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back to article Jury awards Apple $1bn damages in Samsung patent case

The nine-member jury in the closely watched patent litigation between Apple and Samsung has returned a verdict decidedly in Apple's favor, awarding the fruity firm a whopping total of $1.05bn in damages. The jury took less than three days to reach its verdict, something that apparently startled even Apple's legal team, as …

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I think that I should....

patent any shape with round and square edges, that will teach them! I shall laugh as I collect my patent millions! MUHAHAHAHA.......

The USA patent system is a disgrace.

ice.

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Anonymous Coward

Can you hear

The wailing?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can you hear

Just because you disagree with the verdict, doesn't make the verdict wrong!

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Re: Can you hear

Ah, but I hear the apple fanbois... Laughing, but there is always THE APPEAL,

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Re: I think that I should....

Actually apple lost on the rectangle with round squares patent.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Can you hear

Yes, there's always the hope that the appeal jury will all be members of the American Association for the Blind and can't spot the previously proven blatant copying.

After all accessibility is one of the few areas not covered by Samsung's manual of copying.

Paris, as even she could spot Samsung's funny business.

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Headmaster

Re: The USA patent system is a disgrace

It most certainly is. Apple no doubt believe that they have been handed personal ownership of mobile tech space gift-wrapped. The consequences of this decision may however not end up being quite what Cupertino are expecting. Tablet space is going to get rather more complicated in the Autumn - who are they going to start suing then? Their rival then will be the "auld enemy", do Apple think perhaps that the same legal tactics will work against Redmond? This "victory" may turn out to be something very different from what they imagine. They have spent the last two - three years or so focused on abusing the judicial system to avoid competition instead of focusing on development and innovation in order to keep ahead of their rivals by that means. They may very well discover that they pay a considerably higher price for that than they had anticipated.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can you hear

Alright, Fanboi.

Appeal? Is that not just a judge and not a jury?

FYI, my blind friend can tell the difference between an iPhone, Samsung, Blackberry and Nokia Lumia Windows Phone all by touch. He might have a tougher time with an LG Prada and an iPhone though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The USA patent system is a disgrace

The could be the beginning of the end for Android. This judge has already made the comment that Apple will probably prevail before the trial started. I think it is highly probable that Samsung tablets and mob's will be banned from the US. That would encourage Apple to go after every mobile phone and tablet manufacturer in an attempt to limit choice for Americans. This could also be the death of freedom of choice for what tablet or phone you can get in the future...... an Apple product or nothing. If this ruling is upheld, Jobs won.

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Trollface

Re: The USA patent system is a disgrace

There is Rim and nokia so competition is there. Just no competition that makes iPhone clones.

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Re: I think that I should....

Why would you do that? Apple and their expensive lawyers couldn't get anywhere with iPad shape so that means you'd have no chance.

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Paris Hilton

Re: The USA patent system is a disgrace

I think this ruling is nuts (my view being, essentially, "a pox upon both your houses"), but I do think Apple were genuinely innovative. Just cast your mind back to how jaw-droppingly clunky phones were back before the iphone, and as for the tablet market...

That's not to say that there weren't good phones and devices back then, but the i<...> family really were game changers. the genius of Apple has been delivering fundamentally sound product wrapped in such incredible glitz that you don't notice the handcuffs being slipped over your wrists.

Paris, for the furry handcuffs.

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FAIL

Re: I think that I should....

"...that Samsung had failed to present clear and convincing evidence that the patent was invalid."

Yeah, unfortunately, a mountain of prior art isn't enough to invalidate patents such as multi-touch or rectangular objects with rounded corners...

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@Arctic fox: Re: The USA patent system is a disgrace

"They have spent the last two - three years or so focused on abusing the judicial system to avoid competition instead of focusing on development and innovation in order to keep ahead of their rivals by that means."

Are you under the impression that Apple can't fund their product engineers and their lawyers simultaneously? Even though this is a company worth half a trillion dollars? The idea that Apple can *either* make new products *or* litigate, but not both, is maybe just a little bit foolish, don't you think? You *do* know that Apple's engineers and their lawyers are two completely separate groups of people, right? Do you think that maybe the iPhone 5 and the iPad 3 (or whatever is in the pipelines - I don't use their stuff so I neither know nor care) is going to be delayed because of the resources that Apple has devoted to litigation?

