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Iphone Cellphones Handhelds Patents The Courts United States

iPhone 4, iPad 2 Get US Import Ban 213

Posted by Soulskill
from the only-one-generation-after-it-matters dept.
Bent Spoke writes "The U.S. trade agency has banned the import of older Apple iPhone and iPad models due to the violation of a patent held by Samsung (PDF). 'The president can overturn the import ban on public-policy grounds, though that rarely happens. Apple can keep selling the devices during the 60-day review period. ... Apple pledged to appeal the ITC decision. The underlying findings will be reviewed by a U.S. appeals court specializing in patent cases. ... The decision could mean fewer choices for AT&T and T-Mobile customers who want to get an iPhone without paying the higher cost of the iPhone 5. Samsung told the commission that Cupertino, California-based Apple could drop the price of the iPhone 5 if it was worried about losing potential customers. All of the iPhones are made in Asia.' It's getting so complicated we need a scorecard to keep track of who's winning these offensive patent battles in the smartphone coliseum."
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iPhone 4, iPad 2 Get US Import Ban

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  • It's shitty when Apple does this, and it's shitty when Samsung does this. With that said I'm astounded. A good share of those iPhone internals are Samsung parts; isn't this biting the hand that feeds a bit for Samsung - indirectly blocking the import of their own parts? When you have your finger in every pie...
    • Apple has been moving away from Samsung parts. It's more lucrative to have the market themselves anyway.
    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by myurr (468709) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @02:30AM (#43911935)

      Component sales to Apple are a relatively small percentage of Samsung's profits from the mobile sector. They've probably calculated that the potential gain in market share, and related profits, easily outstrips any drop in component orders by Apple.

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        Given this involves the 4 and the older iPads, I'm not sure how that follows.

        The bulk of Apple's orders from Samsung are for the iPhone 5 and retina iPad (Samsung makes the CPU and other components).

        Winning an abuse-the-frand-process lawsuit on a selection of products that Apple barely sells any more (the 4 is still available as an entry level, but it is not long for this world) is hardly beneficial for Samsung.

        There's certainly an element of biting the hand that feeds you, but Samsung also knows it is in a

        • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Informative)

          by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @09:16AM (#43913735) Homepage Journal

          Winning an abuse-the-frand-process lawsuit

          It's not abuse-the-frand. Frand doesn't mean license-free, it means a fair and reasonable license. Apple doesn't like the terms of the license, but nothing about them is particularly unfair. The usual claim by Apple apologists is that Apple doesn't pay the same terms as, say, HTC - but there's a reason for that: HTC happily cross licenses technologies of equal value - from Samsung's Point of View - in the same technological arena. If Samsung didn't like HTC's terms, Samsung would charge HTC the same rate as Apple, and most likely HTC wouldn't have a problem with that.

          I don't like patents, but am somewhat less sympathetic to hardware makers who refuse to license FRAND patents, especially over something like this. You get two choices, pay the fair rate, or negotiate an alternative. Apple is apparently unwilling to do either.

          • You get two choices, pay the fair rate, or negotiate an alternative. Apple is apparently unwilling to do either.

            Because there are more than just two choices available.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by whisper_jeff (680366)

        Component sales to Apple are a relatively small percentage of Samsung's profits...

        Even assuming the numbers in these two articles are off a bit and slightly dated, I don't think "relatively small" is an accurate representation of Apple's impact on Samsung's revenue. Feel free to cite contradicting numbers if you can find any but I seriously doubt you will - Apple is a massive client for Samsung.

        http://www.idownloadblog.com/2012/08/07/apple-now-accounts-for-8-8-of-samsungs-revenue/ [idownloadblog.com]

        http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2269565/apples-iphone-and-ipad-chips-generated-83-percent-of-samsung [theinquirer.net]

    • Apple presumably will continue manufacturing them and paying Samsung for the parts. And after a $1B payout to Apple I imagine that Samsung just wants vengeance a this point. Both of them are already going to lose when the scorecard gets rung up but I doubt Samsung wants Apple to come out ahead.

      • Neither Samsung or Apple lose. Some other company X, Y or Z that would like to grow market-share or compete against Samsung loses because both Apple and Samsung are affirmed by the courts to have patents that "count" to participate in the market in a specific way.
    • Samsung wants to let Apple know that they will not be bullied. They are able to fight them back.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by gnasher719 (869701)

        Samsung wants to let Apple know that they will not be bullied. They are able to fight them back.

