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2648 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 678326 28-Aug-2012 19:15 Send private message

Ragnor: 
 
The patent office will never be fast enough or thorough enough and will continue to award bad patents for obvious things that will be used as legal weapons to stifle competiton.


I agree generally. However, how does patent stifle competition? Patents cannot be used to stop anyone else using the patent item. It provides a reward for innovation, provides recovery of R+D that the others do not have. Had Samsung licenced the patents in the case, they can use the functions, so innovation does go through the industry. Otherwise, be cheaper to wait for others to innovate and use that. Now, if Samsung innovates something great, or good, they will patent it. Same thing applies.

Interested to hear your thoughts, interesting topic.

Cheers

386 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 678373 28-Aug-2012 20:17 Send private message

 

Could not disagree more. Apple has gone to Samsung about the patents, offered licence arrangements. Not just once. Not interested. Therefore legal action followed. Apple and Google have arrangements going both ways, perhaps this is why there appears to be no desire to go after Google? Microsoft and Apple have arrangements. This is the IT industry, everyone overlaps quite a bit, so despite competition, sometimes aggressive, they often go about business, just as Samsung and Apple have re hardware.

Your quote above is correct, except in this case Samsung did not want it, but still used it. And evidence shows it was wilful, known, and a year ago they began designing around the patents.

I feel that the decision is correct, but the damages are too high, and if injunctions are added, thats also too much. But the over whelming factor for me is Samsung did what they did intentionally, thats where matters seem to have escalated. If there is an appeal, I expect that may reduce the issue,perhaps dependent on Samsungs actions between now and then.  

Yes I use Apple, yes I've used Android, I have no issue with Android or Samsung. What comes back to me is the evidence withon Samsung that came out, re intention.


Do you have any details about these patents Google licensed from Apple? I would be really interested in hearing about them as this is a key issue for Google/android and I was not aware they were licencing patents directly in relation to android. 

As for why apple didn't sue Google, Samsung is a much easier target, and potentially more lucrative if it ever came (for whatever reason) to proving the financial gain. More importantly it's much riskier for apple to sue google. If they sue google in relation to android and lose, other android manufacturers would stop paying fees to apple, whereas if they lose to samsung, they can continue to sue other manufacturers some of whom will pay the price apple demands despite their loss in court.

And if they sue samsung and win, they basically get the same benefit they would have had if they sued google -- that is the other manufactures are more likely to pay the fees apple demands. So the real question is, why would they take the increased risk of suing google? 

Also, did you consider that Samsung might have believed they were not infringing on Apples patents therefore did not need to licence them? I didn't read the whole trial but by your own admission one of the patents should not have been (rounded corners), so what is wrong with samsung saying no I won't pay $24 to use round corners in my phone?

There is nothing inherently wrong with copying an idea or using an idea to build another idea. Most inventions happen in this way.

386 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 678382 28-Aug-2012 20:30 Send private message

 
I agree generally. However, how does patent stifle competition? Patents cannot be used to stop anyone else using the patent item.


I believe you will find that is exactly what patents are used for.

http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/en/patents_faq.html#protection

"What Rights does a Patent Owner have?

A patent owner has the right to decide who may - or may not - use the patented invention for the period in which the invention is protected."

You might be getting confused with FRAND patents, such as those covering GSM which was created by a standards body.
The fact that cross-licencing of patents has become normal in the cellphone industry is because its such a minefield, nobody really has a clue who has patents on what and what patents their products might be infringing and whether those patents are valid.. and nobody really wants to test these things in court as that is extremely risky.

So we just end up paying more for our devices, and new players with no patents are disadvantaged as they have to pay all these fees to other parties, but have none of their own patents to cross licence, making their products more expensive relative to their competitors products (and stifling competition).

63 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 678386 28-Aug-2012 20:39 Send private message

tdgeek:
nzgeek:
The majority of patent lawsuits end up with some sort of settlement, where both parties agree on damages and sort out a licensing deal. Quite often this ends up with cross-licensing, where each side can use the others patents.

