back to article Ban Samsung sales in the US? Sorry, Apple: Tech titans say 'No'

A group of technology companies led by Google has asked permission to let their collective opinion be known in the long-running patent dispute between Apple and its South Korean rival, Samsung. The group, consisting of Google, HTC, Rackspace, Red Hat, and SAP, filed a motion with the US District Court of Northern California on …

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"enjoin the sale of innovative and technologically complex products based on the incorporation of trivial patented features without evidence that the accused features drive sales of the products."

Never heard it put better than that.

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If the patented features are so trivial why does Samsung feel it necessary to infringe on them?

User interfaces take a lot of work to get right. Just because they are easier than more technical patents for jurors and judges to understand (after they've been developed) doesn't mean they are trivial.

For instance, elastic scrolling seems obvious now that we've all seen it... but to come up with that kind of concept in the first place does take a lot of work. To allow companies to blatantly rip of such features, while protecting harder to understand features would mean the law is encouraging companies to spend no time making their products easy to use... And if products aren't easy to use they're not useful to most people.

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Way back in 96 when I worked for a bank I came out with a ui in vb that also applied real world physics to widget movements including gravity, magnetism and so on. It wasn't that hard or difficult to imagine. In fact it was fucking easy just like newton will tell you when an apple caps your skull.

The hard work was done by the scientists of yore. Writing code to encapsulate their work and applying it to a ui widget and then claiming you invented the laws of nature is shit.

Now sir Isaac really knows what a big fuck off apple feels like. He would not be pleased.

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Trollface

Hard to invent? Puhleez!

So, there's this bunch of guys and gals standing round a water cooler, and someone says "how will the user know there's nothing more to display as they get to the end of a list" and someone says "why not make the list 'bounce'". Ten minutes later the coding is done, and everyone goes "wow, neat". They show it to their boss, who says "we can patent this". Cue the patent attorneys and other non-productive droids, who spend six months or more doing the paper work.

That's what software patents are all about!

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Agreed.

The US justice system is FUBAR.

As for Nokia (MSFT's bitch)....in they eyes of the informed consumer they really do appear to be rudderless on the way to the waterfall.

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Re: Agreed.

I'm inclined to agree about the whole "ui takes a long time to design blah blah blah"

It really doesn't in a lot of cases. Here's an example of apples UI design.

A lot of ions, on a single page, you click an icon and an ap opens, you can have multiple pages to hold these multiple aps. Y'know what else ahs this? Windows, linux, solaris etc etc, y'know since they all have desktop icons which can be grid aligned, and a few of them even allow for multiple desktops you can flip through.

How about bounce back? Because that's so new, it's not like they didn't have this in several RPGs from the late 90s, and possibly other RPGs even earlier.

Rounded corners? Please.

If apple actually came up with something original in their UI design I'd be happy to agree that 'yeah that's innovation right there' but so far they haven't, all they've done is taken a load of existing ideas and then put "For a mobile device" on the existing patent text.

Hell half of these 'ideas' aren't even patent worthy, some should be trademarked, others should be copywritten, but none should be patentable.

What apple is effectively patenting is the ability to paint your car blue, and to have gul wing doors. It's nothing new, but because they patented it, nobody else can do it.

Honestly the whole 'software / design patent' mess in the USA needs to be sorted. I'd rather see more inovation than litigation.

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Re: rudderless on the way to the waterfall.

They may appear that way to you, but monkeyboy has his sock puppet doing exactly what he wants: turning them into the next SCO.

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Re: Rounded corners? Please.

While I concur that rounded corners have been around for sufficiently long to invalidate that claim, I should note that there can exist instances were an exact physical dimension can be a valid point for a patent and/or trade secret. I once worked for a manufacturing company and the precise angle (to about 2 decimal places) for part of the mechanism was the key to the efficiency of the finished product and they held the patent for it. I expect by now the patent should be long expired, but being IP won't disclose more than what I have written.

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Re: Agreed.

"Hell half of these 'ideas' aren't even patent worthy, some should be trademarked, others should be copywritten, but none should be patentable."

For the software, mathematical solutions to a series of problems, it ought to be copyright, never patented.

There are many ways to cook a curry just as there are many ways to write a software solution.

For the hardware design - similarities are in the eye of the beholder.

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Re: @tjbee

"If the patented features are so trivial why does Samsung feel it necessary to infringe on them?"

If the patented features are so trivial why does Apple feel it necessary to go all sue-happy?

There, FTFY...

