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back to article Samsung fails to stall Galaxy Nexus sales ban

Samsung's bad luck in the US courts continues after Judge Lucy Koh refused to delay a ban on its Galaxy Nexus smartphones. The South Korean electronics giant tried to get a stay on the preliminary injunction won by Apple while it appealed the decision, but Judge Koh was having none of it. The iPhone maker was granted the sales …

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If the US insist on software patents there should at least be a fast track process for challenging crap ones. Surely there must be loads of prior art on this one?

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Anonymous Coward

Apparently not, seeing as google + samsung presented all the prior art they could find to the court, and the court decided the patent is still valid. The courts aren't stupid, and they do take obvious things like prior art into account ;)

The issue with crap patents is when they're used against small companies. It costs millions to get them invalidated or fight them in court, and if you don't have that they have you over a barrel.

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Facepalm

Chris, I have to take issue with your statement that "The courts aren't stupid, and they do take obvious things like prior art into account".

If that was the case most of these patents would be laughed out of court.

The courts demonstrate their stupidity on a daily basis. The cynical side of me says that politics plays more of a role than facts in many a decision.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This has got to stop

Here is the thing. Google are pulling the feature and it is easy for them to do so. Whereas Apple simply don't knowingly implement features already covered by patents in the first place. Look at iBooks and iCloud. The obvious thing to do when you have various electronic books on various devices, is synchronise between them so when read a book on device 1 then open the same book on device 2, you find it opens at the same page as you were at on device 1. Apple don't do that. Why? Because Amazon have the patent for it. Instead in an Apple iBook you have to remember to set a bookmark. There are many other areas where Apple don't do things where others have the patent. Nokia and Microsoft have lots of patent's around auto-correct, hence the reason the iPhone autocorrect isn't particularly good. The same was true for font display on LCD panels. MS font display for many years looked much better because they had the patent.

If it's for Google to trample over other parties patents, should Apple start doing all the things they currently aren't doing because they are avoiding patents owned by others? Irrespective of your view on software patents (and the reality is many of them are bad), this question is a legitimate one with bearing on the relative morality of Apple vs Google. The simple fact is Google has a proven track record of having a high level of disregard for other companies (and individuals) intellectual property until forced to comply.

Another point, most of Google's value as a company comes from Adwords. They have a patent on key Adwords tech. That patent too appears obvious now it's been filed. As is often the case with patents, they weren't so obvious at the time they were filed. It's easy for Google to project an image of let's have a laisez-faire attitude to other companies IP because all their own value resides in an centralised database service they own and keep under lock and key - the Google search engine. But lets say you come up with a great new search algorithm or suite of algorithms. Imagine setting up a competing search business and, to obtain ad revenue for your great new solution, implement Google's patented adwords techniques. How long do you think you would survive before Google sue your ass. Not long for sure. See just how Laissez faire Google are then.

The reality is Google and Apple are businesses and are no better and no worse than each other, except Google, for a long time now, has shown a complete disregard for the rules because they can. Until Android they didn't have tech they were putting out with consumers others could compete with by copying. No matter how bad those rules are, many others (Microsoft, IBM, etc) aren't doing the same as Google (and don't bring up the Motorola FRAND patents - Judge Posner has already given a very thoughtful and detailed ruling on those and it doesn't back the case put by Googlerola).

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Re: This has got to stop

As much as I agree with your statements regarding Google's business methods, I feel it should be pointed out that Apple built and released a mobile phone without securing FRAND agreements with companies such as Nokia and then later had to pay up in court.

Like you say they are both businesses, but Apple has not been playing by all the rules either.

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Psion Organisers (for one) included this feature right from the outset - searching across the various stored files of differing types. I can't remember exactly when they were launched, but it sure predates 2004.

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Bronze badge

Re: This has got to stop

Hi Turnip Handler. I'm afraid you've got the party the term applies too the wrong way round. You shouldn't have to secure FRAND agreements before shipping because FRAND refers to the obligation to license on fair reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. The FRAND system is in place precisely because there are so many parties involved in standards based technologies all would grind to a halt if customers needed to negotiate licenses individually with each. So licensees obtain a license from patent pool representatives. Apple have licesences and Motorola claim they are insufficient for all of the technology they are using. That is a very different thing from Apple deliberately snubbing royalty payments to an IP holder. I've already referred to Judge Posners (extremely balanced and fair) ruling on this matter, which with regard to Motorola's abuse of FRAND, sides with Apple (and that apart he makes it clear he is so pissed off with both parties off for employing antagonistic tactics towards each other). Indeed , for people that know how it's supposed to work, Motorola's abuse of FRAND is so blatant they must surely already have known they had no chance of winning before embarking on legal action. They did it, IMHO, purely because Apple's position was strong and they had to been seen to have a reply in the eyes of the stock market analysts (it's better to show some fight by fighting dirty than to be seen to give up). Indeed the tactic has worked well, because now many people (such as yourself) think there is an argument. But don't forget this kind of FRAND abuse is so blatant, in Samsung's case, it has caused anti-trust investigations to be started in both the US and Europe.

