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Groklaw on the Apple v. Samsung jury verdict (groklaw.net)
109 points by grellas on Aug 24, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 31 comments

Best summary to date (from the bottom of the post in case you missed it)

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.

The other big winner, Windows Phone.

I have a soft spot for Windows Phone, because it's clear Microsoft has been trying very hard to catch up. Internet Explorer 9 and 10, for example. They've put a lot of effort into those. Windows 8 was a complete rethinking of user interaction with Windows. And Windows Phone 7 was a complete rethink of Windows Mobile. I hope they get something for their efforts.

And the default Android. It's Samsung's UI layer that looks too much like the iPhone.

Both the Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus which use the default android UI were found infringing as well.

The invalidity is the main surprising part. If we accept these patents as valid, it doesn't seem possible to really defend Samsung. (I don't know the full details, but that seems clear.)

But it says something bad about where we're headed when "bouncing" scrolling, black rectangles, and pinching motions are considered legally protectable innovation.

I get so tired if the black rectangle argument. It's completely disingenuous imo. It's not just about black rectangles as Samsung likes to frame the argument; it's a design for a phone. It's not a black rectangle piece of paper or painting or anything else. It's about a mobile device.

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.

But Samsung didn't copy the entire design, they copied the basic form factor which, as someone else pointed out, was unambiguously not an Apple invention. Sure, Apple made the first popular device with that particular form factor, but they didn't invent it, and therefore it shouldn't qualify for protection, even if something that general can be protected.

Take a look at this. http://www.wallpaper.com/images/98_02032007_prada_f.jpg The LG Prada phone - released before the original iphone anouchement (though it looks quite a lot like the current 4/4s). Rectangular, touch screen phones weren't an apple invention. And shouldn't be protected.

>But it says something bad about where we're headed when "bouncing" scrolling, black rectangles, and pinching motions are considered legally protectable innovation.

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.

Hyperbole and a half.

I think this shows Groklaw's weakness. The collected hatred for US patent law blinded PJ and the other reporters from seeing how this trial was really shaping up. I thought it was pretty clear that Apple was winning handily but reading Groklaw's coverage would have given the opposite impression. Hindsight is 20/20 but I never had much doubt that Apple would win this case and I was generally surprised at the slant from Groklaw.

Not really. My reading of Groklaw told me that Apple will win for sure but Samsung will have plenty of grounds to appeal. Today's verdict was not a surprise at all.

Really, surprised at Groklaw's slant? While I know the bias in Groklaw is shared by many web developers (note I didn't just say "developers"), I've never been a fan of its cheerleading and it's attempts to make it look like they're looking at the law impartially. Lastly, I don't find their legal analysis well thought out. It's lack of impartiality hampers its ability to do good analysis.

I got all my coverage of this trial from Groklaw, and I certainly got the impression that it was heading south for Samsung.

> So the irony is, on the same day, a South Korean court ruled that a South Korean company did not copy the US company Apple and a US court ruled that a South Korean company did copy the US company Apple.

That's the takeaway here. I'm very skeptical the jury was truly impartial in this case.

Quoting ...

"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.

"The foreman told a court representative that the jurors had reached a decision without needing the instructions."

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.

Wasn't the whole point of having a lay jury that Samsung's copying was so blatant (they did take the piss on a few of their designs...) that an average person could confuse one of their devices for an iPhone?

That said, I am not defending in any way this patent law fucktardery that's gotten us to where they are today.

A sad day.

The point by point of this version is quite useful to see how the verdict went.

I´m personally quite conflicted in this case:

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.

* copy: 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?

I really like your proposal and as you said, it is perfectly in line with creative ethics. However it would not work for the part of innovation that is further away from end-products and their appearance. Sometimes it is worth a lot to produce something cheaper by improving the production process. And that may mainly just mean lower prices. By the way it seems to me that the hugely increased role of design - such as UX design - is now also reflected in shifting the economic battles from hardcore technology to something more "superficial". And I'm using that word neutrally.

Yea, I´m coming from the creative side... And great companies always had attention for detail (or for more more "superficial" stuff if you want to put it that way). The success of that companies (Apple being one of them) clearly inspired other companies to try harder.

What do you do? I guess more research? If there is something like that in software...

And how would you approach the patent system?

Patents cover implementations, not features. These patents are not BS, they are legitimate. There are bigger patents that cover larger aspects of the iPhone inventions but those patents were filed later and thus not granted in time for this trial.

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.

Well... The main patent in this case is the "bounce-back patent".

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)

Samsung is one of the least creative companies that ever existed and in my view a low quality high volume manufacturer. I hate it when companies make no effort to be good and just produce mediocre products with higher profit margins. It's no surprise that they copied Apple's UX because they definitely cannot produce something on their own. They deserve to be punished for being a player who simply tries to make money off others ideas, using their distribution muscle and market hold specifically in Asia. Guilty!

Except my Samsung Galaxy S II is lighter and thinner than an iPhone 4, with the same camera, a bigger screen, twice the RAM, and more of the features I want. And I can develop for it myself without having to go through a middle-man. Original or not, they're very good phones.

Wow.. a lil bit surprised at the down votes. Guess, I should make it clear, it's more of a personal opinion. Anyways, I have never been a fan of these kind of hardware specs when they don't map out to any real difference in usage. I have never been a fan of apple and their closed eco-system and have only recently started using apple products as I develop for the iPad. But I do feel they make products of superior quality.

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.

>low quality high volume manufacturer Wait til you find out that Samsung is one of Apple's main suppliers for the parts of the iPhone, you're gonna feel so silly.

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