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Anonymous Coward

Nokia

No surprise there as it's MS's lapdog.

SCO anyone ?

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Re: Nokia

Hey man, the 20th century called to see if you were still Compos Mentis.

Had to say "No", sorry.

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The only people getting any "reward" are...

...the lawyers that are chewing up $$$ at a billable rate of around $500/hour (maybe more). Maybe if they made the "loser pay" it could get settled quite quickly. We can only hope.

Of course, the better solution is to get rid of "software patents" all together. Maybe one could patent "software patents" and get the really big bux!! What a plan!

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Re: The only people getting any "reward" are...

Doubtful. Even at $500/hr the legal costs are trivial versus the sales generated by the products at issue, and companies like Apple and Samsung have for all practical purposes infinitely deep pockets. It would however be a huge problem in a legal fight between a big player and a much smaller one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The only people getting any "reward" are...

Someone should patent software patents, and then open source the patent.

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Nokia FAIL.

What a shitty company on a one-way trip to the necropolis of capitalism.

Will come crying when it's getting skewered because its phones are too rectangular, round, quadratic or have too much swiping in the UI.

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@Destroy All Monsters

Oh do grow up!

They make mobile phones. That's it. They make mobile phones.

They're neither attempting to subvert your offspring, nor paint Big Ben magnolia!!

They could, in fact, be modelling Tutus for all the relevance your post has to the article.

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JLV
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Not sure Apple really would gain by winning

Actually getting your competitor's products banned for trivial infringements would likely not endear you to your competitor's customers.

Add a good likelihood that it would either be overturned quickly on appeal or that some form of settlement would be imposed on both parties and you have lots of bad PR with little lasting competitive advantage.

Methink Apple, without Jobs to drive it, should aim to be less vindictive and secretive. It should focus instead on both its products and retaining goodwill. Being a "big dog", which it certainly is, it should keep in mind that it is easy to come off as a bully - IBM and Microsoft have both been there.

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The more this drags on, the more I think of kids having an argument in a school playground...... except in this case the kids appear to have lost the use of their mouths and have to write everything down instead.

I imagine Judge Koh has had to buy a new filing cabinet to keep all the paperwork relating to this case in......

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Who cares about the injunction

I really don't get the fuss about the injunction. With the lawsuit running for years no product that still generates reasonable revenue is on the list of infringing products. I wonder if Samsung is just trying to stretch this out while they sell the last remaining stock of those old and outdated phones.

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as Nokia is now just another branch of MS, they should be the first to admit that SW patents themselves are but new law invented out of whole cloth

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Google a "friend of the court"?

Many in the U.S. sure hope Apple wins this ruling. Since Google is the creator of Android and a key party to the theft of Apple's intellectual property, the Internet advertising giant hardly is a "friend of the court". Google is more like an unindicted co-conspirator.

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Re: Google a "friend of the court"?

The reason that Apple's patents keep getting invalidated is that there is rather a large group of people here in the US (as am I) proving that Apple didn't invent any of it. With the exception of a design patent (rectangle with rounded corners as some call it), it's all prior art. Hell, all tech patents are heading this way, even having contests around finding prior art or other reasons for invalidating them. And just for reference, the reason that Apple keeps pushing for the new damages phase to get underway, rather that wait for appeals from the badly done first trial, is that these patents are going down like ten-pins.

I've been around IT for forty-three years now and aside from IBM or Xerox PARC way back when, there ain't much that's novel. And certainly damn little in software unless you go back to Knuth & co.

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404
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Re: Google a "friend of the court"?

Trollbait -> backup account for somebody. Three posts since 2010.

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Re: Google a "friend of the court"?

"Trollbait -> backup account for somebody. Three posts since 2010."

That may very well be but it doesn't change the nature of the relationship. It's in Google's best interests that nobody restrict sales of any Android-based phones. As for SAP and the rest, they basically have nothing to do with the subject. It's like McDonalds get in on the fray and saying "we use electricity to cook our food, and Samsung's phones use electricity, so we're qualified to weigh in on this."

Now, if other handset manufacturers were coming out and signing in on this, that'd speak loudly. "Even though Samsung is our competitor, this whole patent war is bullshit and we want it to go away." That would speak loudly. But they're not. Evidently the only competitor (Nokia) says "nuke 'em from orbit".

There's the message, sadly.

Disclosure: I don't own any iDevices, don't want to, and dislike Apple's tactics. Oh, and I own a Samsung "superphone".

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