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Judge denies Samsung bid to invalidate Apple patents over indefiniteness [u]

post #1 of 25
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U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh on Tuesday entered a ruling that found neither an Apple utility patent nor four design patents are invalid due to indefiniteness.

Tap to Zoom
Illustration of Apple's "tap-to-zoom" patent. | Source: USPTO


According to the filing, the issue of indefiniteness was first entered during the Apple v. Samsung trial over Apple's U.S. Patent No. 7,864,163, otherwise known as the "tap to zoom" patent, when Samsung took issue with the term ?substantially centered.?

In the patent language, Apple refers to graphical assets being "substantially centered" on a portable device's display. Samsung argued that the term was indefinite and thus the patent should be invalidated.

Judge Koh disagreed and denied the invalidation by citing a number of federal court cases that set precedent pertaining to the term "substantially."

She also noted a bevy of legal minutiae regarding how patents are to be filed and how they are deemed valid when denying indefiniteness claims against Apple's U.S. Patent No. D618,677, No. D593,087, No. D604,305 and No. D504,889.

From the order:

In sum, the Federal Circuit?s cases establish that precise construction is not required, or even permissible, when a patent uses a term of degree such as ?substantially,? and the specification does not provide a standard for measuring the precise boundaries of that term of degree. Moreover, the evidence suggests that persons of ordinary skill in the art can understand the meaning of the term ?substantially centered.? Accordingly, the Court finds that the term ?substantially centered? is not ndefinite.

Judge Koh's order came alongside another ruling regarding six

Indefiniteness Ruling by Mikey Campbell



Update: In a late filing on Tuesday, Judge Koh further addressed Samsung's JMOLs, including one that sought a new trial, but overturned a jury decision that said Samsung willfully infringed on Apple's patents.

Most important of the JMOL order was the overturning of the Apple v. Samsung jury's finding that Samsung willfully infringed on Apple's patents. Just as in Judge Koh's previous ruling, a two-pronged analysis, objective and subjective, was taken in constituting patent infringement.

As explained by FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller, "The likelihood is objectively high if this is what someone knowing the patents and all other relevant facts would think so; it's subjectively high if the infringer actually knew these facts or if they were so obvious that he should have known."

The jury found Samsung was subjectively willful in infringing on three Apple utility patents and two design patents, but Apple still needed to provide an "objectively high" likelihood of willfulness as decided by the court. In each instance, Judge Koh found a defensible position for Samsung, and thus overturned the subjective jury findings.

While Samsung was granted the willfulness JMOL, the court denied a motion for a new trial because the original proceedings were "manifestly unfair." Samsung argued that it had been negatively impacted by time limitations, the court's admittance of Apple references to witnesses Samsung did not call, unfair barring of witnesses, unfair barring of advertisements and not being able to cross-examine Apple's witnesses while Apple was allowed to do.

Judge Koh noted in the Tuesday that Samsung had the option to put its own set of claims against Apple on a separate track than the Apple v. Samsung jury trial, but chose not to do so. She also said that both parties were given equal opportunities regarding time allotments and witness testimony, alluding that the proceeding were fair.

"Accordingly, the trial was fairly conducted, with uniform time limits and rules of evidence applied to both sides," Judge Koh wrote. "A new trial would be contrary to the interests of justice."

post #2 of 25
I think the tap to zoom is a great invention. Props to Steve and Forstall for coming up with such an obvious thing. Good to read that the patent holds.
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post #3 of 25
This is likely only the beginning of the demise of this kind of nonsensical litigation, and hopefully a new start to actual product innovation.

Bring On The Patent Reform!
"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

I think the tap to zoom is a great invention. Props to Steve and Forstall for coming up with such an obvious thing. Good to read that the patent holds.

 

Tap to zoom was indeed obvious, and existed before the iPhone.  

 

The Apple patent lists references to previous patents for similar actions.

 

Heck, I had a document browser on my Windows Mobile Pro touch phone with it, before the iPhone came out.

 

Those should all be big clues that the patent is NOT for tap-to-zoom per se, and sure enough, it's not.

 

  • The patent is for a followup gesture on the screen while the first area is zoomed.   The second tap recenters the zoom over where the second gesture was.

 

(Frankly, that seems obvious too.  Consider:  tap to zoom already existed.  So you're looking at a zoomed page.  Now you tap somewhere else on the screen.  What are the possible choices that such an action might take?  Let's think.  It could do nothing.  It could bring up info on the page.  It could zoom back out.  It could recenter... oh, that's this patent.)


