The Seoul Central District Court in Korea has ruled that Samsung and Apple violated each other’s patents. The end result is that both companies are banned from selling the infringed devices in South Korea including the iPhone 4, iPad 2, the Samsung Galaxy S2, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1. Both companies were rewarded punitive damages.
Apple is accusing Samsung for creating consumer confusion and being a copycat. The judge noted despite similarities in physical design, the devices between the two companies have distinct logos, making it difficult for consumers to mix them up. In addition to logos, the judge also noted Samsung’s products differentiate from Apple’s with its three buttons in the front and differently adopted designs for the camera and sides. The judge also considered the fact that buyers look at other options when purchasing a new device such as price, brand, applications, services and operating systems.
The court ruled Apple violated two of Samsung’s wireless technology patents, while Samsung violated one of Apple’s for bounce-back technology. Apple must pay Samsung a punitive of $17,650 in damages for each violated patent, while Samsung must pay Apple $22,000 respectively.
With testimony finally being finished for both sides just a couple of days ago, jurors for the Samsung vs Apple patent case have now begun deliberation, thus this lengthy clash between the two titans is now starting to come to an end. This federal trial has lasted over 3 weeks (seems longer, doesn’t it?), and now this multi-billion dollar patent infringing case rests in the hands of 9 people (7 men and 2 women). Remember, Apple is trying to prove that Samsung ripped off the designs of the iPhone and iPad with their successful Android devices such as the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab 10.1.
With so much money at stake, not to mention the implications this has in the mobile industry market, we should not expect a quick decision from these jurors anytime soon. According to Professor Mark P. McKenna of the University of Notre Dame Law, “This case has huge implications, it could result in injunctions against both companies.”
I know most of you are probably wondering how these jurors will make such a huge decision that could massively affect Samsung. First off, the judge has to read a 109 page set of instructions intended for the jury, as as they make their decision, jurors must fill out a 20 page form that includes dozens of “check-off” boxes. According to experts, this 20 page form that the jurors must fill out are “crazy” and “incredibly complicated.” Needless to say, these jurors have a lot of work ahead of them. Secondly, the jurors have several smartphones and tablets at their disposal in the jury room to further help them from determining whether certain patents were indeed infringed upon or not.
Last Friday Google’s Motorola Mobility unit filed a new lawsuit against Apple alleging a variety of patent infringements. Filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), Motorola is seeking a ban on imports of most of Apple’s product portfolio. Any device that “utilize(s) wireless communication technologies to manage various messages and content” is covered by the lawsuit. This covers not just mobile devices like iPads and iPhones, but computer devices like the iMac or MacBook Pro as well.
The ITC made the full complaint available on-line so we are now able to review which seven patents Motorola is claiming Apple has infringed upon:
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.