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Samsung Ordered To Pay Apple $290M In Patent Case

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the not-in-nickels-this-time dept.

Patents 219

itwbennett writes "After 3 days of deliberations, a jury has ordered Samsung to pay $290 million to Apple for infringement of several of its patents in multiple Samsung smartphones and tablets. The verdict is the second victory for Apple in its multiyear patent fight against Samsung in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Last year a jury in the same San Jose courtroom ruled Samsung should pay just over $1 billion for infringement of five Apple patents in multiple Samsung phones and tablets. But afterward, Judge Lucy Koh ordered a new trial to reconsider $450 million of the damages after finding the previous jury had applied an 'impermissible legal theory' to its calculations. Thursday's verdict is the result of that new trial."

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219 comments

Groklaw where art thou? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485359)

Whatever happened to Groklaw!!!

Re:Groklaw where art thou? (5, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#45485421)

From wikipedia:

On August 20 2013 an article appeared on Groklaw saying it was to be closed down due to government monitoring of the internet, particularly e-mail.[6] Jones wrote "What I do know is it's not possible to be fully human if you are being surveilled 24/7... I hope that makes it clear why I can't continue. There is now no shield from forced exposure."

The NSA scared them out of business.

Re:Groklaw where art thou? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45486011)

Seriously? WTF did Groklaw do that would warrant such a thing?

Re:Groklaw where art thou? (4, Insightful)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 4 months ago | (#45486181)

Seriously? WTF did Groklaw do that would warrant such a thing?

That is a terrible way of looking at it...

Re:Groklaw where art thou? (4, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 months ago | (#45486609)

Probably a terrible way of PHRASING it. "What functions did groklaw carry out that were compromised by NSA spying?" was maybe closer to what he meant. That was my first reaction when I heard that news: I thought they just explained laws to anyone who was curious, didn't make a whole lot of sense why they needed secrecy for that.

I remember asking a similar question, and I forget the answer. I think it was something like "lawyers could talk to Jones and about their cases confidentially."

There was also something about the original point of the blog, exposing SCO bullshit, was finished.

Re:Groklaw where art thou? (1, Offtopic)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 5 months ago | (#45486391)

The NSA scared them (groklaw) out of business.

Mostly as a reaction to the Lavabit case. Which had some justification as a protest against what the NSA is up to, but not justified if you are afraid of email surveillance.

Lavabit made the mistake of storing emails in an encrypted form which Lavabit was capable of decrypting. That made legal demands to access the decrypted data possible. To be legally safe, as a service provider you must provide end-to-end decryption where it is impossible for you to read the messages. And the NSA can't break S/MIME with decent encryption.

Re:Groklaw where art thou? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485427)

I thought PJ got disenfranchised by various government-related secret cases and may have been served with an order that made her unable to participate in an unbiased discussion.

Re:Groklaw where art thou? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485473)

Or she used it as an excuse to retire like she said she wanted to do a long time ago.

Re:Groklaw where art thou? (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about 4 months ago | (#45485579)

While at it: Or used it as a cover while in fact moving to work for them...

Re:Groklaw where art thou? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485773)

if by "retire" you mean "finish the sex change", yeah.

Re:Groklaw where art thou? (0)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 4 months ago | (#45485543)

If anyone should have stood up to an (illegal) government order, it should have been PJ.

Re:Groklaw where art thou? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485685)

Tells you how a tight a grip the US government has on its people. Pretty convenient actually, don't like an activist website? Send them a secret order to make them snoop on the website's participants, website shuts down on its own accord without any messy arguments over one amendment or the other.

Re:Groklaw where art thou? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485951)

BS, the US govt does not have a tight grip on me or anybody i know.

groklaw wanted to quit before, my take is, using this as an excuse.

groklaw could continue to function as it was, just disclose the risks, in my mind it was a "phew, I don't need to do this any more" pretext.

That's a lot of nickels. (3, Funny)

intermodal (534361) | about 4 months ago | (#45485393)

Yeah, wrong link. Mod parent way down. (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 4 months ago | (#45485459)

Would it kill Dice to install an edit button?