        Apple reacted when Samsung copied the design of their products. That's not exactly "bullying". On the other hand, Samsung seems to be very good at bullying. Like journalists and even members of parliament in Korea losing their jobs when they critisize Samsung.

        • by ganjadude (952775)
          The only people in the world that think samsung copied apple design are fanbois and aparently a few judges who are not technologically intelligent. even when both are placed in front of my nearly blind grandmother she knew that one was not the same as the other.
          • Please humour me for a moment and take a look at this photo [forbes.com] which shows the iPhone 3GS and Galaxy S side by side. Then try to tell me with a straight face that you can't see the similarity.

            A few interesting points/questions:

            - The Galaxy S interface looks nothing like stock Android. If they felt it necessary to create their own interface, why create one with similar UI elements such as the shaded area for the four icons at the bottom?
            - The Galaxy S hardware design has rounded corners with chrome edging. Thes

    • It's shitty when Apple does this, and it's shitty when Samsung does this. With that said I'm astounded. A good share of those iPhone internals are Samsung parts; isn't this biting the hand that feeds a bit for Samsung - indirectly blocking the import of their own parts? When you have your finger in every pie...

      So what if the components implementing the infringed patent are actually made by Samsung?

      • So what if the components implementing the infringed patent are actually made by Samsung?

        It matters not. The PlayStation 3 console is made by Sony. Yet Sony was still able to threaten George Hotz for misusing Sony's copyrighted work on Sony hardware.

  • by mykos (1627575) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @02:42AM (#43911981)
    I wish karma were a real thing.
  • It's getting so complicated we need a scorecard to keep track of who's winning these offensive patent battles

    You serious? Whos winning?
    My take from past few years is more along the lines of... this [youtube.com]

  • by lxs (131946) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @03:27AM (#43912139)

    ...that a US company can't sell their product in the US because of an import ban on that product?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:20AM (#43912319)

      Apple is not a US company. It doesn't pay taxes there or in any country.

  • Pot. Kettle. Black. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anubis IV (1279820) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @03:35AM (#43912165)

    “We believe the ITC’s Final Determination has confirmed Apple’s history of free-riding on Samsung’s technological innovations,” Samsung said in a statement to AllThingsD.

    http://allthingsd.com/20130604/samsung-wins-import-ban-against-older-iphones-ipads/ [allthingsd.com]

    I can't imagine them saying it without at least some irony in their voice. Seriously though, Apple has all but confirmed that they're violating patents for various reasons (e.g. FRAND terms were not offered) and has always been rather blasé about much of this stuff, while Samsung has at times blatantly ripped off a number of its competitors, most recently Apple (before Apple, a number of their designs ripped off Blackberry and others), sometimes doing so rather shamelessly yet denying it entirely.

    And all of this won't matter much in the end anyway, since sixty days will get us darn close to the post-back-to-school time when Apple typically announces new versions of their devices anyway, including the heavily rumored low-cost iPhone that will be replacing the iPhone 4 (quick note: this injunction only applies to the iPhone 4 model used by AT&T, apparently, since the iPhone 4 had different chipsets for GSM and CDMA in all but one of the models (the late-released white iPhone 4)), and a new version of the iPad and iPad mini, which will be obviating the need to keep the iPad 2 in the lineup.

    So, kudos to Samsung for winning a victory where one was deserved, but in the end, it's all just more of the same.

    • by MrDoh! (71235)
      It's probably one of those things that they're putting the boot in at last. Apple have yelled it from the rafters everytime they've had a win and Samsung's been fairly quiet. Bridges are burnt out now, the relationship between them will never be repaired, so Samsung are trying to set the story straight in the press (who /usually/ tend to veer towards being pro-Apple in their reporting). Plus, it's a nice point to make in other cases still raging around the world.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is AFAIK the first import ban granted on a FRAND patent: one can expect soon a lot of bans from FRAND patent holders in any standard technology. Nokia for example could become immensely profitable by suing everybody on their FRAND patents and asking for an absurd 2.5% royalty rate as Samsung did. The Pandora box is open: hopefully the ITC ban will be quickly canceled by the appeal court.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by squiggleslash (241428)
        What's absurd about 2.5%?
        • by Virtucon (127420)

