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Apple Demands $40 Per Samsung Phone For 5 Software Patents

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the we-had-these-ideas-separately dept.

Cellphones 406

An anonymous reader writes "Apple and Samsung couldn't agree on a patent cross-license even though their CEOs met recently. What could be the reason (or one of the reasons) is that Apple is asking for obscenely high patent royalties. At the March 31 trial an Apple-hired expert will present to a California jury (already the third jury trial in this dispute) a damages claim of $40 per device (phone or tablet) for just a handful of software patents. The patents are related to, but don't cover all aspects and elements of, functionalities like slide-to-unlock, autocorrect, data synchronization, unified search and the famous tap-on-phone-number-to-dial feature. Google says there are 250,000 patentable inventions in a smartphone. On average, Apple wants $8 per patent per device. That would add a patent licensing bill of $2 million to each gadget. So Apple and Samsung will be back to court again later this month."

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How are those kind of things patentable? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459655)

Most of this thing is just common sense technological progress. If Apple didn't come up with it, someone else inevitably would have. There wasn't any spark of genius required.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459735)

did you even use a so called smartphone phone before the iphone? yeah, someone else, like windows ce/mobile or palm os. those pieces of trash.

Re: How are those kind of things patentable? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459779)

And how many of the so called apple patents were in use on those old devices before 2000? Like, say, tapping a number to dial!

The term of art is "obvious." (5, Insightful)

GodInHell (258915) | about 5 months ago | (#46459953)

You're not allowed to patent an obvious advancement.

But patent law is offensively fucked up. Basically, it's a war of money. Both sides line up patent lawyers (one of a very few formally recognized specializations for attorneys in the U.S.) and burn money until someone gives up. This case will almost certainly wind up before the Supreme Court eventually - unless Samsung folds and pays to make apple go away. Fortunately, Samsung is sufficiently profitable that it can saturate the process with more money than required and write it off as a margin cost for continuing to compete in the smartphone market.

Apple's patents are offensively bad. There *is* enough there to require a jury verdict to nullify them rather than a summary ruling by the Court (preferably one where the foreman doesn't lie about having a personal stake in proving that software patents are nearly always valid - like the last trial between these two) but in a sane system of patents there would be no question that "slide to unlock" is a variation of long established design concepts - i.e. a latch.

Re:The term of art is "obvious." (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460305)

Apple's patents are offensively bad. There *is* enough there to require a jury verdict to nullify them rather than a summary ruling by the Court (preferably one where the foreman doesn't lie about having a personal stake in proving that software patents are nearly always valid - like the last trial between these two) but in a sane system of patents there would be no question that "slide to unlock" is a variation of long established design concepts - i.e. a latch.

Apple had better watch it, their arrogant attitude is going to get their patents invalidated in the US (about the only place they are still valid). Many, including "slide to unlock" have already been invalidated in Europe - http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/07/05/1325241/in-uk-htc-defeats-apples-obvious-slide-unlock-patent or http://apple.slashdot.org/story/13/04/06/210232/german-court-finds-apples-slide-to-unlock-patent-invalid - besides, Apple technically doesn't own the patent on "slide to unlock" anyway, Micron does http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/01/31/171239/micron-lands-broad-slide-to-unlock-patent

Re:The term of art is "obvious." (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460377)

Apple's patents are offensively bad. There *is* enough there to require a jury verdict to nullify them rather than a summary ruling by the Court (preferably one where the foreman doesn't lie about having a personal stake in proving that software patents are nearly always valid - like the last trial between these two)

Won't do any good, Apple will just use their paid off government stooges to overthrow any unfavourable court judgements. http://apple.slashdot.org/story/13/08/03/1941212/obama-administration-overrules-iphone-trade-ban

Re: How are those kind of things patentable? (5, Insightful)

harlequinn (909271) | about 5 months ago | (#46460489)

Treating a phone number like a hyperlink is very obvious. Of course the vast, vast majority of older devices, like "those...before 2000" didn't have touch screens to be able to easily implement it.

Re: How are those kind of things patentable? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 5 months ago | (#46460507)

I used to have a candybar feature-phone (a cheap Huawei) that ran Qualcomm BREW. I guess it's possible they licensed the patent in question, but it did have blue, underlined phone numbers. (Any number, in fact. It was not a smart phone.)

Re: How are those kind of things patentable? (3, Insightful)

fox171171 (1425329) | about 5 months ago | (#46460491)

I tapped a button on my old land line to dial numbers decades before smart phones.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 5 months ago | (#46459819)

Windows ce/mobile agree, but I carried a Palm OS phone for awhile, and it was ok. It ran all the apps from my Pilot and worked OK as a phone. Later I migrated to Blackberry and never looked back. All the capabilities that the Treo should have had and dead nuts reliable. If the offshore admins at my current company could figure out how to keep BES up, I'd still be on Blackberry. Current phone is Android (not Samsung, and I have no intention of marching lockstep with zombie-Jobs) so I guess I'll just get some popcorn and watch the carnage.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (2, Informative)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | about 5 months ago | (#46460277)

Sorry, but you need better admins if they can't keep a BES up and running. That was the one good thing about the whole company, IMO (I always hated their phones.). When I was responsible for one, the only reason I ever logged into that box was to deal with user issues and the occasional scheduled software upgrade. Otherwise, I was pretty much able to just forget it was there. It was absolutely rock-solid; which, admittedly, shocked the hell out of me, considering the thing ran on windows server.

