And Dan Gillmor puts it like this, in The Guardian:
A home-town jury has given Apple the world, or at least the United States, in its campaign to control the smart phone and tablet markets.
Samsung, which decisively lost the highest-profile case to date in Apple's sue-everywhere strategy against the Android operating system, will surely appeal the verdict handed down the San Jose, California, federal court on Friday afternoon. And even if Samsung ultimately has to pay the $1bn judgement, the company can afford it.
But we're likely to see a ban on many mobile devices from Samsung and other manufacturers in the wake of this case, as an emboldened Apple tries to create an unprecedented monopoly. If so, the ultimate loser will be competition in the technology marketplace, with even more power accruing to a company that already has too much....
Crucially, the jury found none of Apple's patents invalid, despite substantial evidence that others anticipated many of the innovations that Apple put together when it released its first iPhone. This is a shame, because Apple's abuse of our out-of-control patent system has given Apple its chief ammunition in its global campaign to destroy Google's Android operating system, which Samsung (and many others) adopted for its smart phones.
But it says something bad about where we're headed when "bouncing" scrolling, black rectangles, and pinching motions are considered legally protectable innovation.
The argument needs to be kept in context and if you were with a company that introduced a new device that looked like nothing else on the market at the time, and then a year or so later a lot of other devices started pooping up that looked like it - what would you do? Just say oh well, it's just a rectangle that's obvious and bound to be copied so we'll just let it go..? I don't think so.
I've worked for a well known design company in the past and I know what goes into coming with something (hopefully) original. I've seen people do it. I've also seen them say, hey that's too much like Product X we need to do something more unique and better. Looking across Samsung's cables, headphones, docks, and even stores, they didn't have to consider that. They just took what someone else did and tweaked it (sometimes) a little and put their name on it. The designers I worked with would never have done this. They would have been fired for it as well.
So all in all, the 'black rectangle' argument in my mind is just complete bs. There's a lot of work that goes into designing 'a thing' and Apple took years to come up with the iPhone. Ultimately people noticed and rewarded them. And so has the jury. While our patent system may suck in a lot of ways, this was a big win for design and physical form.
They aren't. You can't patent features. Jeff Han demonstrated pinch-to-zoom around the same time the iPhone was announced. His method was completely different. Thus he and Apple could both patent their methods (presuming they both meet the other burdens) and thus have patents that you would characterize as "pinch to zoom".
The idea that Apple has a monopoly on features is not correct, it is spin. This is not how patents work.
We're fortunate that a jury saw thru this smokescreen.
That's the takeaway here. I'm very skeptical the jury was truly impartial in this case.
"Let's give Apple millions," seems to be the attitude.
Like handing a bully reigns of the school yard. Not great for the valley and technology, it seems.
Is this stuff getting too complex for lay juries?
In the UK, there have been serious fraud cases that have collapsed simply through jury attrition and lack of capability to understand the evidence.
That said, I am not defending in any way this patent law fucktardery that's gotten us to where they are today.
Apple has a point that Samsung was copying them. Pure, simple, stupid copying, not using elements of it and turning it into something new and great.
On the other side, the ways of protection with patents of tiny bits of it is silly and broken. They are trivial and regard the overall design and should not be allowed.
Famously the Mac itself is based upon the work of Xerox Parc. To the credit of Apple and Steve Jobs they put in a lot of work, made many concepts useable and re-developed the mouse to actually make a consumer product out of it.
For me the morale right or wrong is the following:
* make it your own:
While heavily using concepts existing prior, you´ll re-combine them into something way better than the thing you copy: That´s ok for me, it has creative value.
You simply dumbly copy things line-by-line without even understanding the basic concepts of why something is great and throw it on the market at a lower prive: That´s wrong and ripping of the creative work of others.
Samsung to me falls quite clearly into the copy category. I doubt that they have a deep understanding of UX design and the subtleties what actually made the iPhone great and delighted the users.
It´s essentially all in the mostly miss-understood Picasso phrase "Good artists copy, great artists steal.". Although the phrase confusing most people more than it helps.
* moral compass of creatives
It´s got the basics though that has guided the moral compass of creatives:
If you take inspiration from me and turn it into something mind-blowing, it´s ok. I´m flattered to be a part of it.
If you just plain copy my stuff to make money with it, it´s not ok.
* Legal System
The Jury system in the US is actually well suited deciding complex moral questions and too much fine print hinders more than it heps, which was evident in this case.
To me, instead of a patent office there should be a central online register to archive jury-understandable photos and descriptions or ideally videos of the stuff you do simply to have a validated reference of when you thought of it.
And then patent/IP Law may simply should read soething like this:
It is ok to base any creative work on the work of others as long as the result is something new and great in it´s own right.
It´s not ok to copy the work of others without significantly improving it simply for making money.
Done. Plain Language.
Everything else, the moral right or wrong would be left to a Jury with guidance from a Judge.
Which they basically did in the Apple case. All that patent BS aside, I guess they descided on the basic morale question and started the paperwork.
(That guess is based on the time it took them to come to the verdict. When actually reading all the paperwork produced they would have been there years.)
What´s your take?
What do you do? I guess more research? If there is something like that in software...
And how would you approach the patent system?
The Mac IS based on the work of Xerox, but that work was licensed by Apple from Xerox. Thus there is a huge difference-- Samsung does not have a license from Apple.
Where would you draw the line of what´s patentable? To me this seems actually to trivial as with most software patents.
In terms of software it´s not really the implementation that´s protected, more the concept... (Nobody is comparing source code and is looking if it´s coded in the same way)
About the S II, I know there are a lot of fans of it. I have used my friends S II for a bit, but didn't really find anything exceptional about it. Note, I had not even used a iPhone at the time, still don't own one. But, Samsung's product definitely didn't hit the spot. For one, Samsung's font always look crappy. Even their desktop software to manage the phone looks like its developed by university students. Anyways, thats just my personal opinion.
Samsung is just evil, a well-oiled business machine. So, I dunno why people are trying to defend it. Take for example, the fact that only their flagship models get upgrades to the new android versions and the rest are forced to buy a new phone to keep up.
I know that they are a major OEM in regards to phone components. And have the capability to produce high quality components. But when they sacrifice all that and use inferior materials in their own products to generate higher profits, it's not something I could agree with.
I agree that I do have some bias against Samsung, but that is because of what I have known about them from friends who worked there and the general impression they have in the software industry here in India.