Apple, on the other hand, don't seem to be interested in licensing deals..


Could not disagree more. Apple has gone to Samsung about the patents, offered licence arrangements. Not just once. Not interested. Therefore legal action followed. Apple and Google have arrangements going both ways, perhaps this is why there appears to be no desire to go after Google? Microsoft and Apple have arrangements. This is the IT industry, everyone overlaps quite a bit, so despite competition, sometimes aggressive, they often go about business, just as Samsung and Apple have re hardware.

Your quote above is correct, except in this case Samsung did not want it, but still used it. And evidence shows it was wilful, known, and a year ago they began designing around the patents.

I feel that the decision is correct, but the damages are too high, and if injunctions are added, thats also too much. But the over whelming factor for me is Samsung did what they did intentionally, thats where matters seem to have escalated. If there is an appeal, I expect that may reduce the issue,perhaps dependent on Samsungs actions between now and then. ?

Yes I use Apple, yes I've used Android, I have no issue with Android or Samsung. What comes back to me is the evidence withon Samsung that came out, re intention.


Note: Google are going after Apple

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 678388 28-Aug-2012 20:40 Send private message

blair003:

Do you have any details about these patents Google licensed from Apple? I would be really interested in hearing about them as this is a key issue for Google/android and I was not aware they were licencing patents directly in relation to android. 

As for why apple didn't sue Google, Samsung is a much easier target, and potentially more lucrative if it ever came (for whatever reason) to proving the financial gain. More importantly it's much riskier for apple to sue google. If they sue google in relation to android and lose, other android manufacturers would stop paying fees to apple, whereas if they lose to samsung, they can continue to sue other manufacturers some of whom will pay the price apple demands despite their loss in court.

And if they sue samsung and win, they basically get the same benefit they would have had if they sued google -- that is the other manufactures are more likely to pay the fees apple demands. So the real question is, why would they take the increased risk of suing google? 

Also, did you consider that Samsung might have believed they were not infringing on Apples patents therefore did not need to licence them? I didn't read the whole trial but by your own admission one of the patents should not have been (rounded corners), so what is wrong with samsung saying no I won't pay $24 to use round corners in my phone?

There is nothing inherently wrong with copying an idea or using an idea to build another idea. Most inventions happen in this way.


I didnt say they were patents with Google, just stating that multi big IT companies have financial interactions. Point being that patent licencing is just one arrangement that can occur.  Specifically Google pays Apple for using Google on iDevices. Apple pays Google so that the iOS Maps default app can be used which uses Google mapping.

Yes, I did consider if Samsung did not feel it was at fault. But the court evidence had documents within Samsung that showed that the copying was known. In fact Samsung have been working on designing out the functions that are patented for a year. I feel the outcome of the case was too heavy. Part of that will be the jury, SFO location, but when there is an indication of intention, that doesn't help. Not wanting to be seen as anti Samsung, but from what Ive read, my opinion is that Apple are heavy handed litigation wise, but also Samsung are heavy handed in ignoring patents blatantly. Perhaps thats why Samsung is being targeted. Who knows. Id expect an appeal will reduce the damages, but Samsung needs to pay licence for patents it uses, or not use the functions, or desogn out the patent.

Yep, agree re ideas. Apple has always admitted it never invents anything, it improves. And they do that well. Its ironic that if Apple doesnt invent, certainy Samsung doesnt invent either, they copy! (Very tongue in cheek!)

But as I mentioned early on patents are good, but unwieldy. For smartphones and tablets, the lawmakers need to lay down what can be patented, what cannot be. Black and White.

The $24 I read was to cover all patents that are allegedly infringed, not just the curved corners. I dunno if curved corners was in fact a patent, I thought that was the whole look and feel, so a passing off. Not helped by Samsungs lawyers saying they could not see a difference between an iPad and Galaxy Tab.



2648 posts

Uber Geek
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Spark NZ

  Reply # 678393 28-Aug-2012 20:54 Send private message

blair003:
 
I agree generally. However, how does patent stifle competition? Patents cannot be used to stop anyone else using the patent item.


