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back to article Judge sighs at 'whack-a-mole' lawsuits as Apple deals blow to Samsung

Apple has won an early judgment in a California court squabble over alleged patent infringement by rival Samsung. Judge Lucy Koh has issued [PDF] a trio of summary judgments that uphold one Apple claim, deny a second, and strike down a motion by Samsung ahead of the companies' formal trial over handheld gadget technology this …

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Hang on a minute...

Apple have managed to get a patent granted for predictive text? What the f*ck are the USPTO playing at?

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Coat

Re: Hang on a minute...

No no no, this is not a patent for boring old predictive text, silly. This patent is for predictive character strings on a portable electronic device with a touchscreen, using gestures!

Totally not the same thing.

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Re: Hang on a minute...

I haven't read the patent so I don't know exactly what they're claiming, but predictive text works totally differently on a touchscreen device than it does on a device with a physical keyboard (even a phone with a tiny physical keyboard like a Blackberry)

When you're typing on a keyboard, predictive text might take care of misspellings, but it won't handle "I aimed at the d but I hit the f" type errors because people on a keyboard don't do that, whether they're touch typers or hunt and peckers. But that is 95% of the errors on touchscreen keyboards, so the proximity of the letters you're aiming at is more important than having a dictionary of common misspellings like how predictive text worked on a PC.

I'm still amazed sometimes how when I'm trying to type in some nasty 12 letter word and miss all 12 letters, and get autocorrected to what I wanted - the biggest adjustment to learning to type on touchscreen devices was to just aim in the general direction of the letters you want and let the autocorrect happen. If you're patient (or lazy) sometimes you can type three words, two of which are autocorrected to the wrong thing, and then with the third word it figures out what you wanted and fixes the previous two. Never seen that on a PC, that's for sure.

I'm not saying Apple invented this technology on a touchscreen device (or even bought a company that invented it) but I don't even know if that's what they're claiming here. However, the usual braindead reflex of "evil Apple, they patented something that's been around for decades" is most certainly 100% incorrect in this case (not that this fact will stop me from getting downvotes from Apple haters) You might be able to point to a touchscreen device that did exactly what iOS does that came out years before (in fact I'd be surprised if someone doesn't come up with some examples in these comments tomorrow) but not decades before.

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Re: Hang on a minute...

It is not just predictive text, it is also allows for error correction and put's the predictions in a separate area, not in an in-line drop down or type ahead.

So despite having a Samsung myself, I think Apple are correct on this one.

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Headmaster

Re: Hang on a minute...

@Lost all faith... "it is also allows for error correction and put's "

Should have bought that Apple... ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hang on a minute...

Hey Shades, here's a wild and crazy idea; before blathering you usual brand of fuckwittery, read the fucking patent.

I know, right?

Crazy...

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Bronze badge

Re: Hang on a minute...

Interestly most patents issued since the mass market launch of touchscreen devices that try to pull the trick:

tried and tested function + on a portable device with a touchscreen using gestures = New patentable method

should be dismissed as being obvious, as no one can claim that taking a function that previously was performed through a keyboard and/or mouse and converting it to touchscreen is an original concept or thought.

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Re: Hang on a minute... read the fucking patent

na - might get triple damages for that.

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Re: Hang on a minute...

I really wish I'd gone into law.

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Re: Hang on a minute... and counting

It really is time we invented a legal process where the opposite sides each pick a lawyer that has to be tortured until they can come up with a mutually acceptable agreement the adversaries are willing to agree to. I am sure arbitration would become compulsive television viewing.

Even the fanbois would get organised for that.

I wonder how famous team players could become before they died of industrial illnesses?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hang on a minute...

"I aimed at the d but I hit the f" type errors because people on a keyboard don't do that"

So you say, but I'll be contrary here and suggest that if a fingertip is about 1cm across and a Blackberry (for example) key is about 4mm wide - and has no significant gap between it and its neighbour - than people will strike other keys than they intended.

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Re: Hang on a minute... and counting

I am old enough to remember the days when most things were made by the "Pat Pending" company. Pat is now a retired...

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Re: Hang on a minute... and counting

We could go back to the times you hired a champion to fight for you in trial-by-combat. But the lawyers have a DUTY to do everything they possibly can for the people who are paying them. LTIC, lawyers have to outline what they are doing for you before they go into court and do it, so you, their clients, can decide whether to stump up the money or not. Lawyers get a lot of stick in these forums, but if you are hauled into court by, say, a looney neighbour threatening mayhem because your tree shed a leaf on their lawn or whatever, you'd want your lawyer to be 100% focused on the best outcome for YOU. More seriously, if you are being patent trolled or on trial for a crime, etc, you want your lawyer to do everything humanly possible to protect you. And remember, you are paying -- you are in control.