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Anonymous Coward

How can you honestly sit there and type that - there 'must' be loads of prior art - I guess Samsung's lawyers are just sitting on their arses but Paul E QC knows better. Ever thought the impossible that perhaps Apple do have a case - guess a real judge things so (even on appeal) but then again I'm sure she will be an Apple loving, paid off member of the cult?

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Anonymous Coward

This has got to stop

It's time the sysadmins started methodically blocking the "AppleWebKit" useragent in their websites. Maybe Apple will take notice if we start making their customers pay the price for their litigation-madness.

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Devil

Re: This has got to stop

"blocking the "AppleWebKit" useragent"

That rather smacks of cutting off your nose to spite your face, and would only drive the fanbois deeper into their walled garden. Much better to design the web site to open standards so that everyone can see it.

Arranging for multiple click-through adverts promoting non-Apple products is a different matter...

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Happy

Re: This has got to stop

Hahaha nice one AC!

Catching those unaware that Android's browser also sends an AppleWebKit user agent :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This has got to stop

No. It has to do with blocking access to those who finance (litigation)-terrorism. Apple customers should be banned from every service until they either give up being Apple-customers, or Apple decides to play nice.

Notice, that I have the self-control not to recommend hanging the iDiots from the nearest lightpost.

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Re: This has got to stop

Sounds like a fanboy is a little butt hurt.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This has got to stop

Maybe get yourself fired for forcing your views on your colleagues / customers.

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Press start > start typing Viagra > get results from email, documents, payment receipts... am I missing something or is that basically what the patent does?

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Bronze badge

Re: what does the patent say?

That's claim 1.

Claims 2-5 add rankings according to a lot of criteria:

a) number of subsystems that return the same result

b) the ranking of the subsystems (e.g. are you more likely to click on an email for this query?)

c) using a "confidence factor"

Claims 6-15 then seem to read "do the above on a device that may or may not be a computer (aka phone) with storage media (networked or otherwise)"

Claims 17 & 21 covers "search as you type"

The other claims seem to be equivalent "on a computer" claims to some of the previous ones.

From that reading, and IANAPL, it would seem Google's search page is, in itself, in violation of this patent (assuming the code on it doesn't pre-date it). While you are typing in your search query, you're getting a list of possible search terms - if there's multiple algorithms competing for space in that drop down then they're in violation. Then the search returns come up - search on some product and you're likely to get shopping results. Search on a postcode and google maps is likely to be near the top. Search on a business and you get a combination of maps and company info - sounds like competing search agents getting ranked to me (although possibly not personalised).

Quite a readable patent, for a change, though. Does that make it non-obvious, though? A pox on software patents....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Eh?

It's something to do with siri, not just search. If it was as simple as unified search, there's an absolute ton of prior art and it would have been thrown out of court long ago.

Generally if a patent gets this far, it's a pretty good patent. Google + samsung have had a LOT of time to find prior art, and they've presented what they've found to the court. The court wasn't impressed, and thinks they're unlikely to get the patent invalidated.

I'd say that means it's something pretty specific that hasn't been done before (it's probably something to do with voice search, and determining exactly what the user is after and giving the optimum results).

Embarrassing for google though, having their phone banned over a search patent ;)

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Thumb Down

Re: Eh?

Apple didn't need to see Google Desktop, since they showed their own Spotlight for OSX on June 2004.

The difference of both to this patent is the added heuristic that picks the best candidate answer for each query instead of just showing everything.

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Re: Eh?

The patent linked appears to have been filed in 2000, predating, I think, desktop search.

The patent appears to be about how to rank hits coming from a variety of sources, based on how good the hit is, and how likely the user is to want it (do they tend to click email results? did they look at this recently?). The prior art talks about things like google search and the find function on windows, and explains that this is an incrimental improvement.

Honestly, it saddens me to see money that could be spent making the world better, spent on arguing about money. The greatest tragedy waste of the lawers precious lives. They won't get another. Couldn't they spend them doing something a bit more worthwhile?