I believe you will find that is exactly what patents are used for.

http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/en/patents_faq.html#protection

"What Rights does a Patent Owner have?

A patent owner has the right to decide who may - or may not - use the patented invention for the period in which the invention is protected."

You might be getting confused with FRAND patents, such as those covering GSM which was created by a standards body.
The fact that cross-licencing of patents has become normal in the cellphone industry is because its such a minefield, nobody really has a clue who has patents on what and what patents their products might be infringing and whether those patents are valid.. and nobody really wants to test these things in court as that is extremely risky.

So we just end up paying more for our devices, and new players with no patents are disadvantaged as they have to pay all these fees to other parties, but have none of their own patents to cross licence, making their products more expensive relative to their competitors products (and stifling competition).
.

Wasnt referring to FRAND.

Spacedog quoted back on page 8 "You can't just patent something and sit on it, or extort outrageous license fees without getting into trouble with the courts." His words I guess, but patents give some IP protection, they cant be used to stop a function over others.

If players are innovative, the licences can offset to a degree. If one player is not innovative, it will pay more, and rightly so. When all this comes out of the wash, you would hope that the courts intervene to downplay patents, place rules on what can and can't be patented. Remove the minefield as you put it.

Notwithstanding all of the discussion, both Apple and Samsung have to be guilty that a percenatge of this case is not patents, its a fight. Apple is over litigating, Samsung is being blatant. That in itself may force change.


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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 678394 28-Aug-2012 20:56 Send private message

Reon:

Note: Google are going after Apple


Details?  Got tickets?  :-)

63 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 678414 28-Aug-2012 21:27 Send private message

tdgeek:
Reon:

Note: Google are going after Apple


Details?? Got tickets?? :-)


Basically now that Google have bought Motorola they're using their patents to sue Apple.


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  Reply # 678426 28-Aug-2012 21:38 Send private message

Reon:
tdgeek:
Reon:

Note: Google are going after Apple


Details?? Got tickets?? :-)


Basically now that Google have bought Motorola they're using their patents to sue Apple.



Yep. There are some articles at Stuff. Filtering out Stuffs lacklustre reporting and looking at the issues, it is interesting reading. The more I read the more fascinating all this is. Add to that the interdependency amongst many of these big players, interesting times. 

386 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 678427 28-Aug-2012 21:39 Send private message

 
But as I mentioned early on patents are good, but unwieldy. For smartphones and tablets, the lawmakers need to lay down what can be patented, what cannot be. Black and White.


Unfortunately the law rarely makes things black and white, it's generally left to the courts to interpret the law and make it clear to everyone what the law actually means. That is why this case is so important.

If apple are ultimately successful in defending these patents, it will lead to an ever increasing number of absurd patents. 

218 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 678430 28-Aug-2012 21:40 Send private message

tdgeek: 
Wasnt referring to FRAND.

Spacedog quoted back on page 8 "You can't just patent something and sit on it, or extort outrageous license fees without getting into trouble with the courts." His words I guess, but patents give some IP protection, they cant be used to stop a function over others.

If players are innovative, the licences can offset to a degree. If one player is not innovative, it will pay more, and rightly so. When all this comes out of the wash, you would hope that the courts intervene to downplay patents, place rules on what can and can't be patented. Remove the minefield as you put it.

Notwithstanding all of the discussion, both Apple and Samsung have to be guilty that a percenatge of this case is not patents, its a fight. Apple is over litigating, Samsung is being blatant. That in itself may force change.



Sorry, I was actually referring to the concept behind FRAND patents.  I'll be honest, I don't know for sure if the patents that were in dispute in the Samsung/Apple case were FRAND patents or not.  If they weren't they probably should have been (in my opinion).  My point is that FRAND patents exist and they offer a middle-ground of IP protection while avoiding monopolization of a product/market.