Re:Yeah, wrong link. Mod parent way down. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485517)

Why? Then we couldn't see what crazy doge manga you are reading this week.

wow! such asian! big eyes much peasanthood

Anyway, we have all seen the hoax story about Samsung paying their $1B in nickels so really nothing of value was lost.

Re:Yeah, wrong link. Mod parent way down. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485613)

Would it kill intermodal to use the preview button?

Have you noticed? (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#45485395)

Have you noticed these summaries never include what the patents are anymore? Samsung didn't even claim they didn't intrude on the patents, just that they made what their market research said was a good idea.

All you have to do is comprehensively patent every element of your design, and if any of it is a good idea, you'll get to sue anyone in the same field.

Re:Have you noticed? (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 4 months ago | (#45485447)

Have you noticed these summaries never include what the patents are anymore? Samsung didn't even claim they didn't intrude on the patents, just that they made what their market research said was a good idea.

All you have to do is comprehensively patent every element of your design, and if any of it is a good idea, you'll get to sue anyone in the same field.

It's all a crap-shoot anyway. Odds are Apple holds a patent for something they don't use, but if you develop it independently and roll-out to market, you get shot down because they see you as encrouching on their turf*.

Next up, in a month or two: The reversal.

*everything, everywhere.

Re:Have you noticed? (1, Insightful)

pete-classic (75983) | about 4 months ago | (#45486183)

If Apple (or someone) files a patent application it is on the public record*, if they don't, they can't make a claim. So . . . how is Apple meant to make Samsung do its due diligence?

*37 C.F.R. 1.11

Re:Have you noticed? (3, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 4 months ago | (#45485465)

And if you try your case in certain places, you'll win. With Apple, apparently even if you lose, you win [cbsnews.com].

Re:Have you noticed? (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 4 months ago | (#45485933)

And if you try your case in certain places, you'll win. With Apple, apparently even if you lose, you win [cbsnews.com].

Apple's legal research team are working on splitting the Litigon, a particle with quantum spin which is capable of detecting where and when someone has violated their Intellectual Property.

Re:Have you noticed? (4, Insightful)

ausekilis (1513635) | about 4 months ago | (#45485575)

The real question is at what point do these ideas become "common knowledge" enough that the patent should be no more. After all, every TV is rectangular in shape, with button (touch) controls in the lower right or right hand side. That's right, this is the USA where the patents are made up and the durations don't matter.

Re:Have you noticed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485857)

I know, right. I'm going to file a patent for "a device that makes use of electricity to do something" and make billuins of dollars suing every company that infringes on it. Lol

Re:Have you noticed? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485615)

This was only a trial on DAMAGES. Therefore, it was irrelevant whether Samsung infringed Apple's patents, because that was already determined to be the case.

Re:Have you noticed? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45486381)

that case was rife with problems - the jury foreman has admitted to swaying the jury with incorrect interpretations of law, didn't admit to having previous legal issues with seagate, now partially owned by samsung, etc. On top of that the jury decided to never actually inspect the patents for obviousness (and thus invalidate them) even though it was part of their responsibities.

Re:Have you noticed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485695)

This case had nothing to do with infringement. Samsung has already been found guilty, and they were ordered to pay $450 million in damages.

The judge threw out the jury's damage figure because of concerns over how they calculated it, and ordered a new case to decide how much the damages will be. The new figure is $290 million.

There was no opportunity for samsung to claim they're not infringing, they've already been found guilty. Thy could appeal the original lawsuit but not this one.

Re:Have you noticed? (4, Informative)

Pinhedd (1661735) | about 4 months ago | (#45485707)

Samsung can't argue that they didn't infringe on the patents, that was already settled in the case. This was simply a retrial on assessment of damages. Samsung can (and is) appealing the original verdict and will most likely appeal the new damages as well.

Re:Have you noticed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485813)

I'm not sure what "you" refers to. In the instant case the participants are mulch-billion dollar corporations with many thousands of employees. What seems like a big deal to you is an ordinary business expense to them.