It's a crying shame that no one bought up BES and turned it into a device-agnostic activesync competitor.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about 5 months ago | (#46460379)

> Sorry, but you need better admins if they can't keep a BES up and running.

I don't dispute that.

> It's a crying shame that no one bought up BES and turned it into a device-agnostic activesync competitor.

Absolutely true.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459857)

did you even use a so called smartphone phone before the iphone? yeah, someone else, like windows ce/mobile or palm os. those pieces of trash.

yes and they had tap-a-number-to-dial and autocorrect.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (5, Insightful)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 5 months ago | (#46459891)

A smartphone is a computer. The reason that phones are getting better, is because the technology underpinning computers is getting better. More powerful computers allow for better user interfaces. It's not like no one thought of making a nice UI for a phone before Apple. It's that it wasn't possible until technology reached a certain point. Apple was just the first company to really exploit these advances in technology to do the obvious.

Allowing these sorts of obvious patents is harmful to society.

Apple doesn't get to take credit for computers getting smaller and more powerful.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (5, Interesting)

davester666 (731373) | about 5 months ago | (#46460191)

Well, they do get credit for being at least one of the first to actually shove the components together like this.

For example, after SJ went on stage and demo'd the original iPhone [which by all accounts so far, was on a real device, running real apps], BB was convinced it was all a lie, that Apple couldn't physically get all that stuff together, working that well, that powerful [compared to other phones at the time]. And nevermind the right turn Android took, from a RIM/Windows CE style interface to a Apple interface.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (5, Informative)

jaymz666 (34050) | about 5 months ago | (#46460215)

The so called apple interface was not much different to the palm interface

Re: How are those kind of things patentable? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460251)

You have to be kidding me. Huge differences, apple on day one was light years better.

er, not really (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460449)

I had several good friends who were Palm executive level, including head of UI team. Palm was dumbstruck by the apple interface, it's fluidity and ease of use.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460225)

Most of us have no problem giving Apple a "job well done" for the iPhone, what we object to is the notion that everyone else should have to pay them for it even when they're not buying an iPhone.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (5, Interesting)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 5 months ago | (#46460307)

Well, they do get credit for being at least one of the first to actually shove the components together like this.

absolutely

The first iphone was a revolutionary device. It changed the direction of smartphones the day it came out. That doesn't mean we'd all be using the same shitty Windows CE interface right now, if iphone never existed. It just would have taken a bit longer for the advancement to happen without apple.

Einstein was the first to discover relativity. He will forever get the credit for this. But had he not existed someone else would have still figured it out. It just would have taken a bit longer.

I think patents, when they are structured correctly, can drive innovation. When they are structured incorrectly they can stifle innovation greatly. When we run the numbers to figure out how long a patent should exist in order to get people to create things they otherwise wouldn't in various fields, we should not be thinking "How valuable is a smartphone like the iphone to society". We should be thinking "How valuable is it to society to get a smartphone like the iphone 1 or 2 years earlier".

Obviously getting a smartphone like the iphone 1 or 2 years earlier is a wonderful thing that is certainly very valuable. But I don't think it is so valuable as to allow a company like apple to prevent good features from making to competitor phones almost a decade after the iphone was invented. Especially when we consider that Apple would probably have made the iphone almost exactly as it is now even if they were not granted these trvially obvious patents.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460375)

Einstein was the first to discover relativity. He will forever get the credit for this.

Actually Poincare was the first. Einstein just got the credit.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460443)

Apple ripped off the design of the LG Prada. They were lucky they didn't get sued for that.

Imagine if the situation were reversed?

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (5, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 5 months ago | (#46460351)

did you even use a so called smartphone phone before the iphone?

I did. I developed for Palm, WinCE, Psion/Symbian and Nokia N770/800 (including for SIP/Skype calls) etc before the iPhone as well.

The single biggest differentiator between iPhone and its predecessors was the capacitative screen. Everybody in the business knew it was coming, and would change interfaces. Even Microsoft was experimenting with the multitouch Surface, but Apple were fastest to get in with a phone that had multitouch and dispensed with the stylus (needed for resistive screens).

They did well, and with Fingerworks, managed to patent some of the early multitouch ideas, but they were not especially novel concepts, even at that time.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460487)

Windows CE isn't really a "piece of trash". No, it wasn't "finger-friendly", and required a stylus, but the last WM device I had, had Bluetooth and A2DP, functioned well on Wi-Fi, played music without issue, had a lot of relevant applications (the term "apps" wasn't mainstream.)