Regardless, Apple did offer a licensing agreement at $24/device, which was certainly on the high side, but not so much that you'd say "this is a joke and not a serious offer".  Furthermore, a non-FRAND patent is not exactly invulnerable and if the patent holder is unreasonable in their use or the patent is questionable in it's validity, that can always be challenged in court.  

Having read everyone's comments the last few days, I'm of the opinion that a wider use of FRAND/RAND type patents on software and UI might be the sensible 'fix' to the 'out-of-control patent system' for technology.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 678439 28-Aug-2012 21:47 Send private message

blair003:
 
But as I mentioned early on patents are good, but unwieldy. For smartphones and tablets, the lawmakers need to lay down what can be patented, what cannot be. Black and White.


Unfortunately the law rarely makes things black and white, it's generally left to the courts to interpret the law and make it clear to everyone what the law actually means. That is why this case is so important.

If apple are ultimately successful in defending these patents, it will lead to an ever increasing number of absurd patents. 


Agree. There arent many patents in this case AFAIK, but you are right. There are some articles at Stuff, gives interesting insights to the patent war and the potential effects. All speculation off course, but a good read. Note that these articles tend to favour Apple, but I just took note of the issues as a whole. Bit like Germany fighting England, each giving arms or revenue to the other!

I agree the case is important, it needs to cause more issues or concerns so that someone or some thing forces patents to be simplified or restricted. Problem is they all use them, strategise with them 

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 678444 28-Aug-2012 21:53 Send private message

spacedog:
tdgeek: 
Wasnt referring to FRAND.

Spacedog quoted back on page 8 "You can't just patent something and sit on it, or extort outrageous license fees without getting into trouble with the courts." His words I guess, but patents give some IP protection, they cant be used to stop a function over others.

If players are innovative, the licences can offset to a degree. If one player is not innovative, it will pay more, and rightly so. When all this comes out of the wash, you would hope that the courts intervene to downplay patents, place rules on what can and can't be patented. Remove the minefield as you put it.

Notwithstanding all of the discussion, both Apple and Samsung have to be guilty that a percenatge of this case is not patents, its a fight. Apple is over litigating, Samsung is being blatant. That in itself may force change.



Sorry, I was actually referring to the concept behind FRAND patents.  I'll be honest, I don't know for sure if the patents that were in dispute in the Samsung/Apple case were FRAND patents or not.  If they weren't they probably should have been (in my opinion).  My point is that FRAND patents exist and they offer a middle-ground of IP protection while avoiding monopolization of a product/market.

Regardless, Apple did offer a licensing agreement at $24/device, which was certainly on the high side, but not so much that you'd say "this is a joke and not a serious offer".  Furthermore, a non-FRAND patent is not exactly invulnerable and if the patent holder is unreasonable in their use or the patent is questionable in it's validity, that can always be challenged in court.  

Having read everyone's comments the last few days, I'm of the opinion that a wider use of FRAND/RAND type patents on software and UI might be the sensible 'fix' to the 'out-of-control patent system' for technology.


The trade-dress is a patent I think, as was slide to unlock, pinch to zoom, and the iPhone bouncy windows. I think there weer only 9 patents in the case? Samsung countersued on wifi, and I think switching antennas but that was seen as FRAND, as it is industry standard, in use by everyone, and as a standard it cannot be re engineered.

Good point re making more items FRAND, but perhaos not easy if its a UI issue rather than a hardware issue


527 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 678445 28-Aug-2012 21:58 Send private message

Just for reference, here's a summary of the patents/trademarks being asserted by Apple in the lawsuit:

US 7,812,828 B2 - Ellipse Fitting for Multi-Touch Surfaces
To do with tracking multi-touch input. Filed in Feb 2007, a second continuation on a patent originally filed in 1998.

US 7,669,134 B1 - Method and Apparatus for Displaying Information During an Instant Messaging Session
Describes an IM application UI. User icons are displayed on the left and right sides of the display, and speech bubbles show each individual message sent. Also shows when the other user is typing something. Filed in 2003.

