This is not what "irreparable harm" used to mean. Apple's lawyers are celebrating tonight.
EDIT: If I plan to kill a cat, and you file a lawsuit to stop me, the judge may issue an injunction for me not to kill the cat until the lawsuit is complete. Humanity does not know how to unkill a cat, so if I did so while the lawsuit was pending, I would make the lawsuit moot and evade justice. That is "irreparable harm", at least if it's your cat.
On the other hand, if my actions are causing you mere monetary harm, we know exactly how to repair that: take money from me and give it to you. Injunctions should not be issued in such cases, because the plaintiff can always be made whole later on by simply receiving an appropriate amount of money.
And now they're grabbing up that stick and going to town with it.
i.e. Sales and profits now is a lot more important than Sales and Money later.
Here's another example -- Imagine how different things could be today if the AT&T lawsuits hadn't temporarily paralyzed the BSDs just as Linux was also emerging.
I can't even begin to quantify the cost of what could have happened if the lawsuit hadn't been filed by AT&T.
This stalled BSD development/adoption for 2 years while the legal status was in question.
But then, the whole patent system has been fucked up for umpteen years because of the way lawyers lay out the legalese on most patents. Something as specific as a new protocol to transfer data (say, SPDY) can be massaged into being a vague generic definition ("a binary transmission method designed to make HTTP-like data structures and operations possible in a more efficient manner") that could cover a lot of ground, giving the owner of the patent the power to halt innovation (ZeroMQ could very well fall under the umbrella defined of such 'patent') while giving exactly 0 benefit to anyone.
I'm just waiting for someone cheeky enough to come up with a vague wording for describing a 'wooden and/or plastic object designed with the purpose of holding items and or facilitating common household tasks' (i.e. a piece of furniture) and sue IKEA.
Or was pagerank something they did early on and I'm mixing up two things.
I think there's a fine line where on one side inventors cant net a profit without a time-based monopoly but on the other side of this fine line it's just hurting competition.
Because it belongs to Stanford University, not Google.
Is this from reading the claims, or from reading the introduction (whatever that's called)?
I'm bad at legalese, but it seems to pertain to search-as-you-type amongst multiple libraries (songs, texts, emails, etc.)
Apple can't get back lost sales and revenue as a result of patent infringement by their direct competitor.
>Apple can't get back lost sales and revenue
Unless Samsung was, you know, required to write them a check. For damages. If they lost. Which is how such cases usually proceed.
But every lost sale of an iPhone is also one less person within the ecosystem. An ecosystem that plays off each of its elements to drive revenue e.g. iPhone user buys movies which they can only watch if they buy an AppleTV etc. It's borderline impossible to quantify all of the indirect revenue Apple would lose not just now but in the future.
There's a technique pretty much every company that knows what's it doing applies to figure out exactly what you mentioned and it's called downstream impact analysis.
I'm absolutely 100% certain if you're an executive at Apple and you ask your finance department what the downstream impact is of an iPhone sale the finance department will come back with numbers for the profit variance when the customer wasn't already a customer, when they already were and a bunch of other scenarios.
I think it is very easy to imagine irreparable harm being done.
And I fully agree that the finance department would be able to calculate the expected profit per customer for today's products. But what about tomorrow's ? And the next year ?
Apple locks in the user at multiple points: apps, movies, TV shows, books, accessories etc.
OP's entire argument is that the court's finding is incorrect and that's why its a victory for Apple's lawyers -- I think you're severely underestimating the forecasting techniques used, especially in a company as competent as Apple.
It doesn't seem to me that incalculable implies irreparable but it's certainly a defensible position.
It's easy to repair: Apple gets paid a fine.
This is almost a classic example of repairable harm.
The harm to Samsung is actually much worse (they are blocked, as opposed to just having to compete), yet the bond is supposed to make them whole.
How much is market leadership worth? How big of a check would Apple have to write RIM to restore their market advantage? How big of a check would Apple have to write Nokia to put them back where they were in the marketplace 4 years ago?
