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Samsung Sues Aussie Patent Office In Apple Suit, Apple Sues Back

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the court-room-blitz dept.

Australia 160

schliz writes "Samsung has sued the Australian patent commissioner — and by extension the Australian Government — in an attempt to force a review of patents key to its global battle with smartphone rival Apple. The Korean manufacturer claims that the commissioner should not have been able to grant four patents used by Apple in its case against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1. The Government solicitor will face Samsung in court on June 25." Not to be outdone, niftydude points out that Apple has filed a motion in a California court to prevent Samsung selling its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S III in the US.

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In other news (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254497)

Apple called Samsung a doodoo head and is currently grounded.
 

MAD (4, Insightful)

sensationull (889870) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254509)

Mutually Assured Destruction:

This is like the nuclear deterant, but without the massive death toll to keep it at bay.

They should all sue each other out of the market and let companies who are not such tools have a shot at the market.

Re:MAD (3, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254595)

This more like those cartoons where one character keeps finding obstacles to place in their opponent's path. It slows both of them down and eventually gets repetitive, predictable and boring.

Re:MAD (4, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254651)

Apple is the aggressor here. They started the war, they are the ones trying to get Samsung products banned from sale. Samsung mostly tries to defend itself by getting patents invalidated, with occasional and IMHO misguided attempts at having Apple products banned in retaliation.

There need to be severe consequences for failed patent litigation.

Re:MAD (-1, Flamebait)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254815)

Oh give over. Samsung are the ones who decided to copy Apple's products.

Re:MAD (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254883)

Yes, because we didn't have rectangular stuff with round corners before Apple. But talking about copying stuff, when did iOS get notification bar? Or multitask? Dictating and voice commands? Shall I continue on? Get over it, Apple copies as much as the next. The question is what is and it's not patentable (and I won't even go to the argument if Apple has the right to announce existing tech as new tech when launching "new" stuff or not).

Re:MAD (0, Troll)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254985)

Yay for over simplifications to make your argument!

Re:MAD (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254971)

Anyone who confuses an SGS2 or SGS3 with an iphone is an idiot, so no, samsung did not "copy" the iphone. They did copy elements of it, but then everybody does that, so now we're in a discussion about degrees of similarity and what is acceptable (very vague).

The irony is that where I think samsung went too far isn't what they got into trouble for. I think the copying of the icons went too far. I think they could have made a nicer icon set that didn't look so much like the iphone's. But since they weren't identical apple couldn't sue over those (they tried, but it didn't go anywhere). However, the momentum-scrolling behavior, which really is about usability more than about design, is something they won a battle on. So now my SGS2 has worse scrolling because apple has a patent on good scrolling. Ofcourse, the real problem are software patents, which have no business existing at all (they're bad for the industry and bad for innovation).

Re:MAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255041)

Amazing. These pictures would tend to tell a different story...

http://www.tuaw.com/2011/09/28/no-comment-proof-that-samsung-shamelessly-copies-apple/ [tuaw.com]

so no, samsung did not "copy" the iphone

Re:MAD (4, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255129)

Satire... I have a Galaxy Ace, and have no trouble telling it from my boss's iPhone. There are some cursory similarities, but the reality is that there's really only so many ways that a large-screen small handheld device can be put together and still have something that's functional. The only truly functional alternatives while keeping the same basic use are a clamshell and a slider, and both make for a heavier and larger device. In this day and age, people seem to want smaller, thinner, lighter devices, and so the bar is winning out as the most popular design.

Compare how the software actually functions on the devices, and tell me that Samsung copied the iPhone. While doing so, please ignore that the software actually comes from Google, and that Android was actually in development since 2003 (and that Google acquired them in 2005), while iOS was first announced in 2007. You'll have more credibility if we just sweep that little tidbit under the rug.

Re:MAD (1, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255289)

Compare how the software actually functions on the devices, and tell me that Samsung copied the iPhone.

The functionality software is Android, which is a Google product. For sure they copied Apple too, but lets not confuse who copied what.

And yes, as far as "how the software actually functions on the devices", much was copied from the iPhone. e.g. inertial scrolling with elasticity.

Re:MAD (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255315)

Let us also sweep under the rug the fact that android in June of 2007 was vastly different from what it was after iPhone was released and google had their "oh, shit" moment...

Re:MAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255253)

I have (or rather, had. Not sure if it's still around) a 6-year old Blackberry with a voide app that looks just like that. Similarly, it would appear as though Apple is now stealing HTC's power adapter design.

Re:MAD (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255071)

It doesn't matter how many of these patent disputes come up, but I can't help but wonder which kind of moron grants these patents

2006330724 - Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image (Granted April 1, 2010)
2007283771 - Portable electronic device for photo management (Granted May 20, 2010)
2008201540 - List scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display (Granted February 11, 2010)
2009200366 - List scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch screen display (Granted July 23, 2009)

Ok, I haven't read through the details of the patents themselves... but seriously! Unlocking a device, portable photo management. Way to go with the innovation stakes that will revolutionize the world and solve world hunger.

As much as I hate these companies for bringing these lawsuits, problem is it is business and they are seeking every competitive edge they can get... the root cause of the problem needs to be tackled and the patent system overhauled completely WORLDWIDE.