Do people get blagged by smart lawyers? Yes, sometimes. But every lawyer I've met in big business has been conscious of his or her duty to the court -- which is to do their full duty by their client. Full disclosure, I am married to one, and her honour is stainless. She will refuse work, at the cost of her own income, if it is not consistent with the client's best interests, i.e. if she thinks they will blow a wad of dosh on a sure failure and NOT get what they want. Or she will warn them and keep warning them that the actions they are paying her to take are not in their best interests and work hard to get them to modify their stance. Or she will resign from the case. And she is not untypical of the breed.

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Re: So despite having a Samsung myself

I own neither, so I'm impartial. Apple's claim is laughable on its face and the PTO officer who approved it should be taken out back and shot immediately.*

I'm actually a quite miserable speller. One of the things I frequently go to Google for is to find out how to spell some word I'm completely mangling. They have always come up with the correct work. Adding characters for hitting the wrong key on a touchscreen is an OBVIOUS improvement and indeed was my immediate reaction on using my very first BB keyboard.

*No, he doesn't deserve the benefit of a trial. The only bribe I'm willing to accept is that he pays all the lawyers fees for both sides up front, plus all the court costs, and then trebles that and pays it as a fine. Cash on the barrel head only. If he does that, suspend the sentence and parole him for 3 years.

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Re: Hang on a minute...

This is no different than the auto-correcting of Go Corporation's PenPoint system that I worked on over 20 years ago. If anybody has a legal right to a patent on this, Go Corporation should have it. The same thing held for the mouse with Xerox's Palo Alto research unit creating it and Apple contending they owned a patent on it.

If there is any way to turn off LibreOffice's auto-correct feature I am all ears. But no matter you slice the actual technology of how to do this has been around a long time. Given that I can type 100+ WPM I really don't need any help with a keyboard.

I am getting to the point I really hate Apple above and beyond all other companies. They just want to stick it to everybody. That includes their customers that they spy on like mad.

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@Roland6

It has been going on longer than that. In the 90s every patent was "same thing as everyone has done before, but over a network". In the 80s every patent was "same thing as before, but having a computer do it".

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Once again, the USPTO invites keel-hauling of itself

Predictive text existed in dictionaries, databases, and other devices even prior to the 90s.

Increasingly, the USPTO seems to deserve the most uncouth of uncouth assault and battery upon itself. If they were paid too arrive at the decision to issue the patent, then keelhaul that party, too.

Better yet, somebody spray lube and sand on the floor so these two combatants can gore each other in the slips and jerks, and hopefully limp away in a mutual truce. This IS wearing thin on the courts and the consumer, too.

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Stop

Re: Once again, the USPTO invites keel-hauling of itself

In case you weren't paying attention, Samsung's patents that were invalidated by the judge were killed because Apple proved prior art. If Samsung had been able to prove that the method of prediction had been used previously then Apple's patent would have likewise been invalidated. As usual patents are about "a method" of doing something, not all methods. If you can find a different method of doing the same thing you are in the clear.

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Re: Once again, the USPTO invites keel-hauling of itself

The good ol' Apple 'on a mobile device' method of repatenting previously patented items.

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Judge Koh has a simple solution available

With billions at stake, each side is going to argue about the definition of every word until the next big meteor strike. The lawyers involved are going to advise their clients not to settle while there is a drop of blood left for them to suck. If judge Koh invalidates all the patents at issue, the problem goes away (to whoever hears the inevitable appeals), and she can do something more constructive with her time.

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This is the new version of the hundred years war.

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Headmaster

Historians have this way of neatening things. 100 years war sounds so much nicer than 116 years war.

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Anonymous Coward

I wonder if any Japanese soldier who ever shouted "banzai" mentally added "give or take 10%"?

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WTF?

I bet that Apple's ...

USD$1,800 an hour lawyer is loving every minute ($60) of this stupidity.

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Re: I bet that Apple's ...

"USD$1,800 an hour lawyer is loving every minute ($60) of this stupidity."

I am pretty sure that $1800/60 min per hour is $30/per minute

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I bet that Apple's ...

Bit harsh on your own comment, but realistic in all fairness.

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Stop

All pointless Corporatist BS

This is soooo boring, and harmful to customers of these corporations.

Intellectual Property is a legal /fiction/ which has no place in free trade; until this oppressive state backed nonsense is abolished more time and resources will be wasted on legal parasites.

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Patent for everything...

The next thing Apple will have a go a patenting is Cellular Radio, they have had a go at everything else, the stupid thing is the USPTO may even grant it !!

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