I'd argue that there is no check large enough to restore a lost market advantage. If Apple won their current market position through innovation, and Samsung is eroding it by taking advantage of that innovation counter to patent law, there's no reasonable amount Samsung could pay to set things to right.
If the damage of losing market share is truly irreparable, then the court would be doing irreparable harm to Samsung on the basis of Apple's unproven allegations.
Let us say that first "If" is held by the judge as a given and that allows for him to deny the same rights to the other party. How does that work at all ?
When one of these gets overturned "there's no reasonable amount" Apple "could pay to set things"..."right.". How is that loss calculated ? Is it calculated at all ?
This automatic assumption after the cry wolf turns to nothing in the end and the plaintiff abused the law and the courts to retain commercial position while trying to cement its stand through jurisprudence.
This is a sad state of things and points to a needed overhaul, if not, it will just go on and on until it breaks in the end. Billions of dollars later, the "leaders" will have chocked everyone else not because of innovation but because of bad legislation that assumes too much at the preliminary stages based on incompetent assertions that cannot be equated like other parts of the law. Yet, here we are.
I think you're considering the status or intangible satisfaction of being the market leader. That is not what Apple's shareholders are interested in. They are interested in money. If Apple had the choice between getting a check for all the money they would ever earn for all their products and liquidating the company, vs. remaining in business, they would close their doors, cash the check and pop the champagne. And that check would be worth much more than a "lost market advantage."
Now they're probably not going to get such a check. But if not that's because the court will deem they don't deserve it. But the real reason they want this is that it will clearly do much more harm to Samsung than it will diminish their case against Samsung, better yet, they still get to bloody Samsung's nose even if the court eventually rules against them!
If Samsung gobbles up market share, a big check won't bring that back, and a check big enough to account for it would probably bankrupt Samsung (assuming you could ever calculate what that numer would be).
Let's pretend that Samsung drove Apple out of business by rapidly copying Apple's R&D and competing directly on price. Just how big of a check would be required to set things to right?
We can use an analogy instead of hypotheticals. Imagine I've stockpiled grain for the winter. Winter has arrived, and suddenly, so does the army. They commandeer my grain and promise to write a check for its market value. The next spring, I get the check in the mail. Unfortunately for me, my family already starved.
This is just the point I'm trying to make. Apple doesn't want market share, so they don't care if it goes away for its own, sake, they care if it goes away if they lose money. That market share has a cash value to Apple that the jury could award them if they win their case.
> my family already starved.
Yes, exactly, that is irreperable harm. Whereas in this case, nobody is starving. Apple is losing some finite amount of money, and some finite potential for future earnings, which they are suing Samsung for and could be awarded in damages if the jury sides with them.
In the limit, imagine Samsung stole the whole market from Apple. The jury could award Apple the total market value of Samsung. That would literally be the value of whatever market share Samsung had "stolen" from them.
Unlike life, market share has a finite cash value.
If there is real infringement, why not offer Samsung the option of licensing the patent at a court-determined price? And shouldn't economic/market-health considerations be taken into play? Current law might not allow for these two points, but maybe they should be considered.
The analogy was intended to demonstrate that when you purloin (or commandeer) someone else's property, it's sometimes impossible to restore their previous hypothetical future, no matter how much money you throw at them.
Apple may not starve, but they may very well be irreparably harmed.
> If there is real infringement, why not offer Samsung the option of licensing the patent at a court-determined price?
See my grain commandeering analogy for why. Apple doesn't want to license these patents to Samsung, because Apple clearly thinks the temporary government-granted monopoly is worth far more than any reasonable licensing fee.
> And shouldn't economic/market-health considerations be taken into play?
The market seems quite healthy, currently.
And my point is, why should it be necessary under the law to restore their hypothetical future?
The law doesn't presume to restitute the full losses of people whose property is destroyed by others' acts. I don't have the impression the law generally aims to completely undo big violations of others' rights or contractual terms, only to punish or provide partial restitution after the fact; otherwise we'd be seeing big reversals and small startup Davids suddenly overpowering Goliaths who had unfairly crushed them out of existence.
Not that this even applies in this case; Apple is no small scrappy David, and it's relying on imo broken patents.