In fact, there was nothing the iPhone at the time did that the WM device couldn't do. To boot, the old TI OMAP dual-core CPU can run for a week between charges (even overclocked), and there is no smartphone today that can even approach that.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459923)

There is no reason to even believe Apple came up with any of it. The patent system is so broken it doesn't really matter who came up with what, it's whoever has the largest and most ambiguous patent portfolio that gets to just sue everyone like crazy. It's not like the patent office really does any serious investigations over who really came up with what, they rubber stamp so many of these things it's unlikely they even read many of them all that well and the language is so vaguely and confusingly worded those doing the rubber stamping probably don't understand half of it. Get a patent invalidated? Just sue them for another, almost identical one. When it expires apply for another identical one with slightly different wording. By then the patent examiner will probably be someone else anyways and they won't be able to recognize the patent as prior art assuming they even understand any of it.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459967)

So someone "inevitably" coming up with an idea means that it's not patentable? What? Where do you people get this shit from?
 
The problem with you fucks is that you like to think everything is obvious and trivial to execute but next to none of you bitches have ever invented a single thing in your lives.
 
I'm seriously waiting for you fucks to start revolutionizing the world like you claim that anyone could. Hell, I'd settle for one of you to put out a professional-quality album and let everyone download it for free. After all, it's just a copy, it's not costing you anything.

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (5, Insightful)

SQLGuru (980662) | about 5 months ago | (#46460133)

I've solved plenty of problems in novel ways. I've also solved problems based on a post I found on Stack Overflow.

My main complaint is that software patents don't reveal how to implement them. So I can't know whether I've devised a new and novel way of sliding to unlock or not. Software patents are akin to patenting "engines" and suing for billions when the rotary engine even though you invented the carburated combustion engine

Re:How are those kind of things patentable? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460105)

Because the courts have ruled that they are, primarily the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the Patent Office (and examiners) HAVE TO follow those decisions no matter what they think of them. The Supreme Court actually has never really ruled that altering the behavior of a general purpose computer by itself is enough of a tie to a particular machine to not be subject to the ban on patenting an abstract idea, and some of the Justices have pointedly hinted they aren't so keen on the idea in the Bilski oral argument. The Bilski decision itself is a big muddle on the subject really.

BUT coming on March 31st we will get a real test of just that question in the form of arguments on Alice Corporation Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International. That is the case to watch, and it could cause SPECTACULAR waves if the court categorically smacks down the use of a "general purpose computer" and other claim drafting tricks presently employed to get super-broad patent coverage for computer implemented methods.

for the record (5, Insightful)

Cederic (9623) | about 5 months ago | (#46459661)

Apple are acting like total cunts.

Whether they're in the right or wrong, under current patent law, they're still acting like total cunts.

No comment on how that compares to their customers.

Re:for the record (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459731)

No comment on how that compares to their customers.

you just did

Re:for the record (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459771)

I hate Apple. They used to just focus on making their trendy computing devices. Didn't like the products, but I could respect the business model of making something and selling it for a profit. Now Apple seeks revenue from litigation.

Re:for the record (1, Insightful)

mbkennel (97636) | about 5 months ago | (#46459831)

Apple doesn't really seek significant revenue from litigation---it's not quite worth it.

It does seek to inhibit other phone companies from making phones which are too much like the Apple phone by making their profit margins smaller through litigation and patent license.

Re:for the record (4, Insightful)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 5 months ago | (#46459911)

It does seek to inhibit other phone companies from making phones which are too much like the Apple phone

Or seeking to inhibit other phone companies from making *any* good smart phones, thereby giving the consumer less choice and increasing the odds that they will buy an apple device.

Re:for the record (2)

aphelion_rock (575206) | about 5 months ago | (#46460139)

Or seeking to inhibit other phone companies from making *any* good smart phones, thereby giving the consumer less choice and increasing the odds that they will buy an apple device.

Sounds like a worried manufacturer to me. Since SJ has gone there haven't been any significant innovations from the Apply camp.
If this graph is anything to go by, the executives/lawyers will be looking to justify their existence: http://qz.com/120917/the-smart... [qz.com]

Re:for the record (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 5 months ago | (#46460541)

i agree with the above, they don't care about the money. remember SJ's words "android is a stolen product, and he's willing to go to thermonuclear war to stop it." this isn't even business anymore, it's burn-it-all-down revenge. Toot suite!

Re:for the record (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 months ago | (#46460217)

Apple doesn't really seek significant revenue from litigation---it's not quite worth it. It does seek to inhibit other phone companies from making phones which are too much like the Apple phone by making their profit margins smaller through litigation and patent license.

That doesn't make a whole lot of sense, if Apple can significantly reduce the profit margin of other vendors the boost to its own profit margin should be significant too despite the overhead of lawyers.

RE: for the record (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459885)

Because clearly Google & Samsung are upstanding companies who NEVER sue ANYONE, EVER for patent license fees....

If you believe that, then you should stop burying your head in your own ass... clearly lack of oxygen is inhibiting common sense.

Re: for the record (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460183)

The fact that this post was modded down shows just how many Fandroid cunts there are around Slashdot anymore. Fucking goose-stepping fanbois who'll do anything to protect their precious product over their so-called ideals.

Re:for the record (4, Insightful)

gwstuff (2067112) | about 5 months ago | (#46460041)

Apple is not the problem. The patent system is. The patent system was invented in an age in which manufacturing and distributing products would take a lot of time and involve multitudes of logistical hardships. So people had to be protected because they would be exposed for the duration that it took them to turn their ideas into products, which was more than enough for an established player to steal their innovation. In today's world you can do the same things in a matter of days though crowdsourcing, App Stores, web services, Alibaba, click-and-control warehousing and supply chains. Investments are also much more accessible through the likes of Kickstarter and VCs with online office hours. People no longer need the same level of protection because they can move much faster than before. Big companies don't need protection - if they come up with an idea, they get the early starter advantage (Apple did) and need to capitalize on it (which Apple did also). If they don't, they're incompetent, and too bad for them.

