Oh my, our broken patent system is at it again. Yesterday Apple was awarded patent D670,286, which is a design patent pertaining to the iPad’s “ornamental” design. In a sense it’s a patent for a rectangle with rounded edges covering a “portable display device.” Before everyone screams foul, it remains to be seen if it will be worth anything to Apple.
Apple already has a design patent D504,889, and they successfully convinced Judge Lucy Koh that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 should be banned based on it. Of course, in August, a jury didn’t find the Tab 10.1 infringed on that patent. Back then Samsung was quoted as saying it was “unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners.” Interestingly enough Apple now has the patent with this new ‘286.
Apple got away with giving a half-assed apology before online and it has done the same in print publications. After the courts telling it to give its attempt at an apology another try online, Apple went ahead and created another version of its apology in the famed UK print publication The Guardian. As you can see above, Apple clearly outlines the facts that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab did not infringe on the iPad— though Apple doesn’t say sorry anywhere in its statement. Naturally we’re all expecting to see a real apology—- you know the one where you actually say sorry— to appear soon, very soon on Apple’s website, so the courts and/or Sammy shouldn’t be too disgruntled we suppose.
source: Gizmodo UK
Remember when a UK court ordered Apple to post a notice on their UK website saying Samsung did not copy Apple’s designs? I’m sure it must have extremely tough for Apple to do that, but at least they complied, right? Well, maybe not. A UK court of appeals has criticized Apple for its choice of words, and the fact that the statement is hidden in a footer link on the website. That same court of appeals found that Apple is non-compliant with the court order.
If you recall: the UK courts recently found that Samsung actually didn’t infringe on various Apple iPad patents and subsequently ruled Apple had to give Samsung some satisfaction. Well Apple didn’t take too kindly of that and demonstrated its defiance to the courts’ decision and issued an arrogant apology. Apple’s legal team took some time to highlight the uniqueness of Apple products, while highlighting that Samsung’s products are “simply not as cool” as Apple products. In addition, Apple is quick to point out that all other major courts in the world recognized Samsung’s infringement of iPad, while the UK thought otherwise. As a result, Apple had this to say about the manner:
“So while the U.K. court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement, other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung willfully copied Apple’s far more popular iPad.”
Talk about being completely defiant to UK law. So while Apple technically admits that Samsung didn’t infringe on its product, Apple also is quick to point out that well— Samsung did infringe per other courts. We’re not sure of how Samsung and/or the UK courts will react to Apple’s statement, but you really have to hand it to Apple— it won’t back down even if it’s wrong.
You can find the full statement from apple.com/uk when you hit the break.
In a legal document filed earlier in the week, Apple says that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Samsung on whether they misused some of its mobile-device patents that violate antitrust law. This stems from Apple accusing Samsung of using some of their patents improperly to block the sale of competitor’s products. I don’t claim to be a big patent expert, but I think this probably deals with FRAND, which means “Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory”. Certain patents fall into this category and it means that owners of these patents must give a reasonable licencing deal. They usually deal with patents that are standard.
It looks like the investigation has been going on for several months and the European Commission announced they were doing a similar investigation in January. I also suspect that Samsung’s LTE patents will fall into this category.
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.
source: The Next Web
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.
source: The Guardian UK
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.