> Apple doesn't want to license these patents to Samsung, because Apple clearly thinks the temporary government-granted monopoly is worth far more than any reasonable licensing fee.
I meant that the court should compel Apple to offer the licensing option, not that it would benefit Apple to do this. Ideally, though, the court should simply overturn the patents (which I hope is done in the subsequent hearings). Patents on metasearch, linkification and slide-to-unlock simply threaten the rest of the industry.
The '604 search patent is a big hot mess of ideas thrown together to cover all sorts of "maybe-this-maybe-that" use cases and potential improvements. It basically means having a unified search system that relies upon "search heuristics" for multiple domains. Like the other allegedly infringing patents in the case, it's another broken patent that IMO shouldn't have been granted. Does anyone know of prior art (prior to Dec '04) for a search mechanism that obtains search results from multiple domains using sub-plugins and combines them into a list? That seems to be the core of the idea, and further ideas are thrown on top of it in the patent application thereafter.
Read it yourself at
Google was doing this two months prior to Apple's filing: http://www.google.com/press/pressrel/desktopsearch.html
Because of that and as a German I wont ever buy Android and also telling my friends.
> Because of that and as a German I wont ever buy Android and also telling my friends.
So you won't ever buy anything ever again?
As you say yourself it's the whole industry that is playing this game, so it seems unfair to take it out on just one company. Biased much?
Apple has intelligent people making these decisions. So they know in their heart of hearts that the patents they hold are overly broad to the point of bogusness. They know that the majority of the tech market is also intelligent enough to come to this same realization. They have an awareness that lawsuits exercising these quasi-bogus patents will have a negative impact on Apple's public image. Therefore, the only logical reason for going through with the lawsuits is because they have concluded that the alternative -- letting Samsung + Google have their way in the mobile market -- would be far more damaging to Apple.
Apple's interests aside, is this good for society at large? Doubtful.
Samsung is the only other player making any real profit in the industry, so they are definitely Apple's largest competition at this point. Unless MS does something crazy with Windows Phone 8. They're important.
But I don't agree with huge threat. At this point, Apple may be able to take a year off from releasing a new iPhone (despite not having true 4G) and not suffer significantly in the long term. It's not a good idea, but I bet they could.
It turns out their one-size-fits-all approach really doesn't fit all so they go patent nuclear on Android while borrowing a lot of Android's ideas along the way. I'd love to see Google sue the shit out of them for stealing their notification system.
“Yet Apple's iPhone and iPad business remains more lucrative. The Cupertino, California-based company earned $11.6bn (£7.2bn) in the January-March quarter, more than twice as much as Samsung, even though its revenue was about 10% less.”
It's not fun, imo, watching a gorilla (one might say the biggest one) pulverizing three others.
Apple has descended into hell, rose again from the dead, ascended into marketshare heaven, and is seated at the right hand of Oracle the Litigant almighty. From there it will judge the clone and the KIRF.
I believe in the Holy Mothership,
the holy Apple Store,
the communion of Genii,
the forgiveness of GSODs,
the resurrection of the product cycle,
and maddeningly ill-thought-out and sporadic iLife updates everlasting. Amen.
Apple: Are your products so terrible that you have to force people to buy them by preventing any other competition?
I think it may be time for high profile developers to boycott Apple till they stop acting like this.
Let’s say I invent and patent carbon fibre and start making bicycles out of it. My bicycles are vastly superior to lightweight steel, aluminium, and scandium framed models on the market.
Are my products terrible? Obviously not!
Now my competitors rush out to make carbon fibre bicycles of their own. I sue. Am I saying that my products are terrible and can’t compete? No, I’m saying my products are excellent and can easily compete against my competitors’ actual products.
But obviously I’m going to be less successful competing against my own product and my own inventions, which is what happens when my competitors simply copy my ideas.
This specific case is one where Apple alleges it is competing against its own innovations. It’s fair to argue that the competition didn’t copy them. But if we accept the court’s ruling that the competing products are infringing on Apple’s patents, then Apple is not making “terrible” products that can’t compete against its competition, Apple is making excellent products that are obviously going to be less successful competing against itself.