You might perhaps want to rethink things.

Also, the reason(s) that you denominate Apple's campaign of litigation as an "abuse" is not clear. I have not seen any judges complaining too much, and I would think that their opinions are authoritative. And verdicts like this one against Samsung with its billion dollar award would seem to indicate that, far from being an "abuse" the Apple lawsuits are both meritorious and a legitimate defense of their business and commercial interests.

So you might perhaps want to rethink your opinion on that too.

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Re: Can you hear

@Metavisor: It's not in dispute that Samsung "copied" Apple. It IS in dispute, however, that the things they "copied" were truly novel and patentable (as demonstrated by all of the prior art provided, which apparently didn't amount to a hill of beans in the jury's opinion).

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remember flashback?

Are you under the impression that Apple can't fund their product engineers and their lawyers simultaneously?

They apparently cannot, they undercut their funds on Java maintenance letting unpatched code with known exploits to linger on Mac OSX machines for many months and many times in a row. Flashback was just their luck since the consequences could have been much harsher. Apple seem to never undercut on the idiocy though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: remember flashback?

And when has Apple EVER rushed to patch holes, eh?

I'll tell you when: never.

If you think that they left unpatched and exploitable code lingering on OSX machines because of the money that they spent on lawsuits defending the iPhone, then you haven't got a clue.

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Re: Can you hear

True. The verdict seemed fair, although the amount awarded was pretty high. The best thing samsung can do is go away and invent and build up its own warchest of valid patents that apple users might desire to see on iphones. That or bribe sorry lobby to have patent laws changed. What will likely happen is 25 years of appeals.

I expected the jury to be more pro apple. At least they sensibly rejected patenting basic shapes. Looking at what they upheld, they aren't vital to samsungs devices, pinch to zoom may be more desireable than bounceback, and could be removed.

As much as all the shennanigans between these two strike me as childish and pathetic, Apple did have valid patents and had them protected and had invalid ones thrown out. The system is almost working.

All that remains is for Apple to party over finally winning a 'look and feel' case ;-)

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Re: The USA patent system is a disgrace

True but Apple isn't to blame (as much as I dislike them). Samsung etc handed it to them. If samsung et al put time, money and effort into developing features people wanted then they would be in a position to trade patent use with Apple. As it is they have little Apple needs so Apple can ask for what it wants. Samsung got greedy, it saw Android as a free meal, a way to avoid r&d and undercut apple. What it (and the other main android phone makers) needed to do was invest more in developing. Yes apple didn't help themselves with stupid assertations about owning rectangles and square icons, but they also had valid patents.

If you come to the table with very little and the other guy has a lot you want, expect it to hurt.

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Headmaster

@Turtle RE: The USA patent system is a disgrace

1.

The fact that Apple continue to fund the departments in their company that you refer to does not change the fact the their corporate focus (that intangible is more important than many are willing to credit) has been substantially distracted. It is no coincidence that the work that led to the first iPhones (crucially the two "3" iterations) and later the first iPad occurred before Mr Jobs/Apple got distracted by his hatred of the Android os. I was, as I am sure you noticed referring to what we may see from here on in.

2.

With regard to my use of the word "abuse" I would think that what I was referring to was rather obvious. When a company use the law in order to attempt, in practice, to create a de facto monopoly then it can only be regarded as abuse of the law's intention if not its current letter. If this decision is upheld on appeal Apple will start to go after the other Android OEMs and judging by the outrageous demands (revealed in court filings) that they subjected Samsung to as the price for "licensing" the net effect will be to reinforce their attempts to gain the aforementioned monopoly control. That the parlous state of US IP law permits this kind of tactic does not make it any less abusive.

