back to article iPHONES and 'Pads BANNED in US for violating Samsung patent

Apple is facing an ITC embargo on imports of older iPhone 4 and iPads after Samsung successfully convinced the trade body that Cupertino had infringed on a single one of its patents. The patent, No. 7,706,348, covers coding and decoding of wireless signals within the CDMA architecture, and the ban will stop Apple from …

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  1. Don Jefe
    Meh

    Waste of Space

    The ITC is a sham and always has been. Why even bother issuing a ruling they know full well will not be enforced. No U.S. President is going to stop a U.S. company from accessing their paid for property and selling it in the U.S. What a bunch of arrogant asshats.

    1. Rukario
      Trollface

      Re: Waste of Space

      "Last year, Apple employees gave $308,081 to Obama's last reelection campaign" I guess, Apple's "paid-for property" is in this case the White House itself.

      1. Whitter
        Devil

        Re: Waste of Space

        The definition of an honest politician: "One that stays bought".

      2. Jedit

        "Apple's "paid-for property" is in this case the White House itself."

        Of course Apple owns the White House. Couldn't you tell by the Oval Office's rounded corners?

      3. itzman
        Holmes

        Re: Waste of Space

        hey, can I patent the concept of bribing governments, or is there simply too much prior art?

      4. admiraljkb
        Facepalm

        Re: Waste of Space

        @Rukario

        I'm thinking the President should recuse himself for conflict of interest on this one. Any judge in a court case would do that under the circumstances. Politically for him, its a Kobyashi Maru scenario. What will be said if he allows the ban to go into effect is he doesn't want to look like he was bought off by Apple, so he intentionally let the products get banned to look tough. If he turns down the ban, its because of the money Apple (indirectly) gave him to buy him off. Either way it gets spun badly, so best to find a way to stay out of it...

        icon, because Politics is always "D'oh!"

        1. Don Jefe
          Meh

          Re: Waste of Space

          It is kind of an unwinable situation, however the President can't recuse himself. The ITC cannot impose judgements without the OK, through inaction, of the President. The logic behind this is that principals of national interest may be negatively impacted by a judgement. As the leader of the country, not the leader of corporations, he must decide if his veto of a ruling would be in national interests. As the paragon of capitalism run wild the President would be going against a U.S. business and in the eyes of the non IT public, going against everything the 'free market' stands for.

        2. Someone Else Silver badge
          Coat

          @admiraljkb: Re: Waste of Space

          icon, because Politics is always "D'oh!"

          Yes, and in politics, he who spends the most "D'Oh!" usually gets what he wants...

      5. Tom 13

        Re: "paid-for property" is in this case the White House itself.

        Not a chance. They don't believe in property rights in the first place.

      6. Dana W
        Meh

        Re: Waste of Space

        EVERY corporation in the US gives to presidential campaigns. And for a major Corporate donation, $300.000 is pocket change. Sounds like they underspent. Repub corps give MILLIONS.

        That's not even 1/6th a cheap corporate jet.

      7. BillG
        Trollface

        Re: Waste of Space

        Last year, Apple spent $1.97M lobbying the White House.

      8. James Anderson Silver badge

        Re: Waste of Space

        300k would just about pay for a primary campaign in a small town where the candidate was a shoo-in.

        It currently costs about $600 per vote in a key ward in a swing state. Nobody is going to lose any sleep over the Apple employees meager contribution.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ITC

      as if that will make a difference.

      What you mean it's not the Innovation and Techology Commision?

      Is it the Indian Tobacco Company?

      Is it the International Typeface Commission?

      Which of the ITC's is it

      Oh the International Trade Commission? In the pocket of the politicians, money men, fixers and wheeler dealers.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Roger Stenning

        Re: ITC

        No, not the WTO-like one, which is based, by the way, in Mexico, and is part of the UN, but instead, this ITC the American one, so not, say again not, under the influence of anyone but the US government.

        Which, by the way, makes it an even more surprising result for Samsung.

        Not that it really affects Apple much, since their current offerings are the iPhone4 and similar 4th generation Apple offerings. yes, such a "limited ban" may hit them in the profit lines, but not nearly so much as a complete ban might otherwise do.

        It'll be interesting to see how POTUS reacts.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ITC

        The ITC should be taken to court for infringing on trademark, because we all know that ITC stands for Incorporated Television Company, which is a holy thing here in the UK.....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Waste of Space

      While true that its doubtful that the ban will take place, that also means that if Apple tries to use the ITC to get Samsung products banned, most likely it won't be allowed either. Most companies that make contributions, they make to both parties. One party usually receives more than the other though.

    4. Mephistro Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Waste of Space (Don Jefe)

      Well, at least they are creating lots of free publicity for this case, and this will put POTUS in the spotlight AND in a funny dilemma: whether he should sign the ban, losing 'good will' from Apple and its employees, or not sign it and lose 'good will' from the rest of the citizenship.*

      "Always look on the bright side of life" :o)

      * Although I've got the impression that, historically speaking, several presidents in their second mandate developed a tendency towards not giving a shit about citizens goodwill or even about citizens full stop.