Do you really think that apple invented search-as-you-type? Did they invent the concept of using a date picker to set a meeting? Do they really deserve a patent on thin rectangular things? No, that is all bullshit and it is shameful that the courts are willing to be bullied (or bought) into playing along with this farce.
I accept that you don’t say that their products are terrible. I certainly like their products while disliking the innovation-killing patent-circus. The eventual end-game is an oligopoly, and I think this is a net loss for humankind.
The open question concerns any company "competing in the open market" against companies that simply clone successful products without limitation or restriction. Essentially, the question asks Apple how much faith it has that its products can compete against its products.
none of these companies are leveraging truly novel patents in their lawsuits. few of these companies are even generating novel patents. they're all accumulating (likely bogus) patents to wield as a club against their competitors. the theory was mutual assured destruction would keep all parties in line but Intellectual Ventures pioneered tactical patent strikes that forced all players into an ever escalating cycle of violence. now they're all just scrambling trying to stay ahead. put simply, it's sue or be sued
it sucks, but until there's meaningful patent reform, it's how things are going to be
That is by far the most despicable cliché I know. You choose which games to play and how to play them. The whole point of having principles is that sometimes you do things that aren’t optimal game strategies.
For example, you choose not to murder your business competitors. You choose not to sell products that kill your customers. Do we let tobacco executives off the hook because they’re just “playing the game?” How about the cocaine cartel?
A gentle way to put it is, “This is a false dichotomy. Hate them both."
When you go to court with patents like the 4 Apple is leaning on, the perception of playing dirty because you're losing "fairly" is logical, and probably reasonably apt.
Do you think "Slide To Unlock" or "Universal Search" is what makes the IPhone a great phone? I can't equate any of these patents to carbon fiber.
It doesn't really bother me that these trivial patents were granted to Apple. It is how Apple is using it to basically take out the competition.
Also, let's ride with the carbon fibre example. Is it really desirable that the world will have to wait for 50+ years until carbon fibre bicycles can be made accessible to the mainstream? Let's not forget that it is the public, proxied by the government, who grants patents, so obviously they should only grant patents if it benefits the public. This is not the case with patent trolling, because it only stiffles innovation (basically you need an army of lawyers to do anything interesting) and drives up prices.
I don't think gp's point maximizing Apple's gain but simply shaming Apple into better behavior. Sure, it's better for you if your competition isn't allowed to use any of your innovations. But why not show you are so good you don't need all the advantages you are legally entitled to?
Software patents are a horrible joke, but to stick your fingers in your ears and shout "I can't hear you!!!" won't result in a positive outcome for your company. As much as it makes my stomach turn, I'm forced to consider the ramifications of patent and IP (especially now that it's first to file instead of first to innovate) nearly every day.
Consumers have the right to choose what products they want to buy.
I have been slowly switching away from the Apple products I own. And this just reaffirms that I will never buy another Apple product.
You might notice all of your friends who were liberal and poor in their 20's start voting conservative in their 40's once they have material wealth to protect - "less taxes! less government!"
Would that be the same Android platform that has the main OEMs (Samsung, HTC, Google) under FTC/EU investigation for anti competitive behaviour due to FRAND abuses. Abuses which undermine the entire foundation of key IT/CE standards.
The fact is that nobody's hands are clean. It's a bloody mess that is only going to get worse.
Theres many other companies like Asus or you can even go with Windows Phone which is pretty awesome these days, the main con about WP (it has no apps) that everybody says is pretty much invalid now since it had about 100,000+ apps.
This is bad news for consumers, bad news for innovators.
Similarly, the price of simpy ditching patents would be the proliferation of trade secrets and obfuscated mechanisms.
I think the normal folks (consumers) don't get how bad this is.
Also, it seems that their main patent(8,086,604) for this case describe a metasearch engine, something that have been around at least since the mid 90s(long before the patent was filled in 2004).
 http://youtu.be/wnFsJ9z_caY?t=1m57s (warning: terrible video quality ahead)
So you can file any bogus patent, the USPTO won't verify. They'll only check if all the paperwork is in order. It will only matter if your patents are bogus if someone tries to invalidate it.
