After three grueling weeks of the tech world’s highest profile patent trial, and hearing both sides of arguments, the jury in the Samsung-Apple trial were given final instructions by Judge Lucy Koh on what they should be deciding.
The jury will hand down one of two potential verdicts. A ruling in Apple’s favor could lead to a ban on Samsung products and force Samsung to change its designs or pay licensing fees. A Samsung favored outcome could taint Apple’s reputation of being the world’s leading tech innovator.
Being on this jury is anything but easy, as they’ve been given a total of 84 instructions after Judge Koh gave the jury a crash course in patent and trademark law. Hit the break for a brief overview from a few of the more important ones.
Tired of all these issues involving software patents? Well luckily, you’re not alone— even high-ranking officials at prominent companies are sick too. While speaking at the Technology Policy Institute conference, Google Public Policy director Pablo Chavez states:
“One thing that we are very seriously taking a look at is the question of software patents, and whether in fact the patent system as it currently exists is the right system to incent innovation and really promote consumer-friendly policies.”
Chavez certainly has reasoning for this too. As of now, Google has been involved in long-standing disputes against other tech heavyweights such as Apple and of course, the not-so-friendly Oracle. Oh and don’t forget patent trolls and patent bullies like the infamous and generally disliked Lodsys. The current software patent model doesn’t make sense and is not uniform in something like medicine-related patents. To support his notion, Chavez believes software patents can be differentiated from patents in areas such as medicine because a:
“Lot of structural differences between that industry and the software industry. With that in mind, we are starting to brainstorm longer-term solutions.”
Chavez’s reasoning certainly isn’t too unreasonable, especially since there are other experts who you know— share the same sentiment.
As you know, Samsung and Apple have been in a very heated battle regarding who copied whose patents, and assuming no settlement is reached, a final verdict will be made in the next few days. Yesterday, in a turn of events, Samsung was able to score a victory as Judge Koh made a surprising reversal to the prior ruling by Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal. Judge Grewal had originally decreed that the jury would be told Samsung had failed to retain evidence as part of the jury instructions.
This ruling upset Samsung for two reasons: First, the date they were accused of deleting their emails was well before the lawsuit was filed, and secondly, during that time Apple had not yet ordered its employees to start saving their emails either. Since Apple was the one who brought on the lawsuit, Samsung reasoned that they were equally as responsible for saving messages from the same start date since they knew the lawsuit was on the horizon.
Last week all eyes were focused on a courtroom in California where Apple and Samsung were engaged in a litigation battle. That was only one front in the war between the two smartphone manufacturing giants. Across the country, in an appellate courtroom for the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, Apple and Samsung engaged each other to start this week in yet another Apple v Samsung case.
This particular hearing was the result of Samsung’s appeal of an order from Judge Lucy Koh to ban the sales of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phones until the patent infringement trial takes place in March 2014. Samsung is trying to get the ban overturned, to get Judge Koh’s finding that Apple is likely to prevail overturned, and they are challenging the validity of the patent in question. On that point, the patent is the one that involves the ability of Google search to return “hits” for items both on the device and on the Internet – a unified search result.
The jury is scheduled to start deliberating tomorrow, but Judge Lucy Koh was hopeful that both Samsung and Apple could cut a deal. Apparently both parties did attempt it over the weekend after Judge Koh asked the parties to simplify the dispute as well as ask the chief executives to talk it over one more time. Not surprisingly, nothing was resolved.
Both Apple and Samsung made a joint filing with the court that said, “The parties have met and conferred about case narrowing, but have not been able to narrow their cases further.”
I have to be honest with you. I’m glad they didn’t cut a deal. Lets find out if Samsung really did anything wrong here. I for one think that they were inspired by Apple, and not guilty of actually copying them. Unfortunately Apple owns patents that are ridiculous in itself, so Samsung could be found guilty. That would be very sad to me, and that’s not because I’m an Android fan. It’s because this type of thing happens in all industries, and I’m not sure why Apple thinks they are different from any other company out there. If things were the other way around, I wouldn’t want Apple to lose either. It’s just plain wrong.
While Samsung is still part of an ongoing battle with Apple, Motorola has decided to step up and join the fight. Google’s Motorola Mobility filed a new case with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) Friday, claiming some features on Apple’s products infringe on it’s patents.
