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Samsung Infringed On Apple Patents, Says ITC 274

Posted by timothy
from the will-you-blame-this-on-the-free-market? dept.
The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that certain models of Samsung phone violate Apple patents, and are likely to be blocked from import to the U.S. From the article: "The patents in question are U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949, which relates to a touch screen and user interface and U.S. Patent No. 7,912,501 which deals with detecting when a headset is connected. The ITC said Samsung didn’t infringe on the other two patents. In a statement on the matter, the ITC said the decision is final and the investigation has been closed. ... As was the case with the previous ruling that saw Apple devices banned, the ban on Samsung devices won’t go into effect until 60 days but can be blocked by a favorable ruling following a presidential review. That seems unlikely as such a block has only been issued once since 1987 – last’s week’s ruling in favor of Apple."
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Samsung Infringed On Apple Patents, Says ITC

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  • not again (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @02:28PM (#44531881)
    They both blatantly copied each other constantly, misused patents, misused lawsuits and injunctions, etc. All these individual little patent disputes are really annoying. They should each be barred from suing each other for anything that happened prior to a certain date so we can be done with this. Then, if they want, they can just duke it out in a paintball game or Mario Party 9 or something.
    • Re:not again (Score:5, Insightful)

      by digitallife (805599) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @03:15PM (#44532169)

      They are both just companies doing the same stuff that companies normally do. None of it so far has really affected the consumers much. Neither of them is getting one up on the other either, so in the end they are just wasting their money. If people are unhappy with the way that corps work, we should be rallying to change the laws regulating them rather than wasting our energy debating the relative merits of common place aggressive troll lawsuits.

      Check out the new Slashdot iPad app [apple.com].

    • Re:not again (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mysidia (191772) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @03:47PM (#44532337)

      They both blatantly copied each other constantly, misused patents, misused lawsuits and injunctions, etc. All these individual little patent disputes are really annoying. They should each be barred from suing each other for anything that happened prior to a certain date so we can be done with this. Then, if they want, they can just duke it out in a paintball game or Mario Party 9 or something.

      This is not just about the past. They are both selling phones in the present that each of them claims is infringing on their patents.

      The courts should examine the patent, determine how fundamental it is, assign an economic value to each of the patents as a price per phone sold; and then force the two to allow the other's use of the patent: require them to pay each other a royalty of their sales based on the court's valuation of each of their patents, and prohibit any further litigation between the two based on those patents, so long as they pay as required.

      • by Wild_dog! (98536)

        Sounds too idyllic. It would be nice to silence the lawsuits and countersuits for a while all the same.

    • Re:not again (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Saturday August 10, 2013 @04:34PM (#44532527) Homepage

      They both blatantly copied each other constantly, misused patents, misused lawsuits and injunctions, etc. All these individual little patent disputes are really annoying. They should each be barred from suing each other for anything that happened prior to a certain date so we can be done with this. Then, if they want, they can just duke it out in a paintball game or Mario Party 9 or something.

      And they are together keeping all other competitors out of the race through fear of being sued. They have no reason to stop. Together they are winning.

  • Who cares? Samsung has already won the battle! http://bgr.com/2013/07/26/mobile-phone-market-share-q2-2013/ [bgr.com]
  • ... on foreign companies. I think we'll see more of this in the future, U.S gov getting at the foreign companies. Samsung should just stop supplying U.S companies and see how they start feeling about things. Don't just lie there waiting to get kicked again.

    • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @02:54PM (#44532063)

      Hammer is coming down ... on foreign companies.

      As though Apple were an American company? I've heard they have some sort of design office in California somewhere, but in any meaningful sense they're at least as much of a foreign company as Samsung. At least Samsung has some fabs in Austin and whatnot.

      I'm fine with a little protectionism if it means protecting American operations, but people get very confused about the difference between where a company's headquarters are and where it operates. It's like people who say my Toyota is a foreign car. It's 85% value added in the US - a lot more American than almost any Ford or GM model.

      • by rk (6314)

        Case in point: My Ford Fusion was assembled in Mexico. My Honda Odyssey was assembled in Alabama.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by m00sh (2538182)

        It's like people who say my Toyota is a foreign car. It's 85% value added in the US - a lot more American than almost any Ford or GM model.

        This is the bullshit that foreign car companies came up with after the domestic went full on patriotic heart-tugs to sell cars.

        They are assembled in the US. You can measure value added in any wonky way and come up with 85% value in the US.

        The fact is they are engineered, designed outside the US and the main operations of the company are done outside the US. That is

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Giving local companies preferential treatment isn't a bad thing.

      • by Noughmad (1044096)

        Giving local companies preferential treatment isn't a bad thing.

        Yes, it is. It might not look bad in the short term, but you're both depriving your population of better/cheaper imported goods and removing incentives for innovation in local companies.

      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        Giving local companies preferential treatment isn't a bad thing.

        It isn't bad for the companies getting preferential treatment, but its bad for everyone else (even all the people you wouldn't expect to be effected.)