Re:MAD (5, Informative)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254987)

Compare the iPhone 1.0 to the LG Prada phone. Apple was not the first capacitive touch phone. It came up with a similar design to the LG Prada. It's convergent evolution - once they realized that capacitive screens are better (because no-one wants to mess around with a stylus) then a few common solutions (big screen, no buttons, big icons, smooth dragging) cropped up. Apple just did it a bit better.

Re:MAD (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255111)

Compare the iPhone 1.0 to the LG Prada phone.

You really think these phones look alike [gstatic.com] , while these don't [gstatic.com] ? And the Prada doesn't even have the slider keyboard out.

Re:MAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255223)

Way to show two completely different screens on the phone rather than their home screens.

Re:MAD (-1, Troll)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255241)

It's convergent evolution - once they realized that capacitive screens are better (because no-one wants to mess around with a stylus) then a few common solutions (big screen, no buttons, big icons, smooth dragging) cropped up.

Huh? Big screen, no buttons, and smooth dragging do not follow from capacitative (vs resistive) screens.

Nor are these the defining characteristics of the iPhone anyway. Inertial scrolling with elasticity is more so. But even there, it was invented for the iPod, which had a wheel rather than a touch screen.

Sure Apple did it better. But they also did some of it first. And it's those and the general design that Samsung and others have shamelessly copied. They didn't emerge simultaneously.

Re:MAD (3, Insightful)

yacc143 (975862) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254999)

Copy? Android is being developed since 2003, the T-Mobile G1 was released 2008 only a couple of months after the iPhone 3G (which was the first "smartphone" iPhone, the iPhone of 2007 not offering apps), so I guess Android was really quick at copying the stuff, you know, Google engineers had lined up at the Apple stores to get an iPhone 3G, and to save time, because the HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1 was in preproduction already, patched the copied features into the firmware by editing binary files directly, ...

If you want to claim copying, then I guess Apple as a company with a tradition of polishing things that they ripped off (you know, Apple did not invent the GUI, they ripped it off from Xerox) can also be accused of copying, I mean, other companies had mobiles with web browsers (Nokia, Win Mobile phones, Sidekicks, ...), apps (about the same set), touchscreens (Winmobiles) and so on. Furthermore most if not all companies sued by Apple are old hands in the mobile business, meaning that they together more or less developed the underlying standards (GSM, UMTS), investing in basic research and development, while Apple simply is a freeloader builting on it. Which leaves the FRAND patents as a problem => how can Apple get the same deal as most other companies. I mean they basically have no critical patents to cross license, ...

Re:MAD (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255125)

Troll harder. Apple licensed the GUI from Xerox. Android looked nothing like iOS until iOS came about, but Google & Schmidt had inside knowledge of what Apple was doing at that point. It wasn't until the G1 was announced that the relationship fell apart.

It's like you fan boys and corporate cheerleaders don't even try any more.

-- a happy Nokia owner who could really care less about these lawsuits!

Re:MAD (1, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255171)

Apple licensed the GUI from Xerox.

Apple and Microsoft were both invited to copy the GUI.

Android looked nothing like iOS until iOS came about

Nothing? Disingenuous.

a happy Nokia owner who could really care less about these lawsuits!

If that were true, and you weren't an anonymous, cowardly liar, you probably would not be reading this story at all.

Re:MAD (1, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255265)

Apple and Microsoft were both invited to copy the GUI.

And Samsung were not. See there's not actually a problem with copying when you have permission.

Nothing? Disingenuous.

He's right. Android didn't look anything like iOS until after the launch of the iPhone. Back in those days, Android was copying from Blackberry.

Re:MAD (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255309)

there's not actually a problem with copying when you have permission.

So are you going to actually argue that every GUI that isn't MacOS or Windows is "a problem"?

Android didn't look anything like iOS until after the launch of the iPhone

You and he are both on the same crack. both had all the same major UI components. Shit at the top, shit at the bottom, grid of icons in the middle. Minor differences in behavior don't equate to being "totally different".

Re:MAD (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255507)

So are you going to actually argue that every GUI that isn't MacOS or Windows is "a problem"?

Huh? Why don't you stick with what I do argue.

Shit at the top, shit at the bottom, grid of icons in the middle. Minor differences in behavior don't equate to being "totally different".

You obviously haven't looked at the original blackberry-copy Android UI. It wasn't even touch based, it was keyboard controlled.

Re:MAD (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255137)

Copy? Android is being developed since 2003, the T-Mobile G1 was released 2008 only a couple of months after the iPhone 3G (which was the first "smartphone" iPhone, the iPhone of 2007 not offering apps), so I guess Android was really quick at copying the stuff,

Nobody claimed that Android copied the iPhone from the start - first they copied Blackberry (notice the keyboard on that G1 - knew you could). Only after the iPhone was presented did Android suddenly have touch in mind from the start.

Re:MAD (2, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255165)

Copy? Android is being developed since 2003

And prior to the launch of the iPhone, it resembled the Blackberry UI. Plagiarists are fickle.

the T-Mobile G1 was released 2008 only a couple of months after the iPhone 3G (which was the first "smartphone" iPhone, the iPhone of 2007 not offering apps)

The industrial hardware design, and the UI design don't rely on the supporting of apps. They were both there in the original iPhone. The phone you mention was launched 1 year and 9 months after Steve Jobs publicly demonstrated the iPhone.

Though why you chose a HTC phone when the topic is Samsung's plagiarism isn't clear.