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Waste of Space (Don Jefe)

        > or not sign it and lose 'good will' from the rest of the citizenship.*

        Citizens of which country? South Korea? I suspect most US citizens are convinced anyway that Samsung is ripping off Apple, no matter what ITC says. Simply because in the intense media war, they are more likely to believe Apple propaganda than Samsung propaganda.

        1. Mephistro Silver badge

          Re: Waste of Space (Don Jefe)(@ MacroRodent)

          Well, I was counting on a percent of US citizenships being well informed on this issue and its consequences, and said % of informed citizens to be bigger than the number of Apple employees.

          Yeah, I know. I am too optimistic. :-). But my point is that if Obama doesn't sign the ban, it will have a political cost.

        2. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: Waste of Space (Don Jefe)

          > I suspect most US citizens are convinced anyway that Samsung is ripping off Apple

          You're just kidding yourself.

          In all likelihood, most probably don't care about such "finer points" and just want their cheap doo-dad. They are not aware of the insanity with patents and aren't even aware of your silly propaganda (never mind actually buying into it).

        3. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Waste of Space (Don Jefe)

          > I suspect most US citizens are convinced anyway that Samsung is ripping off Apple

          Has to be a Euro who posted this where its assumed one will support national products and companies first and foremost and fight to keep out the rest of the world. Not only is the American market one of the most open in the world but the average American cares a lot more about price and features than nationality of the brand. In fact Apple was in the news recently for avoiding US taxes by moving things over to Ireland. Most of our brands have become so multinational that the premium we put on products that claimed to be American made is rather small. Supposed American companies usually sell better with Americans less out of nationalism and more because they understand better how to market in the land of McDonald's and Starbucks.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Waste of Space (Don Jefe)

        "this will put POTUS in the spotlight AND in a funny dilemma: whether he should sign the ban, losing 'good will' from Apple and its employees, or not sign it and lose 'good will' from the rest of the citizenship.*"

        I reckon Obama knows right from WRONG! Apple have proved that they are the toll road of tech, ripping off everyone elses ideas, price fixing, etc..

        Obama needs to show his citizens that he can not be bought/owned by Apple unlike 50% of 'mericans, who clearly advocate Apples wrong doing.

        1. Don Jefe
          WTF?

          Re: Waste of Space (Don Jefe)

          There is no right or wrong in this case. The ITC judgements are by law subject to the Presidents decision. Until he vetos the judgement or let's it carry through 60 days of non action the judgement isn't even a judgement, it is a proposed action.

          1. grammarpolice
            Meh

            Re: Waste of Space (Don Jefe)

            There is no right or wrong in this case.

            Of course there is: software patents are wrong. I think everyone else in this thread can see that.

    5. henrydddd
      Childcatcher

      Re: Waste of Space

      Funny, how you are asking that the President not ban Iwhatever just because it is an American country rather than a point of law? That would be the end of the word "justice" in the US. I am hoping that this will start a dialog in our government about the stupid patent system. The system is totally broken down and is counter productive.

      1. Don Jefe
        Meh

        Re: Waste of Space

        It is a U.S. government agency. As described in its charter, ITC rulings may be overturned by the President. It has nothing to do with 'justice' it is in the rules...

        To wax philosophical, should the President overturn the ruling it is in fact proof that the rule of law is intact and 'justice' is being served because he is acting completely within the confines of the system of rules previously laid out and agreed upon.

        You are spot on about how applying the patent system to software was an extraordinarily bad idea. The patent system is quite effective and if software (and genes) weren't allowed it would solve many problems.

        1. M Gale

          Re: Waste of Space

          To wax philosophical, should the President overturn the ruling it is in fact proof that the rule of law is intact and 'justice' is being served because he is acting completely within the confines of the system of rules previously laid out and agreed upon.

          I think someone is confusing law, with justice.

        2. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: Waste of Space

          It would still be an example of crony politics and protectionism even if it were declared acceptable under the law.

          The fact that something is legal hardly makes it right.

      2. Psyx
        Pint

        Re: Waste of Space

        "Last year, Apple employees gave $308,081 to Obama's last reelection campaign, and several might be wanting their money back if the ban comes into place."

        So one can get a refund on bribes?

        1. Philipsz
          Stop

          Re: Waste of Space

          Of course, sometimes even tenfold or more. You just need a "green" company to launder it.

      3. Tom 13

        Re: end of the word "justice" in the US.

        Guess you missed it. That ended about 5 years back now.

        I case of doubt, check out the current Congressional hearings on:

        IRS intimidation of political speech

        AP wiretaps

        Benghazi

        There are others waiting in the wings that probably won't get any attention. Like Fast and Furious to name just one. I would have expected that one to gain some traction since it killed a lot of Mexicans, but it seems they can be tossed under the bus too if it fits other political purposes.

