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back to article Why the Apple-Samsung verdict is good for you, your kids and tech

Relax, everyone. While the patent system is far from perfect, a remarkably common-sense jury decision last week in the Apple-Samsung trial has clarified that patents are the "lifeblood of business", as inventor James Dyson calls it. Putting powerful short-term legal protections under inventions is overwhelmingly more convincing …

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Mushroom

Ah yes, the tech blogs of the world are divided

Gizmodo have published an article that rips this case to bits and suggests Samsung have enough ammo to blow massive holes in this outcome

I gather you don't agree....

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Trollface

Re: Ah yes, the tech blogs of the world are divided

Maybe Gizmono's website is more rounded, just realised El Reg doesn't like corner (Well certainly in the browser I am using).

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Facepalm

Re: Ah yes, the tech blogs of the world are divided

Gizmodo? Ah well, Apple are fucked then.

What bothers me is that 27 of you up voted this. I'm not going to argue who is right and who is wrong, I'm massively disappointed that 27 of you think althay an article on Gizmodo has any merit whatsoever, legal or otherwise.

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Re: Ah yes, the tech blogs of the world are divided

Interesting, considering that Giz is the most heavily Apple slanted site this side of the Atlantic.

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Gizmodo? Groklaw

Credit where credit is due. A lot of Gizmodo's material comes from Groklaw (and is acknowledged by Gizmodo as such).

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Re: Ah yes, the tech blogs of the world are divided

"I gather you don't agree...."

It looks more like he decided to simply ignore the facts and make up his own story. In much the same way the jury decided to ignore the judge's instructions and make up their own decision based on god only knows what...

Which is a pity because he does have some good points. All of which are probably going to be ignored by anyone who actually has the stomach to read that far.

As for the 'judgement' itself...

I hesitate to suggest racism but it's beginning to look as though our resident conspiracy nut might actually be right for once. 'Foreigners' cannot get a fair trial in the U.S.

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@AnotherNetNarcissist

WTF is an althay?

Enquiring minds need to know.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gizmodo? Groklaw

A lot of Gizmodo's material comes from Groklaw (and is acknowledged by Gizmodo as such).

Regrettably, that is very much *not* a guarantee that the material is free of bias. I'm not saying that Groklaw isn't a brilliant site, but I would caution against considering it neutral because it isn't. Try, for instance, to say anything negative about Google and see what happens..

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Holmes

Re: Gizmodo? Groklaw

Yes, Groklaw were brilliant on the SCO case (SCO really didn't have a case and Groklaw showed it very well) and calling shenanigans on the OOXML standardisation process but I don't feel that they give balanced or entirely legally based views of the Android cases.

I don't like Oracle but I do think that they had a very real case that the overall Java API was copyrightable, it seemed at the very least an open issue. Groklaw seemed to always focus on the simplest examples of API (such as a max function) where there really aren't many alternatives that make sense rather than the more complex and creative parts of the API.

On the Samsung case there was a lot of deniable about the extent of Samsung's copying (inappropriate in my view) not just the legality (a tougher question) of it.

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Meh

Re: Ah yes, the tech blogs of the world are divided

Interesting about fair play similar case Apple vs Samsung in Korea had a very different outcome with both sides being punished by the courts...so some merit maybe to the conspiracy nuts...

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Re: Gizmodo? Groklaw

For the record, I don't think any web site editor is without bias. Even El Reg.

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Trollface

Re: Gizmodo? Groklaw

So you could say that Gizmondo *put on sunglasses* slavishly copied Graocklaw's article?

YEEEEEEAH!

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Re: Ah yes, the tech blogs of the world are divided

It certainly is interesting that many courts of fair-minded people around the world have thrown Apple's case out. However, a US court, just down the lane from Apple's headquarters, have found in favor of the US company. I really didn't see that one coming :)

This is definitely a victory for the American consumer. No doubt. Apple will absolutely NOT try to block sales of Android devices from other vendors. The US market will see increased competition and lower prices :)

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FAIL

Re: Ah yes, the tech blogs of the world are divided

"I hesitate to suggest racism but it's beginning to look as though our resident conspiracy nut might actually be right for once. 'Foreigners' cannot get a fair trial in the U.S."

