Daniel Eran Dilger in San Francisco
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Devil’s advocates play up sympathy for Samsung after Apple trial

Daniel Eran Dilger

In a desperate bid to appear evenhanded, mainstream journalists of all stripes have dashed to their MacBooks to construct sympathetic stories casting teary-eyed hope for Samsung while fretting about the potential for more expensive iPhones after Apple’s victory in defending its patents.
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Why, exactly, would a multibillion dollar Korean conglomerate that has a solid track record for overtly lying about everything from its sales numbers to its insistence that it did not copy Apple (even while detailing its plans to do just that across 100 formerly confidential pages of internal strategy) suddenly need to have its dire prognostications of stifled markets and higher smartphone prices taken seriously?

Even President G.W. Bush mastered the concept of “fool me once, shame on… shame on you. Fool me, you can’t get fooled again!”

The media, initially led by none other than the Wall Street Journal (a source that is usually supportive of the rule of law rather than being contemptuous of successful companies and sympathetic to convicted counterfeiters — a position more understandably held by ideological bloggers with a hankering for socialized software), was doubling over backward, apparently to avoid looking “unbiased.”

“After Verdict, Prepare for the ‘Apple Tax’” the Wall Street Journal complained in an article that never explained why the verdict would result in a “tax,” unless we count every R&D expense as a “tax,” making the end of counterfeiting, naturally, the beginning of “taxation.”

The Journal might as well ask for Communism to deliver some “tax relief” from the onerous “taxes” that land and other property exhibit in the form of acquisition costs.

In fact, if you read anything about the legal skirmish between Apple and Samsung, and replace “patent infringement” with “real estate title arguments,” the entire argument of the IP communists collapses into dust.

Bloggers shed tears for enforcement of the rule of law

Engadget blogger Jon Fingas just offered an opinion that suggest it would have been nice if only Apple and Samsung had “refused the temptations to sue” and instead had “decided to compete only with the best possible devices they could muster.”

That makes sense until you realize the absurdity of the fact that the “best possible devices” Samsung “could muster” were counterfeit devices that willfully broke our patent laws to gain an unfair advantage in the market. Unfair both to Apple and to the more legitimate Android makers and others working to respect IP while building competing devices

If somebody breaks into your house and steals your TV, should you forgive the thief and just work some extra overtime so that both you and the thief can own the nicest TVs “you can muster”?

You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!

God forbid there might be any acknowledgment of the fact that some things are true and some are not. Initial coverage of verdict seemed to imply that there was actually some legitimate question of whether Samsung had infringed, if its own “mode” patents and FRAND commitments were equally legitimate, or if the answer to any lawsuit can be rectified in any form other than cutting the baby right down the middle, King Solomon style (as a Korean court recently did, just to show the world that it wasn’t entirely engaging in overt domestic protectionism, at least in some measure).

Why exactly is Samsung being treated by anyone as having any sort of legitimacy? The majority of its case was written by Android fan bloggers, from its SciFi prior art claims to its insistence that Samsung’s own 3G patents are the “one bullet to kill” to the idea that all of Apple’s patents could be boiled down to three words: “rectangle,” “round” and “corners.”

“Rectangle” has already become the shibboleth indicating when those talking about the trial are actually freebasing socialist software and simply hysterically high on Android-powered bath salts.

Nearly everything Samsung has asserted has been either a bold lie or complete nonsensical bullshit. Why is the media so eager to run with the specious claims of such a phony bunch of disingenuous counterfeiters?

If you put Apple’s design patent claims on one side of a scale, and then put Samsung’s “dusted off” patents related to such obvious and patently ridiculous concepts as “sending photos via email” on the other, does one really see anything resembling balance? The jury sure didn’t after a month of listening to evidence.

How about when one puts the most shamelessly flagrant duplication of the most obviously game-changing commercial product of the past decade in one bucket and compares it to a list of ancient patents Samsung itself has never used and couldn’t bother to spend more than five minutes even addressing in its own closing arguments?

Balance reporting invents controversy

This is not a real controversy. Shame on the media for trying to suggest that the jury should have thought longer and harder about its decisions. The reality was that jurors spent plenty of time over the last month being convinced of what was going on, as Apple laid out a series of smoking guns while Samsung argumentatively quibbled over nonsense.