    6. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Waste of Space

      > What a bunch of arrogant asshats.

      No surprise there, Apple has always been like that.

  2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    OMG!

    Apple must be quaking in their boots laughing all the way to the bank. Seriously does anyone, even Apple, really care about iPhones 3G through 4 and iPads 1 & 2. I can see Apple tech support crying now, "We're sorry, the ITC says we can't replace your tarnished shiny which is malfunctioning because we can't re-import the refurbs, you need to buy a new one. Have a shiny day!"

    Wake me when it's for the 4S & 5 iPhone flavors and the iPad mini. On second thought, don't bother since it won't matter in 2016.

    1. Jyve

      Re: OMG!

      This is the first step though for a lawsuit to get cash from all those prior sales though.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: OMG!

        Lots of schools and businesses still buy ipad 2 as they are cheap and do a good enough job.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: OMG!

          "they are cheap and do a good enough job"

          The new Apple definition!

    2. Shagbag
      FAIL

      bzzzzzzzzzt.

      Eddy, you've completely missed the point.

      The ban means the ITC believes Samsung's argument has merit. The next step for Samsung is suing Apple for damages. That's right, every iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4 and iPad 1 & 2 that Apple ever sold will be brought in to the claim for damages.

      And that will hit Apple hard.

      This latest round of tit-for-tat which has resulted in Apple being foisted on their own petard, is the clearest indication that no-one wins a thermonuclear war. It's a shame Steve Jobs never watched WarGames.

      1. JohnG
        Headmaster

        Re: bzzzzzzzzzt.

        "...Apple being hoisted by their own petard..."

        1. Darryl

          Re: bzzzzzzzzzt.

          I'll bet every US carrier you can name is 'giving away' iPhone 4's with a 2 or 3 year contract. Killing that entry-level deal would still hurt Apple and the carriers.

      2. admiraljkb

        Re: bzzzzzzzzzt.

        @Shagbag

        BINGO, you've got it, perfectly. Now if Apple is smart, it will quickly do some backroom cross licensing deals with Samsung in return for both sides dropping all suits. Apple is still in jeopardy on having its "soft" Patents invalidated if it continues. Best to go ahead and end the conflict sooner than later. Trading money back and forth in global courts seems to be a poor usage of Stockholder's money. :) The attorneys must be making out like bandits though...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One thing that the author also didn't mention, Apple made contributions to Republicans and Democrats.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hedging their bets then?

    2. Rampant Spaniel

      monsanto and others do the same, they're all for sale.

  4. julianh72
    WTF?

    Oh, the irony!

    Anyone else think it's about time to put a stop to these patent wars?

    1. Alan Penzotti
      Mushroom

      Re: Oh, the irony!

      Patent wars meet Mutually Assured Destruction.

    2. PatientOne

      Re: Oh, the irony!

      'Anyone else think it's about time to put a stop to these patent wars?'

      Might it be that Apple have been patenting world + dog so they can throw out enough 'infringement' claims that people get fed up with the patient spate and ditch the lot, thereby allowing Apple to infringe valid patients with impunity?

      Why else would Apple even dream of patenting things like the 'slide to unlock' and the dozens, even hundreds, of other patents that most of us see as being far too obvious or littered with prior art?

      So rather than stopping these patent wars, perhaps it's time to require that patents are checked for validity (at the holders expense) *before* they can be used in a court case? That way people can continue patenting world + dog, but when they try claiming patient infringement, those they try bringing to court have the protection of a pre-trial hearing paid for by the plaintiff that checks the patent was valid before prosecution can proceed. That would serve to protect people from Patent trolls and cut down on a huge chunk of patent infringement cases while avoiding re-forming the patent office or trawling through all existing patients to see if they're valid or not.

      Not a perfect idea, though, but better than idiot patents and patent trolls costing the consumer a fortune while protecting genuine innovation.

  5. Neoc

    <checking the date>

    ...not April 1?...

    1. Gordon Pryra

      Re: <checking the date>

      @Neoc,

      Exactly, I checked the date as well.....

  6. Rampant Spaniel

    Irrespective of who is actually right doesn't the entire system lack credibility when different organisations deliver opposing decisions? I have no beef with samsung or apple but from casual observation the 'system' appears to be a joke, corrupt or just not fit for purpose. They infringed or they didn't, not both.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Part Deux...

    This is what is going to happen next: Apple will announce a manufacturing or any other commercial project worth billions in US and all will be hunky dory again! Seen it happen before with other companies, will happen again.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Part Deux...

      Didn't they just soft announce one of the next product refreshes would be made in the usa? Not shocking they would do it either, the US still has a huge manufacuring industry it just uses far less people due to automation.

      On the cynical aspect of your post I couldn't agree more!

  8. Michael Thibault
    Facepalm

    Er..umm

    Isn't the interdiction of importaion of the whole a bit... um... extreme relative to the apparent infringement of a very narrowly-delimited aspect of the functioning of the kit? And, seemingly, in software, to *cough* boot?