Please do hesitate. It's not racism, it's xenophobism. Get it right.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ah yes, the tech blogs of the world are divided

Which is ironic, because they are "all" foreigners in their own country, generally speaking ;)

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Headmaster

Actually...

...it's xenophobia, not xenophobism.

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Go

'Foreigners' cannot get a fair trial in the U.S.

Really? You think?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gizmodo? Groklaw

If the Java API was copyrightable then every java application would be owned by Oracle along with anything that interacted with a java application. No if API's were copyrightable the computer world would be destroyed.

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Re: Ah yes, the tech blogs of the world are divided

Whereas Apple vs Samsung in the UK was found in favour of Samsung and Apple were told to say sorry on their UK website for bringing Samsungs name into disrepute.

I wonder if the US jury were issued with pitch forks for their deliberations?

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FAIL

Sounds like this was written by an Apple fanbois

This article is completly and totally misleading. Firstly the jury verdict is unlikely to stand appeal - the jury foreman ignored the judges instructions to the jury, and has tried to impose punitive (= punishment) fines when specifically told that no such fines could be applied. The jury foreman has also indicated in interviews that his main convern was maximising the value of a patent he holds. The jury also screwed up by attempting to fine Samsung for things that the Jury said they were not guilty.

The only good thing about this is that the verdict is only applicable to USA. Other countries that have seen similar battles between Apple & Samsung have produced more realistic results - for example the "pox on both your houses" judgement in South Korea.

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Thumb Up

Re: Sounds like this was written by an Apple fanbois

And also, don't forget the Apple/HTC UK trial of recent months. The one where the had 'prior art' screamed at them. Yeah the one the pro-Apoke press tried to spin with 'the Galaxy isn't cool enough' yadda yadda.

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Re: Sounds like this was written by an Apple fanbois-- Sammy's Revenge Coming?

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Desktops-and-Notebooks/Samsung-Series-5-7-AiOs-Understand-Hand-Gestures-From-3-Feet-Away-500591/

Apple might be expecting a $1.05 beelions check, but Samsung might push apple into hysterics or histrionics and mouth-frothing pretty soon... 3-Foot distance hand gestures....

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No one. At all.

No one is going to change their minds about this. Anyone who has made up their mind is not going to unmake and then remake it. Trust me on this. See the threads about the Apple-Samsung verdict, and ask yourself how many people condemning the verdict will rethink their opinions. Correct answer: none.

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FAIL

Re: No one. At all.

What you mean to say is "No-one who holds the stance opposite to mine is coming to my side", which is being in close orbit around the Apple Nucleus.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No one. At all.

Not nucleus, "core". As in "rotten-to-the".

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Happy

As can be seen from this post, this could be the Best billion dollar ad-campaign Samsung ever had.

Guy: "Wait, so what they're saying is, Samsung is the same as Apple?"

Friend: "I know, right? Makes me think twice about how much I paid for my Mac Book"

Guy: "Seriously"

https://plus.google.com/u/0/114476892281222708332/posts/246srfbqg6G

Not mention that the Jury hadn't a clue what they were even doing at this trial

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2012082510525390

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re: Best billion dollar ad-campaign Samsung ever had

Speaking of ads, I believe that Apple has yet to comply with a UK court ruling that it has to place notices in the press that Samsung didn’t copy it. The wording of such notices could be rather interesting now.

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Can here to say "THIS!"

From the Groklaw article - you'all really should read it:

The foreman[Patent Holder Velvin Hogan - http://patents.justia.com/2008/07352953.html ] told a court representative that the jurors had reached a decision without needing the instructions.

I wonder if Mr. Hogan's patented method was ever used to D/L video without permission...

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Anonymous Coward

"As can be seen from this post, this could be the Best billion dollar ad-campaign Samsung ever had"

I agree, but, most of the dim wits buying Apple tech are not clever enough to realise this.

Let them pay through the nose for rubbish.

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Silver badge

So we have a simple choice - no patent system, and the patent system as is? No third option presents itself?

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, we have a third one.

No patents on ideas, mathematics and software in general.

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Trollface

Re: Yes, we have a third one.