And then, the Xerox meme? Really? Are you that stupid? If you don't know by now that Apple paid for the Xerox stuff with Apple stock, after 30 years of being told, you must be trolling.

Re:MAD (4, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255467)

Yeah, because there is an infinite number of ways one could design a device that has exactly the same function, being used by people with about the same sized appendages in the same sorts of ways.

Head on down to your local hardware store, and look at the hand tools, and think about why every hammer looks pretty much the same, every screwdriver looks pretty much the same, every wrench looks pretty much the same...and now imagine how fucking retarded they would have to be designed if a single manufacturer owned such a broad and over-reaching patent. Imagine how many would sell if they had to be deliberately designed to be less effective just to get around a ridiculously generic design patent.

If the only way a competitor is supposed to get around Apple's stupid bullshit patents is to cram unnecessary hardware buttons onto their device, or make it work less efficiently, then there's a problem with the patent, and it likely never should have been granted in the first place.

Re:MAD (1, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255575)

Yeah, because there is an infinite number of ways one could design a device that has exactly the same function, being used by people with about the same sized appendages in the same sorts of ways.

That you haven't the imagination to think of a different way of doing things isn't an excuse for copying. Strangely, before the iPhone came along, phone manufactures managed to come up with many very different designs. Now most copy the iPhone to a greater or lesser extent.

Head on down to your local hardware store, and look at the hand tools, and think about why every hammer looks pretty much the same, every screwdriver looks pretty much the same, every wrench looks pretty much the same

I'll tell you why they are allowed to be. Because the ideas are old enough not to be patented or design patented.

Re:MAD (4, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255721)

No, I can think of a lot of different ways to design a phone, the problem is, Apple's design patents are so generic that the only way to avoid them is to design a less efficient product. If they own a "minimal design", then every manufacturer out there has to cram buttons on the front of their device? Come on, that's just stupid.

I could design a spherical cell phone, and nobody would buy it. Why? Because the most efficient shape for a communication device is a rectangle about 4-6 inches across. Look at every damned television remote, holy crap, all basically the same design. Why? Because they all have the same function, and they're all being used by hands about the same size.

Imagine if someone owned the concept of a rectangular remote control with buttons on the front, and now imagine how fucking retarded every competitor's remote would have to be to avoid that generic patent. How healthy could a market be with those limitations?

Re:MAD (0)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255407)

To be fair to Apple, Samsung called a lot of this shit onto itself by so blatantly lifting design elements from the iPad. Other tablet manufacturers sensibly avoided giving Apple the ammunition to shoot them with by making their devices distinct.

Re:MAD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255457)

Oh.

My.

Gawd.

I know I'm an Apple fanboy and all but are you JOKING?? Do you seriously believe what you're saying??

Yeah, poor, poor Samsung wielding FRAND patents in an entirely NON-FRAND manner that is tantamount to antitrust abuse. Poor Samsung.

Good gawd, you don't have to love Apple. You don't even have to like them. At the very least, however, could you take your blinders off and actually analyze a situation honestly?

Re:MAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254729)

Apparently it is not much of a deterrent. They are suing each other left and right.
Personally I hope they get so much injunctions against each others products that no one will be able to buy a smartphone at all anymore.
Maybe then we will see some much needed patent reform.

Re:MAD (3, Insightful)

hlavac (914630) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254739)

Unfortunately the radioactive fallout is still there, as anyone who enters the market will be immediately sued to death too.

Re:MAD (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254827)

They should all sue each other out of the market and let companies who are not such tools have a shot at the market.

Corporations never die and patents do not simply walk into mor— er, they do not vanish. And when corporations die their patents often end up owned by trolls. You do NOT want this to end in fire.

Re:MAD (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254965)

Mutually Assured Destruction:

This is like the nuclear deterant, but without the massive death toll to keep it at bay.

They should all sue each other out of the market and let companies who are not such tools have a shot at the market.

You really think that's how MAD works? In this situation the only ones that can *survive* are the established players with lots of patents. A new player has nothing to defend itself with and would immediately be sued into oblivion by one of the companies with patents.

What a strange outfit to sue someone (5, Funny)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254515)

Re:What a strange outfit to sue someone (1)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254525)

...or is the entire Aussie Patent Office staff dressed like that ?

Re:What a strange outfit to sue someone (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254715)

...or is the entire Aussie Patent Office staff dressed like that ?

Only on casual Fridays.

supprised it took so long (1)

RandomAdam (1837998) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254523)

I was wondering how long this kind of thing would take. companies suing the patent authorities for granting f-ing stupid patents that are so broad that they cover anything.

Sigh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254535)

Im starting to really hate all this sue shit... its fucking retarded... pantents are outdated and the rules for getting a patent are retarded. How can you get a patent for the move of swipeing a screen to a particular way for example.

Remake of the whole system is needed. (and less stupid companies)

Whatever happened to.... (4, Insightful)

lechiffre5555 (1939278) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254547)

letting the consumer/market decide? Isn't this what capitalism is about, the consumers choose based on price, quality, features etc..... We seem to be in some sort of meta capitalist market now where the courts decide who can buy what. "All working as intended" ?

Re:Whatever happened to.... (3, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254593)

It makes more sense if you consider that the "free market" that big businesses have been all about is really just code for allowing them to abuse consumers and employees. Then this kind of systemic abuse actually makes sense as just one more step in the pattern.

Re:Whatever happened to.... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254605)

No, capitalism is leveraging your capital to increase it, the principle method is assumed to be a mixed or free market, but everything that increases capital is fair game.

