Many times, patent cases are argued like someone was trespassing: This idea is my property, and you started using it. What Apple did well in this trial is that it portrayed Samsung as a cheater—someone who looked over Apple's shoulder and copied down its answers. This portrayal obviously resonated with the jury leading to the overwhelming win.
Is that right? No, not really, especially for technical issues. Frankly, the most astounding part of this decision was that Samsung's standard-essential patents were not considered infringed. I fully expect Samsung to file (and win) a JNOV (a judgment notwithstanding the verdict) on that issue. But overall, I doubt this verdict will be overturned as a whole.
Apple submitted evidence (receipts) proving that they had purchased the chip from Intel, who had in turn already licensed the patents from Samsung. A business cannot demand payment for a patent license twice. They also cannot dictate who the patent encumbered products may be sold to. This is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of simple fact. If Samsung do file a JNVO, then it will be thrown out with prejudice for that reason.
Known as patent exhaustion - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exhaustion_doctrine
Anyway, it's not a straight Apple win on the standards-essential patents. The jury didn't find that Apple violated the patents, but they did, at least, uphold the patents. The jury just determined that the patents were exhausted, so Apple couldn't have infringed.
This should give Motorola (Google) pause in their lawsuits too, since they had asserted standards-essentials patents against Apple too. I'm not sure where they are with these cases though, it's getting too hard to follow.
Apple tried to pay Samsung for the license after Samsung revoked it (probably to get more money from Apple), but Samsung turned down the license fee claiming they wanted more.
To me, this sounded like Samsung wanted Apple to violate some of their patents for some ammunition in the case.
I don't think Apple willfully infringed anything here. They just bought chips from a manufacturer, assuming that they can use the chips they paid for in their products. It seems crazy someone could sell you chips, and then sue you if you happen to use them in your products.
Apple knew this was coming. See the stuff in the case about the Sherman act. They're "willfully infringing" to the extent that they are "refusing to end negotiations and pay the fee Samsung claims they own."
Samsung seems to have brought this in to show what the dispute was really all about. And that show with the Intel receipts didn't address the entire problem from my reading.
That has never made sense to me, though. Unless Samsung could prove that Apple was actually assisting in designing the silicon of the chips(in which case, patent exhaustion would not apply), they were suing the wrong people. The infringement would have been on Intel/Qualcomm/whoever is supplying the chips.
What if the component you bought has already made it into your products?
The liable one is the seller.
A patent case is not about moral questions and narratives, it's about technical, legal as well as economic questions. (I would perhaps even argue that intellectual property laws are ultimately entirely about economics.)
Samsung is not exactly a powerhouse of innovation, but they're part of a competitive ecosystem that we prefer to think drives innovation. Smaller companies come along with breakthroughs that bigger companies integrate. Said smaller companies need to continue to innovate and grow to be competitive; no one gets to just make one great invention and sit back laughing at the market.
And isn't this exactly Apple's success story? Their last decade has been an unchecked rampage from market to market in the consumer electronics sphere, quickly toppling incumbents before moving on to another focus when it's clear there's no more low hanging fruit to extract from the markets dominated by sluggish competitors like Sony.
But right now we've seen a series of reversals in the tablet and phone spaces as several other companies band together to try and compete directly. It's sort of amazing that Apple could only be matched in their current target by a massive federation stitched together by another of the most brilliant companies of the last decade, but it's sort of unsurprising that if EVERYONE else gangs up and tries to counter Apple, they might not be able to iPodify this particular market.
I honestly don't think a new consumer will be able to easily differentiate between the 2 products. My mom calls everything an ipad even if it's not -- I don't think she would know that she's buying a galaxy tablet and not an ipad.
I don't think copying drives innovation. If cloning products drove innovation, we'd see a ton of China companies making innovative products, but most of them just clone some website in the US, slap on a few features, and that's it.
The China company that cloned Impactjs pixel-per-pixel did not provide anything additional other than providing the same service at half the price.
If Samsung wins here, it's basically setting a precedent for future companies to clone anything successful. We'll probably see a lot more Chinese companies cloning YC startups without worrying about lawsuits.