Bloomberg seemed to imply iPhone favoritism in the jury under the headline “Apple-Samsung Jury May Have Leaned On Engineer, Patent Holder,” without regard for the fact that both sides were arguing patent claims. The piece even companied that Apple had the audacity of removing a Google-employed Android engineer from the jury pool, as if there should have at least been one Samsung-aligned member helping to guide the jury’s decision.

Oh the humanity! When will this persecution of Android ever stop? What has it ever done to anyone apart from appropriating the worlds largest smartphone platform from Sun and then applying a layer of Apple’s iOS on top, with the sole intent of illicitly transferring American technology directly to China?

While I’m on the subject of phony evenhandedness: there’s also no controversy about whether America should teach its children folk stories in place of established science, whether women are chattel or people, or whether Real Americans can be something other than white, whether the Holocaust occured, and whether or not tropical storms are directed by God to randomly kill children as a warning not to allow gays have equivalent civil rights in secular society.

These are no more “controversial” than suggesting Communism as an potential economic model for America, or Sharia as a social one. The fact that nutjobs with zero credibility can raise stupid issues does not mean the nation must take them seriously. Everything isn’t a controversy just because known liars step forward to argue points clearly rooted in their own financial interests.

What’s next for Samsung, Android

Samsung’s media serenade by pundits’ weeping violins will end soon enough. It should help that nobody really cares about Samsung. Microsoft isn’t trying to push the company’s copycat designs anymore, given that Samsung’s Windows Mobile Blackjack (itself a Blackberry clone) hasn’t been popular since the iPhone’s debut. Microsoft is partnered with Nokia now, LG behind that, HTC behind that.

Other Android makers are understandably embittered that Samsung shot to second place (I’m talking about making money, not the pursuit of creating and distributing devices for ideological reasons) in the smartphone market since 2010 by overtly cloning Apple, a move that not only irritated Apple, but also made the rest of the Android ecosystem look bad. Samsung’s decisions have since also helped the rest of the Android makers to lose money.

Google has other Android favorites, notably its own Motorola subsidiary, which it needs to pay back some of that $12.5 billion. In fact, now that Google has been portrayed as having appealed to Samsung executives, “you can’t copy the iPad that closely!” it’s easier to ignore the fact that Google fed Samsung its copycat strategy by supplying it with Android and pushing it in the direction of the iPhone and iPad to start with.

Google’s only real concern with Samsung was that the original Galaxy Tab wasn’t compatible with its Android Honeycomb 3.0 release, which they once called an “iPad killer,” at least in the giddy months prior the universal realization that Honeycomb was a disastrous bomb and one of Google’s biggest failures to date (and that’s saying a lot, given the series of significant and notable product failures Google has introduced just since the iPhone’s debut).

Android itself is a mixture of contempt for Oracle’s JavaME intellectual property and contempt for Apple’s iOS intellectual property, rolled into one big cake replete with stacks of infringement layers.

At this point, Google needs to distance itself from Samsung’s billion dollar negative verdict, lest it associate Android with failure in the courts, and not just commercial failure (which can be more easily hidden under Google’s “give it away” business model).

What’s next for Apple

Apple’s strategy to end Android’s infringement is just getting started. The company needed to win a significant finding of willful infringement in the Android camp, and it hit the mother of all loads with Samsung. The situation was far worse (or better, if you’re talking easily provable guilt) than Apple had even been aware of when it began the trial.

Without Samsung’s overt and documented contempt for Apple’s legal rights, trying to argue against the nebulous identity of “Android” would have been impossible. Trying to investigate the activities of Motorola and HTC, and pin them down as unfair competitors cheating the system would be pretty difficult as well, given that they’re both losing money and failing commercially.

But Samsung is Android’s brightest star, earning the most revenues, the most profits, the most sales. It has maintained an shameless strategy of matching every move of Apple, and it meticulously documented its efforts to backstab its largest customer with knockoff copies of its designs and technologies.

Samsung managed to extract $8 billion from American consumers using these copies. There has never been a better target for Apple to take down.

Having fired its strongest guns and scoring a direct hit, Apple is now set up to simply flash its remaining portfolio of weapons to scare would-be infringers from clinging to its hull. If that doesn’t work to shake off the barnacles, Apple’s clear win from the jury has set up a strong foundation for building additional infringement cases, leveraging patents that attack the very core of Google’s iOS alternative.

