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Judge clears Apple of infringement ahead of summer trial

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
A U.S. federal judge on Friday cleared Apple of infringement of a Samsung wireless communications patent but had motions to invalidate two others shot down ahead of a summer trial set to kick off at the end of July.

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh's decision comes just two days after the same court granted a long-fought injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 which blocked sales of the device on a $2.6 million bond posted by Apple.

As noted by Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents, Apple was cleared of only one of the three patents it is disputing in the company's pared-down California case against Samsung. Judge Koh forced the two companies to streamline their respective arguments in May after the number of claims and filings became so large it was feared that any attempts to try the case would be impossibly cumbersome.

The patent in question was U.S. Patent No. 7,362,867 for "Apparatus and method for generating scrambling code in UMTS mobile communication system" which details how a device handles scrambling codes for UMTS networks.

UMTS Patent
Illustration from Samsung's U.S. Patent No. 7,362,867. | Source: USPTO


Judge Koh denied Apple's attempt to invalidate U.S. Patent No. 7,456,893 for a "method of controlling digital image processing apparatus for efficient reproduction and digital image processing apparatus using the method" and U.S. Patent No. 7,577,460 for a "portable composite communication terminal for transmitting/receiving and images, and operation method and communication system thereof" on the basis of "indefiniteness." Mueller noted it is rare to rule a claim indefinite because most judges will find a way to work around the claim's possibly vague language.

With Friday's infringement clearing, Samsung's case has been whittled down to only six claimed patents and Judge Koh may ask for further trimming and has yet to judge on the South Korean company's summary judgment requests.



A majority of Samsung's claims are based on FRAND patents and as such could be affected by findings from an ongoing Federal Trade Commission investigation of Google and Motorola Mobility's quest for injunctive relief based on the standard essential patents.
post #2 of 14

I don't get the concept of forcing companies to "streamline" their arguments. If a guy robs dozens of banks they don't streamline it to just a few banks. All accusations should be dealt with by the courts.

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post #3 of 14

Sammy isn't having a good week. 

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

I don't get the concept of forcing companies to "streamline" their arguments. If a guy robs dozens of banks they don't streamline it to just a few banks. All accusations should be dealt with by the courts.

Sometimes it's not judicial streamlining but instead a legal ploy called "super sacking" (from a court case involving the Super Sac company). What it means is that after a company has filed perhaps a dozen or more patents against a competitor, forcing them to forge a defense against numerous claims. The patentee at some point withdraws certain patent claims form the court case along with agreeeing not to sue that particular company again over those specific patents. It's often used when patent claims have a likelihood of being either judged invalid or not infringed as the case proceeds. By removing the patent claims the court is no longer allowed to consider them in any way, thus they remain in the locker of weapons that can be shot at other competitors in other cases. 

 

A recent case that the SCOTUS  agreed to hear may make super-sacking a thing of the past and force companies filing infringement claims to be more cautious and thoughtful in what claims they throw at the court since judge's may be allowed to consider their validity once filed even if they're later withdrawn. Depends on how the SC rules. If super sacking bites the dust it's likely future patent cases will include fewer initial claims and "streamlining" less of an issue.

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post #5 of 14

Tim Cook is pushing right through. Looks like he's following's Job's wish to go "thermonuclear on Android!"

Apple had me at scrolling
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Apple had me at scrolling
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post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Sometimes it's not judicial streamlining but instead a legal ploy called "super sacking" (from a court case involving the Super Sac company). What it means is that after a company has filed perhaps a dozen or more patents against a competitor, forcing them to forge a defense against numerous claims. The patentee at some point withdraws certain patent claims form the court case along with agreeeing not to sue that particular company again over those specific patents. It's often used when patent claims have a likelihood of being either judged invalid or not infringed as the case proceeds. By removing the patent claims the court is no longer allowed to consider them in any way, thus they remain in the locker of weapons that can be shot at other competitors in other cases. 

A recent case that the SCOTUS  agreed to hear may make super-sacking a thing of the past and force companies filing infringement claims to be more cautious and thoughtful in what claims they throw at the court since judge's may be allowed to consider their validity once filed even if they're later withdrawn. Depends on how the SC rules. If super sacking bites the dust it's likely future patent cases will include fewer initial claims and "streamlining" less of an issue.

In addition, as can be seen by the partial descriptions of the patents, many companies don't know they're infringing a patent, either in part, or in whole, until the other company comes over and says; You're infringing my patent!

I've had that experience personally.

But patents are often so complex these days, that there's a very good chance that someone, somewhere is infringing something. And just because a judge, or jury decides that an entity isn't infringing, that's just an "opinion", it doesn't mean that it's actually technically correct. It's a legal issue at that point, not a technical one.it could go to appeal where it's reversed, or sent back down, and those decisions could be wrong as well.