* That there is a law which prevents startups from being cloned.
* That Chinese companies would care about such a law even if it existed.
* That a YC startup could do anything about it even if the prior two points were affirmative.
You're 0 for 3.
In this particular point, Samsung is 100% in the right. Interoperability is one of the explicit justifications for copying. Vendor lock-in is nor protected by law, and is one of Apple's borderline-illegal monolopy-protecting tactics.
KirinDave's point wasn't that cloners innovate themselves, but that they force others to keep innovating to stay in ahead of the pack.
Apple just might be the strongest brand in history and is the most valuable corporation on the planet. Their products are must-haves. Are people really getting confused? Are people really going to settle for a "cheaper" brand, rather than the real thing?
If that's true, it's astonishing.
Would you deny innovation in Japan tech sector for the last 30 years?
It's just that it takes some time, around twenty years, to switch from copycats to innovative products.
If you quote the 43(a) of the Landham Act which covers trade dress, please specify which "word, term, name, symbol, or device" that Samsung used that was:
A) "likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive" people into thinking these were Apple products, OR
B) "in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person's goods, services, or commercial activities, shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act."
If your argument is that people purchased Samsung products thinking they were Apple products, please provide evidence of this fact.
1) It was NOT TECHNICAL. It was predominately a lawsuit about trade dress and UI driven patent infringement. It is exactly the same as judging whether a Nike shoe has been copied or not. You don't need to understand the technicalities of the manufacturing process.
2) The Samsung standards essential patents WERE considered valid and infringed. Just that due to patent exhaustion Apple was exempt from infringement.
So maybe you should understand the very basics of the case first.
Exhaustion is a completely separate issue from infringement.
The exhaustion doctrine is pretty clear on this.
The reality is that the US justice system doesn't work this way, and wasn't designed to. It's not technocratic in the way it reaches a verdict. The jury are not specialists, and aren't supposed to be. They are equals to every other citizen. They judge subjectively, representing the people. If they make a decision that doesn't align with the objective conclusion a specialist sees, that's still allowed.
Democracy is created with awareness of these kinds of 'mistakes'. See Aristotle's writing on democracy, and its benefits and pitfalls. It doesn't seem right sometimes, but it's a choice the US people have made actively.
Could you explain that?
...we debated that first patent -- what was prior art -- because we had a hard time believing there was no prior art, that there wasn't something out there before Apple.
"In fact we skipped that one," Ilagan continued, "so we could go on faster. It was bogging us down."
This, as well as other accounts on groklaw, give the distinct impression that this jury was very much led by the foreman - both procedurally and intellectually. The latter being a little worrisome.
Additionally, the mention that they glossed over their debate on prior art because it was slowing them down is disturbing.
I suppose since they had, according to this juror, essentially made up their minds on day 2 - there was no need to get bogged down in these pesky details.
So the argument will go, this juror set their self up as an expert in the minds of the other jurors, gave testimony (evidence) on the veracity or relevance of the evidence presented, and that materially influenced the verdict. The client, Samsung, was denied due process because the were not allowed to cross examine this testimony.
Now it sounds simple but its not really as simple as that, because the Jury is expected to debate the evidence and trade opinions on whether or not they believed it. So what the lawyers would need to prove is that by creating the impression of being an expert, this jurors opinions carried undue weight with the other jurors and rose to the level of effectively new testimony. Its hard to prove a jury tampered with itself :-). I've got a fuzzy memory of something like this being pursued in either the Enron case ore of the AT&T cases but sadly I don't have access to Lexis.
More likely the speed of the verdict and the inconsistencies in the verdict will be sufficient for the court to take some action.
I do know that there will more motions and what not but I am not at all comfortable predicting the outcome :-)
I'm not sure if that always applies, though.
