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Cellphones Handhelds Patents The Courts Apple

Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents 406

Posted by timothy
from the we-had-these-ideas-separately dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple and Samsung couldn't agree on a patent cross-license even though their CEOs met recently. What could be the reason (or one of the reasons) is that Apple is asking for obscenely high patent royalties. At the March 31 trial an Apple-hired expert will present to a California jury (already the third jury trial in this dispute) a damages claim of $40 per device (phone or tablet) for just a handful of software patents. The patents are related to, but don't cover all aspects and elements of, functionalities like slide-to-unlock, autocorrect, data synchronization, unified search and the famous tap-on-phone-number-to-dial feature. Google says there are 250,000 patentable inventions in a smartphone. On average, Apple wants $8 per patent per device. That would add a patent licensing bill of $2 million to each gadget. So Apple and Samsung will be back to court again later this month."
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Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @07:37PM (#46459779)

    And how many of the so called apple patents were in use on those old devices before 2000? Like, say, tapping a number to dial!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @07:46PM (#46459857)

    did you even use a so called smartphone phone before the iphone? yeah, someone else, like windows ce/mobile or palm os. those pieces of trash.

    yes and they had tap-a-number-to-dial and autocorrect.

  • Re:Ignorance... (Score:5, Informative)

    by thesupraman (179040) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:16PM (#46460063)

    No, you are completely wrong.

    FRAND patents are not of little value, and are not normally licensed for little value.
    They are normally part of cross-licensing agreements between companies, with small associated payments to make the contracts binding, but primarily they are used as a technology trading base.

    Apple of course refuses to participate in the trading.
    They say 'license your FRAND patents to us for the same as everyone else, and then we will screw you to the wall for our patents'.
    FRAND owners say "WTF? those fees are for crosslicensing agreements, without that, you need to pay real money'
    Apple says "Then we wont pay you anything, and since we appear to have the US legal system all tied up, piss off, in fact, we will sue you over a bunch
    of patents we never invented, just added the words 'on a capacitive touch screen' to the end of! ha!"

    And if you think thats good business, well.... time will tell. I wonder how well Apple will do when the next round of critical infrastructure wireless patents are no longer FRAND, and Apple hold no cards.

    Kill the meaning of FRAND patents is a standardisation disaster, and a short term cash grab by Apple to the detriment of everyone else, including their own users.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:21PM (#46460105)

    Because the courts have ruled that they are, primarily the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the Patent Office (and examiners) HAVE TO follow those decisions no matter what they think of them. The Supreme Court actually has never really ruled that altering the behavior of a general purpose computer by itself is enough of a tie to a particular machine to not be subject to the ban on patenting an abstract idea, and some of the Justices have pointedly hinted they aren't so keen on the idea in the Bilski oral argument. The Bilski decision itself is a big muddle on the subject really.

    BUT coming on March 31st we will get a real test of just that question in the form of arguments on Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International. That is the case to watch, and it could cause SPECTACULAR waves if the court categorically smacks down the use of a "general purpose computer" and other claim drafting tricks presently employed to get super-broad patent coverage for computer implemented methods.

  • by jaymz666 (34050) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:43PM (#46460215)

    The so called apple interface was not much different to the palm interface

  • by SvnLyrBrto (62138) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:52PM (#46460277)

    Sorry, but you need better admins if they can't keep a BES up and running. That was the one good thing about the whole company, IMO (I always hated their phones.). When I was responsible for one, the only reason I ever logged into that box was to deal with user issues and the occasional scheduled software upgrade. Otherwise, I was pretty much able to just forget it was there. It was absolutely rock-solid; which, admittedly, shocked the hell out of me, considering the thing ran on windows server.

    It's a crying shame that no one bought up BES and turned it into a device-agnostic activesync competitor.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @08:53PM (#46460285)

    No, that is completely wrong. You are required to defend a TRADEMARK. There is no obligation to defend patents and they do not become invalid if you don't. In fact, this is a common criticism of the patent system: you can have a "stealth" patent that you don't enforce for years while people come to depend on the patented technique, believing it not to be patent-encumbered. Then the patent owner starts suing everyone. This is what happened with the GIF file format, for example.

  • did you even use a so called smartphone phone before the iphone?

    I did. I developed for Palm, WinCE, Psion/Symbian and Nokia N770/800 (including for SIP/Skype calls) etc before the iPhone as well.

    The single biggest differentiator between iPhone and its predecessors was the capacitative screen. Everybody in the business knew it was coming, and would change interfaces. Even Microsoft was experimenting with the multitouch Surface, but Apple were fastest to get in with a phone that had multitouch and dispensed with the stylus (needed for resistive screens).

    They did well, and with Fingerworks, managed to patent some of the early multitouch ideas, but they were not especially novel concepts, even at that time.

  • by ynp7 (1786468) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @10:05PM (#46460657)

    First with capacitive touchscreen you say? That's interesting...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @10:45PM (#46460809)
    Apple's data-detection-and-linking patent is from 1996.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday March 11, 2014 @10:55PM (#46460843) Journal

    The problem with Apple is not just that its patents are bad - they're actually rather typical and exemplify the flaws of the system. The problem is that they're not playing by the established rules of the game, where you either cross-license with other major players, or ask for a reasonable amount (which is about an order of magnitude less than here) for full patent coverage.