Or am I talking crap? Please correct me where I'm wrong, I'd love to learn more.
I'd also think that the injunction could be removed if Samsung can show that they aren't causing irreparable harm, even if they are indeed infringing a legitimate patent.
The unfortunate thing is that our other laws assume that the Patent Office is able to do its job - patents are presumed to be valid unless you go through the legal hoops necessary to invalidate one. And being in the process of going through those legal hoops isn't a defense when the patent holder sues you for infringement, so there's really little benefit for you to go through them in the first place.
It would be nice if supposedly innovative companies could, you know, just keep innovating instead of worrying about copycats catching up on stale technology (in this case, I don't think it's even clear that there is any sort of copycat-like activity).
Apple makes a few excellent products, but this kind of thing lowers my impression of the brand overall.
The old rules of the game were that
1) all the big guys cross-licensed each other's patents
2) the big guys got together to create standards and used patents to monetize these standards.
Note that the old rules of the game weren't particularly fair to the little guys, but at least they weren't the mutual destruction that Apple has started.
Apple is a big player in #2, receiving a fair portion of the MP4 licensing profits, for example.
But of course, Apple being a relatively new phone maker doesn't have any skin in the "phone standards" game, and has to license them from the older players like Qualcomm, Nokia & Motorola. The standards agreement force these guys to license in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory fashion (FRAND).
Nokia said that a patent cross-license was FRAND. If Apple were good guys, they would have agreed -- they could get these phone-essential patents for less or even no money. However, they were reserving these patents for offensive purposes, so Nokia & Apple couldn't come to an agreement, essentially forcing Nokia to sue them.
This is much more complicated than "Dude, Apple are such duches. They can't think of anything new so they just sue everybody."
IP protection in the US (and world, thanks to treaties) is seriously messed up. Apple is aggressive, but it is naïve to think any large company wouldn't be (and small companies need to recognize that!).
This just doesn't make sense. While I understand your point of view from a patents-in-general perspective, I simply cannot sympathize with Apple in this particular case. I concede that they are operating within legal bounds but I cannot give them the moral high ground of being poor oppressed inventors who are being copied.
Not that the idea of a boycott against Apple would ever fly.
FYI: The patents held against Android:
1. A means of detecting and marking up data like a phone number or an e-mail address, and then initiating a phone call or an e-mail when the linked data is clicked
2. A means of searching multiple databases and sources for data.
3. A slide to unlock feature.
4. An autocorrect-type function that completes the word as a user types and allows the user to accept or reject the word.
This must be a joke!
* The USPTO approves most patents applications without the most cursory examination by a qualified person.
* Patents granted by the USPTO are assumed to be valid unless overturned by a court of law.
You can't have it both ways and still expect a logical result.
And seriously, how the hell did #4 up there even get approved? Did the examiner rubber-stamping that mess seriously never in his entire life use Microsoft Word?
Is there a legal reason Apple is suing Samsung instead of Google, or is it tactical / political?
That's why you can build an mp3 player from source without paying the license fee, but Debian can't ship you a compiled mp3 player.
Are you sure about this? So I could write any patent-infringing code I want, distribute source-only (or even write it in a purely interpreted language) and then nobody can complain that I've violated any of their patents?
It's a shame that the places where Apple really moved forward are not where they are exploiting their patents. It seems, those ideas were already beyond Apple's ability to patent, so instead they got a bunch of bogus stuff through and are using it anyway. It really besmirches their actual amazing record of inventiveness that they take rubbish like this forward. I hope these all get overturned.
You cannot be a software-developer and support this monster with your money. As a software developer there should be no way you can support this.
Apple is the SCO of this decade.
Her bias is showing. How embarrassing.
The only related example is that Motorola Mobility recently began a patent suit against Microsoft and then Google acquired them (in that order) so it's unclear whether that promise applies.
