to have a LOT of Apple stock. Her failure to recuse herself would result in another trial even after the verdict was presented. But this was a juror. Jurors need special treatment in nearly every case simply because it's hard enough to select and agree upon the constitutionally guaranteed jury for matters such as these. If they were not almost completely immune to charges of misconduct, people would be even LESS willing to be on the jury. So you have to understand that the system will tread lightly on matters such as these. But have a look at this if you want to know more about jury misconduct:

        http://www.capdefnet.org/hat/contents/constitutional_issues/jury_misconduct/jury_misconduct.htm [capdefnet.org]

        Interestingly, dishonesty in voir dire is at the top of the list and yet somehow, the judge in this case is willing to ignore that.

        And you make a good point. After the trial, there was a spike in GS3 sales. Where I work, a LOT of iPhone users have managed to switch over to GS3 or other Androids... one of my co-workers, much to my disgust, even bought multiple Nexus 4s so he could make disgusting profits. People like him are the reason why many of us couldn't get one the first time around. "Thanks asshole" but I wasn't stupid enough to buy one from these pirates.

        My point is that android is really taking over and Apple iThing fans are changing hearts. I see it everywhere. I know... I'm not a good sample observer. But it would be interesting to see what the current usage trends are. Anyone know where to look for data on the subject?

        • by sjames (1099)

          I agree that the jurors themselves need to be immune to practically everything connected to the trial, but that doesn't mean the trial itself cannot be thrown out.

        • by steelfood (895457)

          comScore [comscore.com] has such information. However, their latest report (linked) is currently for October and compares against July.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bhagwad (1426855)

      B..but...but what about the BILLIONS of dollars Apple has spent on R&D thinking up pinch to zoom, rubber banding, and rounded corners?

      Billions I say!

    • Re:Sick of this (Score:4, Interesting)

      by terec (2797475) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:53PM (#42353477)
      "The industry" was working together just fine; there weren't actually that many lawsuits between companies like Palm, Nokia, and Microsoft. Apple, however, came in as a newbie, took everybody else's ideas, put them in a nice shiny box, and started patenting and suing everybody.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Blue Stone (582566)

        >"The industry" was working together just fine; there weren't actually that many lawsuits between companies like Palm, Nokia, and Microsoft. Apple, however, came in as a newbie, took everybody else's ideas, put them in a nice shiny box, and started patenting and suing everybody.

        Hell, Apple are not even unique in that respect.

        When Marconi got a patent on wireless telegraphy in England, the rule was that you MUST NOT reveal the workings of the patented device before the patent was granted. Marconi presente

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      I am sick of hearing about patent lawsuits. It is sad that the industry can't work together to create unique products and actually innovate instead of stagnating one another.

      Take a (patented, how else?) pill to manage the symptoms: unfortunately, the cause of your sickness is not going away any time soon.

    • Lawyers go wherever the money is. The sort of fly-by-night conmen who used to rip people off with bogus real estate deals can now rip millions off companies quite legally by buying a bullshit patent and threatening anyone and everyone. Lawyers love this shit, and that's why these two have set off hand-in-hand to rob and pillage the tech industry.

      Apple might design nice looking products, but ethically they are pretty bad. If there was a company like this around when Apple were starting up they would have be
    • Why should company A work with company B to share innovations? If company A has an innovation, that would give it an advantage of its competition so they shouldn't share it unless they get something equally good in return. Sharing innovation is stupid and demotivates those to innovate.
      • Because they're not innovations, in most cases.
        Being the first to come up with a problem, too often these days leads to a patent.
        Take multitouch gesture patents.
        These are essentially all non-innovative.
        You start out with one perhaps innovative invention - the touchscreen over a computer display.
        Many subsequent developments were not really innovations, but outgrowths of what is made technically possible by the engineering.
        Once you have the concept of a computer display with a touchscreen on top of it, the in

  • Ahahaha (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:17PM (#42353155)

    And on the last day of the world. That's too funny.

    • Yeah, but patent lawsuits never end. They just seem to go on, and on, and on . . .

      The last day of the world is also going to be like a patent lawsuit. It's just going to keep going on, and on, and on . . .

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Maybe that *was* the apocalypse.

  • prior art (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:18PM (#42353159)

    This 2005 patent [google.com] from Danny Hillis [wikipedia.org] seems to be one of the main things the reexamination is noting as prior art.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:18PM (#42353161) Journal

    This is the patent that won Apple their billion dollar verdict against Samsung.

    That's weird, I remember the jury verdict citing six patents [businessinsider.com]. Pinch to zoom was one of them but surely it was only a fraction of the full billion?

  • pinch to bada bing, bada boom!

    (or not; it's the best joke on the topic I could think of)
  • by hermitdev (2792385) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:27PM (#42353247)

    So here's a question. Does Samsung get any of its money back? I mean the money it spent and is spending to invalidate this stupid patent? The money it spent on trial over this stupid patent? The money it spent finding the prior art that Apple should have found before filing for this stupid patent? No. Nothing in US patent system is that fair.