There are two sides to this trial. On the one side is the emotional appeal: Samsung copied Apple, and documents detail the extent to which Samsung imitated the iPhone. On the other side are the various technical ways in which Apple claimed that Samsung copied them. But just as Apple engineers slaved for years over the technical details of the iPhone, it is incredibly important for the future of mobile innovation that all of the technical parts of the trial are correctly decided. If the jury finds no infringement but finds that infringement was induced, this indicates that technical mistakes were made. But in particular, I wonder if the jury was so swayed by the emotional appeal that sufficient attention was paid to the substantial prior art demonstrated regarding capacitive touch screen phones and multitouch displays.
If this is true, then it's hard to give this decision much weight at all. These two phones are vastly different and one literally says SAMSUNG on the front.
Let's not assume that we have the whole story behind the way the jury decided anything, one way or the other.
* this phone has curved (not flat) ends
* four HW buttons on the front (rather than one)
* it's black with a black border (has any iphone had that? Usually the iphone border is in a contrasting color)
* has a big "samsung" on the front
It's pretty distinct, hardware-design wise.
That's obviously crazy, but that appears to have been criteria used.
EDIT: This isn't as ridiculous as it sounds. See this 2002 article. BT registered a patent in 1976 for "double clicking hyperlinks" (or somesuch), and then in 2000 they realised that they owned this patent, and a bunch of people were clicking hyperlinks on the WWW, and they started suing people. They lost.
Quicklaunch bars certainly predate the iphone
edit - The Replenish was also granted 3.3 million
These are just laughable
Granted, Samsung tablets have a similar wide connector, but so does almost all tablets I have seen due to regular USB not having enough power to charge them efficiently. And then you want it wide, not tall, not to impact tablet thickness.
Apple has no argument here.
- They only cover mobile phones
- The devices must be compatible with a micro-USB charger, but it's perfectly alright if you do this with an adapter piece. The charger that comes with the device must also be micro-USB compatible (apple chargers allow you to plug a different USB cord into them).
I could accept most of what Samsung did as a technical choice, but that power charger really leaped out at me. Proprietary chargers suck for end users.
However, even if the copy was exact, I think it would still be difficult to make the case for infringement.
There's a detailed discussion here: http://www.pocketables.com/forum//showthread.php?p=55941
Depends which phone. Some of their phones have BlackBerry-style micro-USB-esque connectors.
Of course in one extreme the questioning could not be more justified and in the other it is bordering on mental illness... but don't let that distract you. Surely everything in this world is black and white.
The verdict form in this complex case necessarily spans 20 pages and requires unanimous answers to more than 500 discrete questions across 5 different legal disciplines. (Dtk. No. 1890.) The likelihood of an inconsistent verdict is a possibility despite the jury’s best efforts.
"DESPITE THE JURY'S BEST EFFORTS"
Groklaw even linked to the source of the above quote: http://www.groklaw.net/pdf3/ApplevSamsung-1927.pdf
Seems like a classic case of confirmation bias, by both Groklaw as well as a bunch of people here.
Once they had their criteria for evaluating infringement, they could hammer through the devices pretty quickly. I suspect that most of the deliberation was on if the patents were valid or not. If so, how then to evaluate if a device infringed?
I'm more curious to know how they determined damages... it seems like there should be a worksheet or something on that.
People tend to defer to perceived experts, which is why I find it odd Samsung's attorneys didn't catch this guy.
More likely, they knew about him and made a bet he would side with them. They were wrong.
Of course the law is full of funny cases (like the time the Supreme Court filed a per curiam, and then along with it a unanimous partial concurrence). Figuring out what was meant there is... well, something lawyers can argue about forever.
Being a Very Serious Person(tm) in an area that most people, who are paying attention, think has gone insane is generally not the kind of credential that should make people give your opinion more credence.
No, I don't think you want someone like that on the jury. I'd take ignorance over bias.
I'm saying that, as a patent holder and inventor, his perspective is going to be biased towards protecting the rights of innovators, beyond what would be sane from the perspective of the rest of society.
His profession puts him in the same boat as Apple.
Samsung also holds patents.
If you disagree, this has already taken up enough space on HN. My email is in my profile and I'd be happy to discuss it.
What this does, IMHO, is it pushes all the interesting questions to the judge and the appeals court. These are questions like:
What is the scope of each patent?