Re:Have you noticed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485963)

That is for the appeal.

The retrial was not to retry the whole case, but just the monetary aspect of it following the jury's verdict that it was guilty.

Now that the motions in relation to the original trial are coming to an end, they can finally get the wheels in motion to appeal.

"APPEL FANBOI LOL" commenst aside... (0, Flamebait)

KrazyDave (2559307) | about 4 months ago | (#45485437)

The verdict clearly shows that Samsung did capitalize on Apple's enormous investment into R&D and should pay.

Re:"APPEL FANBOI LOL" commenst aside... (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 4 months ago | (#45485479)

The verdict clearly shows that Samsung did capitalize on Apple's enormous investment into R&D and should pay.

Tech R&D or Legal R&D?

It's so hard to tell these days without a scorecard.

Re:"APPEL FANBOI LOL" commenst aside... (0, Offtopic)

killfixx (148785) | about 4 months ago | (#45485487)

HAHAHAHA!

Wait! Are you serious?!

Hhahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahhahhahahahahahaha!

Hope Apple's ready for all those nickels! (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 4 months ago | (#45485439)

Re:Hope Apple's ready for all those nickels! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#45485471)

I'm worried about you, intermodal, do you have early onset Alzheimer's? You just made this post a little bit ago.

Re:Hope Apple's ready for all those nickels! (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 4 months ago | (#45485503)

That one had the wrong link. Due to Slashdot's lack of an edit button, I fixed it and posted an advisory on the other to mod it down.

Re:Hope Apple's ready for all those nickels! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45486029)

Coins are generally not considered "legal tender" in that you cant use them to pay any debts.

Refusal to accept the coins is not deemed to refuse of payment.

Death Spiral Watch: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485469)

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/11/20/Kentucky-Obamacare-Enrollmees-Mostly-Older

"One of the core concept behind the President's health reform law is that young and generally healthier individuals are mandated to buy insurance. Because they tend to pay in more than they use in services, insurers are able to offer a better deal to older, sicker individuals. But making this balancing act work requires that enough younger people sign up.

This ratio of younger enrollees to older ones has been called "a key metric for judging whether the health care law is successful" by the Washington Post's Sarah Kliff. The administration believes it needs 2.7 million of the expected 7 million first year enrollees to be between the ages of 18-35 for the policy to work. However, when it released enrollment figures for the first time last week, the administration did not include a breakdown by age.

If the percentage of young people enrolled is greater than 38 percent, the program will be flush with cash and insurers could wind up sending money to the government and cutting premiums in the future. If, on the other hand, the percentage of "young invincibles" is too low, the government, through provisions already in the law, will be on the hook for the extra expense and premiums would spike next year. "

Look here drones, not just the website is fucked up, the whole law is fucked up.

The extremist Democrat socialists have a problem with this thing called MATH.

You pepole who are healthy have a choice to make; fund Obamacare or buy a NEW CAR. That is if they even have a job of course.

How many of them do you think are going to throw down all that cash each and every month on Obamacare when they basically won't be using any of the services day to day, or decide to spend the money on something tangible like a NEW CAR because of course the cost is about the same,

Look that's a rhetorical question you know, we all know what the fucking answer is.

So, without all this cash from the young, mostly liberal Obama supporting hipster assholes, the program collapses.

Aren't you proud you all voted for these Democrat douchebags!

Fuck you bozos.

Re:Death Spiral Watch: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485557)

> You pepole who are healthy have a choice to make; fund Obamacare or buy a NEW CAR.

Yes, that speaks volumes about some aspects of the American mindset.

Re:Death Spiral Watch: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485737)

What? Young people are stupid selfish fucks all over the planet.

I am speaking here of what WILL happen, not what should happen or even what is right; the Democrat morons had this idea that young people would pay this money because assholes like George Clooney tell them that it's cool, but they neglected to take into account reality. Reality is that young people, when given the choice to buy a NEW CAR or buy an Obamacare plan, they are going to buy a NEW CAR. You know it and I know it.