    I'm not a lawyer, but maybe there's one out there that could answer: couldn't Samsung counter-sue, or the Judge rule in favor of Samsung and order court fees paid? And presumably, wouldn't all expenditures, including any involved with the research and gathering of information in regards to prior art, be covered?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:28PM (#42353259)

    The difference between "preliminarily rejected" and "actually invalidated" is analogous to the difference between "being arrested" and "being convicted". Apple has to defend the patent and lose before anything changes.

  • I want them to hire more patent office staff, and more judges, so that these cases can be determined quickly and accurately.

    Clear all the administrative backlogs, provide jobs, support private industry innovation.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Do they have a patent giving a zoomed view when positioning a cursor? I'm asking because Android not doing it is annoying, and it seems like something that would be quite OBVIOUS to someone versed in the craft, I mean, I had could have a zoomed view when entering text in Deluxe Paint on the Amiga IIRC.

  • So that complete head-up-her-ass judge who refuses to throw out the case based on that jury foreman basically shut down their entire appeal...and then tada, the patent is thrown out. She's gonna be mad. She's obviously operating on her own agenda based solely on posterity and media opinion so she's going to have kind of attack when she finds out another judge undermined her. Whatever, the case is going to fall apart no matter what she does. Hopefully she resigns because her conduct as a judge has been c
  • by detain (687995) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:45PM (#42353395) Homepage
    The biggest problem with the patent system is that most people aren't aware of the problems with it. General public awareness of the problems in the patent system is a good step towards eventual patent reform. It takes a big case like this with lots of news coverage about products many of us use to motivate the general public. Change is never fast or easy but as long as the majority of people think that patent reform is needed, it should eventually happen.
  • The claims were rejected under 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 based on U.S. Patent No. 7,724,242 to Hillis et al. (“Hillis”), International Pub. No. WO 03/081458 to Lira (“Lira”), U.S. Patent No. 6,757,673 to Makus et al. (“Makus”), Japanese Pub. No. 2000-163031A to Nomura et al. (English translation) (“Nomura”), and Dean Harris Rubine, “The Automatic Recognition of Gestures,” CMU-CS-91-202, December 1991 (“Rubine”).

    As near as I can find, it doesn't look like Samsung raised any of these references during the trial to show the patents were invalid. Why not?

    Additionally, Groklaw says:

    The goofball jury, of course, thought it was a simply wonderful patent infringed every which way by Samsung...
    Here's the verdict [PDF] form the jury signed off on after a nonchalant few hours of deliberations, which apparently did not include spending effort on whether or not this was a valid patent.
    The most important part of this news isn't that the jury's work was a farce.

    Wasn't Groklaw complaining just a few days ago that the jury foreman brought in external evidence, and therefore committed misconduct? And now, Groklaw is saying the jury should have conducted its own prior art search and brought in external evidence that wasn't raised by Samsung? What is it, the rules don't apply if it hurts Apple?

    • by Solandri (704621) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:58PM (#42354029)

      As near as I can find, it doesn't look like Samsung raised any of these references during the trial to show the patents were invalid. Why not?

      A good chunk of Samsung's prior art evidence wrt phones (the violations they were fined $1b for - they were cleared of copying the iPad) was disallowed because they missed a filing deadline. Kinda defeated the whole purpose of having the trial IMHO, but Judge Koh decided her schedule was more important.

      Wasn't Groklaw complaining just a few days ago that the jury foreman brought in external evidence, and therefore committed misconduct? And now, Groklaw is saying the jury should have conducted its own prior art search and brought in external evidence that wasn't raised by Samsung? What is it, the rules don't apply if it hurts Apple?

      Groklaw is referring to an erroneous instruction given by the jury foreman to the other jurors. He (wrongly) told them that software claiming to be prior art to features on the iPhone were only relevant if the code would run on the iPhone. Since all of the code submitted as prior art runs on other systems and thus doesn't run on the iPhone, he told the jury they could dismiss all the prior art claims out of hand without even having to look at it. So the jury never looked at the software prior art which was submitted at trial. Groklaw is just saying they should have.

      • As near as I can find, it doesn't look like Samsung raised any of these references during the trial to show the patents were invalid. Why not?

        A good chunk of Samsung's prior art evidence wrt phones (the violations they were fined $1b for - they were cleared of copying the iPad) was disallowed because they missed a filing deadline. Kinda defeated the whole purpose of having the trial IMHO, but Judge Koh decided her schedule was more important.

        1) Not any of the ones mentioned in the reexamination. The "good chunk of Samsung's prior art evidence" were several prototype phones owned by Samsung. The reexamination involves several prior art publications and patents, not prototype phones. So, again, why weren't these publications and patents brought up in trial?

