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Apple seeks US ban on eight Samsung smartphones

Apple seeks US ban on eight Samsung smartphones

Tue 28 Aug 2012 7:49am GMT / 3:49am EDT / 12:49am PDT
Hardware

List includes numerous best-selling models from the Galaxy range, though Samsung's latest models are unaffected

Apple has requested that eight Samsung smartphones be banned from sale in the US following its victory in the two companies' long-standing patent dispute yesterday.

The list was submitted to US District Judge Lucy Koh after jurors found that Samsung had infringed six of the seven Apple patents under scrutiny, awarding Apple more than $1 billion.

The list includes several models from Samsung's popular Galaxy range. However, its latest generation of devices will not be affected, significantly reducing any possible impact on sales.

Apple has also requested that a preliminary ban on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 be made permanent, despite the jury finding that the device didn't infringe the patent on which the initial ban was based.

Apple claims that 28 Samsung devices infringe on its patents, but the 8 targeted for a US sales ban are the Galaxy Prevail (its best-selling device in the US between 2010 and 2012, generating $378 million in revenue), the Galaxy S II Epic 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S II T-Mobile, Galaxy S Showcase, S II AT&T, S II Skyrocket, and the Droid Charge.

The list includes four of Samsung's eight best-selling phones from the last two years. Judge Koh has scheduled a hearing to decide the nature of the bans for September 20.

17 Comments

Richard Westmoreland
Game Desginer

138 90 0.7
It's always sad when large companies abuse the patent system like this. If anything this highlights the ridiculousness of design and software patents The only real loser in this fight is the consumer.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,178 967 0.8
Agree with Rich.

Though, I do think good can come out with it too. Companies will be forced to differentiate themselves even more, on-going patent wars surrounding Samsung and Apple also see to be giving more credence to the uniqueness of Windows Phone, which has been immune (thus helping Nokia stocks rise recently).

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Sam Brown
Programmer

235 164 0.7
@Adam: True, companies will have to differentiate themselves more, but in this case that means that all other companies products will be artificially more clunky (no one-swipe gestures), which for most people will remove them from the choice equation and leave them at the mercy of a monopoly.

I believe there is provision that if someone holds a vital patent then they have to license it to others for a reasonable fee (but IANAL) and that's what needs to happen here, not outright bans.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sam Brown on 28th August 2012 11:16am

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Paul Shirley
Programmers

178 150 0.8
@Sam Brown: FRAND (Fair Reasonable and Non Discriminatory) is voluntary, normally only applied to approved standards and even there it's only enforceable on signatories to the standard. You own IP covered by FRAND but didn't sign up - you can do what you like with it. Apple have chosen to withhold all their patents from pretty much everyone, while taking the benefit of other's work covered by FRAND.

In principle a court can force licensing on unwilling IP holders, in practice if that IP is actually unavoidable then it's almost certainly invalid and it's easier to just challenge it. If it is avoidable a court won't force licensing terms, just tell complainers to work round it!

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Paul Shirley
Programmers

178 150 0.8
Apple have a serious problem with the jury decision. The jury was in such a hurry to punish Samsung they don't appear to have considered Apple's design patents seriously. Superficially that's good news for Apple, they didn't invalidate them.

In reality they ruled Samsungs devices didn't infringe. Devices that went out of their way to copy the iPhone/iPad look&feel don't infringe. It's hard to imagine how any device could ever be found to infringe if this sets a precedent. And that means Apple can't go to the ITC or a US court and seek a blanket ban because a jury set such an impossibly high standard for infringement of its design patents.

So they'll be playing 'whack a mole' with ever new variant Samsung spins out, always too late to catch the peak sales window because the fast track to bans is closed to them.

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,178 967 0.8
@Sam

Samsung are my favourite consumer electronics company but to throw in a bit of impartiality, they did purposely model the earlier Galaxy models on the iPhone. Ok, it all seems silly and patent wars are hurting the industry but I do think there is a genuine point here about uniqueness.

Companies products don't have to be clunky or poor because of a feature here or there. Look at Windows Phone, with probably the most unique and innovative interface in mobile OS for years, with the fast, sleek live tiles. Look at the designs of the Galaxy S III and Nokia Lumia. Look at many of the ideas like 'pull down to refresh' in Android devices.

I do think we should try and cut out some of the silly cases and DEFINITELY make a fair process for licensing ideas across the industry, but I do think we need more unique and innovative devices. To be quite frank, there are too many 'rounded rectangles' on the market.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Hugo Dubs
Interactive Designer

163 24 0.1
Look at the new Samsumg store... First, they do exactly what Apple is doing (except that now Samsung has no phone to display inside it), but there is more: The store is looking the exact same as an Apple store (from the furnitures to the sellers' t-shirt...
What a joke. I understand why they loose this trial.