    1. Adam 1

      Re: Er..umm

      The argument is that Apple failed to license the patents for some of the technologies these specific devices rely upon. My understanding is that they are related to standards and therefore Apple is entitled to a FRAND license deal just like anyone else who wants to use those same technologies. If Samsung are not offering a deal consistent with FRAND Apple can get a hearing on that. But we don't want to pay anyone anything is not an option Apple has unless they remove the offending feature. Being a CDMA radio I think that they will need to pay something or stop selling those devices.

      The next battle will undoubtedly be how fair and reasonable the FRAND offers are.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: Er..umm

        That and possibly if apple rejected a potentially fair frand offer they are entitled to a second frand deal. I can see the logic in saying if you reject a frand deal and later lose in court you pay more. samsung still have to allow them a license but the cost is what's up for debate.

        Personally I feel frand needs to go a step further and there be mandatory patent pools for each standard. That way everyone gets fair pay for their IP and theres no ridiculous bitch fights over obscure patents needed for a standard. if its in the standard its in the pool. What pisses me off about all this is that we are paying for it. The next phone you buy is paying for this sideshow which just serves to unduly enrich ambulance chasing scum.

      2. Vic

        Re: Er..umm

        > Apple is entitled to a FRAND license deal

        Apple *was* entitled to a FRAND license deal.

        The fact that they refused the deal probably[1] means that they no longer have such an entitlement.

        Vic.

        [1] I'm not sure this has been thrashed out in court, but any other reading means that there is no downside to refusing to pay for FRAND patent licences, and I can't see that flying in court...

  9. MACWINLINO
    Thumb Down

    Consumer is affected

    These patent wars at the end of the day affect us the consumers. If companies would innovate, look after their current customers than arguing small semantics in court. Then we might actually see proper progress.

    Ever since iPhone 4 and Galaxy SIII both companies seemed to have slowed down their innovative pace.

    1. heyrick Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Consumer is affected

      "Ever since iPhone 4 and Galaxy SIII both companies seemed to have slowed down their innovative pace."

      Of course - in this marketplace you'd need to lay off the engineers and hire lawyers instead...

  10. john 19
    Pirate

    it is a war started by apple

    The patent system is clearly wrong. But I feel no sympathy for Apple over this. It is really a war started by Apple when they asked samsung galaxy to be banned.

  11. Gordon Pryra

    @john 19

    And that's the view of many people.

    On top of that a lot of people find it hard to believe a company like Apple can have ever come up with any real patients themselves. Which makes a mockery of the idea behind patient in the first place.

    After all their products, outside of the styling, may as well have been made from a parts catalog of components on offer by other companies.

    1. grammarpolice
      FAIL

      Re: @john 19

      After all their products, outside of the styling, may as well have been made from a parts catalog of components on offer by other companies.

      OS X: made from bits on offer by other companies.

      Not.

      1. Mark .

        Re: @john 19

        No in that case, they just bought the company...

  12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Chicken Marengo
      Thumb Up

      Re: Patents cost us money

      Looks like Eadon's keyboard has broken just as he was about to write: MICROSOFT NOT BEING INVOLVED IN THIS STORY PATENT FAIL!

      Actually FWIW I agree with the gist of what Eadon said this time (which makes me feel dirty but there you go). The patent system has reached the point where it is no longer a tool to protect innovators but one to further the interests of multinationals. Anyone who thinks that small guy inventors are protected by patents is deluded. Unless of course they are blokes inventing things in their sheds who just happen to have millions to hire IP lawyers

      1. Number6

        Re: Patents cost us money

        Patents were originally intended to encourage innovation. Now they actively prevent it.

        Large corporations can afford to sue the pants off anyone, and put huge legal and cost obstacles in the way of small fry trying to sue them, so I would argue that the whole thing needs to be scrapped and re-thought. Stopping people from patenting the bleeding obvious would be a good start. If I pose a question to a group of people skilled in the art and they all independently come up with pretty much the same answer then it isn't particularly novel, it's just following through a logical sequence.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Patents cost us money

          As has been said its an execution issue - you cannot currently patent something obvious to someone knowledgeable in the state of art in the given field.

          The problem is that this is hard to check for any patent office, made worse by the US prior practice of only checking the US patent record for prior art rather than the codified knowledge in the sector and global patent records.

          1. Zippy's Sausage Factory
            Trollface

            Re: Patents cost us money

            There's a simple answer to patent trolls though. You specify that patents can only be owned by their original inventors, who must be individual people and not corporations.

            Of course, all the corporations would fight that tooth and nail, so it would never happen. But hey, it's a nice dream.

          2. Don Jefe

            Re: Patents cost us money

            That's the key word right there 'codified'. No agency can be expected to search every nook and cranny of knowledge to find existence of prior art, there must be limits on how far the searches go. Hence the reliance on previous Patent applications.