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@Arctic fox RE: The USA patent system is a disgrace

1) Concerning your point 1: You have no facts to cite but instead talk about being "substantially distracted" and "corporate focus" and seem to think that this verbiage means something. Please enumerate the actual observable-in-the-real-world effects that this all has. Because if it has no observable effects in the real world, then there's no reason to think that it really exists. (You need to show how things would be today if it were not for Apple's lawsuits, compared to how things are. Good luck with that.)

You have also changed *your* focus from Apple not having enough money to fund java patches, to insights into Apple's corporate state of mind. Evidently you think that if were not for Apple's lawsuits, there would be more Apple innovation and that they would have gone on to something completely different. But Apple is notorious for its paranoiac secrecy. How do you know what they are working on now? And why do you think that these lawsuits have changed Apple's development plans in any way?

2) Re: "Abuse". Apple is entitled to seek whatever legal remedies which the law allows. Apple is also allowed to protect the monopoly granted by the law as embodied in the patents (and copyrights) it owns. Apple is also entitled to assert its rights against any number of infringing or trespassing entities. I want to be sure that you understand that: Apple was legally granted and is legally entitled to enforce a monopoly on the use of its patents. If Samsung et al want to compete against Apple, they can not be stopped from doing so - but they can be stopped from using Apple's patents without permission.

If Apple's competitors can not compete with Apple, then you can agitate for an anti-trust investigation and sanctions when Apple as a smart-phone vendor occupies an position of overwhelming dominance in the market - and is abusing that dominance - but not when Apple is enforcing its right to monopolize its own patents. And certainly not when Apple is facing real competition in its markets.

And again, the most important point here is that the courts, the judges, and the law are capable of deciding what is "abuse of process". And they haven't seen fit to do so.

Nor am I familiar with any doctrine by which Apple's rights are limited or its ability to seek remedies are limited by some vague appeal to "justice" - which always turns out to be a plea to not enforce the law as enacted.

It is not as though the law says, You have 10 patents being infringed but you are only allowed to protect 6 of them, and there 10 entities infringing but you are only allowed to bring suit against 6 of them. That's just not how it works. If the law is felt to be operating in a way not commensurate with the public weal, the only remedy for that is to change the law via legislative process. And since Apple's lawsuits were deemed meritorious and their assertions upheld by a jury, the only real "abuse" here is the way in which *you* are abusing the word "abuse".

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@ turtle

Don't waste your time, there's none as blind as those who won't see. Apple must be wrong (they didn't help their cause by trying to claim they owned rectangles) because they are doing well. Samsung used and refused to pay for some valid and non essential, non standards based patents. They didn't develop anything Apple wanted in trade. They got screwed in court. This is the way of the world.

The reason Apple won't go after MS is because MS has patents (from many many years of smartphone os and desktop os development) Apple needs and therefore they have cross licensing agreements. These are the same patents Android handset makers pay MS for already. MS can bring something to the table so Apple plays ball with them. That and Apple got burnt before sueing MS.

Theres a bunch of bitter android fans out there, hitting the downvote button makes them feel all powerful, but frankly they can't change shit. FWIW I actually have a samsung phone lol

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Re: The USA patent system is a disgrace

I'm willing to bet my full cooked English breakfast that Apple have a different team working on litigation than the one that works on spotting new technology and ideas coming into vogue so they can be 'invented' as magical new things for their followers to behold.

I can't be sure which team is the larger and best funded, however.

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@Rampent Spaniel Re:"These are the same patents Android handset makers pay.........

............MS for already. MS can bring something to the table so Apple plays ball with them."

That is precisely why, IMHO, Cupertino are taking the risk of proving to have been Redmond's useful idiots come the Autumn when MS enter table space for the first in any serious sense. Until Apple started its litigation war against Android Redmond was facing a war on two fronts (although not a land war in South East Asia :-P) against two major already existing competitors in that particular market place. What Apple has potentially done is at the very least partially lame Android in advance of these events and ensure that to a greater extent than would otherwise have been the case they'll be going head to head alone with Redmond and its senior OEMs such as Samsung (!), Lenovo, Asus etc. Thanks to Apple it is entirely possible that Redmond will have considerably less effective competition from Android in tablet space in the coming year or so and will be able to focus to a greater extent than they otherwise would have been on going up against the iPad and iOS. I do not claim, of course, that this is any certain prediction of the likely fallout from Cupertino's lawyering but the "Law of Unintended Consequences" being what it is, their cunning strategy may turn out to have more than just a touch of the Baldrick about it.