Anyway, if I think apple has a good shot with this one, certainly legally and possibly morally. It's just intuitively rediculous tha heuristically ranked omnibar results are under patent in 2012. Maybe minor software patents should have a 1 year life?

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Re: Eh?

The patent is from 2000, 4 years before google desktop search. So by your logic google ripped off apple.

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Bronze badge

Re: Eh?

Daniel Ravicher gave a Google Tech talk in April:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfH8iyNjpYo

One of the interesting statistics given was that of the litigated patents, about 30% were on prior art and ~40% were simply obvious (there is overlap). Far from clear that "if a patent gets this far, it's a pretty good patent."

Another: USPTO agrees in about 92% of patent reexamination requests that there is a substantial question of patent validity.

These statistics were for all U. S. patents, but those for software patents probably are worse. They also don't say anything about the particular patents involved here, but do suggest something is fundamentally wrong with the process.

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Flame

Do apple have any patents which arnt copies or other works with tiny differences? Who owns the American Patent office? They certainly seem to be on Apples pay check.

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Stop

This whole patent thing is a joke..

Honestly its getting a bit much now and they are all as bad as eachother, oh you designed a device with round corners, oh you put a search function on a device, oh you wanted your phone users to slide to unlock etc etc its fucking rediculous, i am all for protecting things and stopping out and out plagerism but fucking really, its getting stupid!

*apologies for the language but it is really boiling my blood these days!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This whole patent thing is a joke..

You say that as it suits your point of view - wait until you actually develop something and want it protecting rather than just ripping off by other companies.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This whole patent thing is a joke..

You over-simplify. It's not just designing a device with round corners - it's copying a device so closely the lawyers for Samsung could not tell it apart. I'm not suggesting no-one should make tablets but come on don't 'slavishly copy' Apple. Making clones is easy but is not making it better.

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FAIL

Re: This whole patent thing is a joke..

"

'slavishly copy' Apple

"

Anyone who thinks Android does that, knows less than NOTHING about them, and has never used one.

The lawyers whoever they were should stick to doing house conveyencing if they can't tell the difference between an Apple and a Samsung Android device.

I dumped my extremely boring iPhone 3G, and then my 3GS two years ago, because the iPhone 4 was FAR too expensive PAYG when I went to buy one. I was extremely surprised when I realised exactly how much MORE Android and the hardware had to offer for so much less.

I could afford the 4S, but it didn't offer any kind of value for money. So I bought an HTC desire HD and NEVER looked back. I've now got a new Samsung Galaxy S3 and it's a fabulous thing indeed and nothing remotely like an iPhone.

Apple need to get their act together. Their OS front end is so completely boring and distinctly old fashioned and far too expensive for what it is. When they add widgets etc. which they surely wiill, will they then be slavishly copying Android I wonder ?

What about a graphic equaliser Apple ? None of your presets suit my ageing ears.

PowerAmp on Androild has a superb one, and so does the Galaxy S3 native.

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Will this pull the feature from existing phones?

"Imagine typing a contact's name into a box and have hits in your address book, files and email appear."

Imagine ... the bleeding obvious.

"Google and Samsung are said to be working on releasing a patch for the Nexus' software to address the infringement allegations."

Which makes sense - it would do far more harm to not have the device for sale, and everyone knows which trolls are to blame for the missing functionality.

One question: will this patch remove the functionality from Galaxy Nexuses already bought in the US? That would be particularly creepy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Will this pull the feature from existing phones?

This patent has nothing to do with with that contact search scenario, so no one will lose that feature.

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Silver badge

Re: Will this pull the feature from existing phones?

Which patent is it?

Though whichever it is, if there is a patch, it's still interesting to know if this will affect existing phones already bought in the US.

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Go

Back on sale next week

According to a Google statement to El Verge:

"We just spoke to Google, which confirmed that the Galaxy Nexus is no longer on sale right now, but Google says the device will begin shipping again next week. The company wouldn't get into specifics about why sales stopped, or whether new devices will include a patch that works around the court's preliminary ban, but they will indeed have the new Android 4.1 update."

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Mushroom

OK Samsung... time to play hardball with them...

now start making delays in shipping the parts you make for Apple to their assembly plants... unspecified quality problems in those shiny retina displays spring to mind... or else just pull the plug on the contracts and leave Apple hanging... see if there's a patent litigation nullification clause in the contracts that automatically voids them if Apple sue you or your agents/customers...