    Apple, meanwhile, has been refusing to license some things outright, and demanding outrageous fees for others, that would basically make their competitors' devices priced beyond competitive range. Basically, patents were like nuclear MAD - every big guy has a lot, but no-one is going to launch an all out attack - and then a new guy on the block said, "hey, this looks like fun", and pressed the red button.

    Hopefully, this will be sufficient incentive for the companies involve to try to curtail future damage by lobbying for a patent reform.

  • Seems legit (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gumbercules!! (1158841) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @12:42AM (#46461225)
    So Apple want $40 a phone for a few cosmetic and convenient things they were the first to bring to market, like tapping a number or bounceback when you over scroll - but they baulk at paying $2 a phone for stuff that *makes the phone actually work* like 3G/4G, WIFI, etc. etc. How the hell is that ok? And if you want to say those 3G patents Samsung hold are FRAND and essential for phones, fine - but Apple still wasn't even paying the FRAND amount. So why can't Apple's innovations be considered essential and ubiquitous to normal mobile phones, now and also be forced to be reasonable??
  • by sjames (1099) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @01:13AM (#46461285) Homepage

    Personally, I just don't see who would've built the iOS style launcher.

    Any windows user since '95 who sticks their most commonly used icons in a corner of their desktop.

    The paging is done well on the iPhone (and many others as well) but was really just a natural development once touchscreens were invented.

  • Well, they do get credit for being at least one of the first to actually shove the components together like this.

    For example, after SJ went on stage and demo'd the original iPhone [which by all accounts so far, was on a real device, running real apps], BB was convinced it was all a lie, that Apple couldn't physically get all that stuff together, working that well, that powerful [compared to other phones at the time]. And nevermind the right turn Android took, from a RIM/Windows CE style interface to a Apple interface.

    The original iPhone wasn't exactly running "real apps" - it ran a fixed set of software that Apple shipped with it. There was no iTunes store, no third party software. Official support for third party software only came around after people started rooting the devices in order to write software for them. Conversely, the likes of Symbian, PalmOS, etc. were doing third party apps *years* before the iPhone appeared - I certainly wouldn't have called the original iPhone a "smartphone" since it lacked most of the features that made Smartphones Smartphones. Also, at the time the iPhone was being developed, a number of other vendors were developing similar devices - Apple just happened to get to market slightly before everyone else and did their usual job at marketing (Apple are *really* good at marketing).

    So really, the current line of phones is pretty much a natural progression. Patenting a natural progression of technology just because you happened to sell first what everyone else already had in the works seems pretty bogus.

  • If you find one that is not sufficiently descriptive, it is not valid. You have to teach someone proficient how to implement your patent in exchange for protection.

    Valid or not, if the patenter can threaten you with it until you have to spend millions or billions in patent lawyer fees to get it _declared_ invalid by a court then that's pretty good protection in its own right.

  • by sjames (1099) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @02:57AM (#46461575) Homepage

    Practically all patents fail that one. There is actually a sub-specialty in patent law to describe an invention in such a way that you get the rubber stamp and can win in court but a person of average skill in the art will have no idea what you're describing, much less how it is done.

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @04:04AM (#46461741) Journal

    If Compaq had put a cellular radio in an iPaq, we would have had Windows Phones circa 2000, LONG before the iPhone.

    AT&T did (ish, I think a wifi card and some PBX stuff actually), and they scrapped WinCE, replacing it wholesale with their oen UI.

    http://www.xorl.org/people/krw... [xorl.org]

    The result looks *remarkably* like a primitive iPhone. Given the photo is from 2001, not 2007 when the iPhone launched, that's not entirely unfair. Apart from snazzier graphics on newer devices (for real???) about the only difference is that the status bar is at the bottom, not the top and is mixed together with the launcher. Note that it even has apps. On a phone!

    The people who keep insisting that Apple did everything first essentially know nothing about the history of mobile devices. Apple made a well built, slick device with a UI that didn't stink---and that was unusual for the time and worthy of praise.

    Doesn't mean they deserve patent protection for things they didn't invent.

    The whole story about that very early phone is here:

    http://www.xorl.org/people/njh... [xorl.org]

    It was all demoed to Jobs in 1999 as it happens.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @04:08AM (#46461757)
    The patent is about automatically detecting useful data in arbitrary plaintext (say dates or phone numbers in an email), indicating the detected data in the UI, and popping up a menu of possible related actions (say 'new calendar event' or 'call this number') when the user selects that piece of data, depending on the type of data. And "everlasting fee extraction"? You stupid fuck, patents last 20 years and this one was granted on 1996 - in two years the specific technique in the patent will be open to anyone (if they can't already find some other non-infringing way to achieve the same ends).

If it happens once, it's a bug. If it happens twice, it's a feature. If it happens more than twice, it's a design philosophy.

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