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Anonymous Coward

HOW CAN ANYONE CLAIM THE VERDICT IS WRONG?

I mean everyone on Death Row in the US is guilty, aren't they?

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Anonymous Coward

The Fanbois

Will dine on this verdict for many a day.

It's like eating the best 12 course meal in the world.

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Re: Just because you disagree with the verdict, doesn't make the verdict wrong!

Is that why you're posting as AC? Don't want people to think/know you're a fanboi?

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@Turtle

Well said that man.

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WTF?

Re: @Arctic fox: The USA patent system is a disgrace

I'm in a dilemma now. I don't know whether to vote you up for a reasoned argument, or vote you down for suggesting that Apple's lawyers are actually people.

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Re: The Fanbois

And it would have been the same for a different group of sheep had Samsung won.

Such fanaticism is all rather laughable, as seen by someone who'll buy either product depending on which product fits me best (rather than following some base tribalism).

I have an iPhone, my daughter has a Nokia Lumia (which I actually prefer) and I have a Samsung TV.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can you hear

It's not about simple patents. If Samsung had one design element that resembled the iPhone then that would be a co-incidence.

But they had similar looking icons, a similar shaped phone and it even had the silver trim around the edge. That's more than just a coincidence. They were even inspired by the iPhone packaging and even Nokia ship their Lumia phones in a similar box now. I know as I have owned both.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The USA patent system is a disgrace

I believe MS licensed all the patents in question quite a long time ago. So your point was?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Turtle RE: The USA patent system is a disgrace

If you infringe on a patent and don't want to pay the money then you change the product so it no longer infringes, simple.

If a patent is for something essential then it would be licenced under fair and reasonable terns anyway,

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ turtle

To be fair. Microsoft aren't obviously copying Apple. They've been inspired by the iPhone when you look at WP7 but nothing in the OS resembles iOS. The phones OEMs make look nothing like iPhones either.

Microsoft have always looked at the competition, fixed flaws and released their take on it. That's good since it drives things forward and gets the competition to respond. What Samsung did doesn't drive competition at all since their own product hasn't improved on the iPhone visual design, it looked inferior.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AC @ 01:44

Florian, is that you?

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Silver badge

Re: The USA patent system is a disgrace

The US will ban all imported devices until its left with a few 6000 year old clovis points while pretending the outside world does not exist.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just because you disagree with the verdict, doesn't make the verdict wrong!

Of course it doesn't, idiot. It's because the verdict is wrong that I disagree with it, not the other way round. Duh.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The USA patent system is a disgrace

Does the USofA still have the good old antitrust laws in place?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I think that I should....

"Yeah, unfortunately, a mountain of prior art isn't enough to invalidate patents such as multi-touch or rectangular objects with rounded corners..."

Just to through it out there, but could it be that the echo chamber that is the internet is wrong about the 'mountain of prior art'? I mean, heaven forfend people that do a job for a living would actually know more than the opinions of commentards...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can you hear

The courts basically said, all Americans are too stupid to tell the difference between an iPhone and a Samsung phone, and that anyone that bought a Samsung phone must have been tricked.

So the bigger question is, ARE all Americans too stupid to tell the difference and they thought they were buying an iPhone, or did they buy the Samsung phones because they are better?

This is a sad day for America, they showed the world how screwed up their legal system is.

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Boffin

Re: Can you hear

It's not in dispute that Samsung "copied" Apple.

It certainly should be! Samsung's designs may be similar to Apple's, but I can't see anything to suggest that they necessarily copied anything from the iPhone.

If you take a feature-phone design of ten years ago and say "How would I change this design to make use of new components -- such as high-resolution colour LCDs with capacitative touch input" there are only so many things that you could do, and only so many of those would be immediately familiar to end users (and therefore commercially successful). Apple and Samsung have come up with feature sets that have a fair amount of overlap, but I don't see that as evidence of copying.