Re:Whatever happened to.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254625)

But Capitalism isn't about to enable companies to copy each other to death. If everyone would do the same as everyone else there would be no choice, no competition. Patents are not the problem, not even broad patents. It's the abuse of a) FRAND patents, b) patent trolling (companies without products (-> that's not Apple!). Another problem is the misunderstanding and mix up of the public of patents and trade dresses.

Just because one company has a compelling minimal design and is successful doesn't mean that everyone is entitled to copy them and get away with it.
The consumer can then decide between company A with the minimal design or company S with a different design. But having design A with a product of S isn't the consumers choice.

Re:Whatever happened to.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254671)

Yes, just look at all the non-competition in generic goods! You can hardly afford paper these days, it's all the same! On a more down to earth note (unlike your biased shit!), trade dress should be reserved for distinct designs, not for generic ones, if company A doesn't like to look like everyone else's soap bar they are free to add some distinguishing elements. Furthermore, the Galaxy S3 looks nothing like the iPhone 4s (which does however look like a bloated LG Prada) which brings us back to using patents to stifle innovation.

Re:Whatever happened to.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254995)

>biased shit!

Ah thanks for that. Obviously, you are not biased against Apple. No way. Lol.

> trade dress should be reserved for distinct designs, not for generic ones,

Apple's design IS distinct. It's minimal design is exactly that : distinct. Design is not always about adding something (curves, notches, chrome, whatever) but also about the elimination of things.

> to add some distinguishing elements

Wrong. That's what hater bois like you don't get. Design is not only about adding things.

> Furthermore, the Galaxy S3 looks nothing like the iPhone 4s

Yes. That's true. But not the point.

> bloated LG Prada

Contrary to popular misbelieve, the Prada was announced AFTER the iphone. The common pic (Prada vs iPhone) that is send around in forums got the dates wrong and has been debunked multiple times. It's a non argument and will let you look just silly.

Re:Whatever happened to.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255149)

Again, trade dress shouldn't be about preventing other companies from cutting simplifying their designs. Simple is not itself distinctive. That's what fanboys who see the world as being against them don't get, distinctive design requires you to add things, denying others the right to remove things to monopolize simplicity (a great design feature) is the problem. The world does not revolve around Apple, nor does it revolve around you, no matter how much you'd like to be an Oppressed Minority. In short, simplicity is only distinctive if underhanded assholes try to preserve it for themselves.

Yes, it looking different is very much the point as you are carefully skirting around the issue that Apple is leveraging it's patent portfolio to try to keep Samsung out of the market even when they go out of their way to not create simple designs. Photo switching patents don't fit the definition of trolling, true, but fuck everything about patents being handed out like candy anyway.

If it's been "debunked" so many times than why the hell didn't you hook us up with a credible source? That aside, I'm not out to prove that Apple copied the original iPhone from LG. On that front the Prada and Nokia N-900 merely show that, even if the argument about letting simplicity be monopolized somehow holds, Apple would be monopolizing a design trend of the time. Unless you are going to claim that both LG and Nokia ripped Apple off via industrial espionage or somesuch and Apple didn't do anything despite their later attacks on Samsung, the iPhone design was as much a product of its time (three quite similar designs at the same time!) as anything else.

Of course that wasn't the argument I was making either. Did you really fail to read anything beyond the carefully trimmed out of context quote? It's specifically the iPhone 4(s) that looks like a bloated Prada, the original was very similar, the 4 is something else entirely. The corners are somewhat rounder, there's fewer buttons and the proportions are a bit off, but they are as similar as the Galaxies, that Apple and their fans were so upset about, were to the iPhone.

Re:Whatever happened to.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255383)

> Simple is not itself distinctive.

Of course it is. Minimalistic design is different from let's say Biedermayer or Rokkoko. Or whatever.
It's a design language. Can Apple forbid to implement minimal design by other companies? No. BUT, yes they can prevent others from implementing this specific implementation of a specific and distinguished design. You don't have to copy Apple to implement minimalistic design.

>distinctive design requires you to add things,

No it doesn't. That's only (ONLY!) said by people without any understanding of design and it's principles.

Apple's design follows the Bauhaus design language and the rules set out by Dieter Rams. But that is not the only design language possible. And Rams is not even the only possible implemenation of Bauhaus.
That everyone (except Sony) wants to copy Apple just shows the beauty of the design.

>If it's been "debunked" so many times than why the hell didn't you hook us up with a credible source?

Good enough?
http://www.slashgear.com/iphone-samsung-f700-prada-phone-rumors-debunked-20147320/

>the iPhone design was as much a product of its tim

Wrong.
http://appadvice.com/appnn/2012/02/clever-image-highlights-mobile-hardware-before-after-iphone

Re:Whatever happened to.... (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255385)

Apple's design IS distinct. It's minimal design is exactly that : distinct.

The design itself is a natural evolution of the device as a whole, not Apple's particular spin on it. Allowing Apple to patent a rectangle with rounded corners is like allowing Craftsmen to patent a hammer with a handle and a claw. Now nobody else in the world can sell a hammer without radically changing the design and making it less efficient? Come on.