It's time for Armageddon on software patents...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OK Samsung... time to play hardball with them...

That is not necessary. With all the publicity Apple is attracting with its frequent court battles over patents, it is rapidly convincing the buying public that it is terrified of the current competition. I could not think of a better advertisement for Android in general, and Samsung in particular.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OK Samsung... time to play hardball with them...

Good plan, genius. Oh wait Apple is Samsung biggest electronics customer. Will fandroids make up for the missing sales? Probably not. Will Samsung lose economies of scale by not producing for Apple as well? Very likely so.

Samsung's not the exclusive manufacturer for the retina displays you know. The MBP one is already confirmed as being made by LG Phillips.

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Flame

"I could not think of a better advertisement"

A better advertisement it may be, Tanya, but that is of no use whatsoever when you cannot legally sell the product being advertised. It doesn't matter if everyone knows Apple are crooked, if they're the only game in town.

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Joke

Ad

What a great advertisement for Samsung:

"Judge confirms that Samsung copies the design and functionality of Apple's products."

Can't wait to see it on TV.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OK Samsung... time to play hardball with them...

Apple are their biggest customer? Dream on Fanboi

Apple only make up 4% of Samsungs revenue. Samsung compenents are in 100% of Apples biggest sellers. Who do you think is going to hurt more if Samsung 'have problems with production'.

Meanwhile in Blighty the courts have shown sense over some of the ridiculous patents Apple have been granted and declared them not worth the paper they are printed on

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OK Samsung... time to play hardball with them...

Here you go Anonymous fandroid, chew on this:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57435912-92/samsung-loses-$10-billion-market-value-on-apple-report/

Think Apple's component orders aren't important for Samsung? Just a rumour causes a $10 billion drop in Samsung's value. Guess who's got more to lose.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OK Samsung... time to play hardball with them...

That's just stock market guessing and for the most part means nothing. Samsung aren't going to disappear overnight and their stock will recover. In actual figures that matter Samsung have revenues of about $150bn every single year of which Apples contribution is at the most optimistic figures about $8bn. Apples total revenue for the same year? About $65bn. Hurting Apple really won't hurt Samsung

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OK Samsung... time to play hardball with them...

"Here you go Anonymous fandroid, chew on this:........."

LADIES LADIES, Play nice!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OK Samsung... time to play hardball with them...

>The MBP one is already confirmed as being made by LG Phillips.

..they make the inverter board not the panel.

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Anonymous Coward

$10bn drop in market value

You're an absolute idiot if you think the stock market has any grounding in reality. See Facebook as a prime example. Annual revenue and profit is far more important than what stockbrokers think.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: $10bn drop in market value

Stock market vs a sad AC loser's opinion on El Reg forums.

I wonder which one is more likely right.

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Facepalm

Re: "I could not think of a better advertisement"

"It doesn't matter if everyone knows Apple are crooked, if they're the only game in town."

Only in the US, you lucky buggers! Heheheh

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Re: OK Samsung... time to play hardball with them...

@ Tanya...

Most of the people i know have no interest in "tech news" and buy whatever gadgets they want based on their experience of trying them out, the advertising surrounding it, feedback from friends, etc, etc. So Apple could sue Samsung over a different patent every day for a hundred years, and people like that will carry on oblivious and buy whatever they like the look of.

What normal, rational person would think "uh oh, Applie is worried about the quality of the latest Samsung & HTC handsets, I better not buy the new iPhone and buy one of them instead, it must be better". This is ridiculous. You buy what you want because its what you think fits your needs/wants the most.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OK Samsung... time to play hardball with them...

Samsung - Im sure Apple have strict penalties in place for quality and delays.

4% probably still makes they Samsungs biggest customer - or perhaps look at it based on the products they actually buy from them (Samsung sell loads of other stuff that Apple do not buy).

Perhaps Apple should just buy Samsung.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: $10bn drop in market value

And you're a fool if you think it's about profit... it's about short term bonuses in the pockets of senior suits.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OK Samsung... time to play hardball with them...

did you miss that Samsung Display becomes the world's largest display manufacturer, after merging with the Samsung Mobile Display and S-LCD corporations. news so that could be fun.

OC they can fill any lost/reduced old apple order with new orders being the worlds largest and they actually innovate of late in all their growing markets not just their old Mobile Display division so the worlds 3rd partys are already flocking to them before this news, capacity and bulk orders are not a problem, that's why apple went there in the first place for their high grade foundry parts and services.

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