Apple needn’t work to hard to “go thermonuclear” on Android. As I’ve noted before, the various benefits of the platform that Google promised its Android licenses have already collapsed. Microsoft has asserted licensing agreements with all the major Android licensees apart from Google/Motorola itself, erasing the “free” promise.

The “open” promise has similarly withered under Google’s failed leadership of the platform. Now, the “legitimate” promise has been filleted open, revealing a whole lot of problems that weren’t evident on the surface. Samsung has demonstrated an exaggerated example of what Android induces its licensees to produce, but its still an example.

Also, keep in mind that Apple has more than three utility patents and three design patents in its portfolio. While it can’t keep taking a billion dollars from Samsung at every trial, it can engage the company in an extended series of legal actions that will cost Samsung more than it is making on smartphones (particularly if you believe the lie that told about only making 12% margins on its high end US smartphones).

What about the law of unintended consequences?

Being Daniel Eran Dilger, I would now like to bring up the 1980s. If you compare Apple vs Samsung to Apple’s “Look and Feel” Macintosh lawsuits waged back then, you’ll see a difference in the order of defendants.

Back then, Apple successfully sued or threatened HP and other smaller efforts to create what Apple claimed were Macintosh knockoff environments that infringed its copyright. It then went up against Microsoft, the central ringleader with the most power to actually distribute infringing software.

That backfired badly, in large part because Microsoft had already secured a poorly worded license to some elements of the Macintosh desktop. As a result, Apple not only effectively handed Microsoft Carte Blanche to the desktop, but repressed any competition that might have slowed the growth of Windows across the agar of PCs.

Forget all the historical revisionism nonsense about Apple not having a copyright case against Microsoft to start with; Apple only lost that case because its chief executive John Sculley had inked a Mac licensing deal with Bill Gates in the hopes of keeping Excel on the Mac for two years (far less than it would have taken a company like Apple to write its own Excel clone).

At the time, Apple had a hard time taking Microsoft’s juvenile Windows software seriously as a threat. Had Apple not purged the PC market of competition (even blocking Steve Jobs’ NeXT computer!) before failing to stop Microsoft, Windows would never have made any headway.

That rendered Apple’s old Look and Feel lawsuits as being perhaps the greatest example ever of failing to consider unintended consequences in the tech industry.

Apple learned from its mistakes

This time around, Apple has focused on the successful Android licensee first, allowing the others to continue to take up space and compete for the non-iPhone dollar. Remember how Apple didn’t sue Palm, resolved its disagreements with Nokia, and focused on delivering new products while its attorneys labored away at building a case against Samsung? That sure seems according to plan.

As I like to point out, Apple does best when its facing a variety of competitors, rather than going up against one big monopoly. That also explains why it’s suing Android licensees individually, rather than trying to assert a case against Google and all of its partners together. Divide and conquer.

Had Apple instead taken on Google, it would have caused itself a huge bunch of grief and wouldn’t have had much leverage in doing anything to stop Android. If anything, this would have just allowed the Chinese to fork it and run with their own versions, Amazon style (as they already have).

Instead, Apple has adroitly scalped the biggest Android chief, delivering a decisive blow to the only Android licensee that’s actually making any real money and leaving the struggling HTC and LG to evaluate whether they really want to try the same type of copying and inherit the same legal illegitimacy Samsung has brought upon itself.

Samsung isn’t going away, and will continue to be the biggest and most profitable phone maker behind Apple. If Apple can leverage its win to throw up a series of roadblocks, which it very likely will, it will have the luxury of being able to not just control its own releases, but also to cause expensive chaos for Samsung, arguably a fitting response to the chaos Samsung has created for Apple.

Only one iPhone left to compete against

The biggest thing Apple has accomplished in this trial is not the collection of another $1 billion. It’s the sowing of seeds of resentment against Samsung, which will break it away from the rest of Android, likely causing it to focus more on Bada and Windows Phone 8 and other options (as Apple’s other patents take aim at critical Android OS design elements that Samsung will have a hard time working around).