> No patents on ideas, mathematics and software in general.

Or you go whole hog and allow patents on argumentations in court.

Then get popcorn.

If the popcorn is not based on a patented corn germline that is the only one allowed By Law as it contains The Latest Nutritive Supplement Lobbies For Mandatory Addition.

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Anonymous Coward

A third option

would confuse the dumb masses.

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Another choice would be to ban certain types of invention from patent protection and instead cover them under copyright. I think this method should be used for any software invention.

Patent protection should also be removed from individual components (such as the rounded corners of a screen) and can only be applied to the end product. Policing this would then involve a degree of infringement (the active ingredient in that drug is x, your drug only contains x, it is 100% in breach of the patent - Or, your tablet has rounded corners on its screen and everything else is different, it is 1% in breach of the patent)

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Patents are valuable if they protect something truly innovative. In the US, the USPTO does a particularly bad job of sifting out the duds, that is the core problem. The USPTO lets past many patently false claims, or things for which prior art clearly exists. They then assume that the patent holders will fight over it in court. In Europe, the situation is very different, and the investigation into prior art is much more thorough (as it should be). This prevents the need for fighting over the validity of the patent in court. That also means such well-researched patent offer better protection to inventors with smaller pockets to pay legal fees.

So the patent system itself is not broken in my opinion. The the current implementation is bug ridden and badly in need of updates.

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Pint

"The USPTO lets past many patently false claims"

I see what you did there

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WTF?

The USPTO is so fucked up that it has managed to issue the same "exercise a cat with a laser pointer" patent 5 times, have a look here for some other "useful" inventions.

WTF, somebody has patented Dog nose smudges as art?

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Anonymous Coward

patents = profits

This is not good for the end user at all! cheap quick advancing tech is good fro the end user, business getting rich by paying over huge sums to each other and preventing new devices from working as well as they could by out-pricing them is NOT GOOD for the consumer at all..

this is just another way for business to stifle the good inventions and to restrict and milk them as they please.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: patents = profits

I think where you are wrong is for small inventors. Yes, when large multi-nationals produce something and patent it then it stops competition somewhat.

But if you are a "man/woman in a garage" type inventor who wants to build a business from a good idea then the patent system is the way to protect your idea. If you don't protect it then a huge company will just copy you and you'll end up bust before you've even started.

Watch Dragon's Den, the ideas that get investment always have patents or patent pending status, why? simple, because it ensures that nobody else can lift their idea until they have built up their business.

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Re: patents = profits

That was the (unpatented) idea. The practice is that if you're an inventor in a garage, big company will just sue you out of the market because your revolutionary new device infringes on 10 trivial patents to do with shapes and UI behaviour.

If a massive multinational company like Samsung can't protect themselves, what hope do individuals have? And even if they didn't have any patents to use back against you, do you have the deep enough pockets to sue Apple and win?

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Re: patents = profits

But if you are a "man/woman in a garage" type inventor who wants to build a business from a good idea then the patent system is the way to protect your idea. If you don't protect it then a huge company will just copy you and you'll end up bust before you've even started.

So this small inventor gets a patent, and a huge company infringes it. You inform them; they ignore you; you file suit. The company counter-sues for all of their patents which your product infringes, and you end up bust.

If you're really, really lucky, and the infringing company cares about improving their product more than killing the competition, and have cash to throw around, they might buy you out.

The only small "inventors" that generally thrive in such a climate as the US patent system are those who don't actually produce anything other than lawsuits - NPEs aka Patent Trolls.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: patents = profits

>Watch Dragon's Den, the ideas that get investment always have patents or patent pending status, why?

Reggae Reggae is Open Source sauce [ingredients on the label] and seems to do OK - can't think of many other's that made money. Statistically there's as much chance of a Dragon going bust as there is the prog yielding a multi-million profit business.

...also (bearing in mind we probably only see the better ideas) there's vast amounts of stuff which is too stupid or obvious to patent on the show which also devalues the system.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: patents = profits

Eerrrr. Patent trolls are the ANSWER to your hypothetical problem. By putting financial muscle behind a brilliant patent, they are able to bring the evil "huge company" to the table and negotiate a licence for the patent holder and a fee for themselves. If they are exceedingly well heeled, they might buy a patent outright and carry the case (and cost) themselves, netting the entire licence.

