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The Courts Apple

Samsung: Apple Stole the iPad's Design From Univ of Missouri Professor 362

TheBoat writes with a bit from BGR on the Apple vs Samsung case: "We're starting to see a theme develop here. Now that it's Samsung's turn to present its case in the San Jose, California patent trial that regularly has the tech media abuzz, the company is taking an interesting approach. Rather than start out by arguing that its various Android smartphones and tablets do not copy Apple's designs or infringe on its patents, Samsung is arguing that Apple's IP is invalid to begin with. On Monday, Samsung argued that Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent was stolen from Mitsubishi's old Diamond Touch and on Tuesday evening, Samsung made a similar argument regarding the design of Apple's iPad. Samsung on Tuesday presented the jury with videotaped testimony from Roger Fidler, head of the digital publishing program at the University of Missouri. In his testimony, Fidler stated that he began work on a tablet design in 1981. 'Apple personnel were exposed to my tablet ideas and prototypes,' he testified, adding that Apple staff saw his designs in the mid-1990s."
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Samsung: Apple Stole the iPad's Design From Univ of Missouri Professor

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  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @12:50PM (#40998381)
    Apple stole these ideas long ago and claims everyone else is a thief!
  • by LodCrappo ( 705968 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @12:54PM (#40998423) Homepage

    If Samsung can find all these examples of prior art, how is it that Apple was granted patents in the first place? These are hardly the only examples of Apple being given patents on things that were obviously done by others well before they "innovated" them.

  • Subway Commercial (Score:5, Insightful)

    by organgtool ( 966989 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @12:58PM (#40998489)
    Every time I hear arguments like this, I can't help but think of adults whining in children's voices like those Subway commercials. "He copied my drawing!", "she keeps repeating everything I say and do!". Just shut the fuck up already. I hope one day we are able to look back on this and realized just how childish our species is acting. Nothing is created in a vacuum, so get the fuck over yourselves and get back to making products!
  • Good for Samsung! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fallen1 ( 230220 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @12:59PM (#40998491) Homepage

    I'd like to see some sanity return to patents, since nothing exists in a vacuum. Everything new has been influenced in some way by past experiences and influences. From a rock rolling down a hill to rocks turned into wheels to wooden wheels to modern rubber tires, it has all been an improvement on the previous improvement. I hope Samsung prevails with this line of defense to the utter ruination of Apple's patent-ly bullshit attempt to stop their competition.

    Frankly, the way things are moving, it might not be too long before software patents are gone and "look and feel" and other such patents actually have very limited lifespans or are disproven because the "look and feel" are based on a previous incarnation. I'd love to see THIS improvement made to patents and then improved upon again with copyrights included. You know, that whole "secure for a limited time" thing...

  • by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:03PM (#40998567)

    I'm not sure you're actually getting the point of the article.

  • Re:And yet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rosy At Random ( 820255 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:06PM (#40998607) Homepage

    I don't think it was his fault the technology wouldn't be ready for another 25 years...

  • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@ g m a il.com> on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:09PM (#40998655)

    Design patents are not utility patents.

    Design patents can even cite prior art as part of the application itself - for example, Apple's design patent for the Macbook Air references earlier "ultrabook" designs by Sony.

  • by jxander ( 2605655 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:10PM (#40998669)

    The only thing Apple is "guilty" of is being the first company to make tablets that did not suck big green ones and that people actually wanted to buy and use. Nobody was able to make the technology popular before them.

    Being the first one to do something well, doesn't mean you're the first one to have the idea, and it certainly doesn't give you iron clad rights to prevent anyone else from trying to make a better one.

  • by Andrio ( 2580551 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:10PM (#40998675)
    No, Apple is guilty of using ridiculous litigation to prevent anyone else from making tablets that do not suck big green ones.
  • by TheSkepticalOptimist ( 898384 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:11PM (#40998679)

    Moses did come down from the mountain caring some curiously rounded corner rectangular tablets after chatting with God. Moses was the first one to steal this idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:12PM (#40998709)

    Sadly, it'll probably be something as boring as "Well, yeah, but Apple's doing it now, so that makes it okay!". MOAR LAWSOOTS!!1!

  • Re:And yet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by w_dragon ( 1802458 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:23PM (#40998859)
    Why shouldn't a sci-fi show be able to qualify as prior art for design or UI patents?
  • by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:26PM (#40998901) Homepage Journal

    ...from a design POV it would be a argument worth making in court. It wouldn't even matter that they were non-functioning props. A US patent is just a drawing, it doesn't need to represent a working prototype.

    How many fanboys install a Star Trek GUI app after unboxing their new iPads or Galaxy Tabs?

  • by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:32PM (#40998969)

    In 2005 I predicted on slashdot that large touchscreen phones would be a success (as did others) .. nearly 2 years before the release of the iPhone. http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=163341&cid=13644457 [slashdot.org]

    Samsung oughta have me testify.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:47PM (#40999115)

    Nothing you said contradicts the GP who indicated that the USPTO used to vette the patents thoroughly (your 'reject, reject, reject') but stopped around the time his father-in-law left (your 'until recently')

  • by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:50PM (#40999147)

    It is ludicrous to say that the PTO has "stopped checking into prior art."

    to be fair, looking at all the patents that are granted recently, I can easily believe the USPTO has gone from a 'patent checking and recording' organisation to a printing business that sells patent certificates.