Did the jury find that each patent was violated within the scope determined after trial? (Unknowable, gives judges an opportunity to decide the case as they see fit.)
What this does, if you take it that way, is put the jury in the role largely of hearing demurrers. A verdict of infringement becomes more or less a low barrier to entry to the interesting portions of the case which will all be decided by judges.
In fact, the phrase "actually understands the patent system and the patent process" is kind of loaded as the people mentioned only have experience being on the plaintiff's side.
The US is a democracy (or some variation thereof), not a technocracy.
Whether people who work in specific fields think that's right or not is independent of the principles the US espouses. In the eyes of the justice system, all jurors are equal regardless of skill. They are disqualified primarily by their biases.
I think it is rather unreasonable for people to be doubting their qualifications if we hold them as equal citizens. If they make technical mistakes, I think it's important to consider that they are representative of the mistakes of the people as a whole.
Sure, the US government doesn't reach the technically optimal result every time as a result, but this is the form of government (democracy, not technocracy) we in the US have selected. Aristotle writes quite a bit about the merits and pitfalls of this, and we are quite aware of them.
That is why its a blow for innovation. All the rabbits will freeze hoping the hunter can't see them.
I think businesses that focus on cloning other people's successful products actually reduce innovation because the innovation comes from the initial product inception, not from a copy. If cloning actually increased innovation, we should be seeing lots of innovative products come out of china since they're so good at making copies of other people's products.
Personally, I think someone has to reprimand companies that make a business out of cloning others. It happens all the time, but it's often hard to enforce.
I think you're one of those HN readers that think this is Apple vs Android, but really it's a case against Samsung and their cloning behavior. Few companies out there act like Samsung and get away with it.
Also, I think you're a bit extreme in your arguments. Apple is not going to put Samsung out of business; Samsung makes everything from air conditioning units to memory chips.
"Personally, I think someone has to reprimand companies that make a business out of cloning others. It happens all the time, but it's often hard to enforce."
It is the nature of free market economies that successful products will get emulated. Compaq emulating the IBM PC, Char-Broil emulating the Weber griil, Ford emulating the Toyota Camry, Microsoft emulating Netscape, Apple emulating the Xerox windowing system, Burger King emulating McDonalds, Airbus emulating Boeing, it just goes on and on. That is what is generally referred to as competition, sort of "if you thing you can do it better, then bring it on."
And within that competition there are often signature "styles" which are distinctive to a company, so it would probably have been a bad idea if Airbus had given their A380 a 'hump' on the front like the Boeing 747. And there is a whole bunch or case law about what is and what is not acceptable.
The question on trial here was did Samsung cross the line in emulating Apple products. As you know, those of us outside the courtroom had access to all of the arguments and evidence about whether or not Samsung copied too much, or if Apple was accusing Samsung of copying their own copied work. The judge in this case emasculated Samsung's argument by denying the admittance of evidence which had exonerated them in other courts.
A number of folks (and I'm one of them) feel that many of the claims in Apple's design patents were flawed by both being obvious and there being prior art to indicate that any ordinary person skilled in the art who was given the task could have independently arrived at the same design elements.
So some folks, like me, don't think Samsung got a fair trial. That's just opinion of course and they've got one of, if not the top IP Litigation Firm working for them so if you can't get a fair trial (opinion) with Quinn Emmanuel, well it doesn't bode well for anyone.
So if you are a designer at a start-up, or even at a reasonably sized company, and your company is trying to compete against a market leading product that you think you can do better. But given that you now know that you can make no assumptions about what is 'fair use' or 'prior art' or 'obvious' you might be inclined to believe that if you made a device that had icons and made phone calls you were infringing on some random Apple patent and would get yourself sued out of existence. You see the way Samsung got treated and you say "Crap even if I've got a friggin' article in the New York times that pre-dates their patent they will figure out some way to keep that out of the trial and still kill me."
We can debate all day about whether or not Apple would do that to our hapless designer we know they just did that to Samsung so we know its possible. And if you are putting the company at risk by getting near that Apple monster your Board of Directors will fire you faster than a guy who lied about his degree on a resume. That is the way that intimidation works, the US Gov't hasn't used nuclear weapons in anger in nearly 70 years but they did that one time.