        Protectionism is, at its core, inefficiency.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      If the prez doesn't let Samsung off the hook as well you can expect the US to be taken to the WTO. One possible remedy would be to ban US exports, or charge US companies hefty fees to import the South Korean technology they rely on.

      Even for the US there are consequences.

      • by manu0601 (2221348)

        If the prez doesn't let Samsung off the hook as well you can expect the US to be taken to the WTO.

        This are patents, which are national laws. However there is a WTO treaty for them; TRIPS [wikipedia.org]. I agree things may turn quite bad at WTO for the US

  • Patents are meaningless and hurt the overall market. There, I said it.
    • Re:Patents (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PPH (736903) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @03:47PM (#44532343)

      But they were given meaning by our beloved economists. In 2008, the definition of GDP was changed to include things like patents and other types of intellectual property. Article here:

      http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21582498-america-has-changed-way-it-measures-gdp-boundary-problems [economist.com]

      So, instead of waiting to see how a corporation (or national economy) actually executes their IP rights and measure the revenue, the GDP calculations attempt to impute a future income stream from them. And then this becomes part of our GDP statistics. IP has become a Potemkin village of value behind which companies (and entire nations) hide the true dire straights of their economy. They are pretty, shiny objects meant to impress investors, who should bee asking whether anyone has the ability to actually produce value with them.

      So we aren't going to see a change in the status of patents any time soon. Because now, the economists have a number (fictional though it may be) that pins an amount of GDP to them. And woe to those who attack that and drive us into another recession.

      • Re:Patents (Score:4, Funny)

        by VortexCortex (1117377) <`VortexCortex' ` ... -retrograde.com'> on Saturday August 10, 2013 @08:06PM (#44533209) Homepage

        IP has become a Pokemon village of value behind which companies (and entire nations) hide the true dire straights of their economy.

        Fixed that for you...

        A wild FRAND appears.

        Apple: Job's Design, I choose you!

        Job's Design used Rounded Rectangle.

        IT’S SUPER EFFECTIVE!

  • by supremebob (574732) <themejunky.geocities@com> on Saturday August 10, 2013 @02:49PM (#44532029) Journal

    OK... I broke with Slashdot tradition and actually read TFA. That said, I STILL cannot figure out exactly which Samsung phones are being specifically banned in this ruling? Is it a top seller like the Galaxy S3 or Note II, or some older phones that only the prepaid carriers offer now?

    Not that it really matters... 60 days is probably enough time to come up with a workaround to get around the infringement.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't know the exact model either but I can remember some news site saying that the impact is expected to be small as it should only affect some 2010 models.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      It's only old ones from a couple of years ago. The danger is that Apple will try to have more models added to the list. Of course Samsung was going to do the same after winning their case against Apple, but then Obama pardoned them.

  • Gee (Score:5, Informative)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @02:57PM (#44532081) Journal

    I assume the ungodly ridiculous amounts of verbiage [uspto.gov] is not to be legally clear, but be legally obfuscating, wearing down patent examiners and causing days of study just to begin to get a handle on what they are claiming.

    The one or two cool little tricks being patented, if any, are deliberately obfuscated.

    Does anybody even know what little bit is supposedly infringed?

    One of the "claims":

    6. The computing device of claim 1, wherein, in one heuristic of the one or more heuristics, a contact comprising a finger swipe gesture that initially moves within a predetermined angle of being perfectly horizontal with respect to the touch screen display corresponds to a one-dimensional horizontal screen scrolling command rather than the two-dimensional screen translation command.

    So if you drag left or right witihin some predefined angle, it shall be considered a horizontal swipe rather than a 2D arbitrary angle swipe. And nobody ever did this before?

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      CAD and DTP packages from the 1980s had a feature like this, but back then you had to use a mouse or a pen... Although there were touch screens about, so maybe you could use a finger too.

      As well as prior art it does seem incredibly obvious. I know someone who recently wrote some code that handles touch gestures and implemented this feature, presumably in violation of the patent. It's just so... well, obvious. If you don't do it your touch input system sucks.

  • Winning (Score:4, Informative)

    by Frankie70 (803801) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @03:11PM (#44532147)

    If you cannot win in the market, the next step is to win using the law - this is business 101 in the USA today.

  • Apple gets the presidential blessing [slashdot.org] for no good reason, how about Samsung?

    Patents in both directions are bullshit anyway.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @03:23PM (#44532207)

    From PJ at Groklaw:

    PJ: It's so obviously protectionism, it's hardly a surprise that it's upset people. Samsung was found by the ITC to have behaved in good faith, but Apple was ruled to have been guilty of "reverse hold up", meaning it didn't present itself as a willing licensee. If *that* isn't enough to justify an injunction, when everyone -- courts and regulators -- say it should be enough, what would be? And the reason given -- that they were worried about FRAND hold up -- is clearly not the real reason, since in this fact pattern, it was actually the opposite. So, it's a black mark on the US in Korea. If courts and regulators play favorites, based on a company's nation of origin, why wouldn't other countries do the same? And if you can't get a fair shake in the US, why would companies located elsewhere ever donate anything to a standard, knowing that they have no way to enforce their rights? Nokia has already said it won't be donating as it has in the past. Telling such companies that they are still free to enforce their rights in court is silly. It costs millions for a patent infringement lawsuit, for starters, while unwilling licensees like Apple free ride, and as we saw in the Apple v. Samsung litigation, fairness isn't at all what a foreign company can expect to receive in US courtrooms either. Apple is the biggest US taxpayer, and it paid off. That's about it. And it smells funny. Yes. I said it. This is about lobbying by Microsoft and Apple, here and in Europe and Australia and wherever they can. It has nothing to do with FRAND holdup. It's not even pretending to be about fairness. It's about money. Apple and Microsoft don't have a lot of FRAND patents. So they want to block competitors in the smartphone market from distribution with regular patents and design patents -- just wait to see what ITC does to Samsung next week, with the excuse that the patents are utility patents, not FRAND -- and then Samsung and others who developed this field are blocked from doing the same. Sound fair to you? I am a US citizen, and I'm ashamed of what has just happened.

    • ...because none of these actors^H^H^H^H^H^Hclowns care about where the factories and the jobs are located. This is about politicians granting favors to extremely rich corporations, who in turn help the politicans pay for their campaigns and give them and their appointees revolving-door jobs.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx . b c.ca> on Saturday August 10, 2013 @03:57PM (#44532373) Journal

    You mean, like a mechanical switch that comes built in to the jack chassis?

    For crying out loud, I built an amplifier in high school in 1980 that could detect when a headset was detected. Making software detect the same thing would amount to merely polling on a physical line the switch is on and converting the voltage on it to a digital signal of true or false.

    • by roguegramma (982660) on Saturday August 10, 2013 @05:03PM (#44532641) Journal
      On one hand, if you read claim 1 (the base claim), Apple actually spent effort on designing their own jack, which apparently has a special connector that creates a second circuit that is used for detection. On the other hand, the technical contribution seems to be a bit on the easy side, considering that the actual detecting circuit in figure 3 shows a circuit that is probably obvious to anyone schooled in designing circuits, though not to me.
      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        I'm sorry but no. This is not even remotely original. Switched sockets detecting the presence of headsets have been a staple accessory to any device which has a headphone socket for MANY years. In fact they were original created for mono cassette recorders so that reporters couldn't drain down their batteries while the microphones weren't plugged in. These switched types have existed for all varieties of 2.5mm, 3.5mm or 1/4" sockets and even power sockets.

        In addition since mobile phones were giant bricks wi

  • A free market. So how did that work again?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 10, 2013 @05:39PM (#44532797)

    Moronic Yanks have given their president absolute power - Obama is a dictator for his period in office like all new presidents now. Free to create any laws he wishes. Free to imprison or release any person he wants without oversight. Free to ignore ANY aspect of the Constitution or Common Law.

    Now King Obama, with a giant Apple cheque in his family bank account (fully legal under the Law that allows all Washington US politicians to engage in insider-trading or to accept bribes from US companies), freed Apple from the consequences of negative ITC rulings (against all principles of International Law). A Law that is selectively applied is no law whatsoever. So, King Obama is choosing to punish Samsung on behalf of his Apple sponsors. The ITC ruling is irrelevant because the US no longer respects the ruling of this body.

    Are you Yanks happy with this situation? Well you were happy when you murdered two million people in Iraq, and destroyed that secular society. You were pleased when Obama the butcher murdered the people protecting their secular regime in Libya. You are happy when Obama the genocidal war criminal sends the greatest terrorist army ever seen in Human history into the secular society of Syria, in order to create an extremist Islamic horror story run by the depraved women-hating, gay-hating beasts that rule in Saudi Arabia.

    Hitler had to pretend to be a nice guy at home, because the German people felt they had very high moral standards. By contrast, Obama simply has to say "let's murder those dirty foreigners" and you Yanks stand up and scream "F**k yeah, America is the best". Where the hell do you think this is going to end up?

    Does Apple really have to cheat, steal and bribe in order to have great success? Obviously not. But, given no reverse pressure from the moral climate in America, Apple simply gives in to temptation, and allows its wealth to achieve whatever it can, without regard to what is right or decent. But how the hell do you think the rest of the world views your despicable companies, and your despicable presidents? The world has always admired the business success of the USA, and the entrepreneurship of the US people. This alone ensured the US a position at the top table. But this repugnant evil that infests the USA today ensures the US has no long term future - you Yanks want another World War, and everything you do is in preparation for this. Why the hell do you idiots think you are growing your military power so obscenely, and engaging in as many murderous wars against defenceless nations as you can arrange?

    These ITC shenanigans are the tiniest symptom of an infinitely greater problem.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18PbwYdjsps [youtube.com]

    I hope Apple and Samsung implode at the same time.
  • Obama got $308,081 from Apple in 2012 [opensecrets.org]
    Obama got $1,000 from Samsung in 2012 (as $250 [opensecrets.org] and $750 [opensecrets.org])

    Even disallowing the home team advantage, I really would be surprised if Obama does Samsung the same favour he extended to Apple last week and overturns this ban.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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