Another day, another win for Apple versus an Android manufacturer. A Munich, Germany court recently ruled Apple can file for an injunction against Motorola phones and tablets, due to claims of a “rubber-banding” patent infringement. This “rubber-banding” patent is essentially 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, similar to the bounce back patent that was argued recently against Samsung. The unusual part of this story is Motorola actually acknowledged the alleged patent infringement back in April, but then backtracked and denied any sort of infringement later in August. As a result of this, Apple has a few options on the table for itself. The company can: 1) pay $32 million to enforce a ban which wouldn’t be permanent and would be open to an appeal, 2) pay an additional $12.9 million to force Motorola to get rid of any products named in the patent infringement or 3) pay an additional $12.9 million on top of the other fees in order to pursue a German recall of all Motorola products that infringe on Apple’s patents.
Naturally Motorola (and Google) can only shrug shoulders. A spokeswoman for Motorola is quoted as saying Motorola believes ” this will have a minimal impact on our business, if any“. This is because after all– Motorola doesn’t do major business in German markets, so in essence the potential of a sales’ ban would have minimal impact on its overall brand. Still, if you’re an Android manufacturer, there may be cause for serious concern. After all that’s happened recently, Apple is definitely not looking to let its foot off the gas anytime soon against anything and everything Android.
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.
source: PC World
The Patent Wars of 2012 already claimed one victim to the tune of $1.05 billion, and they don’t seem to be stopping any time soon. Now it seems it’s time to get the grown-ups involved. According to reports from Reuters, Google CEO Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook have been conducting closed-door meetings about patents, intellectual property issues, and other things CEO’s talk about.
Apparently, the two head-honchos already had a phone talk last week, and talks at lower levels are also occurring between the companies. More talks between Page and Cook are expected in the coming weeks, but a Friday appointment has apparently been postponed to an unknown date, and for unknown reasons, though it could just be scheduling conflicts.
We’re not sure exactly what the talks involve, but one source has speculated that it could be the beginning of a truce about the disputes over basic features and functions in Android. I would tend to think these two would more likely talk at a higher level, discussing a possible broad settlement, rather than getting bogged down in the minute details of every issue. One thing’s for certain, though. The majority of their differences revolve around the rapidly growing mobile space, which is obviously of crucial important to both companies.
I, for one, applaud the intent of these discussions, and hope it can bring an end to all the litigation, which is only good for the lawyers involved. Will it bear fruit? I hope so, but I’m not holding my breath.
Despite Apple’s recent legal victory over Samsung less than a week ago, HTC’s chairwomen Cher Wang has confirmed that her company has no plans on settling its current patent lawsuit with the Cupertino firm. The lawsuit started back in May when a Delaware court ordered both companies to begin settlement talks.
In the spirit of the recent jury verdict in favor of Apple… and the subsequent follow-up opinions regarding the matter, it’s only fitting that we hear other individuals give their two cents regarding the idea of patents and true innovation. In the TEDTalks (Technology, Entertainment and Design Talks) video podcast, Everything Is A Remix founder Kirby Ferguson offers some perspective on the idea of true innovation. He believes music is evolved by copying and transforming melodies, combining them with new lyrics or more specifically, transforming old lyrics with an artists’ perspective and spin. He cites famed folk/pop singer Bob Dylan who used works from other singers such as Paul Clayton. More importantly, Ferguson highlights that two-thirds of Dylan’s earlier melodies in his music are “borrowed”. You’d imagine that artists would have a hard time accepting their work is “borrowed” by other artists, but not-so-fast— it isn’t the case. Here’s another famed artist Woodie Guthrie offering his perspective on items like lyrics and melodies in borrowed music:
“The words aren’t the important thing. Don’t worry about tunes. Take a tune, sing high when they sing low, sing fast when they sing slow, and you’ve got a new tune”.
So with that concept in mind, Ferguson uses additional time to criticize Apple for not applying the “everything is borrowed” perspective for its products. He highlights the hypocrisy of American and international copyright and patent laws are built to counter the ability to previously use the work of others. Moreover, he cites multi-touch that was introduced in the original iPhone as an example. While Apple did indeed “patent” the technology, Ferguson highlights an example of the technology used by Jeff Han one year earlier and even highlighted the technology “wasn’t completely new” when he put it on display at a conference. This is fitting because Steve Jobs even admits in 1996 that even Apple “steals ideas”— with multi-touch being the most famed example… except it’s acceptable for Apple because you know— Android is a stolen product and all.
The video podcast is certainly an interesting one, so be sure to hit the break in order to check it out in all its entirety.
Folks in Cupertino and Apple fans around the world are surely in a good mood going into this weekend with the recently announced results of the Apple v Samsung trial in which Apple has prevailed (at least for now). More good news for Apple came out of the ITC today in determining that Apple had not violated a Motorola patent on some wifi technology. The ITC commission also exonerated Apple with regard to two other patents.
An ITC judge had originally ruled in Motorola’s favor and Apple was facing a ban of their devices had the commission’s review not gone in their favor. The possibility of a ban still exists as the case has been sent back to the original judge for a new review regarding the possibility that Apple violated a non-standards-based patent. This will effectively “reset” the case, so it will likely drag on for at least another year. In the meantime, Motorola has started a new action against Apple alleging more patent violations.
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:
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 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”.