Given that the patent system is stupid and encourages armament and heavy warfare, you cannot blame Apple for watching out for themselves. Offense is also a good defense - although admittedly it would be generous to give Apple that benefit.

Re:for the record (2)

rtb61 (674572) | about 5 months ago | (#46460157)

It is not the Patent System per se it is the USPTO. They have been blatantly corrupted to accept virtually anything as a patent. This in a mad money grab by US corporations and by the lawyers that run lobbyists firms. Junk patents are the virtual equivalent of beads, just another insane plot to buy the world just the same as the junk imaginary currency. The really bad ones are designed to trigger patent fights in US courts and as such enrich the lawyer pals of lobbyists in trial, after trial, after trial. It is the US administration that is totally corrupt and their political appointees who in turn corrupt each and every US government agency.

Re:for the record (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460545)

No, it's not right to just give Apple a pass for being dicks. Apple is part of the problem, especially when they try to game the already-broken patent system in a way that sounds suspiciously like medieval highway robbery would be preferable. It doesn't matter if they have to be dicks, when they're being the biggest dicks ever.

Shart!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459697)

Holy smokes! That's going to force me to purchase an iPhone. You fools!

Proper patent valuation (4, Interesting)

rafial (4671) | about 5 months ago | (#46459761)

So if their are 250,000 patentable inventions in a phone, and that phone retails for $600, by my math each of those inventions are worth about a quarter of a cent per device. So it looks like Apple has a justifiable claim to 1.25 cents per phone.

Re:Proper patent valuation (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 5 months ago | (#46459835)

I like how you're thinking.

Re:Proper patent valuation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460089)

That's why you're just another turd commenting on Slashdot and not doing something really useful with your life.

Re:Proper patent valuation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460237)

Your ironic comment is noted.

Re:Proper patent valuation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460249)

Penis in your ass you anon cunt. You are nothing but shit. You have always been shit and you will always be shit.

Re:Proper patent valuation (1)

SlaveToTheGrind (546262) | about 5 months ago | (#46459907)

So if their are 250,000 patentable inventions in a phone, and that phone retails for $600, by my math each of those inventions are worth about a quarter of a cent per device. So it looks like Apple has a justifiable claim to 1.25 cents per phone.

It depends a bit on how much each individual patent contributes to the overall device/standard/etc.

In the standards context, courts lately have been making an effort (it's never going to be perfect, but at least making an effort) to assign some level of proportional value the patents in question vs. the rest of the patents covering the standard, and use those numbers to calculate a reasonable royalty for the patents in question. In theory (and if all courts eventually start using a similar methodology) that will largely address the royalty stacking [wikia.com] problem.

Re:Proper patent valuation (2)

Lodlaiden (2767969) | about 5 months ago | (#46460109)

I wonder how much the part that makes the phone calls is worth.

Re:Proper patent valuation (1)

fermion (181285) | about 5 months ago | (#46460297)

Unfortunately, Samsung left itself open to such thing by settling with MS for 10-15 a headset. It chose not to do the same with Apple. Samsung lost in a court of law, so it no longer has the leverage that it might not have broken the law. Sucks for Samsung. Should have fought against MS instead of caving in. Remember that every android phone makes MS rich.

Re:Proper patent valuation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460317)

Unlike many of Apples patents though, Microsoft's patents are arguably quite critical to the smartphone market, things like slide to lock or click a phone number to dial are appalling abuses are the patent system by comparison.

Re:Proper patent valuation (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 5 months ago | (#46460417)

Slide to unlock has prior art so that patent is BS so start with and likely rest of apple's claims are bogus to.

It is time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459783)

for Samsung to grind Apple's production to a halt with lack of parts.

Software patent density (1)

Megahard (1053072) | about 5 months ago | (#46459847)

So how many LOC are in a smartphone? (I know, some are hardware patents, but let's assume almost all are software). Does every class/method/function get a patent?

Re:Software patent density (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459861)

Yes. If not, nobody would ever code. Next discussion.

Ignorance... (-1, Flamebait)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 5 months ago | (#46459897)

Ok, I'm certain I'm going to get modded into the stone age because, well, that's what happens on Slashdot nowadays so let's just get on with it.

First, the VAST majority of the patents involved in a mobile device are FRAND patents that are required for the phone to be, you know, a phone (plus the wifi and whatnot). And those patents are licensed at INCREDIBLY low rates per device because the inventor knows that they are going to make back their investment in the long run because EVERY device uses the patent. That is the value in a FRAND patent. That is why companies work so incredibly hard to get their invention involved in an industry standard - the value is long term. The value is in a steady stream of income, even if it is small per device, from everyone.

The other type of patents are the ones which Apple is enforcing in this case - non-FRAND patents. They are not, in any way, an "industry standard" and thus other manufacturers have a choice to a) pay whatever licensing fee they can negotiate with the patent holder or b) invent around it. Since it isn't REQUIRED, option b is available.