If the only way a competitor can avoid litigation for their patent is to actually make their own competing product harder to use, then that's a sign that the original patent should never been granted in the first place. Do people honestly expect Samsung to cram a bunch of hardware buttons on the front of their devices just because Apple removed them and now "owns" a minimal look? That's going to degrade their product's functionality, just the same as having to design a hammer with the claw coming out of the top of the head, or the handle coming out of the top with the intention of swinging it underhanded. Nobody would buy that piece of shit hammer, obviously.

Since most human beings are using these devices with the same appendages (their hands), the device is going to be roughly the same shape, and since most people's hands are about the same size, there's not going to be much variation on size before usefulness is impacted. They're all phones, and function dictates form. Imagine if Ford was able to patent such generic design concepts? How many cars would there be on the market if no one else was able to produce one with 4 wheels and doors on the sides? How stupid would every competitor's car be if they actually had to design around such a ridiculously broad and over-reaching patent? Who would drive the fucking things?

Now, I'm sure Apple would be happier than a pig in shit if their patents were upheld and they got to basically own the concept of a smartphone in totality, but that is totally against the spirit of patent law in the first place, and everyone knows it. The only people defending this nonsense are Team Apple cheerleaders, not because it's actually right or makes any sense, but because it's their team.

Re:Whatever happened to.... (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254925)

Isn't this what capitalism is about, the consumers choose based on price, quality, features etc...

In a perfect world...in the real world, people buy stuff because they watched an awesome advertisement, or got it stuffed down their throats, or because it is so shiny.

Re:Whatever happened to.... (0)

MrMickS (568778) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255007)

There has to be some benefit to R&D or people won't do it. If you invent a new dohickey get it to market but someone else with deep pockets then copies it, under-cuts you, and stops you reaping the benefits, potentially putting you out of business are you just going to shrug your shoulders and say "it's just capitalism in action."?

Some of the patents are too broad, some of the things Apple is using are ridiculous, however there is no doubt that Samsung has copied Apple's products as near as it can in order to leech off Apple's R&D. Samsung could have put more differentiation in their interface, as other manufacturers have done, but they didn't. They've chosen to copy and deal with the ongoing fallout in the courts.

If Apple loses these cases, and Samsung is free to copy, how long before others do the same? Its a shame that the majority of visitors here are still using GoogleVision (tm) and can't see the wood for the trees.

Re:Whatever happened to.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255187)

Apple vision is so much better. Vis poor Apple being beaten to the market by someone with deep pockets. Poor garage company, they just don't have the scale to compete in the marketplace, their precious innovations need to be protected! Otherwise we'd have a healthier more competitive market.

Re:Whatever happened to.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255613)

If you invent something and patent it, and start selling it for $5 the second someone else comes along and copies it and sells it for $3, you would be upset too. Doesn't matter if you are a large or small business, you will do what you can to protect your business. Apple is no different. They started this whole new smart phone look and feel and want others to not copy their designs. They want everyone else to be original, not copycats. They haven't gone after MS and their phone because its completely different looking and Apple is ok with that. But the Android phones have tried to mimic the iPhone from day one and Apple doesn't want to be marginalized like that. So they are suing to stop Android makers from using their designs of look and feel. Thats why they haven't licensed their patents to the Android makers, they want to not be copied.

Lawyers are overhead costs (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254565)

Ultimately, lawyers and courts (when used for stuff like this) are overhead costs that are to be minimized. Don't get me wrong: the individual companies can come out better, but the customer always loses. All those lawyers are paid by the customers.

And I think we'd be better off without them.

Re:Lawyers are overhead costs (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254869)

I agree. The cost/benefit of the patent system is our of whack. Without saying it has no benefits, in the software arena the costs it is burdening companies, and hence consumers, with are much greater than the benefits. Does anybody think Apple would /not/ have implemented swipe to unlock because their competitors would copy it? How many research man hours went into this startling invention?

Re:Lawyers are overhead costs (1)

taustad (122826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255143)

Does anybody think Apple would /not/ have implemented swipe to unlock because their competitors would copy it? How many research man hours went into this startling invention?

Apparently Apple was not first with swipe to unlock anyway:
http://www.androidcentral.com/apple-granted-patent-slide-unlock-even-though-it-existed-2-years-they-invented-it

Telling! (1, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254573)

I've never seen two children running so fast as when they both want to be first to the teacher to tell on the other. God I hope these corporations don't grow up, or we'll have a scene from Deus Ex. I'm call it now. One of these corps will order a hit on the HQ or R&D site and that'll be the end of this.

Re:Telling! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254909)

You mean something like the US corporation did to the Iraq corporation?

Excuse me to be ignorant but (0)

lord_rob the only on (859100) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254577)

Isn't Apple that all the time sues Samsung or, (... put another Android phone maker here).
Would it mean that Apple is losing more and more ground compared to Android ? Patent justice is the last method when you have no more alternative to compete.
RIP Steve Jobs

Re:Excuse me to be ignorant but (4, Informative)

ballpoint (192660) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254679)

I've been a pragmatically happy iPod owner, but one of the reasons I bought an Android phone was Apples behavior wrt patent lawsuits. If they want to continue to shoot their own foot, so be it.

Re:Excuse me to be ignorant but (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254691)

Isn't Apple that all the time sues Samsung or, (... put another Android phone maker here).

When it comes to tablets, I think Apple is the lead horse regarding lawsuits, but the entire technology industry uses the courts as a 'business partner'. Just look at all the patents that are bought and sold when troubled or failing companies need to raise money, or when large companies want to strengthen their positions against their competitors.