          Nothing unless you don't want to pay it for whatever reason. I think because of the legal entanglements of Apple v. Samsung it's probably more of a principal thing than a money issue. Besides Apple can afford to sit on it's massive cash stash and just keep throwing lawyers at Samsung. The same goes for Samsung, they're not going away anytime soon.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@worldCHEETAH3.net minus cat> on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @07:52AM (#43913127) Homepage

      FRAND terms were not offered

      Yes they were, Apple just didn't like them. Most companies do a patent exchange to avoid paying any actual cash, but Apple doesn't have any tech patents to offer and it refuses to license design patents. So Apple was obliged to pay the same percentage as everyone else, it's just that because Apple products are rather expensive that translated into a several dollars per device which they thought was too much. Well, you know what Apple, too bad, everyone else agreed to this deal and now the court agreed that it was fair.

      Samsung has at times blatantly ripped off a number of its competitors, most recently Apple

      If you mean that they look somewhat similar then I would direct your attention to Braun's product line [gizmodo.com] which pre-dates Apple's [visual.ly].

      And all of this won't matter much in the end anyway

      It certainly will because this isn't the only tech patent that falls under FRAND rules which Apple has tried to ignore, and Samsung isn't going to relent on those. Its the nature of litigation that it takes years and in the mean time new products come out, so at the end you apply for a quick judgement on other patents and the new gear based on the arguments that were resolved during the trial. On top of that you can expect Samsung to press for damages and of course the unpaid license fees.

      This has been coming to Apple for a long time. You can't just ignore patents vital to implementing standards because you don't like the FRAND terms that everyone else has agreed to. That is the price of joining the club, the alternative being to go set up your own world-wide cell data network.

  • by iapetus (24050) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @04:33AM (#43912361) Homepage

    No need for a scorecard. As always, the patent lawyers are winning, and the consumers are losing.

    This sort of shitty competition through litigation was vile when Apple did it to Samsung, and it's equally vile when Samsung do it to Apple. Showing more and more why we desperately need patent reform. I'm not even that concerned about the impact on Apple and Samsung - it's the smaller players who can be crushed by litigation like this that I've got more sympathy for.

  • I feel like a rebel, reading this story on my iPad 2 while in the USA. Quite exhilarating actually.

  • So Samsung filed this motion nearly 2 years ago for an import ban of then relevant product. it been delayed and delayed and now is an irrelevant product, So Apple cannot import any more iPad2's or iPhone4's but isnt stopped from importing iPhone4S's, iPhone5's, iPad3's, iPad4's and iPad Mini's, with no consequence.

    I'm happy that Samsung won but what did they really win Apple cant sell products it doesn't care about any more ?

    • by tibman (623933)

      It seems to me that if Apple was supposed to pay Samsung 2.5% of each iPhone4 then when they were sold doesn't really matter. Apple may wish that they had been banned sooner so that they owed less.

  • The lawyers are the only winners here, they get paid whether their client wins or loses.

  • It's absurd that patent fees have to be determined by the cost of the whole device instead of the ICs using the patent. The cost should be a fixed part of the cost of the ICs themselves so everyone would pay exactly the same.

    Let's say you buy an IC that uses 5 patents. It cost 75 cents. Each patent cost 10 cents (example) so the manufacturer gets 25 cents for his IC and each of the 5 patents holders get 10 cents.

    Total cost of the patents: 50 cents

    Let's say you buy a smartphone that uses the same IC and so t

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Wednesday June 05, 2013 @10:25AM (#43914335)

    Now it will force users to buy iPhone 5 and iPad 3 or Mini instead of cheaping out on an older model. Its a win win here.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      If Apple wanted to "force users to buy iPhone 5" they would've stopped selling the older models. It's not like they unleashed some unpredicable iPhone-4-building robot out into the world when they launched the device and have no means of reining it in.

  • what next, is some lawsuit going to stop manufacture of Carborundum radio detectors? axe heads? our society is in danger if we can't crank out obsolete crap!

  • I win because I'm still using an Env3 which does voice, text messages, and email just fine, thank you. Plus it can run over a week on standby before recharging.

    And thanks to the huge cost & popularity of "smartphones," DumbPhones (TM) are really cheap.

  • That was the stupidest video I have ever seen. The reporter literal called Samsung a patent troll. And all the footage is a 4s so its not even the banned phone. Plus I don't think this is about market share at all. Its about paying for patents, FRAND or otherwise, when you use them.

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