You claimed that this case was not 'a blow to innovation', I rebutted that by saying that the chilling effects of this case would lead to significantly less innovation. If you want to argue your case you have to show how people can continue to innovate in the smart phone space and defend themselves against a litigious competitor like Apple has been shown to be. And part of that rebuttal has to be some compelling narrative about how the trial was 'fair'. That, for me is a hard one to get past.
You say "each other".
I see you revisiting the parts where you think he didn't hear you but should have. Which parts do you think you weren't hearing but should have?
I'm not sure I understand why you think the trial was unfair -- it was a jury who made this decision, and the jury consisted of untechnical people who would be the right types of people to make this decision. If the average Joe thinks that the Toyota is the Ford, then I think it goes beyond the line of emulation.
I would say HTC emulates Apple products, but does not clone the same way Samsung clones. For example, the boxes for HTC phones look nothing like Apple's, and the connector is the same micro usb everyone is familiar with. Samsung goes the extra step to make sure their brick and mortar store, the boxes, the connector, the interfaces, the keyboard, the genius bar, the physical phone, etc are all indistinguishable from Apple. I don't understand why Samsung would have to make their brick & mortar stores identical to Apple, and even have the same style of genius bar inside -- that's going an extra step to make a product identical. In the countries where the name "genius bar" is not a registered trademark, Samsung actually uses that exact name. For the countries that have the registered trademark, they call them smart tutors. It's crazy how deep the copying goes.
My hunch is that ethics in that region are a bit more "loose" than they are here. It's perfectly okay to butt-in line there, or cheat in certain situations. When I was there, I'd stand in line at the hotel like a typical westerner (even though I'm chinese) only to have people butt in front me every 5 minutes. Eventually I just forced my way in front of the line to speak to the receptionist. I asked why they butt in front of me and they replied "you let me". Old people there are even less respectful, they just don't care you exist. All of my relatives who went to school in china lied about their age so they would have an advantage by starting at a lower grade level than the proper age. I've been told this happens in Korea and Japan as well.
When does a company go beyond emulation and into cloning? Would you say something like this is okay: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4426835 ?
Demonstrably false. The foreman, for instance, is the owner of a patent for a variant of DVR ("Method and apparatus for recording and storing video information").
>> Old people there are even less respectful, they just don't care you exist.
Agree to disagree.
>> Samsung even uses Apple icons as part of their wallpaper at their own "white" brick & mortar stores....I don't understand why Samsung would have to make their brick & mortar stores identical to Apple, and even have the same style of genius bar inside...In the countries where the name "genius bar" is not a registered trademark, Samsung actually uses that exact name. For the countries that have the registered trademark, they call them smart tutors. It's
crazy how deep the copying goes.
You seem to think that this judgment is "fair" because Samsung is a "bad cloning company". That's fine, and you are entitled to your opinion. Please understand that their evilness is not really central here.
I don't think anyone here is arguing that Samsung is a particularly innovative company. However, their brick & mortar stores have very little bearing on whether or not UI elements in rows of 4 consist of an infringement on Apple's IP. Routinely bringing up their company (or country's) culture as an example for how terrible they are is essentially an ad hominem attack.
The fact is that the court did come down strongly in Apple's favor, and ruled that quite innocuous and non-obvious elements of Samsung's design were an infringement of Apple's IP. How anyone can think that this may not have far reaching implications for technological innovation is beyond me.
Except it's not, as one of the infringing phones was Nexus S, i.e., vanilla Android.
"No, it's not a blow to innovation. The only reason Apple went after Samsung and not HTC or other Android handset manufacturers is because Samsung has gone into detail copying every small feature from Apple."
You claim that innovation is not harmed, and the basis for that claim is an assertion that Apple's motivation for pursuing a patent infringement suit against Samsung was due to poor behavior (detail copying).