Now, the patent holder has the benefit that they are under no obligation to license the patent in question. With a FRAND patent, they do not have that choice. By agreeing to be part of an industry standard, the company agrees to license the patents at FAIR and REASONABLE rates and NON-DISCRIMINATORY. That means, EVERYONE can license the patent - the patent holder has no right to prevent a company from licensing it - and the rates MUST be fair and reasonable which equates with "very low because they make it up in bulk since everyone needs to license it." Thus, the 250,000 patents.

What trips up most people is the idea of "industry standard". It isn't a "well, everyone does it so it's standard". It is "companies pitched to be included in an industry standard that was being established by a board and went through an extensive review and development process". It is a legal term, not a description.

Apple's patents that they are enforcing aren't FRAND. They are under no obligation to license them to anyone. They are entirely within their right to not license them to anyone. Conversely, Samsung is also under no obligation to use them. They can agree to pay to license them or, alternatively, they can design around them and not infringe the patents.

Well, actually, there's another option, which Samsung opted for - infringe the patents and then drag the issue out in court and wage a PR war of misinformation. Most companies, however, either agree to license the patents or, if they can't reach an agreeable rate with the patent holder, design around the patents instead.

Now, feel free to mod me down since I'm clearly an Apple fanboy despite speaking the truth and I've dared to impugn the honour of Samsung...

Oh, and lastly, can we SERIOUSLY get one or two story summaries that aren't clear and obvious flamebait? This site has become total shit in recent years and I see no recovery... sigh...

Re:Ignorance... (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 5 months ago | (#46460025)

Well, actually, there's another option, which Samsung opted for - infringe the patents and then drag the issue out in court and wage a PR war of misinformation. Most companies, however, either agree to license the patents or, if they can't reach an agreeable rate with the patent holder, design around the patents instead

Bias much?

I guess the bias the other way is roughtly that Samsung rightfully determined that the patents were obvious non-innovations that should never have been issued a patent in the first place and infringed on them knowing that the courts would see the patents fall once someone actually challenged them.

The truth is somewhere in the middle I expect.

Apple's patents that they are enforcing aren't FRAND. They are under no obligation to license them to anyone.

And if they never should have been issued patents for them in the first place? What then? Apparently to the courts we must go.

Now, feel free to mod me down since I'm clearly an Apple fanboy despite speaking the truth and I've dared to impugn the honour of Samsung...

Oh the hell with that, I doubt Samsung has much honour to impugn but... swipe to unlock et al shouldn't even be patents.

Re:Ignorance... (0)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 5 months ago | (#46460337)

I don't believe Apple should have been issued the patents in the first place and mostly agree... BUT this

I guess the bias the other way is roughtly that Samsung rightfully determined that the patents were obvious non-innovations that should never have been issued a patent in the first place and infringed on them knowing that the courts would see the patents fall once someone actually challenged them.

that is not how things should work. If you disagree you go to court first or license then fight them in court or you avoid the patented methods altogether. Intentionally infringing because you don't think they should have the patents is moronic and opens yourself to untold potential liability costs (as they are now experiencing).

A hypothetical monopoly on smartphones (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46460037)

Most companies, however, either agree to license the patents or, if they can't reach an agreeable rate with the patent holder, design around the patents instead.

If one company owned patents on inventions that turned out to be essential to the difference between dumbphones and smartphones and declined to license them, how many customers would be happy with only one smartphone maker?

Re:A hypothetical monopoly on smartphones (0)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 5 months ago | (#46460065)

None of Apple's patents which are being enforced are essential to the difference between smartphones and dumbphones. Neither in the legal sense of standards essential patents nor in the sense of "without it, how will people know it's a smart phone?"

All their patents can be designed around.

As evidenced by the companies that have, you know, designed around them.

Re:A hypothetical monopoly on smartphones (2)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46460243)

Have the patents been successfully designed around, or are other Android phones just made by smaller companies that Apple plans to pursue after it has prevailed over Samsung? If the common-practice design around for each of these patents is documented, I'd like to see it.

Re:Ignorance... (2)

walshy007 (906710) | about 5 months ago | (#46460049)

Samsungs reaction here is the only sane one. When someone (apple) attacks you over trivial things like "implementing a latch in software" for big money while they are simultaneously using hardware you invented and patented for mere pennies.. that isn't exactly 'fair'.

Apple is the real shit-stirrer here, everybody was playing relatively nicely until they decided to fire the nukes at everyone in terms of software patents.

If apple is allowed to get away with their bullshit, who will be in the firing line next?

That software can even be patented at all is ridiculous.

Re:Ignorance... (5, Informative)

thesupraman (179040) | about 5 months ago | (#46460063)

No, you are completely wrong.

FRAND patents are not of little value, and are not normally licensed for little value.
They are normally part of cross-licensing agreements between companies, with small associated payments to make the contracts binding, but primarily they are used as a technology trading base.