            The USPTO does have the ability to search pretty far afield though. An ordered and well documented trade body could set up a central repository tailored to the needs of the USPTO but someone would have to pay for it... All the existing proposals and trials of such things have been too 'crowdy' and not legitimate enough to be considered for public record documentation purposes.

            1. JEDIDIAH
              Mushroom

              Re: Patents cost us money

              > No agency can be expected to search every nook and cranny

              If only "nooks and crannies" were involved here. A lot of the stuff that the US PTO lets through baffles undergrads and hobbyists. This isn't about obscure arcana but about having nothing resembling a clue and no interest in doing a proper job.

              1. Don Jefe
                Headmaster

                Re: Patents cost us money

                But in the USPTO definition of prior art, something specific has to be publicly documented and formally described, not simply part of a larger construct. I'm not saying that is right, but it is the reality.

                A lot of patent discussions are hobbled because of specific definitions as they apply to legal matters vs their venacular meanings. The powers that be simply shrug off public argument because the public 'doesn't understand'. I say hell no we don't understand because you are using a different dictionary than everyone else. In order to affect change I think it will require communicating with 'them' using their own vocabulary; but the only people who speak the language are other lawyers, so there's an obvious conflict there...

                1. Rampant Spaniel

                  Re: Patents cost us money

                  I think theres a very valid argument for rethinking how intellectual property works. Getting rid of it entirely, it's possible but it would have to be accompanied by a change in how our society rewards work. Put basically we would need to move to either a centralised communist style economy or scrap money altogether. In capitalist countries r&d takes money, in communist countries it takes resources. If the money required to develop something cannot be recouped and you want to move away from ip then you also need to move away from r&d costing money (possible but unlikely to happen).

                  I completely agree the current system has been screwed up, but that doesn't mean the underlying concept is flawed (nor is it the only approach), it just means we haven't drowned enough lawyers and dealt with the law makers for hire issue. The system is unlikely to be perfect, but it could be a lot better. Simply writing off the entire concept of IP and grandstanding about how it stifles innovation (it doesn't, the corruption of IP does) doesn't help nor is it vaguely realistic unless theres some secret plan to convert the entire western world to communism (or a utopian money free system where we all get robot fluffers).

                  1. Don Jefe

                    Re: Patents cost us money

                    Agreed!

                    All IP is not bad, but how the rules are being applied is horrendous. There is already a very communal component to patents, after a limited time the IP is free for everyone is the price paid for a temporary monopoly, but extensions of patents have created scope creep and now a patent is beginning to resemble more of a copyright, which defeats the purpose of adding to the public knowledge.

                2. Number6

                  Re: Patents cost us money

                  I guess the enforcement of patents is the other side of it. If a dodgy patent is granted, there's a huge legal bill waiting for anyone who wants to challenge it because even if they convince the relevant patent office, there's then going to be several years of legal appeals and huge bills. similarly if you've got an actual proper patent, seeking to defend it against someone with a tame lawyer and deep pockets is going to cost a small fortune.

                  To be fair, some (most? all of?) of this is just down to the US legal system where anyone with money never accepts the first answer, and the losing lawyer at the subsequent press conference always starts with "we're going to appeal".

    2. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Patents cost us money

      Yes comrade eadon! The very idea of ip \ monopolies stifles innovation and has been doing so since the first kings and governments granted licenses, charters and patents.

      Or perhaps the assurance of a time limited monopoly has spurred investment. It is not the only commercial philosophy, nor is our current system immune from abuse, but your tirade betrays a willful ignorance of reality and sense. Explain to me why a drug company would spend billions researching a new drug if someone could copy it for free the first day they release it only to see their drug uncompetitive due to having to recoup the r&d costs. If you are going to rant, at least make a half hearted attempt at having a reasoned argument.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Patents cost us money

        Explain to me why a drug company can acquire a 20 year patent for a drug for, say, blood pressure and then get another patent, years later, for the same drug but this time for cholesterol levels even if the effect on cholesterol levels isn't as good as current drugs?

        Once the patent has expired you then get generic manufactures moving in, but they get sued by the patent holder and the FDA automatically suspends approval of the generic version for 30 months, thus giving the patent holder more time to exclusively manufacture.

        In the pharmaceutical world you get brand names suing generics so as to keep the generics of the shelves and the generics suing the brand names to prevent "extension" patents.

        The end result of this isn't innovation, it is the pharmaceutical companies researching profitable current drugs so as to find some minor effect to extend the patent with and pretty much everybody suing everybody else.

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Re: Patents cost us money

          You are correct to some degree (although there is a huge market in generic drugs that seem to do ok), but that doesn't mean the concept of patents \ ip is broken, just the execution. Due in no small part by companies ability to buy law makers.

        2. johnck

          Re: Patents cost us money

          "Explain to me why a drug company can acquire a 20 year patent for a drug for, say, blood pressure and then get another patent, years later, for the same drug but this time for cholesterol levels even if the effect on cholesterol levels isn't as good as current drugs?"

