In a stunning turn of events, the US Patent and Trademark Office has filed an initial ruling declaring Apple’s rubber-banding patent invalid. If you recall, the patent focuses on an effect that can cause a page on a device to bounce back up after a user has swiped to the bottom of the screen on a mobile device. While this ruling isn’t final, this means that all 20 claims of Apple’s patent (No. 7,469,381) are now invalid— which includes an important one used against Samsung during their epic battle in the U.S. courts. The effect of this is major too: while we have a long way to go during the appeals process, this is perhaps the first step needed for Samsung to have the courts potentially overrule at least some of the major rulings.
And just like that, Motorola devices are no longer listed for sale in Germany. Despite Motorola not being found to infringe on some Microsoft patents, Motorola has all but begun its exodus out of the German markets. As of this time, no Android smartphones or tablets are listed on Motorola’s website. There is the belief that Motorola may have pulled the devices in order to rework the software in order to avoid infringing on any patents, but then again— Motorola has a clearly stated the following:
“As we have previously stated Motorola Mobility is focusing on fewer mobile devices. As a result we have phased out some of our lower tier devices in Europe/Germany.”
A focus on selling fewer mobile devices huh? Considering the Motorola Android devices are wildly popular in Germany, we can only hope that Google Motorola knows what it’s doing.
We already know that Samsung is appealing the big decision that landed in August involving Apple patents, and we already had an idea that they would go after the jury foreman, but now we have a clearer picture. Samsung has a dozen exhibits involving jury foreman, Velvin Hogan, and his public statements. He made himself available for several interviews after the trial and it seems as though he made a lot of misstatements. For example, he said design patents are based on “look and feel” and that prior art must be “interchangeable” in order to invalidate a patent. “These incorrect and extraneous legal standards had no place in the jury room,” wrote Samsung in its brief.
Even with the disappointment of Apple winning its litigation on their “special patents”, it looks like executives from both Google and Samsung will meet in Seoul on Thursday. Thats right! Eric Schmidt, alongside Samsung “big-wig”, Shin Jong-kyun, will discuss numerous details about their company companionship.
But it seems that it is very likely that this meeting is focused on, none other than Apple’s patent strikes against Samsung. Lets not forget that just a little over a month ago, Apple won its case in the United States against the company, exclaiming various factors of how the South Korean manufacturer infringed on Apple design and “style”.
It’s no surprise that the recent Apple vs. Samsung verdict drew massive ire and certainly no secret that Samsung not only disagrees with it, but plans to fight Apple to the very death. It now appears that Samsung has the additional ammunition needed to contest the court’s ruling and be granted a retrial. During the jury selection process (also known as voir dire), a foreman who happened to be part of the jury selection pool as a prospective juror was originally asked if he will set aside all that he knew of patent law from his personal experience, while following the court’s instructions and make an objective judgment based off evidence alone. The prospective juror who was eventually selected to be part of the jury answered yes to the questions, as he promised to follow the law and not use what he knew from previous cases.
As a precaution, lawyers on both sides extensively check and analyze the responses based off the participants of the voir dire. But naturally, the foreman did the complete opposite and broke his promise to follow the law and not have any sort of bias— based off his responses and interviews to the media after the verdict was handed down. Now that this is out in the open, this observation paints a bigger picture. Seeing the different legal experts present these facts and information again gives Samsung a reason to aggressively contest and appeal the recent verdict. However as Groklaw points out, there is “The tendency is for jury verdicts to stand, even if there is a problem“. Samsung will have a long battle ahead if it wants to win.