Posted:2 years ago

#7
Popular Comment
If Samsung's appealing, I think they're appeal to a court with more experience of patent disputes, and presumably one that doesn't have a jury? How anyone thinks having a jury decide this case would be a good idea is totally beyond me. Patents and IP law tend to be highly specialised, and the best people to decide would be judges who deal with this stuff day in and day out. We have specialised courts for things like this here too, I think. I'd imagine this isn't the end of the story by a long way.

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Joshua Rose
Executive Producer / Lead Designer

191 81 0.4
It's interesting that nobody has mentioned the decision made back in 1994 in the Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corporation and Hewlett-Packard Co. case.

Apple tried to sue microsoft over 'look and feel' to try and keep HP from using a GUI similar to Apple's Lisa and Macintosh OS's. Court ruled "Apple cannot get patent-like protection for the idea of a graphical user interface, or the idea of a desktop metaphor [under copyright law]..."

Apple has tried this before and they failed... A 'pinch to zoom' feature, is nothing more than a function of a Graphical User Interface. Thus, Apple really has no ground to stand on. Even less since they already tried over 20 years go and failed.

Samsung will appeal, and they will find a judge that actually KNOWS copyright and patent law. Chances are the outcome will be Apple being forced to 'license' the feature to Samsung and any other company that wishes to use the 'pinch-to-zoom' feature in their smart phones.

Even back during this case, both parties agreed that a jury was unnecessary given the rulings.

Apple is just crying wolf because somebody is kicking them in the pants and it hurts. The only way you can successfully prove patent infringement in this situation, is by comparing the source code for each function... if they are nearly identical, then it can be proven as infringement. It's a different means to the same end. Just because all combustion engines are built with the same concepts, doesnt mean car companies can go around suing each other over infringement. But considering how tightly locked source code can be on things like this, I doubt it will ever see the light of day.

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Keldon Alleyne
Handheld Developer

448 419 0.9
Hmm, but wasn't Pinch To Zoom invented by Steven Spielberg in Minority Report :-/

Well, there's nothing we can do about it, which is the worst part. It's such a shame that so many people know this is wrong but don't have the power to overthrow this decision. Sure there will be one or two devs who boycot Apple products for their unethical use of the law, but that's not hurting Apple, it's really just hurting the little guy standing up for what's right.

This is really discouraging, to know that this sort of thing is happening. And as of late there's been so much unjust practices being employed by the most powerful companies that I've not been looking forward to news for quite a while now.

We need to hear some good news of common sense being applied globally.

Posted:2 years ago

#10

Tyler Moore
Game Designer & Unity Developer

52 14 0.3
As if Apple has never done the exact same thing Samsung did in terms of copying technology. They're just being bullies because now they have the cash and the patents to push around their competitors.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Charles Line
CTO

7 11 1.6
It may all be made irrelevant. This is an interesting take on the jury's deliberations:

http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/08/why-the-apple-v-samsung-ruling-may-not-hold-up/

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,020 1,467 1.4
@ Adam Windows Phone hasn't been sued because Apple and Microsoft have had a no-lawsuit system in place for more than a decade, where the two agreed to work out any disputes outside the courtroom. Both of them HATE Google/Android, and are more than happy to collude toward its demise.

Windows Phone, if it were treated under equal standards, would violate almost all of these patents Apple has successfully enforced, including the rectangular shape, edge-to-edge glass, and pinch to zoom.

Posted:2 years ago

#13

James Gallagher
Marketing Planner

29 12 0.4
Steve Jobs, 1994: "Good artists copy, great artists steal and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas".

This interesting TED talk posted a few days ago uses this quote in a wider discussion of creativity and innovation, highlighting how abuse of the patent system is stifling both: http://www.ted.com/talks/kirby_ferguson_embrace_the_remix.html

Posted:2 years ago

#14

Tom Keresztes
Programmer

682 335 0.5
Apple copied. Stolen. And improved.
Where is the improvement in the Galaxy S2? Is it better than an iPhone by the virtue of not being an iPhone?

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Terence Gage
Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
@ Charles Line

Really interesting article, thanks for linking that. Two quotes in particular stand out for me:
This whole thing's been rather farcical really. Also interesting to note that compensation is only supposed to account for lost revenue to the patent holder while the jury foreman states that they came up with a figure which would suitably punish Samsung.

Posted:2 years ago

#16

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,020 1,467 1.4
@ Tom Serious question? The Galaxy S2 has a lot of improvements. On the design patent front, it's thinner, lighter, and has a better screen and form factor. On the technical patents side it had (until Apple copied them) better notifications, has a wide range of user customization, widgets, unique touch gestures (through TouchWiz), codec support for many more file types, and an open operating system to let you replace default apps (i.e. not stuck using Apple's crap for everything, even if you don't like it - hello Safari!).

Indeed Android and iOS, at this point, operate very very differently. Whether you want those improvements/differences or not is up to you, but you can't deny their existence.

Posted:2 years ago

#17

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