The world of tech is so complex these days that it's almost impossible to not infringe dozens of patents unknowingly. And two engineers may have the exact opposite opinion of whether something is infringing.

There are also genuine issues where a company is aware of a patent, but is certain it's not valid. So they go and use the tech. They then may be told they're infringing, whereupon they say that the patent isn't valid, and that they're going to continue using the IP. This happens a lot too.

Something does have to be done to make patent law and technical review around the world easier. But it's a very difficult thing to do.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


In addition, as can be seen by the partial descriptions of the patents, many companies don't know they're infringing a patent, either in part, or in whole, until the other company comes over and says; You're infringing my patent!
I've had that experience personally.
But patents are often so complex these days, that there's a very good chance that someone, somewhere is infringing something. And just because a judge, or jury decides that an entity isn't infringing, that's just an "opinion", it doesn't mean that it's actually technically correct. It's a legal issue at that point, not a technical one.it could go to appeal where it's reversed, or sent back down, and those decisions could be wrong as well.
The world of tech is so complex these days that it's almost impossible to not infringe dozens of patents unknowingly. And two engineers may have the exact opposite opinion of whether something is infringing.
There are also genuine issues where a company is aware of a patent, but is certain it's not valid. So they go and use the tech. They then may be told they're infringing, whereupon they say that the patent isn't valid, and that they're going to continue using the IP. This happens a lot too.
Something does have to be done to make patent law and technical review around the world easier. But it's a very difficult thing to do.

A post that I totally agree with you on. Who said it couldn't happen. ;)

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post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

I don't get the concept of forcing companies to "streamline" their arguments. If a guy robs dozens of banks they don't streamline it to just a few banks. All accusations should be dealt with by the courts.

 

This is about making the case easier to understand for a jury. Patents can be complicated, and patent juries unfortunately are made up of regular people.  If too many patents go in front of the jury at the same time, it will likely result in a mess as the jury will be confused. Keep in mind, the judge is not preventing either party from asserting those patents they voluntarily dropped in this trial in another trial. 

 

Moreover, prosecutors often times do try a person of just a few crimes they could try a person of. The theory being if the prosecution loses, they can bring the other charges later. 

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

A post that I totally agree with you on. Who said it couldn't happen. 1wink.gif

It's happened before. Once we get around the "This company vs that company", as hopefully intelligent people, we can agree on logical situations.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

This is about making the case easier to understand for a jury. Patents can be complicated, and patent juries unfortunately are made up of regular people.  If too many patents go in front of the jury at the same time, it will likely result in a mess as the jury will be confused. Keep in mind, the judge is not preventing either party from asserting those patents they voluntarily dropped in this trial in another trial. 

Moreover, prosecutors often times do try a person of just a few crimes they could try a person of. The theory being if the prosecution loses, they can bring the other charges later. 

Not always a jury. Many of these trials are handled by a judge, and no jury is involved.

It's because the case becomes so complex, that there's no time on the calender to try the entire thing. So the judge tells them to simplify.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


The world of tech is so complex these days that it's almost impossible to not infringe dozens of patents unknowingly. And two engineers may have the exact opposite opinion of whether something is infringing.

we touch an essential point here : the perequisite for making a good decision is to have knowledgeable & honest deciders. Assuming that engineers are honest (there is a bias here, I admit, I am an engineer ...), if they cannot agree in their opinion, it is understandable that the legal system, whatever it is, has trouble with it, too ...

i think that what most people fail to understand is that a smartphone is such an incredible collection of advanced technologies ... Which would have been unthinkable (a "simple iPhone is several times the computingower of a Cray 1, which costed about 60 Million $ ....)
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post


Not always a jury. Many of these trials are handled by a judge, and no jury is involved.
It's because the case becomes so complex, that there's no time on the calender to try the entire thing. So the judge tells them to simplify.

 

 

Yes, but this trial is a jury trial and the judge has publicly stated she is worried about the jury being confused. Hence, her asking for the case to be whittled down. The same was true in the Oracle versus Google trial. The judge stated he was worried about the jury being confused. You are correct though that the judge also is worried about this matter consuming her whole docket. 

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

Tim Cook is pushing right through. Looks like he's following's Job's wish to go "thermonuclear on Android!"


With the rate that everyone in tech is going, they really are short of getting thermonuclear with everyone

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post


Yes, but this trial is a jury trial and the judge has publicly stated she is worried about the jury being confused. Hence, her asking for the case to be whittled down. The same was true in the Oracle versus Google trial. The judge stated he was worried about the jury being confused. You are correct though that the judge also is worried about this matter consuming her whole docket. 

I know how they like to talk about confusing the jury. What they really mean is that they don't want bore the jury. That's a much bigger risk. I've been on a lot of juries over the years, and I've seen that.

But with too many items in the case, it could drag on for months longer. We simply don't have enough judges or court rooms.
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