          The simple answer is they can’t, in Europe at least, as it’s the same compound. What they can get is legal protection for the manufacturing process for the compound which may mean it’s not cost effective for generic manufactures to produce it using another process, or there may not be another process to produce it.

          I'm using the word compound rather than drug, as its the compound that is painted, under its generic name, not the drug or the brand, which can also be trademarked/copyrighted etc. e.g. Nurofen is a brand and is trademarked/copyrighted so you can’t produce something called Nurofen, the compound is ibuprofen (its full chemical name is iso-butyl-propanoic-phenolic acid) which anyone can produce and you can buy for a fraction of the cost. Doesn’t stop people buying Nurofen though, such is the power of marketing and advertising.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Patents cost us money

            > The simple answer is they can’t, in Europe at least,

            Yes they can. Europe increased the patent protection from 15 to 20 years in 1980's and introduced a 5 years extension to that via a Supplementary Protection Certificate in the 1990's. They also grant further patents for

            new uses, indications, dosages and changes in formulation, colour or markings. Just to make things even harder for the generic drug manufacturers, the regulatory authorities can not refer to data on file for the patented drug when they are granting permission for the generic drug.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Patents cost us money

      For once an opinion I agree with, Eadon.

      It's positively REASONABLE !

      Now, why can't you always be lovely like this eh?

      BE A LOVER NOT A HATER INIT

  13. CJR
    Black Helicopters

    Win for Apple

    I think the timing of this is hilarious. It's not long until Apple announce a new product line and this will stop people from being able to use anything older than an iPhone 4. Apple are innocent as they did not withdraw any of the old devices, the courts told them too. So sales of the newest shiniest gadgets will be higher than if the older, less shiny, gadgets were still available.

    -CJR

    1. Mark .

      Re: Win for Apple

      Um, I doubt this will stop people from using the phones they already have.

      If you mean being unable to buy them, then instead of buying an older iphone 4 that's still on sale at a lower price, they'll buy one of the many competing phones at those prices.

      Don't forget most phones are simply sold through contracts - companies who were including the iphone 4 on contracts at a given price aren't going to suddenly give away a 4s at the same price, rather, Apple will simply no longer be available on those contracts.

      Think about it - if what you said is true, then why does Apple make older phones available at all, if by your logic it just harms their profits?

      Also I don't see what's hilarious about timing - Apple only release one new phone a year, and so we're likely months away from a new release.

  14. SteveK

    "As with all ITC bans, the lockdown won't start unless President Obama gives the all-clear. The president (who prefers to use a BlackBerry personally) has 60 days to decide the issue."

    Thanks for coming in Mr Cook. This veto stamp? Pay no attention to that, I don't think I'll be needing it. Remind me, what were you doing about those billions of untaxed offshore dollars?

  15. The Nameless Mist
    FAIL

    Low impact and USA only

    Look at the models impacted. "iPhone 4, 3GS, and 3G models, as well as the cellular versions of Apple's iPad and iPad 2 lines in the US."

    Now who will buy an iPhone4 when they can get 4S or a 5?

    Who buys the iPad or iPad2 when they can get a iPad(3)/retina ?

    Plus the issue is only applicable in the USA.

    Samsung and Apple can carry on with their squabbles but in the end these patent issues are going to get kicked to the kerbside.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Low impact and USA only

      "Now who will buy an iPhone4 when they can get 4S or a 5?

      Who buys the iPad or iPad2 when they can get a iPad(3)/retina ?"

      Me on both counts, in the last few months. It helps that the price of the iPad2 and iPhone4 are significantly lower than the newer versions - yet they still do the job that my wife and I require.

      The iPad is a primary computing device, no laptop/PC for the last 6 months (just bought a mac mini because the iPad can't configure an older iPod Classic.

      Why would I pay significnatly more for an iPad3/retina or a 4S/5 when the 2 and 4 do the job just fine.

      Similarly I'll not be throwing any more money to HTC for a while, because my >2 year old phone works just fine...

    2. Mark .

      Re: Low impact and USA only

      The older products are typically still on sale at lower prices, and contribute to Apple's sales.

      Whilst the USA is only a small part of the global market, it's of importance as it's the one where Apple do better (rest of the world, Android dominates, and it was Symbian that did before that). For the English-speading world at least, I think this infects other contries with media iphone focus.

      The other point is it's not just sales, but damages - perhaps reclaiming some of that billion dollars. And maybe getting a taste of their own medicine will stop future patent wars, we can only hope. (It's only the USA, but it's mainly the USA where the courts have been upholding these claims.)

      And anything that gets Apple and Samsung in the media is good for Samsung, as the media already give plenty of coverage to Apple.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Low impact and USA only

        The U.S is responsible for almost 30% of Apple product sales with about 40% going to Europe and Japan combined. The rest if the sales are primarily in APAC countries. The fastest growth areas are the U.S followed by China. So the U.S. is quite a bit more than a small part of the global market. In the unlikely event the judgement was approved and it applied to current gen products it could be devastating to Apple.

