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Android Patents Technology

Galaxy Nexus Designed To Avoid Infringing Apple Patents 226

An anonymous reader writes with an except from an article on Geek.com about the Galaxy Nexus: "Samsung has been on the receiving end of many an Apple lawsuit in recent months, and in some cases a ban on selling its products. The Galaxy Nexus smartphone, which was unveiled last night, could also come under close scrutiny in the courts once Apple takes a look at it. But unlike previous Samsung Android devices, the chances of that happening are apparently going to be diminished or even non-existent. Shin Jong-kyun, the president of Samsung's mobile division, admitted yesterday that the Galaxy Nexus has been developed taking into account Apple's patents."
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Galaxy Nexus Designed To Avoid Infringing Apple Patents

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  • I like it (Score:5, Funny)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @12:24PM (#37763602)

    They released a picture [imageshack.us] of it. Looks pretty sweet.

    But it may still infringe on Apple's "Physical object with an ability to dial a number" patent.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      That single color scheme thing might get them too.

      • But at least there are no buttons! Apple will be soooo jealous!

        • by PPH ( 736903 )
          I don't know. That dial looks an awful lot like an iPod control wheel. AT&T better prepare for the inevitable lawsuit for blatantly copying Apple's design.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @12:31PM (#37763712)

      It has rounded corners -> fail.

    • by Jeng ( 926980 )

      I believe AT&T may have some grounds for a suit considering that is a blatant rip-off of their design.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ShakaUVM ( 157947 )

      Heh, Apple would probably photoshop a rotary phone to look like an iPhone...

      http://www.dailytech.com/Apple+Caught+Using+Photoshop+to+Fake+More+Pics+in+Lawsuits/article22500.htm [dailytech.com]

    • by ackthpt ( 218170 )

      They released a picture [imageshack.us] of it. Looks pretty sweet.

      But it may still infringe on Apple's "Physical object with an ability to dial a number" patent.

      IANAL, but I think trying to avoid a legal battle with Apple, also violates one of their patents.

      And making fun of Apple is also a violation of some patent...

    • Apple soon will patent the "device to enable communication between two (or more) people" itself =)
  • Proof positive (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sez Zero ( 586611 )
    Yay! Proof positive that patents encourage innovation.
    • Re:Proof positive (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dyinobal ( 1427207 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @12:31PM (#37763704)
      Not innovation, just needless small alterations to an over all design.
      • Not innovation, just needless small alterations to an over all design.

        Exactly. I hope it works out for Samsung, but I think it's unfortunate they had to resort to this at all.

      • by ackthpt ( 218170 )

        Not innovation, just needless small alterations to an over all design.

        Ah, but there's been great legal innovations as a result - behold The iSuit!

        Samsung is ramping up their hires of lawyers .. Honestly, this is the sort of junk between companies which killed Ashton Tate and dBase

    • Re:Proof positive (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bhagwad ( 1426855 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @12:41PM (#37763820) Homepage
      It's important to remember that it still might infringe on some Apple patent or the other. It's a sad sign of how broken the system is when you try and design a product to specifically avoid all patents but still can't be sure that it succeeds. If Samsung/Google with all their resources can't be sure that it avoids hundreds of thousands of "patents," how is a smaller company without all the resources supposed to do the same?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        That is not a sign of the system being broken, that is just a sign of you not understanding its purpose. The system is working exactly as these big companies want it too. They can live through suing each other and are more than willing to deal with it if it keeps out any new competitors.

        • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

          That's why we have to fight back. Someone needs to file "Method of filing a patent" and then sue everyone into oblivion.

      • It is going to infringe on patents no matter what you will do.

        I think Samsung is trying to avoid the strongest patents that Apple has in its arsenal. Most patent claims can easily be defended in court if you have the resources to hire the right attorneys. Apple has a few killer patents that it is trying to attack Samsung for, so it will be best strategy is to find a way to work around them.

      • We need to simply ignore this obvious "patents", and shoot the lawyers with a shotgun at pointblank (just in case). Is the only way to stop this madness.
    • Re:Proof positive (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hijacked Public ( 999535 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @12:56PM (#37763976)
      Or, if you are an Apple IP attorney, proof positive that the other models were not designed to avoid infringing Apple's patents.
    • Yay! Proof positive that patents encourage innovation.

      And THAT, SIR, is the undisputed hallmark of excellent design.

      Do NOT tread lightly to avoid stepping on the toes of others! Design yourself some new feet that fit between their toes instead!

    • Shin said that the past six months of lawsuits in which Samsung and Apple have filed numerous suits and countersuits was "just the start" of a long patent war, from which he sees no end in sight. ... Samsung added personnel to its legal team to ramp up the battle against Apple and plans to hire more lawyers, according to Shin. "(I realized that) having technological power and being business savvy aren't enough," he said.