Apple of course refuses to participate in the trading.
They say 'license your FRAND patents to us for the same as everyone else, and then we will screw you to the wall for our patents'.
FRAND owners say "WTF? those fees are for crosslicensing agreements, without that, you need to pay real money'
Apple says "Then we wont pay you anything, and since we appear to have the US legal system all tied up, piss off, in fact, we will sue you over a bunch
of patents we never invented, just added the words 'on a capacitive touch screen' to the end of! ha!"

And if you think thats good business, well.... time will tell. I wonder how well Apple will do when the next round of critical infrastructure wireless patents are no longer FRAND, and Apple hold no cards.

Kill the meaning of FRAND patents is a standardisation disaster, and a short term cash grab by Apple to the detriment of everyone else, including their own users.

Re:Ignorance... (-1, Troll)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 5 months ago | (#46460103)

You have utterly no concept of how FRAND patents work nor virtually any of the facts in this rather large situation.

Thus the subject of my original post.

Re:Ignorance... (0)

SlaveToTheGrind (546262) | about 5 months ago | (#46460253)

Kill the meaning of FRAND patents is a standardisation disaster, and a short term cash grab by Apple to the detriment of everyone else, including their own users.

It's not like you sprinkle magic pixie dust on a patent and it becomes a "FRAND patent," or that certain categories of patents are "FRAND patents."

What you're referring to as "FRAND patents" are those for which the owner has previously pledged (typically to a standard-setting organization of which they're a member) to license the patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Courts tend to enforce that sort of promise when it's actually time to negotiate the rate of the license and the patent holder and licensee have a different understanding of what "fair" and "reasonable" mean.

If a patent holder does not make that kind of commitment, the patent is not subject to FRAND licensing terms (or, as you call it, a "FRAND patent"). Full stop.

If Apple is holding other patent owners to their FRAND licensing commitments, but is licensing its non-FRAND patents on non-FRAND terms, that doesn't "kill the meaning of FRAND patents." Whether you like Apple's chosen patent monetization strategy is a different issue altogether, but there's no need to make stuff up in the process of making that point.

Re:Ignorance... (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 months ago | (#46460345)

FRAND patents are not of little value, and are not normally licensed for little value. They are normally part of cross-licensing agreements between companies

That doesn't make any sense at all, patents licensed under FRAND terms need to be non-discriminatory as that's what the ND stands for. Typically that means that if you sign an agreement and pay $0.20/unit, anybody can make something with a HDMI port or something like that. Cross licensing agreements are the opposite of that, you get to use my patents if I get to use yours. If you don't have any interesting patents, no agreement for you so they're discriminatory and because the patents involved are unique the cost is not uniform either. In short, you don't have any clue what you're talking about and apparently neither do the mods.

Re:Ignorance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460281)

Wow, someone who wrote something sensible.

Also what Apple is asking for is DAMAGES for wilful infringement. Damages are typical MUCH higher than licensing would be so as to discourage wilful patent infringement.

Re:Ignorance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460565)

But but...everything is supposed to be free (of cost and in the freedom sense)! Now yes there are R&D costs but researchers shouldn't get paid, they should work for free instead and create inventions that people who actually make things can use without spending a dime on developing the invention...because that would work SO well. Where is the proof that an idiotic model like that would work? Nothing stops people from trying that but it doesnt work.

You see this is the problem, it's all *rabble rabble patents bad* but there is no reason all the people crying foul couldn't go and invent their own things, protect them with patents and then release them license-free but instead it's all gimme gimme gimme for free! It's the same with the FOSS advocates, if they spent less time complaining about proprietary software and more time developing good software that people wanted to use then they wouldnt have to complain about proprietary software anymore.

obligitory funny vid (1)

amxcoder (1466081) | about 5 months ago | (#46459899)

This reminds me of the YouTube video "Apple kills Star Trek".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

close to the truth, and utterly funny if you haven't seen it yet.

god damm gooks should learn to innovate (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459901)

fuck asian copycats and the non-innovative open source cunts who buy their shit!

Legal strategy? (1)

dicobalt (1536225) | about 5 months ago | (#46459905)

So it's pretty obvious that those parents aren't worth that much, I can only think this is some sort of legal strategy.

Re:Legal strategy? (1)

jon3k (691256) | about 5 months ago | (#46460387)

It's just a bargaining position. Samsung will counter with something lower and they'll meet somewhere in the middle.

tap on phone number to dial? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459957)

Is that seriously a thing? How can that be patent-able?
Is there some other way to dial, other than to tap on the touch screen?

Re:tap on phone number to dial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460013)

Wierdly, this was actually built in functionality if you had a touch screen in windows 3.11. You could dial out using your modem by clicking on the number wanted in certain media and it just you know.. dialed it, if you were using a touch screen you just touched the number like clicking it.

Making phone numbers clickable (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46460055)

If it's the "data tapping" patent I'm thinking of, it's about recognizing a phone number in a document and making it clickable.

Re:tap on phone number to dial? (2)

BronsCon (927697) | about 5 months ago | (#46460075)

It's not the obvious "tap the numbers that make up the phone number to dial", it's the even more obvious "tap the actual phone number to dial". Just to make it clear how idiotic the patent actually is.

Re:tap on phone number to dial? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460099)

The patent covers a specific method of detecting a phone number inside arbitrary text and automatically linking that to the dialer. Only a fucking moron (read: many slashdotters apparently) judges a patent based on a single-sentence summary.