  16. Velv Silver badge
    Go

    Like all other religious wars, the participants will escalate their hostilities until they start taking each other out.

    Somebody take a big white flag and get this lot talking to each other without the ecumenical advisor's (lawyers) being present. Draw a line under the patents and start working together. All parties claim to hold patents - do a quick swapping of cards and everyone wins (except the lawyers).

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Apple employees gave $308,081 to Obama's last reelection campaign, and several might be wanting their money back if the ban comes into place"

    Typical iSheeple.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The iSheeple will hate this. The "Apple invented the best thing ever" sheen is severly tarnished.

    Maybe they will start to realise that they have been pwnd by Apple and wake from their walking coma.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oooh, what an interesting and thought provoking post! I've never, ever read anything similar on here ever. It's really opened my eyes, I will no longer be buying apple products! It's like I've awoken from a walking coma! Thanks AC!!!

      1. Mark .

        Quite - from thinking they invented the smartphone, with a phone that wasn't even smart, to patents on rounded rectangles. The OP must be deluded to think that this single news story is going to change such people's views.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        2nd AC is representative of most... 'Nothing will ever come between me and my beloved Apple!'

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          2nd AC is representative of how sick I am of brainless fanboy posts, either pro- or anti- apple. To infer from it that I am in love with Apple just emphasises how little you understand. FYI I run a 2 year old sony xperia with a copy of cyanogenmod on. Now who does that make me a fanboy for? It's obviously not apple, and it can't be google or it'd be stock android. It isn't MS or Blackberry either. Can you even comprehend that some people aren't aligned with any hi-tech multinational?!

          And relax....

  19. Number6

    Calling Time

    Perhaps it's the ITC's way of trying to get Apple and Samsung to just STFU and cross-licence each other's patents instead of wasting all their money on lawyers. Now they're both potentially banned from importing their products to the US they've got a reason to suspend the lawyers and organise a wander round the golf course for the top execs and sort it properly.

  20. ChaosFreak
    Mushroom

    He who lives by the sword...

    ...dies by the sword.

    At this point, it shouldn't take a genius to figure out that tech companies face enormous cost and uncertainty under the current patent system and they should declare a "truce", band together and eliminate software patents altogether.

  21. Frankee Llonnygog

    Never understood this kind of spat

    Apple is being penalised for selling a product containing a particular Qualcomm chip. Surely Qualcomm is the infringer?

    1. Jess--

      Re: Never understood this kind of spat

      nope...

      it does not come down to whether a chip (or any other part of a device) is capable of infringing it is whether that capability is used in the end product.

      Using your argument Ford should be paying a lot of speeding tickets because they manufacture an engine that can be used in a car that is capable of exceeding speed limits

      1. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: Never understood this kind of spat

        And, using your argument, they should still pay because they make the car. The chip is the product that embodies the patent violation.

  22. Parax

    I'm still asking:

    Why is Apple so happy to shower money on to lawyers, yet wont pay dividends to it's shareholders?

    1. fandom

      Re: I'm still asking:

      Maybe it's because Apple started paying a dividend last year.

    2. Oninoshiko
      FAIL

      Re: I'm still asking:

      They pay 3.05USD per share-quarter.

  23. Alan Brown Silver badge

    @Frankee

    AIUI Qualcomm pays licensing fees for manufacturing the chips. This has been the gist of Apple's refusal to pay license fees itself (although all other makers participate in licensing pools whilst apple refuses to do so)

    Samsung has been accused of double-dipping. The ITC decision effectively means they are vindicated.

    Apple's in legal trouble for refusing to license a number of FRAND 2G patents too.

    1. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: @Frankee

      If the chip is licensed, why isn't that the end of the story? Anyone using the chip pays the license fee as it's passed on in the price of the chip

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: @Frankee

        Because it's not necessary for all the chip functions to be licensed to all purchasers.

        For an example, look at the Raspberry Pi. The GPU accelerated H264 codec is licensed to all purchasers of an RPi (included in the price), but the MPEG2 and VC-1 are not - even though the GPU does these equally well!

        It's well known that when you buy a chip, you may still need to buy additional licenses if you want to use all of its functions.

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. Glostermeteor

    Patent nonsense needs to stop

    I said this before when Apple kept winning patent cases for things they did not invent, and I will say it again now that Samsung has won this case (despite being a massive Samsung and Android fan), these patents just restrict innovation and mean that only the big guys can afford to compete in the market. All these patent cases need to be thrown out of court if the company involved did not actually invent the item that is patented. Although is does seem pretty ridiculous that the President of the Unites States gets to decide what happens. Talk about protectionism of the highest order! I refuse to recognise the US as a free market economy because it is so protectionist.

  26. JohnsonVonJohnson

    The Prez was forced to BB

    Actually Obama DID use an iPhone when he started office, but was told he'd have to switch to a BB for security reasons. ;)

    So he's stuck with security, and isn't allowed features most modern android and iPhones have.