Rather than trying to take on Apple, Android makers will take aim at competing with Samsung, the new lower hanging fruit. Google has already attempted to push its “pure Android” Nexus products (some made by Samsung) as better alternatives to “Android+” devices like Samsung’s own TouchWiz layer (which tries to look more like iOS).

Google hasn’t been tremendously successful with Nexus, but it has up until now been forced to compete against both Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s counterfeit iPhone. Google and its licensees, along with RIM and Microsoft/Nokia, now only have one iPhone to compete against, making their jobs all that much easier.

26 comments

1 DMKraig { 08.26.12 at 1:16 pm }

Respectfully, the Wall Street Journal has NEVER been “supportive of the rule of law.” They are only about the rule of corporations. Anything that is seen to really disrupt business, such as a billion-dollar judgement against a corporation that leads in sales of mobile phones, is terrible to them and must be denounced.

This corporatist view has become stronger with the Journal’s purchase by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. News Corp, of course, also owns Fox News which has the motto, “fair and balanced.” I agree with your observation that “mainstream journalists of all stripes” are “desperate” to “appear evenhanded.” This, IMO, is because Murdoch/Fox have made the “fair and balanced” meme a part of their so-called journalism.

REAL journalists are not fair and balanced. They’re objective and honest. This often means that their reporting will not be fair (to liars, criminals, abusers, rapists, etc.) or balanced (not giving the spin of the subjects of stories without investigating the validity of that spin).

Murdoch, Fox, and now the Journal are leading the march away from true journalism, and people are following suit, their only justification being the false claim that they are journalists.

Where are Mencken and Cronkeit when we need them?

2 Maniac { 08.26.12 at 2:08 pm }

Yet another great article Daniel. I’m not going to pile on (too much), but yeah, if you counterfeit anything valuable and get caught, you pay the price. Amazing that Samsung though they could get away with it.

3 NormM { 08.26.12 at 2:24 pm }

I’m not a big fan of the way patents work at the moment. They take much too long to be allowed, and they last too long. I don’t really like the idea that Apple owns the idea of bounce-back scrolling for the next 20 years, and a lot of other good ideas that I’d like to see used widely. I think a five year monopoly would be healthier both for Apple and its competitors.

4 sir1963nz { 08.26.12 at 2:37 pm }

I am sure that if I grabbed all the text from the Engadget blogger Jon Fingas’s post about how Apple and Samsung should all just get along, posted it on another site claiming it to be mine (I would use a different font) he would NOT see it that way. And its the same for all the other Android apologists , if I started posting under their name ( with a leading “.” added) they too would be outraged, yet I am sure they dont have a patent on the alphabet.

The patent system actually works, and works well. Fairly much everything we have in our homes these days contained patented products, copyrighted products, etc etc etc, and all of this remains invisible because it simply “just works”.

My first DVD player cost me about NZ$1000, now I can get one for NZ$40, yet it is full of patents from chip design, chip manufacturing, lasers, etc etc etc.

If, as some would have you believe, software patents are wrong, then we would also have to conclude that GPL is also wrong. With a patent you are FORCED to share some of your profits with the patent holder, but you can then protect your work and gather revenue from those who would use your designs, with GPL you are FORCED to give away 100% of your work for free as payment, and indeed the FSF has taken legal action against those who fail to do this.

Patents allow everyone to learn from other peoples work, build on it, use that knowledge to create something new and unexpected (For example the solid state laser enabled CD/DVD players). Without patents we would have fluff (products tats are not innovative, not expensive to develop , cheap to build and of low quality).

This verdict is a MASSIVE win for innovation, it will force companies to do R&D, to develop new ideas, to try something new and to refine it into a product. This way we will have new ideas and new products broadening the base from which the future can be built.

5 enzos { 08.26.12 at 5:29 pm }

> Balance reporting invents controversy <

It's a technique that was used by Big Tobacco for decades. Claiming equivalence of evidence (in law) when there was none (in fact).

Sellers of pernicious products are an easy target but you really should avoid mention of The H___st or risk scoring an own goal under Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies.

6 airmanchairman { 08.26.12 at 5:35 pm }

That 138-page point-by-point enumeration of Apple design chops and side-by-side comparison with Samsung’s offerings was more than a smoking gun; it was a glass table with their fingerprints smeared all over, beside a handwritten note in Samsung-freehand that read “John Appleseed must die”.