It seems the technology trial of the decade is not over yet: Apple has just requested a court order for a permanent ban of U.S. sales of all Samsung products that have been found to violate Apple patents, in addition to $707 million more in damages. This will bring the total from $1.05 billion in damages to $1.75 billion, an astronomical number even for a technological superpower such as Samsung. It looks like the patent war of the ages seems to be far from over as Samsung responded to Apple’s latest jab with their own request, this one for a completely new trial. Samsung claims that “the Court’s constraints on trial time, witnesses and exhibits were unprecedented for a patent case of this complexity and magnitude, and prevented Samsung from presenting a full and fair case in response to Apple’s many claims,” and thus, is worthy of a new trial. If Samsung is granted such a lofty request, they may be able to dodge not only the initial financial blow, but can request an entirely new trial.
Apple claims that both Samsung and Motorola infringed on their touch event model patent (EP2098948), but the Mannheim Regional Court just came down with a decision in favor of Samsung and Motorola. The touch event model patent shouldn’t be mistaken for multitouch. This one is a fairly broad patent (not like all the others aren’t) that covers the way the operating system reports or disregards touch events to applications. This could have been a mess for both Samsung and Motorola because if Apple had won, the result would be a need to rewrite, recompile, and reinstall a lot of apps since numerous applications rely on the operating system functionality.
The defense was based on the fact that Android does not store a multi-touch flag in association with each “view”, and this same argument was already successful in the UK and the Netherlands. I’m sure Apple will appeal this ruling just like they did with those.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or on a different planet you already know that Apple has accused many for blatantly copying their UI and hardware. Of course Samsung is at the top of that list and already owes Apple $1 billion. Yesterday, Apple released iOS 6 and it appears the clock on the iPad is an exact copy of the station clock at the Swiss Federal Railway.
The iconic clock was originally designed by Hans Hilfiker in 1944 and the railway owns both the trademark and copyright for the design. It looks like the railway is already aware of the situation and is demanding compensation from Apple for its usage. I highly doubt Apple has any artwork dating back to the 1940′s showing this design, and even if they did, it wouldn’t matter based on how the courts look at things. Just how much the Swiss Railway could be awarded for this is anyone’s guess, but with the amount of iPad’s in existence, it can’t be cheap.
Android’s multitouch software is not as good as Apple’s multitouch software? That’s what Samsung is claiming in order to avoid a recall and sales ban of its Android smartphones in a patent suit in the Dutch Court of Hague. In this round of the Apple vs. Samsung saga, Apple argues Samsung infringes on a certain multitouch patent called the “touch event model”— which prevents users from pushing two buttons at the same time on the screen. So as a result of the alleged infringement, Apple believes the Dutch courts should intervene and enact a sales ban of Galaxy products that operate on Android 2.3 or higher. Of course Samsung respectfully disagrees with Apple’s notions. Samsung lawyer Bas Berghuis van Woortman believes “the Android based method is more hierarchical the system is more complex and therefore harder for developers to use”. Apple respectfully disagrees as Apple lawyer Theo Blomme highlights Samsung’s claim of having a lesser solution “is simply not true“, while adding the technique that Android uses essentially makes its software the same as Apple’s.
Samsung is seemingly living on the defensive, isn’t it? After losing its epic battle Stateside, it is doing its best to try and try and have the upper hand on Apple this time around. There won’t be too long of a wait however— as the Hague court will deliver a judgement and ruling on October 24th regarding this matter.
You may have thought things were over for Samsung after last week’s loss to Apple in the highly-covered patent lawsuit between the two. Surely the $1.0+ billion judgment and ensuing stock losses for Samsung are enough to drive them out of the smartphone and tablet markets. For all the hype, last week’s jury verdict in favor of Apple was just one battle in a war. Even Apple recognizes this. Rather than sitting on their laurels and waiting for Samsung and the rest of the world’s Android manufacturers to slink off in defeat, Apple was back to work in a San Jose federal court filing documents on Friday. This time, it is a request to add more devices from Samsung to a case filed back in February 2012 alleging a variety of patent infringements. The original lawsuit covered 17 devices that had been produced between August 2011 and the filing. The new request adds four more devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S III. Nor word or response from Samsung yet regarding the latest filing.