Maybe if they cut back on the benefits a little and reduce the cost of the plans, like you know, how it USED TO BE, then it might have happened. NO?

But fuck you that's why, the Democrats know what's best and SHUT UP AND BUY THE FUCKING OBAMACARE PLAN that's why.

Any questions?

Re:Death Spiral Watch: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45486039)

Any questions?

Yeah! When will the Republicans repeal EMTALA so the people who bought a NEW CAR get to die in the gutter when they ram it into the tree and the hospital decides they're full up on charity cases right now, rather than making the rest of us pay for their care?

I have an idea! (3, Funny)

Hussam Al-Tayeb (3423459) | about 4 months ago | (#45485485)

Samsung should pay the 290 million dollars to Apple in 5 cent coints and take it to Apple headquarters in trucks!

Re:I have an idea! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#45485507)

Air mail would be better. They could just air-drop it. ;-)

Re:Wait for the new Apple Spaceship headquarters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485591)

Then play space invaders with one ton packages of nickels.

Re:I have an idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485547)

That's brilliant. Hopefully they'll use pennies this time :D

Thermonuclear war (5, Insightful)

Tough Love (215404) | about 4 months ago | (#45485509)

Apple remains obsessed with thermonuclear war instead of introducing products that people want. Meanwhile its market share keeps slip, slip, slipping away [yahoo.com].

Re:Thermonuclear war (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485589)

But its profits stay sky high. Market share is only relevant because Samsung and other Android phone makers have dumped countless cheap worthless phones on the market, and get to claim market share. But Apple will keep selling at far larger profits, because yes in fact people really do want their phones and tablets.

Sorry, your Apple hatred doesn't fly anymore.

Re:Thermonuclear war (1, Insightful)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 4 months ago | (#45485665)

Seriously, it's pretty much only in the US where the iPhone is seen as some status symbol to the yuppie crowd. The rest of the world is happy with their Samsung phones. Not to mention my Samsung Galaxy that costs as much as an iPhone is far from cheap and worthless, yet I can do whatever an iPhone can and get this, I'm not locked into iTunes.

Sorry, your swinging from Apples nutsack doesn't fly anymore.

Re:Thermonuclear war (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485847)

Yeah so there's this giant market called "China"....

Re:Thermonuclear war (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45486139)

That is where people buy Xiaomi phones right?
Dude's a total "steve jobs clone" but they are cheaper then iphones and in chinese.

In case you haven't noticed, Apple's had some issues with China : http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/04/04/tim-cooks-apology-to-chinese-customers-fully-translated-published-online

Plus there is the whole "slave wages to make them" issues.

An average Chinese earning some 60-90 month making these things isnt likely to spend a few months salary to buy one.

Re:Thermonuclear war (0)

sdsucks (1161899) | about 4 months ago | (#45485901)

Holy fuck the ignorance on here is even worse than last time I bothered to visit this site. +4 Insightful for this stupid comment?

You have quite clearly never been to Asia and you are 100% wrong.

Re:Thermonuclear war (0)

Trogre (513942) | about 5 months ago | (#45486441)

Asia, yes I know it well. Where millions of people have cheap essentially no-name brand phones and tablets.

That Asia?

Re:Thermonuclear war (5, Informative)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 4 months ago | (#45485919)

Market share is only relevant because Samsung and other Android phone makers have dumped countless cheap worthless phones on the market, and get to claim market share.

Hyperbole aside, another way to state that would be to say that many many people find Apple's price point too high for what they get. You can make a blanket statement to make it seem like all Android phones are cheap and/or worthless, but that is demonstrably untrue. The top 10 smart phone list [zdnet.com] is a good microcosm of the market in general. The highest ranked phone is the iPhone 5S, and likewise the iPhone is also the single best-selling phone. Out of the other 9 places on the list, 8 of them run Android and 1 is Windows Phone. That sounds about accurate. Out of those 8 Android phones, not a single one can be described as either "cheap" nor "worthless" by anyone without a large anti-Android bias.

yes in fact people really do want their phones and tablets.