Would it mean that Apple is losing more and more ground compared to Android ? Patent justice is the last method when you have no more alternative to compete.

Apple has no other option but to lose ground to competitors. They were the first largely successful tablet on the market and grabbed a huge percentage of sales. As competition comes along Apple can't realistically hold onto its entire marketshare. That doesn't mean that they are failing or being driven out of the market, it's just the reality of the numbers.

Don't think that Apple can't compete just because they're spending as much time on legal maneuvers as they do on R&D. They're still the market leader in tablets, they're near the top in smart phones, and they're only going to branch out further into the new areas of consumer electronics. They may act like dicks a lot of the time but that doesn't mean being a dick and being competitive are mutually exclusive.

Re:Excuse me to be ignorant but (1)

yacc143 (975862) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255051)

Apple has no other option but to lose ground to competitors. They were the first largely successful tablet on the market and grabbed a huge percentage of sales. As competition comes along Apple can't realistically hold onto its entire marketshare. That doesn't mean that they are failing or being driven out of the market, it's just the reality of the numbers.

Don't think that Apple can't compete just because they're spending as much time on legal maneuvers as they do on R&D. They're still the market leader in tablets, they're near the top in smart phones, and they're only going to branch out further into the new areas of consumer electronics. They may act like dicks a lot of the time but that doesn't mean being a dick and being competitive are mutually exclusive.

Well, they are quite a bit away from Android in smart phones, market share wise they are neader to Windows Phone than to Android, tablet-wise the same will basically happen, it will just take some time => it's basically Apple against all other manufacturers, again, offering not one model, that by religious decree has to fit everyone, Android tablets offer all kinds of form factors. From cheap to expensive, from small (= oversized phones) to huge (>10"), different types of display technology (no pun intended, there are people that are partial to certain solutions), and so on. How Apple is meant to compete here, while their biggest part supplier is also their main competitor?

Re:Excuse me to be ignorant but (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255251)

Don't think that Apple can't compete just because they're spending as much time on legal maneuvers as they do on R&D. They're still the market leader in tablets, they're near the top in smart phones, and they're only going to branch out further into the new areas of consumer electronics. They may act like dicks a lot of the time but that doesn't mean being a dick and being competitive are mutually exclusive.

The last innovation they made in phones was the iPhone 3G. the 3GS, the 4, and the 4S have all been progressive updates of their existing invention, and as technology advances we're getting closer and closer to the point where the last generation is "good enough" and people stop upgrading. And I'd be reluctant to say that the 3G was actually innovative, since the appstore (which showed up with the 3G, and is the only real addition over the original iPhone) is something that had been done already in WinMo and Palm devices years earlier. There's a similar situation with tablets... they haven't actually brought anything new to the table since the iPad itself, and even that was simply copying/updating ideas that have been shown in media and other devices. In some ways, the iPad 3 is actually a downgrade over the iPad 2, because the battery doesn't last as long, and long battery life is the main selling feature of these devices.

Apple, as a company, hasn't actually come up with anything new in years, and the only thing on the horizon is a tremendously bad idea (integrating an Apple TV into an actual TV is *bad* because of the purchase cycle on TV's... it'll tank once the initial adoption phase is over, because people won't feel like replacing their TV a year later when the "updated version" hits the shelves). At least Samsung, LG, and Motorola are trying to innovate with their products... Samsung with devices like the Galaxy Note, LG with the developments they've been making in LCD and OLED technology, and Motorola with devices like the Atrix. Whether they'll ultimately succeed in the market is another question, but all 3 companies have brought new ideas to the table much more recently than Apple.

Whatever they're spending on R&D, it clearly isn't enough, because they're being out-innovated by a wide margin. When you can't innovate, legislate, I guess.

Competition == Irreparable Harm (5, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254579)

FTFA:

Apple claimed that the new phone, which is yet to go on sale in the US but went on sale in Australia last week, could cause it "irreparable harm," citing press reports that mobile companies had already sold more than nine million units in pre-orders.

Hardly surprising that Apple is worried, according to the Telegraph the Samsung Galaxy S3 has now overtaken the iPhone 4S as the UK's most popular phone. [telegraph.co.uk]

Re:Competition == Irreparable Harm (3, Insightful)

zblack_eagle (971870) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254675)

From your link:

Samsung’s new Galaxy S3 now ranks as the UK’s most popular handset based on live searches and sales, according to the uSwitch.com Mobile Tracker.

Assuming the accuracy of these statements, the current rate of sales of the Galaxy SIII is exceeding that of the iPhone 4S. I think it's more surprising that the iPhone 4S is selling so well several months after it was released than a top-end brand new phone selling better than it. Only time will tell whether the SIII ends up being truly more popular than the 4S.

Re:Competition == Irreparable Harm (5, Informative)

pointybits (818856) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254877)

On the same chart (uswitch.com mobile tracker) the Galaxy S2 has outsold the iPhone 4S every month except April 2012, which was the only month that the 4S ever hit #1. So really the S3 is just taking the place of the S2.

Re:Competition == Irreparable Harm (1)

yacc143 (975862) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255073)

Probably, the S2 managed this feat already for a good number of markets.

Another interesting tidbit, from a local network operator is that the S3 is the first phone beside Apple products, where they had preorders before the specs were released.