Sound familiar?

"Patent trolls" get a bad rap, like EVERY MIDDLE MAN on the planet. People hate brokers of every shape and colour, but accept willingly that things are better because of them. Fact.

There are some dubious patent trolls, just as their are dubious real estate brokers. That is not a case for their extermination.

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Unhappy

Re: patents = profits

if you are a "man/woman in a garage" type inventor who wants to build a business from a good idea then the patent system is the way to protect your idea. If you don't protect it then a huge company will just copy you and you'll end up bust before you've even started

If you are a man/woman in a garage (and I'm more of a shed fan, myself) and you patent something of interest to a big, powerful and rapacious company, you're not in a strong situation. Your best bet is to sell up to that company or its competitors, and hope you get a decent amount of money out of the transaction. The alternatives are either a) company steals your idea because they know they can use their legal team to reduce you to a smoking crater in the ground, or b) patent a whole bunch of things which are very closely related to your own idea, and which prevent any practical realisations of your idea ever being made. They can then offer you a pittance for your own patent, which has now been almost totally devalued.

Oh yeah, c) a Chinese company blatantly copies your idea because they know you haven't got any means to stop them. But that would imply that your idea has mass market appeal, which is pretty unusual. Of course, it is quite possible that your idea is not valuable enough to steal or license, in which case you're probably okay, but down a few thousand in patent application and attorney fees. Awesome.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Open Source sauce"

Ingredients != Recipe. I believe there are lots of laws requiring food manufacturers to list their ingredients; it is the proportions and means of processing and combination which tend to remain trade secrets.

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Boffin

Re: patents = profits

...also (bearing in mind we probably only see the better ideas) there's vast amounts of stuff which is too stupid or obvious to patent on the show which also devalues the system.

I'm pretty sure that it works like X-Factor in that they show the top and bottom 2%. You laugh at the bottom 2% and hope the top 2% get through. You never see the middle 96% as they don't make good TV.

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Re: patents = profits

"But if you are a "man/woman in a garage" type inventor who wants to build a business from a good idea then the patent system is the way to protect your idea. If you don't protect it then a huge company will just copy you and you'll end up bust before you've even started."

Patents don't stop people from stealing your ideas. They are nothing but a blunt club. You still have to have the financial muscle to swing the club and the more financial muscle you have the harder you can hit. If you don't have the money, you can't defend your patent.

Garage inventors usually have all their money in their invention so don't have the financial muscle to defend themselves from thieves or trolls and usually have to sell their soul to an investor/s if a court challange happens.

The way to fix patents is to make them harder to get and easier to defend. Apple is famous for it's BS patents such as "Slide to unlock", "rectangle with rounded corners" and "two or more fingers on a touch screen". The problem is now everyone is making BS patents to troll everyone else. The only defence is to have your own BS to troll the troll (which doesn't work for true patent trolls cause they make nothing)

Nobody wants true patents because that takes time and money in research when a simple broad concept is harder to get around and requires no research

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Happy

Re: patents = profits

You do on the American one. I saw some guy trying to market his revolutionary paper cups, and the toilet buddy. A pipe with a funnel to avoid bathroom aiming mishaps.

Come to think of it.. I think it was all 94%ers.

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Anonymous Coward

Obviousness filter required

The problem with patents is that too many are being granted in situations where the value of the patent monopoly is vastly in excess of the cost of developing the concept into a product.

(this is aside from the question of functional patents vs. design patents (are those called "registered designs" in the UK?).

In my own working experience (which includes getting a patent to my name), I've seen the firm I worked for

a) pip a competitor at the post by getting a patent application in for the same concept, a day earlier (and it was a pretty obvious extension to the technology in question)

b) get ripped off by the previous owners who sold the registered design for one of the product casings (basically a steel box on a pipe, classic form-follows-function) to some of their pals before selling the rest of the company to its new owners

Where patents make sense are situation where the cost of developing the concept itself is high, or it takes a long time to get it to market - pharmaceuticals are the poster child here.

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