Some people do, sure. My mom and dad both use iPhones, in fact they work great for older people. But in this market the iPhone is starting to look like the cookie-cutter option, it is the Toyota Prius of smart phones. The iPhone has lost its status symbol luster, it's no longer the phone that people buy to be seen with like it was during the first couple models. Samsung and HTC phone have replaced the iPhone in that regard. The iPhone is just the phone for people who are already locked into the Apple environment. I have the HTC One, which is second on that top 10 list. My phone has a quad-core 1.7GHz processor, compared with the 5S's dual-core 1.3GHz chip. My phone has twice as much RAM as the 5S. My phone has a larger screen (4.7 in), higher resolution (1920x1080), and higher pixel density (468ppi vs 326ppi) than the 5S. My phone can also stream native HDMI. It is objectively a better device. The only part of the 5S that you might consider to be superior is the software, and that is completely subjective. You might think iOS is fantastic. Quite obviously, a large segment of the market does not agree with you. I was not lamenting the lack of iOS when I paid $600 to buy the One outright.

Re:Thermonuclear war (4, Interesting)

_merlin (160982) | about 4 months ago | (#45486021)

I use a Galaxy S3, and I hate iOS and its locked-down ecosystem, but your comparison of select numbers doesn't tell the whole story. Android typically needs more RAM than iOS for the same tasks because the app platform requires JIT compilation and garbage collection. These developer conveniences come at a cost. Also, clock for clock the new Apple CPU cores outperform the more popular ARM cores by a pretty wide margin. You need to compare a real-world task rather than core count or clock speed. That said, I still think my Galaxy S3 is objectively better because it can do circuit-switched video calls, scan directories on an SD card for photos/music, side-load apps, and have its firmware upgraded/downgraded painlessly over USB. Clock speed and RAM don't even come into it.

Re:Thermonuclear war (5, Informative)

Tough Love (215404) | about 5 months ago | (#45486533)

A lot of Apple's product stasis comes down to the idiotic decision (from Jobs?) to go with fixed pixel resolution which really limits their room to manoeuver on screen resolution and aspect. While Android scales everything on the fly, Apple apps have to be recompiled, probably the source code has to change too. To dig out of that mess Apple needs to bite the bullet and go to variable resolution just like Android. But the logistics of doing that are apparently just too scary for pencil pusher Tim Cook.

Look, even Steve Wozniak says this is stupid. [phonearena.com] I say, totally typical Apple. When Jobs died Apple lost the mojo but kept the hubris.

Tim Cook: wears the turtleneck, but doesn't fill the shoes.

Re:Thermonuclear war (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45486065)

Once again a pleasure to see an "apple fan" bragging about their godlike company's profits.

I know when i select a product the company's profit margins (which i am paying for) is an important consideration.

PS - If they "dumped cheap worthless crap" it only counts as marketshare when people buy them. Since someone bought them they cant be "worthless".

Not everyone needs a > 500 phone. I got a $59 android as an "emergency phone" for my daughter. Apple got anything in the market which might be suitable for her?

Re:Thermonuclear war (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 4 months ago | (#45486177)

Nice try Anonymous Fanboi, but while Samsung have a dozend or so phones on the market they have overwhelming marketshare from only two product lines, the Galaxy S series, and the Galaxy Note series, and both of them are premium phones.

Re:Thermonuclear war (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485821)

Go read and learn about "Market Share"

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/07/android-market-share-smartphone-users-google-apple

Re:Thermonuclear war (2)

Smauler (915644) | about 5 months ago | (#45486485)

From your linkie : "Only about 51% of the smartphones in peoples' hands in the US are Android phones."

That's a lot. The percentage is growing.

Re:Thermonuclear war (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45486081)

samscum finally gets slapped.

patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485551)

you won't believe who actually owns them

From the article (0)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 4 months ago | (#45485643)

I get the impression had Samsung not overtaken Apple in market share Apple wouldn't have gone after them for patent infringement. I love how they omit which patents were infringed as well.

It's not about innovation (4, Insightful)

ggraham412 (1492023) | about 4 months ago | (#45485715)

In an age where you can patent a rectangle, is it really about innovation anymore?