All the RATIONAL supporters of Android and Samsung could be heard catching their collective breath world-wide, muttering “my, my!” under it, and falling silent… as they contemplated the full extent of Apple’s accomplishment and attention to utilitarian detail as evidenced by the analysis of one of their highest-ranking stalwarts of manufacturing and invention, now exposed by the very act as mere plagiarists and photocopiers.

Game over… Continue? (Y/N):

7 jmfree { 08.26.12 at 8:20 pm }

Let’s get with the times — the vast majority of what passes today for newspaper content is cooked up by underpaid twenty-something staffers whose only job is to create click-throughs.

Since the predominant sentiment in our increasingly cloying youth culture is self-righteous outrage, it is little wonder that the closet amateurs of our press reflect this with adolescent posturing that has all the depth of the average teen text message: “OMG! Did you hear what she said about Shannon????”

When it comes to personal technology, I think the author of the blog / Twitter feed / TV show “Shit My Dad Says” documented the best observation: “Son, no one gives a shit about all the things your cell phone does. You didn’t invent it, you just bought it. Anybody can do that.”

Try telling that to the world full of commentards who are outraged — OUTRAGED — to find out that Apple has had the audacity to… to… patent THEIR PHONES.

But, given the way most of them express themselves, you get the impression that these are phones their parents bought for them. No matter. They are OUTRAGED. In fact, it’s probably THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT.

All an amateur twenty-something “content” hack needs to do is note the thousands, and thousands, and thousands of comments along these lines about this case to know that there’s click-throughs in them thar hills.

Now that a just verdict has been issued, the screeching does not abate. Why should it? Everyone is having such a good time feeling RIGHT and RIGHTEOUSLY OUTRAGED at this affront to their right to… something or other… and that other thing too, we forget what it’s called… but anyway we know it’s bad and may Steve Jobs rot in hell for destroying America.

When I see this mob mentality, it makes me glad to live in a time when there are functioning courts of law, imperfect as they may be. They, and yes even our existing patent laws, are far preferable to the ignorant hysteria of the gimme gimme gimme culture of instant gratification and always something for nothing. Gimme gimme gimme, until there’s nothing left.

Thanks again, DED.

8 Damfino { 08.26.12 at 9:13 pm }

I normally don’t read worthless “fair and balanced” journalism but I first became aware of this trend when I read Marco’s post about a bizarre column of this class by Andy Ihnatko, of all people. Marco is at http://www.marco.org/2012/08/25/pass-the-costs-along. I know Andy’s better than this so I wondered what the hell the motivation for this rash of BS journalism was.

I guessed that the Sun-Times must be scared that any “opinion” columns might actually cost more of the few paying customers that they still have. In this assignment, Andy is writing for a print newspaper! This must be like working for a slide-rule company. Its gotta be day-to-day and perhaps the Sun-Times has retreated into the “fair and balanced” formula by thinking that it won’t cost them any more print subscribers. Perhaps the print customers they still have are elderly and very conservative. Samsung smartphones are a popular brand and they can’t risk offending any of them. That would be a tough spot for Andy to be in.

That’s my guess. Anyway, I wrote up a post on my blog at http://www.secondcellar.com/node/13. I argue that Andy’s long history as an excellent journalist should be taken into account and be given a suspended sentence. Perhaps he can avoid getting a Booby Prize from you or Claim Chowder from Gruber. I think you used to call them “Zunes” but no one remembers that name anymore.

I wonder how much crap like this is written for print publications. They gotta be feeling the heat.

9 berada { 08.27.12 at 3:41 am }

It would be “mother of all lodes” as in “mother lode”, unless it was an innuendo … ;)

10 kerryb { 08.27.12 at 5:52 am }

Maybe Apple did Samsung a favor in the long run, I’m sure they will design software and hardware that is even better than anything Apple could produce after all Korea like all Asia counties are a hot bed of creativity and individuality.

11 dsect { 08.27.12 at 7:46 am }

@kerryb: Good one! I love sarcasm.
@DED: Working for over 30 years as a software developer whose corporate overlords own everything I’ve written and therefore thinking “open source” is a terrible idea in a world with a capitalist economy, I applaud loudly your appropriation of the repubs’ “socialist” meme to describe it.