      How is this innovation? The patent system is encouraging companies to spend money on lawyers and lawsuits instead of engineers and technology. Instead of doing proper development, engineers have to waste their time making minor visual changes to a product line in the vague hope that someday a judge will find that these changes are significant enough to make a product "not infringing" of some random patent.

      Using a global patent war to get a competitor's products banned outright is certainly an innovation i

  • And who knows, while Samsung work to avoid IP pitfalls they may have (and likely have done) developed their own technology and patents which could trip up Apple in the long run.

    • I'm hoping Samsung patents the bejeesus out of every tiny design element they make from now on, and it bites Apple in the ass down the road.

      What goes around comes around.

  • Galaxy SII (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @12:34PM (#37763744)
    TFA says "dubbed by media as Google and Samsung's answer to the iPhone 4S". Not particularly accurate. From a tech point of view, the Galaxy SII was the answer to the 4S, and was released ahead of it. This is the next step.
    • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @12:35PM (#37763768)
      You dont understand. Anything released by any company in any field is an "answer to the iPhone xx" where xx is the model of the last iPhone released. Black and Deckers new toaster oven? Their answer to the iPhone 4s. The new Toyota Prius? Their answer to the iPhone 4s. And so on.
    • However, from a 'we are trying to convince people to buy this instead of ____' point of view it is completely accurate.

    • The Galaxy SII was announced in February and released in May. If anything it was their answer to the iPhone 4, not the 4S. More likely it was their answer to the HTC Desire HD.
    • From what I've read, the galaxy s II is actually a step above the new nexus prime. Based on the soc they used and the graphics process in that soc vs the galaxy s II

  • From what I understand about how easily patents on extremely general ideas on technology, how can anyone know what design is going to infringe on a patent? I don't see how anyone can write a design specification with one of the ground rules being to not infringe on a specific company's patent.

    How can you know how a given patent will be interpreted by a court?

    • From what I understand about how easily patents on extremely general ideas on technology, how can anyone know what design is going to infringe on a patent? I don't see how anyone can write a design specification with one of the ground rules being to not infringe on a specific company's patent.

      Which is generally the point every anti patent proliferation supporter has been arguing.

      How can you know how a given patent will be interpreted by a court?

      Take it to court.

    • by mmcuh ( 1088773 )

      How can you know how a given patent will be interpreted by a court?

      You don't. You hire very expensive lawyers and ask them. They don't know either, but when someone sues you even though your lawyers said they wouldn't, you can fire the lawyers.

  • by jamrock ( 863246 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @12:35PM (#37763762)
    Are they in effect admitting that their previous Android phones were ignoring Apple's patents? Samsung has not been doing themselves any favors recently, what with the "app wall" in their store display in Rome featuring icons from iOS, and the webpage for the Galaxy Player 50 (since removed) that showed a 2008 screenshot of the iPhone's Maps app.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's not how English works. "We did X" does not imply "We used to do the opposite of X".

      • That's not how English works.

        Since we're talking about Samsung, wouldn't "how Korean works" be more relevant?

        • While this is a good point, I'd say English would be the language of interest since AFAIK the country that banned the Galaxy Tab is Australia, and they mostly speak English there (again, AFAIK, never actually be there myself).
      • by dzfoo ( 772245 )

        Actually, with a comment like,

        Now we will avoid everything we can and take patents very seriously

        the adverb "now" implies that it was not so in the past.


      • by guruevi ( 827432 )

        But what does it mean in court. Lawyers seem to have a whole different interpretation of both law and English.

    • The patents they're accused of violating are ridiculous, it's not a case of ignoring them, it's a case of not realizing the patent office is stupid enough to give a patent for a "rectangular device with a minimal number of physical buttons" or "A photo viewing app that switches between photos by swiping".

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by brainzach ( 2032950 )

        To be fair, Samsung's designs more blatantly copy off of Apple than any other Android manufacturer. They set themselves up to be attacked.

        • by yog ( 19073 ) *

          How so?

          A couple of their models have some cosmetic similarity to the iPhone, and the way they arrange the app icons in the All Apps screen looks kind of like on an iPhone, but it's really just superficial. Did Apple really patent having one physical button below the display?

          It's an entirely different operating system as anyone familiar with both devices would instantly notice.

          Ultimately, Apple's aggressive pursuit of these kinds of similarities will find themselves on the receiving end of similar lawsuits.

          • Having a one button below the display is fine by itself, but copying the colors, shape and icons in the process makes it a blatant copy. Other Android phones have 4 buttons on the bottom because it is what the OS requires. Samsung decided to put one button because it is what the iPhone has.

            Anyone who is familiar with the devices can tell the difference, but the casual consumer can get confused and buy the Samsung thinking it is the same as an iPhone.