US 6,493,002 B1 - Method and Apparatus for Displaying and Accessing Control and Status Information in a Computer System
Appears to describe a status bar with interactive, reorderable widgets. Filed in 1997, so no longer valid for new infringements.

US 7,469,381 B2 - List Scrolling and Document Translation, Scrolling and Rotation on a Touch Screen Display
This is the scroll bounce patent. It also describes a zoom bounce effect and a rotation bounce effect. Filed in Dec 2007.

US 7,844,915 B2 - Application Programming Interface for Scrolling Operations
Appears to describe a method for notifying software of scroll and getsrue events on a multi-touch screen. Filed in Jan 2007.

US 7,853,891 B2 - Method and Apparatus for Displaying a Window for a User Interface
Appears to cover notification windows that disappear (possibly fading) after some period of time, or when dismissed by a user. Filed in Feb 2008.

US 7,863,533 B2 - Cantilevered Push Button Having Multiple Contacts and Fulcrums
Describes a hardware switch with 2 contact points, of which either or both can be activated. The switch is designed such that one end will not raise if the other end is depressed. Filed in Sep 2008.

US  D627,790 S - Graphical User Interface for a Display Screen or Portion Thereof
Design patent for the iOS home screen. The sole figure in the application shows 3 full rows of 4 icon placeholders with space for a 4th row, and the bottom row of 4 static icon placeholders. Filed in Aug 2007.

US D612,016 S - Electronic Device
Design patent for the iPhone 3G shape. Filed in Jun 2008.

US D617,677 S - Electronic Device
Design patent for the original iPhone. Filed in Nov 2008.

Trademark Registration 3,470,983 
Covers the visual look of the face of the iPhone and the core app icons, e.g. "a white telephone receiver against a green background." Dated Jul 2008.

Trademark Registration 3,457,218
"The mark consists of a rectangular handheld mobile digital electronic device with rounded corners." That and a figure of the original iPhone in two-point perspective make up the entire body of the registration. Dated Jul 2008.

Trademark Registration 3,475,327
Described the colouring used on the original iPhone, e.g. a black face with a silver border. Dated Jul 2008.

Trademark Registration 3,866,196
Trademark on the iPhone's phone app icon. Rounded corners, green striped background, white phone image, glass look. Dated Dec 2010.

Trademark Registration 3,889,642
Trademark on the iPhone's messaging app icon. Rounded corners, green striped background, white speech bubble image, glass look. Dated Dec 2010.

Trademark Registration 3,886,200
Trademark on the iPhone's gallery app icon. Rounded corners, yellow flower. Dated Dec 2010.

Trademark Registration 3,889,685
Trademark on the iPhone's settings app icon. Rounded corners, white/grey border, 3 gears shown in white/grey/silver, grey background with black dots. Dated Dec 2010.

Trademark Registration 3,886,169
Trademark on the iPhone's notes/memo app icon. Rounded corners, yellow 'paper' with grey lines, brown bar at the top. Dated Dec 2010.

Trademark Registration 3,886,197
Trademark on the iPhone's contacts app icon. Rounded corners, stylised wire-bound book, silhouette of a man, brown index tabs on right. Dated Dec 2010.

Trademark Registration?
Trademark on the iPhone's music player app icon. Rounded corners, stylised musical note inside a circle, white on purple, glass look. Filed May 2010.

Trademark Registration 2,935,038
Trademark on the iTunes app icon. "The mark consists of a design of a compact disc with two musical notes." Dated Mar 2005.


That's supposedly a billion dollars worth of intellectual property right there. I'm not sure I agree.

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  Reply # 678459 28-Aug-2012 22:12 Send private message

I was right, 9 patents! The value was about 535 million, based on the $24 per device for the patents. If Samsung used these patents, I guess they should not have done, or paid the licence that was offered.

As to whether they thought they did not infringe, or what really happened in declining the licence, only the two of them really know. How much of all this is fighting and strategising in the market, same thing. I feel both are at fault and the patent laws. To what degree, thats up for discussion which is this thread.

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