This isn't an example of bad Samsung capitalizing on Apple's good ideas. This is about major corporations being encouraged to stick their flags in the obvious and make else everyone pay. Whether you pay Apple or whether you pay Samsung (who then has to pay Apple), you're paying up and up for a fucking rectangle and whatever else is in their catalog of the obvious.

Re:It's not about innovation (0, Troll)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 4 months ago | (#45485989)

Before I say anything else, I want to say that I agree with your overall point. But I do take issue with the inaccurate statement that you started it off with.

In an age where you can patent a rectangle, is it really about innovation anymore?

The patent you're speaking of was a design patent (which in many ways more closely resemble trademarks than utility patents (with which we are more familiar) in how they are handled), and the claim you're referencing was but one of many included in that particular patent. For a design patent to be enforced against another entity, all claims of the design patent must hold true. So while they may have patented a design for a rectangular device, a competing device would need to infringe not only on that claim, but also on all of the other claims as well before it could be considered to be infringing on the patent itself.

Apple's patent was no more for "a rectangle" than Bell's telephone patent was for "a device". Suggesting that someone was able to patent merely "a rectangle" is a gross mischaracterization of what actually occurred, and only serves to detract from your otherwise very valid point.

Re:It's not about innovation (4, Interesting)

unrtst (777550) | about 5 months ago | (#45486505)

So while they may have patented a design for a rectangular device, a competing device would need to infringe not only on that claim, but also on all of the other claims as well before it could be considered to be infringing on the patent itself.

Granted, the GP oversimplified the design patent, but what in that patent really made it all that worth of the design patent? If they had submitted just a rectangle, it would have been rejected, right? So there is a level of simplicity that is rejected. The elements they have laid claim on from that patent are, IMO, not only obvious, and with past precident, but natural to that type of device. Rounded corners? duh... no one would want really sharp corners in their pocket. Grid layout of icons? a grid... really... a grid? Square icons with round corners? Nah, I've never seen that before, nor would be be extremely obvious on a device that has both horizontal and vertical orientations, right?

I get what your'e saying, but you haven't listed all the features that made it worthy, and you provided no justification for them, and just made it sound more complex than it really was. The GP didn't list them all either, and over simplified it (to make a point). I read the GP's post as saying he believes the design patent covered far to simple/obvious of a thing, and it's silly that it was granted. I'm not sure if you're saying it was deserving of the patent or not, but I don't think anyone would argue it was for more than a rectangle. The question is, was it enough? The rectangle, and in particular the proportions, size, and contour, were at the center of the case, regardless if that is not all that was in the patent.

Re:It's not about innovation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45486057)

Sorry, but you clearly don't understand how design patents work. No-one has patented the 'rectangle' as a design element, nor could they. This case between Apple and Google is not about single features (e.g. 'rectangle') but about a combined set of features that collectively constitute a design. If we accept the iPhone has a particular design, then someone else copying enough of those features in one of its phones can amount to infringement. That's what has happened with the design patent case here, and it does indeed include the rectangular shape, but also numerous other elements combined with it.

I guess it's become trite to say this kind of thing, but it's sad to see the simplistic, uninformed, knee-jerk reactions of people on Slashdot these days. The ironic thing is, I'm Australian but have taken a bit of time to read up on design patent law in the USA, whereas so many of the American commentators here haven't bothered so make these ignorant criticisms.

Re:It's not about innovation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45486099)

its not about rectanngles you clueless moron

Re:It's not about innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45486219)

How the heck could this drivel be rated +5, Insightful??

Re:It's not about innovation (0, Flamebait)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 4 months ago | (#45486277)

In an age where you can patent a rectangle, is it really about innovation anymore?

Fucking idiot being modded up as insightful.

You are an imbecile who doesn't know the difference between a utility patent and a design patent. Apple has design patents on the design of iPhone and iPad. Design patents are not about innovation. Design patents are about the design, very similar to copyright. So complaining that "rectangles are not innovative" in the context of a design patent is stupid.