  • by TiggertheMad ( 556308 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @01:53PM (#40999181) Homepage Journal

    The only similarity I see is that both devices have black faces with a screen in the middle.

    I'm not defending Apple here, but there was no pinch-to-zoom on Newton - in fact it required a stylus. As far as design elements, the Newton splayed outward to sharp corners - pretty much the opposite of rounded corners.

    Apple stealing these design elements from someone else doesn't bother me. What bothers me is stupid shit like making claims that gesture based UI elements are 'Advances in the Arts and Sciences' worthy if patenting.

    Of course, with Jobs attitudes towards IP, this news is hardly shocking. He seemed willing to change his views 180 degrees when he was on the other side of the fence.

  • Re:And yet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @02:00PM (#40999227) Homepage
    > Next thing you know Star Trek episodes will be prior art.

    For trade dress, yes they should be prior art. If an idea is that obvious, then it should not be patentable. For function (eg, Warp Drive) it should not be patentable without a working prototype. This should help illustrate the difference between meaningful technology patents (eg, cellular radios) and trade dress (eg, round rectangles, green icons with a phone handset, etc).

    MCCCXXXVII intellectualis proprietas pupillam est magnum sacculum canis stercus
  • Re:And yet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eyrieowl ( 881195 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @02:46PM (#40999829)
    Or business method patents for that matter. To the extent that we allow people to patent "concepts", any prior mention of that concept should qualify as prior art, as it would make any product based on the concept a logical realization of a concept previously conceived.
  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @02:55PM (#40999961) Journal

    And that's the challenge with examining patents for prior art. It appears that many of these ideas are not just available in the previous year but instead were put forth decade(s) before the patent was filed - in a time before the need to patent everything was SOP.

    What this captures is a competitive patent condition where technology may be developing in close parallel and is co-opted by another, but ignores the patenting of older ideas which were considered either too trivial, economically unfeasible, or simply not worth of patent protection (whether too obvious or not commercially viable) at the time.

  • These are things that are more valuable than most "geeks" will ever admit to the willingness of people to buy, use, and feel good about certain products, and are therefore incredibly valuable when they're done right and worth spending a lot of money to develop a great solution.

    No. Those things are gimmicks that ONLY "geeks" notice, the general populous caring much more about what the device can ACTUALLY do whether than precisely how it does it. If you can stumble upon a patent, then it's fucking obvious. To say otherwise is to sit in your conceptually constructed tower and pontificate profusely over minutia that wrongfully drains BILLIONS of dollars from the world's economies below, only for the benefit of your own sick disconnected ilk.

    Take note: The Intangible Machine Invasion is upon us. The above poster is "one of them", and should be put down. Re-watch the Terminator series and the 1st (and only) Matrix movie -- The legal frameworks are the machines that rule mankind.

    If your bullshit design nuances are so damn important and valuable then how do you explain the success of Fashion Industry or Automotive Industry? --Neither of which have said design patent protections, and yet remain valuable and lucrative. How much do the intellectual property taxes cost us all? I put it to you that such patents necessarily cost us MUCH more than were they eradicated; They necessarily create jobs for intangible instruction code processing units -- Lawyers -- that also otherwise would not need to exist.

    You think you're a human?! NO. YOU'RE PART OF THE MACHINE!

  • Re:WRONG (Score:1, Insightful)

    by uslurper ( 459546 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @05:10PM (#41001751)

    "No. Those things are gimmicks that ONLY "geeks" notice, the general populous caring much more about what the device can ACTUALLY do whether than precisely how it does it. If you can stumble upon a patent, then it's fucking obvious."


    The reason Apple has been able to sell it products, even from the first apple, is that is pays close attention to HOW things work in addition to what they do. Apple was not the first to market a MP3 player or a smartphone. But they realized that in order for people (with no high-tech experience) to buy possibly complicated electronic products was to make them simple, intuitive, and enjoyable to use.

    That is what Apple has built its company on. Not just snazzy marketing and packing more GeeBees. But spending an exorbitant amount of time and research into usability.

    If someone were to design for example a door handle that easier to open and gave a better tactile feel because of a specific curve of the handle. And this handle gave a responsive 'click' when the latch was fully released. All of those subtle enhancements could be covered by a patent. You could just as easily argue that 'hey its just a door handle' and that door handles have been around for years so that patent is invalid. But that reason would invalidate all patents. 'Hey its just steel and glass and thats been around for centuries'.

    Or coming back around to tablets: 'Hey its just a handheld device that lets you store and display information' -Well thats been around since the clay tablets of 3000 BC! Again, its in the details of exactly how you do it that makes a patent.

  • Re:And yet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @05:13PM (#41001795)

    Not to be pedantic, but pupillam should be in the genitive case, not accusative.

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!