Re:Competition == Irreparable Harm (1)

DMorritt (923396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255113)

They only have a handful of phones, if you want Apple, what other choices do you have? Android is a big market, I don't want a Samsung phone, I'm happy with my Galaxy Tab, but I prefer HTC phones (well, did till the S3 came out!). Happily I can play stuff on my tablet and phone at the same time, despite being made by two different manufacturers.

Re:Competition == Irreparable Harm (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255021)

The Samsung S3 handset is popular based on "live searches and sales" from the article you submitted. I'd rather just go off actual sales if Samsung actually released any.

Re:Competition == Irreparable Harm (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255627)

I'd rather just go off actual sales if Samsung actually released any.

It's not just Samsung - Apple also does not release its monthly sales figures for the UK and other regions. That's why all of the media cited figures are just estimates; the uSwitch mobile tracker [uswitch.com] is based on actual sales from one of the most popular price comparison sites in the UK, so perhaps it has more validity than quoting some random analyst company.

Patent Stupidity (2)

llewellyng (527795) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254591)

This technology IP "war" is ridiculous. If motor manufacturers had the same intent there would only ever be one model with an IP registered "internal combustion engine" No other such engine would pass these idiotic patent laws. This is the greatest limitation to the development of new technology solutions. It is a fact that all new developments are built on previous knowledge. If this continues all development will stall, we might as well go back to the stone age.

Re:Patent Stupidity (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254841)

This technology IP "war" is ridiculous. If motor manufacturers had the same intent there would only ever be one model with an IP registered "internal combustion engine"

Read it and weep.

[...]Ford independently developed its own hybrid system at the same time Toyota was doing its own. The basic architecture of both systems is the same and both are based on the concepts developed and patented by TRW engineers in the late 1960s. When Ford introduced the Escape Hybrid, Toyota went after the Blue Oval for infringing on its patents. Ford had patents of its own on the technology that Toyota was using. Eventually, the two companies reached a cross-licensing agreement that gives both companies the right to build their own systems. Such cross-licensing agreements are common in these kinds of cases [autoblog.com] [...]

Re:Patent Stupidity (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255287)

RIM was in a similar situation, with two companies, one of them RIM, trying to do the same thing, and both getting patents in the area. The problem for RIM was that they beat their competitor in the market, so the competitor didn't need RIM's patents (because they failed to sell things), while RIM needed the competitor's patents and had to pay hundreds of millions.

Thanks for the heads up, Apple (4, Interesting)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254649)

I was wondering how you thought your upcoming iPhone5 stacked up against the S3. It's too close to launch to change it now, so these desperate acts speak volumes.

Re:Thanks for the heads up, Apple (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254711)

I was wondering how you thought your upcoming iPhone5 stacked up against the S3. It's too close to launch to change it now, so these desperate acts speak volumes.

I'm not sure that the two are directly related. Apple has been using Samsung as a patent punching bag for the last few years. I can't foresee a day in this decade when Apple isn't trying to sue Samsung for something. Just wait until Samsung has a manufacturing issue with some of Apple's components and Apple sues Samsung for sabotaging their parts supply. Grab a comfy chair, a barrel of popcorn and a good book 'cuz this is going to get boring.

Re:Thanks for the heads up, Apple (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254907)

If I were in charge of Samsung, I'd have had "supply difficulties" long ago, around about the time of each new lawsuit. It would be hard to prove a deliberate malicious reduction in supply, and furthermore, hard to say if that's in fact, illegal. Nobody is forcing Apple to use parts made by their primary competitor.

Re:Thanks for the heads up, Apple (3)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255057)

If I were in charge of Samsung, I'd have had "supply difficulties" long ago, around about the time of each new lawsuit. It would be hard to prove a deliberate malicious reduction in supply, and furthermore, hard to say if that's in fact, illegal. Nobody is forcing Apple to use parts made by their primary competitor.

That would only result in Apple going elsewhere, and Samsung losing a lot of money and then suing Apple for being anti-competitive.

Re:Thanks for the heads up, Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255239)

The problem is that they cannot go elsewhere without the quality of their product suffering immensely.

Re:Thanks for the heads up, Apple (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255345)

(Score:-1)

Why do you even bother?

No one wants you here.

Re:Thanks for the heads up, Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255561)

hur dur, me fanboy, me not like same company as you, me insult company me dont like. herpa derp!

but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254743)

Isn't the iphone 90% or so made by samsung?

Didn't samsung open a new texas factory just for chips and stuff used in iphones?

I really don't understand why they should battle each other when they are dependandt on each other...

Re:but... (2)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254885)

Samsung is only dependent on iPhone as long as iPhone is a major player. If the Samsung phones take top spot, and Samsung have enough power to no longer need to make components for Apple, then guess who's screwed? What does bewilder me is that yes, Samsung has a contract to manufacture the components now, but how long does that contract last for? What happens when it's time to renew?

I work in Pharma, and our production site was bought by another company some time ago. We agreed to continue to manufacture the old company's products until they could transfer manufacture of them to other sites. It is looking like that transfer might take longer than initially agreed. But, due to the nature of our business, the Irish Medical Board might insist that we continue to manufacture the product for the old company beyond the contractually agreed time, because we can't have a stock-out of the product.

Somehow, I don't think there's a similar enforcement for the iPhone. If Samsung no longer needs/wants to supply Apple when their contract is up, I don't see there being anyone who can force them to continue. iPhone enters a time of shortage, Samsung S3 is out there on the shelves. What happens next would be quite interesting.