            This is more of a trademark issue, but it looks like Appl

            • by mldi ( 1598123 )
              Samsung was just using their same old design they've been using even in their dumb phones. Go ahead, take a look... a button at the bottom center for the "main" function. It's not novel, and just because two people came up with similar ideas doesn't mean one copied another. Hell, when the device is on it's plainly obvious there's additional buttons, albeit "soft" buttons, but they're still buttons.

              As a side note: nobody's going to get confused and accidentally buy a Samsung device when they meant to buy
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

            And they come in white boxes with the exact same shade of gray lettering Apple uses, with a picture of the device taking up most of the front of the box. Inside the box is a white cardboard insert holding the device.

            Oopsie. And it doesn't matter what "anyone familiar with both devices would instantly notice," trade redress suits are about complaints that a product is designed so that someone NOT familiar with the product might confuse them.

            The only thing Samsung did that's different than a cheap knockoff

    • by GodInHell ( 258915 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @12:54PM (#37763948) Homepage
      You could read his statement that way, or, you could read it as an admission that they simply developed technology without reference to Apple's patents and were surprised to find out these obvious technologies and algorithms were patented.

      Incidentally, all of the items you list -- those aren't patent violations, at best they're trademark issues.

      • by jamrock ( 863246 )

        Incidentally, all of the items you list -- those aren't patent violations, at best they're trademark issues.

        Agreed. Those are trademark, not patent issues, but the core of Apple's complaint against Samsung cites the latter's "slavish copying" of Apple's designs, and those two examples do nothing to deflect the criticism. It may have been nothing more than oversights by the graphics department, but Apple's counsels could argue that they demonstrate a pattern on Samsung's part. The stakes for Samsung are extremely high, and one would have thought they would have been much more circumspect. They appear to be doing t

      • Not functional patents. The basic issue is Samsung's blatant copying of Apple, and in doing so Samsung tripped over some of Apple's design patents.

        Look at this image [tipb.com] to get a good idea of the extent that Samsung has been riding Apple's coattails where the iPad is concerned. It paints a larger picture of willful copying that Apple can use to bolster the court case over the design patents.

      • Apple has a design patent [wikipedia.org] on the shape of the iPad. Read the article I linked. This is not a trademark issue, it is a patent issue.

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        That's why Apple's not suing them for patent infringement. Well, okay, they are, but that's over a whole other set of complaints.

    • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
      I think you're entirely wrong. I also think it's possible a lawyer may try to make that argument and it's remotely possible that a court may accept it.

      After all the courts have apparently accepted it as relevant that one or more people at Google went through the thought process "We could use Java for this. But if we do that then we'd owe Oracle lots of money. Therefore perhaps we should use something else instead." and is allowing Oracle to use that as an argument that Google is infringing on their patent
  • I wonder how much the bad PR accumulated from stupid patents hurts companies like Apple- or if it even feels any affect,

    Don't say any public exposure is good exposure. Toyota found out that that was not the case when their cars decided they didn't want to stop.

    When it comes time that I decide to buy a smart phone [as if I will ever have that much money :( ] I will weigh the pros and cons of each option; however, I won't deny- I have a bad taste in my mouth about apple so I may be less inclined to buy their

  • Blue phone icon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Adrian Lopez ( 2615 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @12:59PM (#37764002) Homepage

    The first thing I notice is they've changed the phone icon from green to blue, which I'm sure is an attempt to avoid Apple's claims of trademark infringement [copymarkblog.com]. The color green has long been used to indicate placing a call, which is why Samsung changing the color from green to blue is such a good example of IP law being so stifling that companies have to intentionally avoid making anything remotely similar to another company's products. The problem is there's only so often you can do this before you run out of things to avoid.

    Aside from the green phone icon, another example is Apple's claim that Samsung's yellow notepad icon infringes on its own yellow notepad icon. Yellow notepads are fairly common, yet for some strange reason it is wrong for Samsung to use the color yellow for its notepad icon. If all other companies acted the same, imagine the many different colors each company would have to avoid, like mines in a minefield.

    • I wonder if the company that first made yellow notepads is looking at these suits and thinking "Damn! Why didn't we think of patenting that?" It's just so surreal to me that any number of companies can make yellow notepads, but make a digital version and you're knee deep in a web of patents.
  • Apple patented the idea of designing a device that does not infringe their patents.
  • Going to sell all the current Ones for $99.00 to dump all the ones already built? I'll take a couple!

  • In a circular box?

  • by ZenDragon ( 1205104 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @01:24PM (#37764298)
    Anybody actually know what are the patents that Samsung is supposedly infringing on?
  • by phonewebcam ( 446772 ) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @01:29PM (#37764360) Homepage

    They need to get all its features ready for the 2013 model iPhone so they can claim them as own their invention, the same way the half assed iPhone update from 2 weeks back magically got the widgets and notifications Android has had from the start.

  • Did they make it round with square corners?

Money can't buy love, but it improves your bargaining position. -- Christopher Marlowe