After having it’s entire case against Apple dismissed earlier this summer, Motorola has now requested an import ban on Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPad touch and Mac computers, claiming infringement on seven of its intellectual properties. Interestingly, the allegedly-infringed features include Apple’s Siri voice-recognition software, as well as e-mail notifications, the music/video player and location reminders.
“We are done”. Those are the words of Judge Lucy Koh expressing an understandable sigh of relief after the epic Apple vs. Samsung battle out here in the States. The testimony and deliberations included words from famed professors to more or less gag orders aimed at Samsung developers. While Samsung and Apple will have a few hours for their closing arguments on Tuesday, the ultimate decision will be left to a jury of seven men and two women on whether or not Samsung did in fact, commit several patent infringements. And in case you all weren’t sure before, the panel will have a lot to think about too. In order for an infringement ruling to be made, the jury will have to unanimously agree that a particular patent is valid and infringed by a particular device. The issue is: there are tons of different phones and tablets named in the case (i.e. the Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab) in addition to the various patents.
We’re absolutely certain all eyes in the tech world will be on the ruling the jury and Judge Koh makes for the landmark case this upcoming week.
Every day seems to bring more drama to the Apple vs Samsung trial. Apple filed a 75-page briefing that covered 22 potential rebuttal witnesses they could possibly call after Samsung finishes presenting their arguments. Judge Lucy Koh was thoroughly disgusted, and when the jury was out of the courtroom, she asked why they would present such a lengthy document “when unless you’re smoking crack you know these witnesses aren’t going to be called!”
I knew they were smoking crack all along, didn’t you? Of course Apple attorney William Lee denied it by saying, “First, your honor, I’m not smoking crack. I can promise you that.” Then they agreed to trim it down and attorney Michael Jacobs said that they didn’t mean to burden the court. He also believed they would be able to run through all the witnesses in the given time, and that some of the witnesses were Samsung’s. Koh became even more frustrated and told the parties that the conversation would come at the expense of their trial time. She said, “I’m billing time because you all are being unreasonable.”
The bottomline for Judge Koh is that she wants the trial to end by next Tuesday and I highly doubt Samsung or Apple will be able to prolong this debacle any longer.
As the Apple & Samsung case winds down, Judge Lucy Koh sought one last ditch effort in order to get the executive heads to try and make peace before the final decisions where handed to a jury because after all, she “sees risks here for both sides”. While the lawyers asserted each CEO would attempt to talk (again), most patent lawyers believe it’s not likely. Florian Mueller, an intellectual property consultant believes “think this dispute isn’t ripe for a settlement” because Mueller agrees with Judge Koh and argues both sides have too much at stake in the case.
Hopefully the CEOs do end up coming together and resolving this issue once and for all. It’s time to focus on development on innovative products now— not bickering and name slander. Like Judge Koh says, “it is time for peace”.
As Samsung continues to defend itself in its legal battle with Apple, it continues to find reasons why Apple may not have such legitimate patents after all. Expert witness Dr. Andries van Dam, a faculty member at Brown University highlighted several reasons why Apple’s ’381 bounce-back patent is invalid. As seen on a certain Tablecloth application, the software allows a user to scroll through a certain image and then displays a blank white space when the user reaches the end. When that happens, a finger is removed which causes the image to snap-back— just like Apple’s feature. In addition, Tablecloth dates back to 2005, while Apple’s bounce-back patent was originally filed in December of 2007.
Dr. van Dam didn’t stop their either. He went on to demonstrate the LaunchTile user interface and highlights it didn’t appear to be similar to the ’381 patent because when a user reaches the end of the on-screen content there is no off-screen information revealed. On the other hand, van Dam argues the software does meet the requirements when swiping within the main content field itself, the next next tile serving as the “off-screen content” in this case. He adds the US Patent Office had never seen the two pieces of software before granting Apple its patent.
Apple responded to Dr. van Dam’s argument by stressing Tablecloth returns the user to the original starting point upon a bounce-back, rather than the edge of the content. Naturally that quickly became invalid when Dr. van Dam finished his point by adding:
“The patent does not tell you how you implement a touchscreen display. In every way that is a touchscreen display.”
Your move, Apple?