Re:but... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255193)

What does bewilder me is that yes, Samsung has a contract to manufacture the components now, but how long does that contract last for? What happens when it's time to renew?

The question becomes whether Apple can find someone else who will give them a better deal. It is safe to assume that Samsung would sell the same parts cheaper to someone other than Apple, who is a direct competitor. Can Apple even find someone who is not a direct competitor from whom they can purchase parts?

Re:but... (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254927)

I really don't understand why they should battle each other when they are dependandt on each other...

Apple is far more dependant on Samsung than vice versa.

Re:but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255273)

Wrong. Samsung makes more money by delivering parts to Apple than by it's own handset group.
A cool 6 Billion by Apple.

No serious business would turn that down. Well except that internet trolls, forum knowitalls and mummys-basement-arm-chair CEOs are so much smarter.

Re:but... (1)

yacc143 (975862) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255107)

Well, the issue here is that Samsung learnt from Sony's downfall (which included beside other issues the interference between business units e.g. DRM crippled entertainment devices because Sony is also in music/movie business), and so Samsung business units basically run independently, so the screen producing division happily sells to Apple, while the mobile/tablet unit is battling Apple in court around the globe.

(Basically it's "if we are not hard on ourselves, the competition will be, and that will be even more painful")

Fruit of the Loom (4, Funny)

asylumx (881307) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254763)

Am I the only one whose mind went straight to the fruit of the loom guy dressed as an apple when reading the headline "samsung sues aussie patent office in apple suit?"

handheld devices (-1)

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About Goddamn time (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254911)

The USPTO in particular should be drowning in a sea of lawsuits by now. They'll only change their grant-by-default policy when rubberstamping idiotic obvious non-inventions costs them more than it earns them.

Samsung and Apple are at it again? (3, Funny)

Epell (1866960) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254919)

Those two should just screw and get it over with.

Here's my fantasy (4, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254935)

The courts get fed up and ban every single mobile company on the planet from selling phones for a year. Then they can come back in to apologize for their shit and maybe they'll be allowed to play again.

Your business is making and selling phones, not preventing other people from making and selling phones. I'm no longer buying any electronics product of any company who is plaintiff in a patent infringement case.

Re: Samsung Sues Aussie Patent Office (1)

Tim99 (984437) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254945)

I'm sure that will go well for them. It is always a good idea to bring litigation against an arm of a sovereign governmen - Particularly when the Government Solicitor is representing the other party...

Re: Samsung Sues Aussie Patent Office (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255275)

Not sure whether this is a stroke of genius or insanity on the part of Samsung's legal team, as it does create some potential conflict of interest issues for the other party, but as you say - "let's take the government to court" seldom ends well. It's also going to be interesting from the practical point of view; a lawyer is supposedly an impartial representative of their client, and it's kind of hard to be impartial when you arethe client. This is why you will quite often see law firms and members of the legal profession appoint an outside council to represent themselves when they are being taken to court themselves; the additional perspectives of an unbiased and unblinkered view can be worth paying for.

It's certainly a novel strategy though; has anyone actually sued a patent office in this way, and essentially accusing them of incompentence in the process, before? If it works here, it might be an interesting tactic to try in the other havens of patent insanity like the Eastern District of Texas...

Re: Samsung Sues Aussie Patent Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255305)

Sorry, the Examiner bears the full brunt, and including 'in the field' prior art like arguments. Unlike the US, the drug LIPITOR also had a loss on selective claims. What you choose to withhold (apple) could loose this case, but win others. The prior art of LG , although reasonable, may not get a look in.

I'm so glad i Live in Africa (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40254975)

...where governments do not interfere in things like this, and the big cellphone companies generally do not consider it worth it to litigate on points like this (even in the more progressive African countries that have stable judicial systems).

This means that cellphones are forced to compete on the basis of some of the most unheard of things, y'know, things line "price" and "features".

Ridiculous (1)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 2 years ago | (#40254993)

This is getting ridiculous. I know the lawyers are having fun and getting rich, but there's no way this system of intellectual property will hold for much longer.

Acronym (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40255375)

While just sitting around the other day thinking about the current state of affairs in the world of technology, I thought of a new acronym.

Paper
Agreements
That
Encumber
New
Technology

Every time I read news like this, it just pops out in my head.

What acronyms have you come up with?

I'm glad Apple is not in the car business (3, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255431)

They would have patented the use of four wheels.

The point is that in other industries, we do not see the petty suits over similarities. Perhaps we don't see them because we aren't looking. But the only issue I recall even remotely similar to this in terms of pettiness is the patent on "rotating table inside of microwave oven." For the longest time, people had to buy little devices or turn their food by hand because the ones with rotating tables inside were too expensive and the patent holder's license was too high.

I suppose we are seeing SOME patent issues in cars now that I think about it. Toyota holds patents related to the Prius pretty close and it's literally keeping hybrids from being developed. Yes, there are other hybrids out there. Just not many and not as successful. It's not that people don't want them, it's that they don't all want the same frikken car!

Lawyers don't want this to end. The judges aren't tired of this either... perhaps some are, but certainly not the ones in East Texas. The other parts of government are too busy collecting contributions and donations, walking through revolving doors and anything except "bribery" to even consider reform or intervention.

We'll just have to be content watching goliaths tear each other apart and all that.

HOW (1)

Captain.Abrecan (1926372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40255581)

How is there no public outrage over apple doing this?
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