12 itotah { 08.27.12 at 12:41 pm }

Daniel,

Reading the blogs and newspapers can drive a person mad. The only explanation is these people have bought Samsung products and are complicit in the crime of IP theft just as a person would be having bought a DVD from under the coat of a shady street vendor. Having committed the crime, they have to justify it so they can sleep better. Thus attack Apple and make ridiculous arguments intended to reduce Apple’s position. Fortunately, the unethical have lost in court. Innovation and truth trumps lies and theft. Your articles are an island of sanity. I wish you’d write more often.

13 Thunderdome { 08.27.12 at 1:25 pm }

Thot this post at Marco summed it up very, very nicely:

Apple’s claims from this case aren’t very far-reaching. What they won, effectively, is a weapon to use against anyone who copies a narrow set of behaviors, appearances, and packaging designs.

If Samsung wasn’t so blatantly idiotic about copying so much from the iPhone, Apple wouldn’t have won so many of their claims. In fact, Apple lost most of their more generic, less-blatantly-copied iPad claims.

Google has already sidestepped most of Apple’s interface-behavior patents with the newest versions of Android, which might eventually be used by more than a handful of customers. And Android is much more of an iPhone-ripoff “iOS-inspired platform” than Windows 8, which has avoided almost all relevant Apple patents.

What’s really going to disrupt the iPhone is going to be something completely different, not something that tries so hard to clone the iPhone that it hits Apple’s patents.

Unoriginal manufacturers will need to pay for their unoriginality. The most reasonable course of action, therefore, is to truly innovate and design products that aren’t such close copies.

I fail to see how consumers lose.

14 spuy767 { 08.27.12 at 7:29 pm }

I really love your articles Daniel, just don’t try so hard to force the political analogies.

15 Dmitri { 08.27.12 at 8:50 pm }

“Being Daniel Eran Dilger, I would now like to bring up the 1980s.” Thanks Daniel, that gave a good laugh to this long time reader.

16 Del Miller { 08.28.12 at 12:47 am }

Daniel, I’ve been waiting for you to comment on the trial. You did not disappoint. Great job.

And then you made a statement that really should be carved on a rock somewhere and made into a shrine:

“The fact that nutjobs with zero credibility can raise stupid issues does not mean the nation must take them seriously. Everything isn’t a controversy just because known liars step forward to argue points clearly rooted in their own financial interests. ”

Yep.

17 The Mad Hatter { 08.31.12 at 9:11 am }

Daniel,

I own an iPhone 3GS, an original generation iPad, and a year old 13″ MacBook Pro (I’m leaving out the antique Power PC equipment). So I’m not a Samsung fanboy, though I’ll admit the company used to make great Forklifts and Construction equipment (those divisions were sold off to Clark and Volvo about ten years ago).

I’m also a patent expert, at least in certain areas.

Have you actually read the Apple patents in question? I have, and they are total garbage.

Have you actually read the Samsung patents in question? I have, and they too are total garbage.

The entire United States Patent system is nearing collapse. Cases like this are a symptom of the rot. Even Patent maximalists like my sparring partner Gene Quinn admit that the system has massive problems.

Where we differ is on how to fix it. Gene thinks it should be adjusted. I think that the entire system needs to be torn done, and replaced with something new, and different.

As to this case, that the jury took only three days means that they didn’t read the judges instructions. This was a complex case, and there is no way that they could have done an in-depth evaluation of all the evidence in that time. It is possible that the judge may decide to toss the verdict, as statements by the jury foreman indicate he misunderstood the concept of “Prior Art”

Wayne

[I've read a lot of patents and find it about as opaque as any other highly specialized legal document, whether a lease agreement, a medical directive, a municipal law (although building codes seemed fairly understandable) or whatever. That's why we have lawyers and a legal system, to work all this out. If patent issues were settled by web commenters asserting expertise in a given area, we'd have endless political debates rather than settlements and damage awards.

The utility patents in this AvS case were pretty clear and understandable, but nearly irrelvant in terms of damages compared to the design patents (due to the profit-penalty allowed). If Apple were suing everything over these design patents, it would be slightly different than going after its primary supplier (the tech world's two largest clients of each other!) after a very specific and overt case of dicking Apple over.