Next, you seem to think that Apple got a design patent on rectangles. No, they haven't. They have design patents on designs that involve a complete design, of which _rounded_ rectangular shape is just one component. Everyone is free to make phones or tablets with rounded corners. Everyone is free to copy any single aspect of Apple's design patents. As long as they are different from Apple's design patent in _one_ aspect. They mustn't copy _all_ parts of the design patent at the same time.

Next, you seem to think that Apple is the only one with design patents involving rectangles with rounded corners. I'll tell you another company: Samsung. Samsung has design patents for the Galaxy S3, and guess what: It has rounded corners.

Re:It's not about innovation (1)

docmordin (2654319) | about 4 months ago | (#45486287)

In an age where you can patent a rectangle, is it really about innovation anymore?

I just wanted to notify you, informally, that you've infringed upon my patent that details a process for complaining about patents. I'll make sure that my lawyers send you the appropriate notice paperwork by the end of next week.

Re:It's not about innovation (-1, Troll)

wickerprints (1094741) | about 5 months ago | (#45486387)

If everything Apple designed was so obvious, then why is it that no one made the iPhone before Apple did? In particular, what kind of Samsung phones and phone operating systems existed when the iPhone was designed? If the various design elements of the iPhone are as obvious as you allege, then why couldn't an ESTABLISHED phone hardware manufacturer have anticipated it?

Apple, in many ways, is a victim of its own successful designs. Good design makes it seem as if the choices involved in the design process were "inevitable" and "natural" and "obvious." They make the user feel as if this is the way objects *should* feel and interfaces *should* work. Later on, when those design choices are emulated by others and become ubiquitous, people start to wonder how it could have been possible that any other approach existed. Combine this with the fast pace of technological development that you see in smartphones, which have become so computationally powerful in such a relatively short period of time in large part because people are willing to pay a lot of money every year to upgrade them--and you soon get a lot of public perception (especially from younger generations) that Apple never really did anything special or game-changing.

But if you go back not too far in history and look at the kind of "smart"phones that people had back when the original iPhone was designed, you will very quickly realize two things: (1) NOTHING else was designed like it in terms of its cohesive functionality. (2) The existing market lacked any significant innovation due to relatively little competition between the major hardware manufacturers. Nokia, at the time, was the biggest player, and because they didn't really care to innovate and push hard to change mobile phone design, you had companies making what were essentially the same kinds of crappy phones with tiny, low-resolution screens and awkward user interfaces. What passed as "smart"phones at that time were running very limited software, and the devices were expensive and underpowered. So only the business/tech class really used them.

When Apple announced the iPhone and people bought and started to use the device, it almost overnight changed how the general public related to mobile phones. I *still* remember what it felt like to use one after owning a Motorola V3X. It was one of those rare moments where I felt a very sudden and drastic advance in technology had occurred. It wasn't a perfect device, but it was definitely one where, for the first time since I'd ever owned any mobile phone, I saw the future and it was amazing. Google, at the time, was still focused on search, mapping, and advertising. Android wasn't even a CONCEPT until the hardware foundations were laid out by the existence of the iPhone.

Flash forward to the present--now my phone is just an everyday device. It doesn't feel special to me. But that doesn't mean that what Apple did was nothing short of single-handedly birth an entire generation of advanced handheld computing devices. I believe that Apple's patent war is ultimately self-defeating. They understandably want to protect the hard work they put into the iPhone, but the way forward is through more innovation, not staking claim to the past. But that does not invalidate the historical fact that, yes, Apple did do something no one else did before. And it wasn't obvious, it wasn't easy, and it wasn't Samsung's invention.

Re:It's not about innovation (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 5 months ago | (#45486519)

Given that smartphones and tablets are just the current generation of PDAs, Apple, Samsung et al should count themselves very lucky that Palm and Sharp didn't file thousands of stupid frivolous patents.

Instead of just dozens, perhaps :)

Wrong title. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45485759)

Apple hasn't been awarded 290 million, but 890 million. 600 million have been awarded in the first trial. This one was only about the invalidated part of the 1 billion verdict.