        2) The disallowed evidence was because no party in a litigation is allowed to keep evidence secret to spring on the other side on the eve of trial... and particularly where that evidence is th

        • by DeadCatX2 (950953)

          Groklaw is referring to an erroneous instruction given by the jury foreman to the other jurors. He (wrongly) told them that software claiming to be prior art to features on the iPhone were only relevant if the code would run on the iPhone. Since all of the code submitted as prior art runs on other systems and thus doesn't run on the iPhone, he told the jury they could dismiss all the prior art claims out of hand without even having to look at it. So the jury never looked at the software prior art which was submitted at trial. Groklaw is just saying they should have.

          That never actually happened, though. You're reading a few statements of Hogan out of context and putting them together to create a scenario that never occurred. It also doesn't explain why the patents and publications in the reexamination weren't before the jury.

          What was taken out of context?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9cnQcTC2JY#t=2m50s [youtube.com]

          "The software on the Apple side could not be placed into the processor on the prior art and vice versa. That means they are not interchangeable. That changed everything right there."

          (note he actually starts this sentence at 3:13, but I included the 26 seconds before it for context)

          • Groklaw is referring to an erroneous instruction given by the jury foreman to the other jurors. He (wrongly) told them that software claiming to be prior art to features on the iPhone were only relevant if the code would run on the iPhone. Since all of the code submitted as prior art runs on other systems and thus doesn't run on the iPhone, he told the jury they could dismiss all the prior art claims out of hand without even having to look at it. So the jury never looked at the software prior art which was submitted at trial. Groklaw is just saying they should have.

            That never actually happened, though. You're reading a few statements of Hogan out of context and putting them together to create a scenario that never occurred. It also doesn't explain why the patents and publications in the reexamination weren't before the jury.

            What was taken out of context?

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9cnQcTC2JY#t=2m50s [youtube.com]

            "The software on the Apple side could not be placed into the processor on the prior art and vice versa. That means they are not interchangeable. That changed everything right there."

            (note he actually starts this sentence at 3:13, but I included the 26 seconds before it for context)

            Well, for example, he never says "they could dismiss all the prior art claims out of hand without even having to look at it" as the GP said. The GP is actually taking two different statements by Hogan - one about skipping over some prior art to return to it later, and the one you quote about running code on different systems - and combining them out of context. See?

    • The judge prevented Samsung from entering all manner of evidence for the purpose of demonstrating prior art. The whole damn proceeding seemed pretty heavily biased against Samsung. The b*tchy demeanor of the judge towards both parties seemed to me to be more of a cover for the bias than anything.
      • The judge prevented Samsung from entering all manner of evidence for the purpose of demonstrating prior art.

        I'd argue that Samsung prevented Samsung from entering that evidence when they missed the filing deadline. To use an old meme, which part of the word deadline did you not understand?

    • by thaylin (555395)
      When a foreman tells the rest of the jury pool that he has patents and knows how they work and should therefore listen to him, even though it goes against the instructions, that is misconduct. Just saying. Several jurors, including the foreman himself have claimed this.
      • When a foreman tells the rest of the jury pool that he has patents and knows how they work and should therefore listen to him, even though it goes against the instructions, that is misconduct. Just saying. Several jurors, including the foreman himself have claimed this.

        That's not misconduct, though. Just saying. Groklaw quotes Koh's decision on misconduct, which quotes the relevant law:

        A “juror’s personal knowledge constitutes extraneous prejudicial information where the juror has personal knowledge regarding the parties or issues involved in the litigation.” Hard v. Burlington N. R.R. (Hard I), 812 F.2d 482, 486 (9th Cir. 1987). Jurors are expected to bring their own personal experiences with them into the courtroom, and may generally rely on their personal knowledge or past experiences when hearing the evidence, deliberating, and deciding their verdict so long as they do not have knowledge related to the specific case they are deciding. Id.

        Hogan's personal knowledge of the patent system is not extraneous prejudicial information, because it is not personal knowledge regarding the parties or issues involved in the litigation - i.e. Samsung, Apple, or the patents at issue. He's entitled to rely on his personal knowledge of other experiences, provided they are not related to this specific case.

        Continuing:

        However, “[a]fter a verdict is returned a juror will not be heard to impeach the verdict when his testimony concerns his misunderstanding of the court’s instructions,” even where a juror would be able to “testify, objectively, of incidents tending to indicate that other jurors may have misunderstood the court’s instructions on the elements of the offense,” as “the inquiry would still concern the mental processes by which the jurors reached their decision and would therefore be barred by the nonimpeachment rule.” United States v. Stacey, 475 F.2d 1119, 1121 (9th Cir. 1973). Thus, a juror’s understanding of the Court’s instructions is not considered extraneous prejudicial information, and the Court cannot receive testimony on how the jurors understood or followed instructions. To do so would be to undermine the “crucial assumption” necessary for the functioning of our jury system. Parker, 442 U.S. at 73.

        Alleged failure to follo

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