Now, if Apple stomped HTC and Amazon and HP out of business with its patent stuff, then I could see people coming unglued about it. But this case is a pretty clear cut example of Samsung cheating not just Apple, but also everyone else in the industry aware of Apple's patents, success and trade dress and avoiding overt infringement with at least a modicum of originality.

If we agree that patents need to be "fixed," lets continue to evolve the system. But as it is, the pundits that are gnashing their teeth about this are the same people who were smacking their lips every time a troll sued Apple over something absurd in West Texas. Dan]

18 The Mad Hatter { 09.06.12 at 10:10 am }

Sorry Daniel.

I’m not an “internet commentator”, I’m the guy who was responsible for evaluating new technologies for a major catalytic converter manufacturer. Reading patents was a large part of my job PROFESSIONALLY. Unlike you, I know what I’m doing.

My statements about the lack of quality of Apple’s and Samsung’s patents are my professional evaluation, as are my statements about the incompetence at the USPTO.

Take Apple’s moronic design patent for a rectangular device with rounded corners. Knight Ridder came up with the SAME design for their tablet back in 1994. A phone is just an undersized tablet.

If you want something closer in size to a phone, Motorola built a PDA with rounded corners about ten years ago. Since all Apple did was copy Palm’s Pilot device (which was a copy of the Newton, which was a copy of a Sumerian stone tablet), and add phone circuitry (gee, isn’t that what Palm did with their Treo, add phone circuitry to a PDA?)

Apple store their packaging design too. Go into any decent jewelry store, and you’ll see cardboard presentation boxes which look remarkably like the cardboard boxes my iPhone and iPad came in. Maybe Apple should sue the jewelry business for having had the idea first!

And maybe you should listen to the professionals, like myself. Yes, Apple makes some damned good products. Apple makes some damned stupid decisions too. This verdict will be overturned on appeal. It is against current precedent (sorry, one of my other jobs was bossing around corporate lawyers).

The net result is that Apple is going to be out of pocket significant costs over it, including probably the costs for Samsung’s attorneys, never mind the amount of time wted by Apple staff producing discovery, getting ready for depositions, etc., time that Apple could have used elsewhere more profitably.

Wayne

19 kovacm { 09.07.12 at 4:47 am }

@ Wayne

but how would you propose to Apple to defend itself from copycats? (or they should not defend at all??)

Apple submit as much patents as they could, and when somebody obviously copy them, they pull out few patents that have best chance to win suit (yes, there are silly patents but they WORK!). I do not see how otherwise Apple could defend against copycats… (still, main question is: should Apple defend at all.)

20 The Mad Hatter { 09.07.12 at 4:34 pm }

@kovacm,

Define “copycats” and we can have a conversation. I can’t think of any technology that has been in the iPhones/iPods/iPads that didn’t appear in somewhere else’s kit first. I also can’t think of any design elements that didn’t appear on some other device first. Apple’s the pot calling the kettle black…

What Apple has been superb at, is taking an existing technology, improving it, and making it easier to use. The iPhone wasn’t a technological tour de force, but it was the best damned phone on the market.

Apple understands consumers, and what they want. Compare this to Microsoft, who thinks that their customers aren’t consumers. Microsoft has spent years working to make the OEMs happy, and has been loosing market share because they aren’t providing consumers what they need.

Looking at the laptop/notebook market in Canada, it appears based on my own observations that Apple laptops make up about 25% of the in-use machines. Seriously. You go places, and about 1 in 4 laptops that you’ll see in use is a Mac. Sales numbers aren’t as high of course, since Mac’s don’t die after one year of use.

At that point you have to ask if Apple really does need protection.

You also have to consider whether protection is a good thing. Microsoft had protection through long term contracts. Beacause of this innovation in Windows practically ceased, and in web browsers it did cease until FireFox, Opera, and Safari became so much better that Microsoft had no choice but restart IE development. Windows 7 was an attempt to catch up with BSD/Linux based operating systems, and it was actually a decent try, being the first Microsoft OS that ran faster than it’s predecessor on the same hardware. Note that I said a decent attempt. It wasn’t as good as OS X or Debian, Microsoft is falling further and further behind. Or consider Microsoft Office – the only feature that the current version has which beats LibreOffice is the grammar checker according to people I know who use both (last version of Office that I used was 2003, I haven’t seen the new version. And there is no damned way I’m going to install it on my MacBook, I love Pages.)