The innovations that both companies have made are trivially obvious incremental developments on older UIs made possible by advances in hardware. That both companies have come up with similar designs suggests nothing more than that they are both companies with extensive experience in the marketplace who are fairly competent at designing successful products using available technologies and without showing any particular spark of originality. They haven't copied each other, but have copied extensively from everything that went before (which probably accounts for their success).

Contrast this with Microsoft who, in WP7, have done something that is definitely different and original -- and which nobody seems to like because it's so unlike what they're used to.

Still, this sort of outcome is what you must expect when you allow complicated technical cases to be decided by a lay jury. I look forward to the appeal with interest.

Blue guy with glowing eyes because most people see to think this is rocket science, but it really isn't!

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Headmaster

Re: I think that I should....

I mean, heaven forfend people that do a job for a living would actually know more than the opinions of commentards...

Samsung lawyers and paid "experts" claimed the prior are.

Apple lawyers and paid "experts" contested that evidence.

A jury of 9 random people, not experts, paid a pittance to attend court, were the people who made the decisions and completed a 700 item form with yes/no decisions in only two days.

I neither know nor care that much about if the verdict is right or wrong, but the people who reached the verdict probably know no more than the average tech aware commentard on these forums, probably less.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I think that I should....

Are you kidding? Just saw the report on NHK News and bloody hell those Samsung phones look just like Apples'!

I can't imagine how Samsung managed to keep their gig up for so long.

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Holmes

Re: HOW CAN ANYONE CLAIM THE VERDICT IS WRONG?

Many people on death row are there because they can't afford lawyers, Samsung could afford lawyers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I can't imagine how Samsung managed to keep their gig up

I can't imagine how you worked out how to post a comment ...

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Re: @Arctic fox RE: The USA patent system is a disgrace

"Apple was legally granted and is legally entitled to enforce a monopoly on the use of its patents."

I don't agree. Apple have grabbed "entitlements" that were illegally granted to it by a patent office that is out of control and handing out patents that overreach the law.

The current corrupt system means that it's almost impossible to do anything about this as Apple can basically buy anyone they want in the government to back it to the hilt.

The current case involved not a single piece of illegal copying and not a single activity that Apple themselves have used when faced with innovation by other companies.

The action of Apple staff in pushing this farce through the courts is one they should be deeply ashamed of but, having seen the price they sell their shitty unreliable products at I'm not under any illusion that Apple have any shame left.

Apple have long set themselves full-face against consumers and are fighting tooth and nail to destroy open systems that allow real choice in the marketplace. They have run to the government to grant them a monopoly and protect them from competition not through any real sense of injustice (since Apple staff know that Apple is founded on copying others) but through pure unmitigated greed.

Samsung are not much better (and are making a tidy sum off ignoring the GPL in dozens of their products) but that doesn't make Apple right, it just means they're both at the same low level.

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Re: The USA patent system is a disgrace

Of course phones were crap compared today in 2006. But this was also true in 2007 and 2008. And the original iphone was crap too. It lacked loads of basic features that even other phones of the time has. Technology getting better with time is called progress. You're an idiot to say that the last 20 years of progress was good to the release of one single model in 2007.

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Re: @ turtle

So Samsung got screwed because they didn't get stupid patents to use against apple. Sorry, i don't see that as a good thing

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Re: I think that I should....

Then those apple phones look like Samsung's. Samsung were making phones long before apple, you know.

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@Robert Long 1: Re: @Arctic fox RE: The USA patent system is a disgrace

"'Apple was legally granted and is legally entitled to enforce a monopoly on the use of its patents.' I don't agree. Apple have grabbed 'entitlements' that were illegally (sic) granted "

The courts are the ultimate arbiter in this matter. Your opinion will be correct when and only when the patents in question are declared invalid. As of this moment, the patents in question have been deemed by a court of law to be both valid and infringed, which has in turn underscored the correctness of the decision of the patent office to grant those patents in the first place. Blame Samsung for their original decision to risk infringing those patents.

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