And yet in every patent dispute, and there are many to choose from, Microsoft FAT file system, Intel frontside bus, Unisys GIF file compression, where the exact strategy was to assert the patent against the biggest and most difficult possible defendant, so that a win would cause everyone else to simply follow that decision rather than fight. If you do it the other way and start with the little guys, each time you sue the next bigger guy he's going to assume that because he has more resources he can win the fight and you're back in court. Doing it this way nobody thinks they are going do better than Samsung did and they will all submit to Apple's demands.
I claim it has absolutely nothing to do with Samsung's "detail copying" behavior and everything to do with the fact that Samsung is the single biggest, baddest, richest, manufacturer of smartphones after Apple.
I realize that I didn't respond directly to your claim of motivation because I did not feel it was supported by your evidence. You don't provide evidence of Apple's motivation, you don't provide a definition of 'detail copying', and you don't provide a rationale why details like 'rounded corners', which is one of the claimed infringements, should be protected.
When you re-iterated Samsung's bad behavior I guessed you were going for the karmic angle.
You've followed up your claim by trying a reductio ad absurdum  argument about copying. However it is trivially easy to poke holes in that argument by looking at the market we live in without the Apple lawsuit. There are no $10 Chanel bags being made by an otherwise reputable handbag maker.
So do you still think Apple was just mad at Samsung? And so you or I could make a rounded rectangle tablet device and they wouldn't sue us ?
The reason why detail copying matters is because this is how infringement is determined by an individual. If said individual is unable to distinguish between the two products, it is possible that infringement has occurred. If the product merely copied a single item/feature, it is unlikely a consumer would be confused by the two products.
Apple's core motivation is for trade dress protection. They need their design patents upheld so that others cannot challenge their registration. Samsung's tablet has very similar packaging to Apple and may be confused by consumers. Packaging matters in trade dress protection (see Two Pesos v. Taco Cabana).
Your post is a blow to innovation.
I think it would be news to HTC that Apple didn't come after them. They must have just imagined the import ban that limited supplies of the One X and delayed the launch of the Evo 4G LTE: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57435081-37/htc-phone-impo...
Throw in Motorola and you have Apple going after the top 3 Android manufacturers in the US market (and, until ASUS and the Nexus 7, the only three manufacturers of Nexus / Google Experience devices).
Um, because you'll be able to sell that thing over and over for gazillions of dollars and turn your company into the most valuable company in human history?
" It was -- literally -- like nothing that had ever come before it. It was -- literally -- like no other Android phone at the time"
No, it wasn't, it was progression on the work of many others and prior art that was discounted by the jury on the apple vs samsung case, is -- literally -- proof of that. Stay well. :)
That is completely absurd, sorry.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_(original) - June, 2007
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_i7500 - June, 2009
There isn't enough context in the quote here to tell what went on.
They never went back to the issue later. They were discussing whether a specific Apple patent should be invalidated because of the prior art. They were sick of dicussing it, so they just moved on. Hence, the patent was not invalidated.
The fact is, we can't really know whether they came back to it or not unless they tell us. I'm basically advocating that we can't assume the _did_ or _did not_ come back to it.
Do you have some evidence for this ? Or just making things up in your head because you're not happy with the verdict.
It strikes me as just recording video and doing the standard things that people do with digital video.
It appears to be, essentially, a DVR patent. I'm very concerned with his ability to handle a case like this since he thought something very similar to a TIVO (1999) was patentable when his patent was filed in 2002.
From the groklaw article:
> If it would take a lawyer three days to make sure he understood the terms in the form, how did the jury not need the time to do the same? There were 700 questions, remember, and one thing is plain, that the jury didn't take the time to avoid inconsistencies
> Had they read the full jury instructions, all 109 pages, they would have read that damages are not supposed to punish, merely to compensate for losses.
I do worry that jury members' names are not kept secret. They are being asked to make what is possibly a very unpopular decision and shouldn't have to worry about what strangers think about them.
If someone sued North Korea for patent infringement, I'd root for North Korea to win.
It's a joke of a system, unfortunately too much money is being made by the lawyers for there to be any change anytime soon.
Colors, typography, the massive line-lengths. It's a wall of text. Just an all-round horrible design.
The lawyers for both sides are making more per hour than the entire jury per day. What kind of performance do they expect?