Do we want Apple to get big, fat, and happy like Microsoft? Personally I’d rather have Apple be lean, mean, and aggressive as hell. We’ll get better products that way.

Wayne

21 berult { 09.08.12 at 7:05 am }

Wayne of ‘The Mad Hatter’,
Apple is essentially demonstrating through the Justice systems the utter preciosity for humankind of homo sapiens sapiens’ genius in making an end product so much more than the sum of its parts.

Google, Samsung and all, with just about the same parts, assemble objects, metaphysical or physical, that are but a summation of what keeps homo sapiens and homo sapiens sapiens apart. They ought to be singled out in the open for this breach of evolutionary ethics.

It’s not for money or glory. It’s for our species to ‘patently’ march forward…!

22 The Mad Hatter { 09.08.12 at 5:34 pm }

Like “The Mona Lisa” is more than the sum of its parts you mean? I presume you know that there are a couple of copies of the painting in existence. Each one is slightly different. One was Leonardo’s, the others were painted by his students, and now of course we have people using PhotoShop or The Gimp to give the lady entirely new outlooks, some of which are moronic (a beard), and some of which are absolutely wonderful.

Leonardo might not have approved any more than Apple does…

Wayne

23 berult { 09.08.12 at 7:20 pm }

Wayne,

Apple’s ultimate aim is to lure Samsung, Google and their likes into dueling with them on pure creativity. Apple’s mindset and culture will…in the end…win the day, as long as their down-to-earth artistry survives quick commoditization by an unimaginative race to the bottom.

Mozart wouldn’t have created masterpieces, had he not had at his disposal the time frame for his music to be heard, listened to, and assimilated into the cultural fabric of his contemporaries. He had to feel…deeply but unassumingly…that his music, through passion and trust in his own musical sensitivity, could change in due time the course of civilization’s History.

Apple’s competitors pounce not so much on their innovative spirit, but more on the optimal time frame for creators to hop on an unencumbered template of creativity…and deliver. One must never underestimate time as a crucial factor in go-to-market innovation. Apple calls on the court of law, and by extension on the court of public opinion, to grant their genius and geniality the time slot naturally alloted to Game changers, History makers, and authentic Story tellers.

Samsung, Google and others are spoilers of sort. They break civilization’s momentum to accommodate their greedy destinies.

24 The Mad Hatter { 09.10.12 at 7:53 am }

Apple’s competitors pounce not so much on their innovative spirit, but more on the optimal time frame for creators to hop on an unencumbered template of creativity…and deliver. One must never underestimate time as a crucial factor in go-to-market innovation. Apple calls on the court of law, and by extension on the court of public opinion, to grant their genius and geniality the time slot naturally alloted to Game changers, History makers, and authentic Story tellers.

Really? In that case why is my outdated iPhone 3GS far better than any Android phone that I’ve seen?

There are people who like Android, and want Android, but the phones just aren’t competitive except on price.

Wayne

25 berult { 09.10.12 at 1:21 pm }

Wayne,

Time is of the essence.

With enough breathing space to design and develop the iPhone as a ring-tone marvel…worthy of retention, Apple morphed your 3GS from ‘phone-du-jour’ to a perceivably timeless object of communication. And so they did with my first generation iPad.

I don’t mind Android, as long as Innovation cruises three or four cycles ahead of the pack. And there indeed lies the rationale behind doing formal justice to a rather modest, yet all so life-enhancing, proprietary gap.
berult

ps: in my previous comment, “Apple’s competitors pounce not so much on their innovative spirit,” should read “…on its innovative spirit,”

26 The Mad Hatter { 09.13.12 at 8:52 am }

@berult,

Love my first gen iPad. My laptop rarely leaves the house now. Fantastic little contraption.

Now if I could only find a decent Bluetooth keyboard/folding cover. The one I have has chiclet style keys, which makes typing a nightmare while I’m travelling.

Ignore the Android boys, and concentrate on building the best stuff possible is what I’d tell Apple to do. Being the aggressor in court has a negative PR impact. Outbuilding the competition has a positive PR impact. Which would you prefer?

Wayne

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