It's true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46459973)

Those that can't compete, litigate :)

If I were Samsung (5, Interesting)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 5 months ago | (#46460051)

I'd cease all production of the chips that Apple buys. See if you can find a new fab on short order.

Re:If I were Samsung (1)

jmcbain (1233044) | about 5 months ago | (#46460167)

Apple has already thought of that: Apple's A8 Chip Production for iPhone 6 Underway at TSMC [macrumors.com] .

Re:If I were Samsung (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460263)

Ahh, but guess who owns the patents and makes those fancy displays that Apple likes so much.....

Re:If I were Samsung (1)

jmcbain (1233044) | about 5 months ago | (#46460289)

Japan Display [macrumors.com] manufactures the iPhone screens.

Re:If I were Samsung (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 5 months ago | (#46460499)

I think Samsung still makes the NAND flash.

"The Last Lone Inventor" by Evan I. Schwartz (5, Insightful)

MSG (12810) | about 5 months ago | (#46460127)

I finished a book a while ago that I think really illustrates why software patents are objectionable, and what's wrong with the patent system as a whole, today.

The book is "The Last Lone Inventor" by Evan I. Schwartz. It describes the work of Philo T. Farnsworth to create television. During the time that Philo was working on television, many scientists employed by the radio industry were also working to develop usable video transmission technology, with inferior designs. Most of their work involved mechanical television cameras that used spinning wheels. Philo's invention was all electronic. It scanned, transmitted, and displayed a line at a time to create a two dimensional image. This remained the fundamental technology in displays at least until LCD and plasma screens replaced CRT.

Now, while many other patent related problems were well demonstrated by the book, the one most clearly related to software patents pertains to the intent of the patent system. Patents are not, as they are often regarded today, a recognition that an inventor owns his ideas. Ideas are not property, and have never been recognized as such. Patents are a recognition that some inventions rely on information that isn't obvious. Some inventions require the inventors to test and improve their inventions for years before they can be brought to market. Underlying the patent system is the belief that this work will not be done, that inventors will not fund years of experimentation and development, if they don't believe that they'll be able to sell that invention to recover the costs of its development. In a free market, competitors will be able to offer the same invention at a lower cost than its inventor, because the competitors did not have to invest in the development of the invention. Patents attempt to create an incentive to invent by ensuring that inventors who do invest in development are given a limited monopoly on their invention.

However, patents aren't free. It is not enough for the inventor to merely offer his invention to the market to receive patent protection on it. An inventor is also required to completely disclose how the invention works. After the patent period expires, the public must be able to continue using the invention independent of the inventor.

That is the fundamental purpose of the patent system: to benefit the public by providing it with the knowledge required to reproduce the invention. It is the public's benefit, not the inventors, that is the goal of the patent system. The inventor's benefit is simply the means to achieve that goal. The Constitution of the United States reflects this:
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries

Philo's work was exactly the progress of science that the patent system was intended to promote. His invention required tremendous investment to create. His idea was sound, but a great deal of experimentation was required to create a working device. Other highly skilled scientists were not able to create a working device on their own, or created working devices of significantly lesser quality. The exact properties of the materials and components used in the camera and television set were not previously known, and were discovered through Philo T. Farnsworth's experimentation and development.

The invention of television was worthy of patent protection.

Software development isn't like the invention of television in ANY way.

Software development does involve testing cycles, but otherwise almost never involves the kind of experimentation involved in the invention of television, because the exact properties of computer operations are previously known. Computers perform a limited number of operations, exactly according to a specification, and exactly the same every time. Because the behavior of the system is known in advance, the uncertainty inherent in real world material inventions does not exist in software development.

If you give a computing task to a large number of expert programmers, you will probably get a variety of results, but you also expect a great deal of overlap in those results. Software components frequently independently implement solutions that have previously been patented. When this happens, it is evidence that the patented invention is, in fact, obvious. When this happens, it is evidence that the public did not need the description provided by the patent. The frequency with which this happens is evidence that software patents are not a benefit to the public, and should be abolished. The public has no reason to provide patents when it receives nothing of value in return.

An earlier verdict in Apple's suit against Samsung is an excellent illustration of this flaw. The suit found that Samsung infringed Apple patents that described a) a means of indicating to the user that they were scrolling past the edge of some scrollable surface by "bounce back" scrolling behavior, b) using one finger to scroll and two fingers to zoom, and c) tapping to zoom. If you asked a group of experienced developers how to indicate to a user that they had scrolled too far, snapping back to an edge would almost certainly be one of a handful of other indications. You probably would also get a haptic indication (vibration), an audible indication (beep), and several visual indications such as bouncing back, texture vibrating, edge highlighting, and using a standard background behind the scrollable surface. If you asked experienced developers to allow users to scroll and zoom, likewise, you would find several that suggesting pinch to zoom and touch to scroll. These things don't need to be discovered, they merely need to be implemented.

Granting patents on those methods prohibits competitors from using similar methods, which significantly inhibits progress in the field, contrary to the goals stated in the Constitution of the United States, and does not benefit the public by providing them with information that they would not otherwise have. Software patents should be abolished.