Is it a waste? (4, Insightful)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 4 months ago | (#45485873)

Sometimes I think that all this litigation is a terrible waste of human effort. Then I try to imagine all these lawyers doing something more productive with their time instead, and I just can't.

Re:Is it a waste? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45486149)

Sometimes I think that all this litigation is a terrible waste of human effort. Then I try to imagine all these lawyers doing something more productive with their time instead, and I just can't.

Maybe if we had something like a mock trial system for them. We could fund it with a paltry few million; let them all think they're really doing something useful yelling at each other all day. Meanwhile the rest of the world can move on. Oblig: Simpsons 'world without lawyers' reference.

Re:Is it a waste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45486245)

There's always the "B Ark". Just sayin'.

Re:Is it a waste? (1)

jddeluxe (965655) | about 4 months ago | (#45486253)

"Sometimes I think that all this litigation is a terrible waste of human effort. Then I try to imagine all these lawyers doing something more productive with their time instead, and I just can't."

How about committing suicide en masse?

Re:Is it a waste? (0)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 5 months ago | (#45486395)

Can you imagine all the lawyers committing suicide? That seems just as hard for me to imagine as all the lawyers becoming productive members of society.

What is more productive (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 4 months ago | (#45486275)

Than making millions of dollars for yourself and your firm?

Re:What is more productive (3, Informative)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 5 months ago | (#45486367)

It's not productive because nothing is being produced. It's just taking money from one group of people and giving it to another. It's redistributive rather than productive.

Making phones is productive. Advancing technology is productive.

Re:What is more productive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45486535)

It's not productive because nothing is being produced. It's just taking money from one group of people and giving it to another. It's redistributive rather than productive.

In other words it's white collar welfare.

Re:What is more productive (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 5 months ago | (#45486621)

Welfare is the provision of a minimal level of well-being and social support for all citizens, sometimes referred to as public aid. In most developed countries, welfare is largely provided by the government and to a lesser extent charities, informal social groups, religious groups, and inter-governmental organizations.

Welfare is more than just wealth redistribution.

Re:Is it a waste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45486509)

The vast majority of lawyers serve no practical purpose to society other than to defend you from their own kind.

It's an industry that artificially creates it's own demand, instead of fulfilling a natural one. It's basically a giant extortion ring siphoning wealth from society, instead of generating any itself.

Maybe Not So Good For Apple (1, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 4 months ago | (#45486281)

Apple claims that Samsung hurts the market for iPhones.
B.S.!
If you want IOS and the Apple App Store you have to buy an iPhone today every bit as much as you ever had to do so.
The Samsung phone is a different creature in a different environment.
Apple couldn't even make enough smartphones to supply the whole world provided that the did have a monopoly on them.
Aside from the fact that Apple never should have been granted these patents, I mean really, how long before Samsung -- who still supplies a lot of the iPhone and iPad components because nobody else can -- announces a sudden price increase that more than pays for this judgement out of Apple's own pockets?
I hope real soon.
And I'm left to wonder if this is taxable income in the USA for the famously tax-avoiding Apple? If not, then they just laundered a giga-buck into the good 'ol USA.

Actually, $890 million (4, Informative)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 4 months ago | (#45486293)

Originally Samsung was ordered to pay about a billion dollars. Then it turned out that the jury had made mistakes in the calculation of damages. Therefore about $400 million of that billion had to be tried again, while $600 million of the judgment was deemed correct. So in reality Samsung is now ordered to pay $600 plus $290 million.

Judge Lucy Haeran Koh is of Korean descent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45486421)

so is Samsung.

US Court sides with US defendant (4, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | about 5 months ago | (#45486617)

No surprise there. Samsung apparently wins the cases overseas, Apple wins them in the US. The whole system is rigged, flawed, and useless. Down with software and "design" patents!

Fire up the dumptrucks! (1)

ALeader71 (687693) | about 5 months ago | (#45486631)

I feel a parking lot full of loose change in Apple's future. Maybe this time it will happen!

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