But it's easy to see what game-changing technology is. Look at what people want in a phone:
There's tens of similar surveys published online. None of them include "search-as-u-go". In fact Apple doesn't seem to think that it's that big enough of a deal to promote. They advertise tens of features & this isn't one of them. And that's because it's expected (everyone uses it already) or it's not that important to a buyer when choosing a phone to purchase.
It's just not reasonable to assume that the "search-as-u-go" technology could give any sort of significant advantage to Samsung to be the cause of a shift in market share or something with similarly unascertainable consequences, which is precisely what the ruling of irreparable damage relies on.
This is getting out of hand. And I'm blaming Apple for most of the lunacy.
You can hate my comment. You can down vote me. You can hate Apple as much as you like but all of you know before there was iPhone and iPad there was nothing close to any of it. So how can anyone say all other companies aren't copying? Eric Schmidt just stole every inch of the iPhone...
This article is about the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which doesn't have any integrated voice assistant as far as I am aware.
> Eric Schmidt just stole every inch of the iPhone...
While it may be true that Android has "stolen" certain things from the iPhone, there are also plenty of things that the iPhone has also "stolen" from Android. Saying Android copies everything that Apple does while Apple continues to build everything from the ground up is completely unfair.
People always claim Apple had stolen from Android too but they never can give any evidence. What did Apple copy from Android which become a major selling factor? Copy paste? No. Multi touch? No. Multitasking? No. App Store? Hello no!
Please just tell me how entrepreneurs all seem to hate Apple because Apple just fighting for there right. The right to say: Hey if you want to make a product, but don't just copy our product!
Apple didn't sued Microsoft over WP7 cause they didn't just copy The iPhone. They found something new. Something different. But Android And Google just trying to copy the hell of iOS as much as possible.
EDIT: This has nothing to do with being a die-hard Apple guy. Everyone should have the right to fight copy cats. Or would like it that your product is getting copied and you as a the creator earn just nothing from it at all. Not even the respect that it was your idea and your product.
They can own a specific implementation of searching with your voice, but that's it. The general concept of "doing this thing" is not something that is protectable.
Also, not that it is really relevant, but selling point Apple copied from Android? Notification center. A direct, 'slavish' copy (to use Koh's own terms), but you're not jumping up to defend Google's 'innovations' in the untamed wilderness of "use part of the screen to tell you what's happening".
I just stop here. It doesn't make any sense to argue about this anymore. I just hope this copying just stops and everyone can have it's own innovative feature and not copied crap!
Now, if Apple goes after Nexus 7, we will know that they are planning a 7" iPad-mini.
I am sorry, but stuff like that just makes me despise Apple. Maybe the greater public will eventually catch on, too.
It's a bizarre and clumsy piece of corporate-speak. Money can't make one whole. It could set things right, though.
Didn't google just reduce the price of this phone to $349. I am pretty sure it was not due to lack of demand. The phone is beautiful, feels different then previous versions of Android and looks different then Apple's iPhone. The judge involved here is the same judge who did the same thing to Galaxy Tab (which sucked anyway). But doing this to such a good phone which could have brought smartphone to life of millions of people is shameful. Its not the intellectual property , its a anti-competitive move.
Time to vote with your wallet is way overdue.
And while you're at it may think about the Sony stuff you own.
Of course, I won't claim any moral superiority here. While I don't have any Apple devices, it's not because of moral reasons but simply because I am genuinely unimpressed with their efforts. Overrated, over-hyped and fashionable, but never practical or optimal.
> Time to vote with your wallet is way overdue.
As for Apple—I enjoy using their products and I enjoy developing for iOS. As for Google—as I get older I start to hate ads more and more. I want to pay myself for the products I buy and use. A little more privacy is a nice side effect of that.
So yep, I will vote with my wallet.
Lots of people refuse to pay taxes for similar reasons.
just don't do it before trying other methods, like writing to your representatives and all that.
If you don't like it, fix the laws.
Using the patent system to browbeat your competitors out of business by wielding bullshit imaginary software patents does not promote the progress of anything but Apple's business.
Therefore, it is clearly an abuse of the law.
Their tactics are pathetic.