They are obligated to behave this way? (1)

Lairdykinsmcgee (2500904) | about 5 months ago | (#46460161)

Some time ago, someone commenting on yet another patent conflict between Apple and Samsung suggested that Apple was obligated to defend its patents for fear of losing them. My understanding of this premise is that if a company owns a patent on some technology and does not defend itself against any potential forms of patent infringement, then that company could potentially lose that patent. Under these conditions, a company would be given incentive to fight any and all things that even resemble patent infringement just as a way to insure that they will never lose their patents. Is there any legitimacy to this claim? If so, this would simply say that patent law needed to change (which it surely does regardless), not that Apple's behavior needs to change.

Re:They are obligated to behave this way? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460227)

you have confused trademarks with patents, two very different areas of ip law.

Re:They are obligated to behave this way? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460285)

No, that is completely wrong. You are required to defend a TRADEMARK. There is no obligation to defend patents and they do not become invalid if you don't. In fact, this is a common criticism of the patent system: you can have a "stealth" patent that you don't enforce for years while people come to depend on the patented technique, believing it not to be patent-encumbered. Then the patent owner starts suing everyone. This is what happened with the GIF file format, for example.

That's a lot of money for rounded corners (4, Funny)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 5 months ago | (#46460203)

I wonder what Apple would charge if Samsung agreed to using square corners instead.

A Tiny Reminder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460219)

I had an account before, but I've forgotten the password. That beta site is awful.

Anonymous Coward here with the latest.

Slashdot crowd quickly forgets the past as Beta takes over their website slowly creeping into everything.

In 1998 - 2006, I used a series of different non-Windows Mobile based devices from imported Nokia phones to Palm to some very creative Japanese imports, but Apple redefined the way it worked with the iPhone in 2007.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not crediting them with the app revolution or a lot of very important things that have happened. Still, Google was working towards a Blackberry style device until Apple released the iPhone and rewrote the book overnight.

With that said, software patents are the only thing I can think of worse than Beta so the $40 is entirely unreasonable.

Patents... (1)

Moppusan (2837753) | about 5 months ago | (#46460223)

Aren't patents supposed to cover "not obvious" things? What, are Samsung phones not supposed to sync data? TAPPING on a phone number to CALL it? Simply amazing. I don't suppose anyone at Apple ever thought the money spent waging war against Samsung would be better spent...oh, I don't know...making better products?

This is why I'm leaving IT (3, Funny)

morcego (260031) | about 5 months ago | (#46460293)

and I'm back to college to study law. Because the only people who are really making money in those whole shameful mess are the lawyers. And why shouldn't they? This level of stupidity and greed should be taxed.

So sorry, Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460321)

I'm 3D printing my next phone!!! Bahaha!!

Fuck Apple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460327)

They make overpriced garbage only hipsters buy. They can go eat a dick.

Apple's Legal Strategy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460343)

Has about as much chance of succeeding long term as Jobs' paternity strategy. I hope that scumbag is still screaming in his grave from the pain of his cancer.

Get out the buckets (1)

Delarth799 (1839672) | about 5 months ago | (#46460349)

Apple can wish in the bucket on the left and crap in the bucket on the right. The first one to fill up to the top line gets fed back to them.

Tim Cook is leading Apple into mediocrity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460383)

Cook approved the loss of local sync for iOS
devices in Mavericks. That is such a clueless
shithead move it boggles my mind. I sold all my Apple
stock when I learned about this.

Now Cook is wasting company resources litigating instead of
competing based on merit. I guess this is what can be expected
from a bean counter.

I used to like Apple and Apple products. Now I can't WAIT
to get rid of absolutely every last Apple product I own.

My next phone will be a plain old "dumb" phone. I've had enough of
being led around by the nose by the cunts who lead companies like
Apple and Microsoft.

Let's just kill all the lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460389)

and burn down the patent office. Problem solved.

www.mvygoeclub.com (0)

kevin Carl (3554315) | about 5 months ago | (#46460471)

United States is the world develop rules of the game, good protection of the interests of the United States,Samsung has become the apple of cows, there is a need when squeezed.

You can't patent stupidity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46460529)

News: I've just patented stupidity. I expect to be making an incredible income stream from all levels of society.

I I understand this correctly (1)

hermitdev (2792385) | about 5 months ago | (#46460553)

From the abstract of 8,074,172 [uspto.gov]

One aspect of the invention involves a method that includes: in a first area of the touch screen, displaying a current character string being input by a user with the keyboard; in a second area of the touch screen, displaying the current character string or a portion thereof and a suggested replacement for the current character string; replacing the current character string in the first area with the suggested replacement if the user activates a delimiter key on the keyboard; replacing the current character string in the first area with the suggested replacement if the user performs a first gesture on the suggested replacement displayed in the second area; and keeping the current character string in the first area if the user performs a second gesture on the current character string or the portion thereof displayed in the second area.

So, you got a touch screen. User hits a "key" on the touch screen, autocomplete commences. User hits another key, selection changes, user hits backspace, selection changes. Lacking other prior art (that I know exists), Visual Studio 6 (circa 1999) had intellisense that does the exact same thing, except for "on a touch screen" which ought to be an obvious, and unpatentable extension. Granted (VC6 intellisense) it sucked, but still, prior art.

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