    Patent wars are so ridiculous. The only people who will be hurt by this is the consumer.

    Apple's huge pile 'o cash and pending new releases will protect them until the lawyers do some other game changing ridiculous thing, like getting samsung devices banned for eating soup with my mom.

    1. Daniel B.
      Boffin

      The Prez had always used a BB.

      Actually Obama DID use an iPhone when he started office, but was told he'd have to switch to a BB for security reasons. ;)

      Um, you got that wrong. Obama was using a BlackBerry before he got elected, he was actually asked to switch to a Sectera Edge when he got elected. Finally the NSA let him keep his BlackBerry, after they hardened it a bit more so the Obama BlackBerry is truly one of its kind.

  27. Nanners
    WTF?

    I don't see a problem

    These are all items apple no longer sell, so what's the problem?

  28. Lord Zedd
    Stop

    Correction

    Innovation, no "s" on there.

  29. NukEvil
    FAIL

    "iPHONES and 'Pads BANNED in US for violating Samsung patent" YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    *back to reality*

    A couple older generation products made by Apple that aren't being bought by most people anyways are banned in the US.

    Can you please stop being the Daily Fail everytime a lawyer sneezes in a courtroom over Apple patents?

  30. Combustable Lemon
    Thumb Up

    I will be interested to see if they do get awarded compensation for the sales of all products found to be infringing backdated, now that would be interesting.

    Overall i think i approve of this, only just, but i approve.

  31. Danny 5
    Meh

    meh

    as a known Apple hater, i suppose i should be happy with this news, but all that comes to mind is "meh".

    I've pretty much had it with all this patent trolling, but i don't see anything changing in the foreseeable future. It's really kinda sad.

  32. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Bring Home the Bacon

    While a partial embargo might not matter too much to Apple's bottom line, it might be used as an encouragement for it to "repatriate" the vast amounts of money it has offshored.

  33. Martin 63

    $308,081. In the grand scale of things, isn't that peanuts?

    1. Don Jefe

      Yes. Individuals contribute more than that.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PLAY NICE!

    The fact that Apple are intent on this course beyond all reason proves that they fear Samsung and that they know they will ultimately be superseded. The "visionary" is gone - too much of Apple was invested in two men - Ives and Jobs. Jobs was his own worst enemy. Even when someone was being nice about him, he still had to have a dig and act like a c*nt - eg Gates on Jobs vs Jobs on Gates.

    Apple are at their high-water mark. If a WATCH is the best innovation they can come up with then they have failed; failed to do what they used to do : IMPRESS.

    You can PREDICT what's coming next - new iphone, new ipad..., YAWN.

    FFS Apple : STOP LITIGATING and try and outdo Samsung in the best way possible - by your products.

    It's like a school-yard squabble. If you're losing the game, you start screaming that "it's not fair! they're cheating!"

  35. gnufrontier

    Symptomatic

    Obama's campaign spent over 700 million dollars. It's a laughable statement to say that $300,000 from Apple employees means anything. It won't be about campaign money it will be about how the decision will be perceived no matter which way it goes.

    The patent wars between tech companies serve two purposes.

    1. As a competitive weapon between deep pocket companies.

    2. Keeping new entrants into the market out.

    #2 of course negates a fundamental premise of classical free market economic philosophy: ease of entry into the market (of course all the other premises upon which this philosophy is built are not in operation either). Free market economic philosophy is like a fundamentalist money religion the premises of which have as much validity as Ptolemaic astronomy. There can be no Galileo however since economic philosophy is not a science but an art like politics. Economics used to be called political economy until the mathematicians got involved and tried to turn it into a "hard" science. All economic philosophies always have as their operational endpoint the consolidation of wealth regardless of the premises. Contentment is the enemy of accumulation and if there is one thing we all know about human beings, none are content.

  36. Someone Else Silver badge
    Devil

    Of course, there is another end scenario here...

    That being, that Samsung and the Spawn of Jobs sit down, bury the hatchet, start acting like adults, cross license their patents, and start competing on the merits of their products (or barring that, on the merits of their Marketing Dept's.)

    Of course, that third point may be the stickler, but it seems to me that that is the most likely resolution scenario, and the Warm, Steaming Heap that is US Patent law can remain untouched, thus insuring the uninterrupted gravy train for myriad patent lawyers. See, everybody wins! (Everybody of importance, that is...we consumers be damned!)

  37. ysth
    FAIL

    money back?

    You are making a mistake if you think Apple employees as a group agree with Apple in their self-described thermonuclear war on Android.

  38. menotu

    Does this mean Obama is an Apple shill, as he is an Wall Street shill...

  39. The Nameless Mist
    Devil

    Awaiting Ban at Customs Control

    I am personally awaiting for some smart alek at Samsung to try and get the i-devices that visitors travel with blocked at customs.

    .. hysterical laughter..

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