Edited by KDarling - 1/29/13 at 8:26pm
post #5 of 25
@DaHarder: you might want to post opinions like that over where they belong:
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post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

The patent is for a followup gesture on the screen while the first area is zoomed.   The second tap recenters the zoom over where the second gesture was.

Hm, I cannot replicate that: I double tap on an article on a newspaper site (their page having lots of stories in columns). It zooms in and centers; tapping again zooms out...
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post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Hm, I cannot replicate that: I double tap on an article on a newspaper site (their page having lots of stories in columns). It zooms in and centers; tapping again zooms out...

 

I know.  Hence probably the reason why Samsung thought the claims were too indefinite 1wink.gif

 

Here's the primary claim.  A web page, a zoomed first box, then a second gesture to recenter a second box:

 

  •  A computer-implemented method, comprising: at a portable electronic device with a touch screen display; displaying at least a portion of a web page on the touch screen display, wherein the web page comprises a plurality of boxes of content; 
  • detecting a first finger tap gesture at a location on the displayed portion of the web page; determining a first box in the plurality of boxes at the location of the first finger tap gesture; and enlarging and translating the web page so as to substantially center the first box on the touch screen display, wherein enlarging comprises expanding the first box so that the width of the first box is substantially the same as the width of the touch screen display; resizing text in the enlarged first box to meet or exceed a predetermined minimum text size on the touch screen display; 
  • while the first box is enlarged, detecting a second finger tap gesture on a second box other than the first box; and in response to detecting the second finger tap gesture, translating the web page so as to substantially center the second box on the touch screen display.

 

So the second gesture can be a tap, double-tap, double-finger something.  Not sure what the actual implementation on iOS is, or what exactly Samsung infringed.  Or even what "a plurality of boxes of content" actually refers to.   We can guess, but you shouldn't have to guess.

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

Here's the primary claim.

I read that. I think I even understand it. I wonder who writes all these patents, surely Steve & Forstall didn't write this?
edit: ok, I see the internet is filled with these patent writers. They come as cheap as $20/hour which seems undervalued.
Edited by PhilBoogie - 1/29/13 at 9:46pm
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post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


Hm, I cannot replicate that: I double tap on an article on a newspaper site (their page having lots of stories in columns). It zooms in and centers; tapping again zooms out...


This is a different use case, but most image and video editing software has been this way for years if you use a pen tablet. It's always tap + easily reachable modifier key as a shortcut rather than zoom in and zoom out keys that must be pressed repeatedly. I think part of the reason you don't see such things as obvious is the lack of widespread consumer products that rely on touchscreen uis, especially with enough hardware power to drive such animations.

post #10 of 25

SIGH!!!!! Some people just can't let go, even after a jury, judge and the patent office have validated Apples patents. I thought trolls belonged under the bridge, not on AI. Such a pity.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

 

I know.  Hence probably the reason why Samsung thought the claims were too indefinite 1wink.gif

 

Here's the primary claim.  A web page, a zoomed first box, then a second gesture to recenter a second box:

 

  •  A computer-implemented method, comprising: at a portable electronic device with a touch screen display; displaying at least a portion of a web page on the touch screen display, wherein the web page comprises a plurality of boxes of content; 
  • detecting a first finger tap gesture at a location on the displayed portion of the web page; determining a first box in the plurality of boxes at the location of the first finger tap gesture; and enlarging and translating the web page so as to substantially center the first box on the touch screen display, wherein enlarging comprises expanding the first box so that the width of the first box is substantially the same as the width of the touch screen display; resizing text in the enlarged first box to meet or exceed a predetermined minimum text size on the touch screen display; 
  • while the first box is enlarged, detecting a second finger tap gesture on a second box other than the first box; and in response to detecting the second finger tap gesture, translating the web page so as to substantially center the second box on the touch screen display.

 

So the second gesture can be a tap, double-tap, double-finger something.  Not sure what the actual implementation on iOS is, or what exactly Samsung infringed.  Or even what "a plurality of boxes of content" actually refers to.   We can guess, but you shouldn't have to guess.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

 

Tap to zoom was indeed obvious, and existed before the iPhone.  

 

The Apple patent lists references to previous patents for similar actions.

 

Heck, I had a document browser on my Windows Mobile Pro touch phone with it, before the iPhone came out.

 

Those should all be big clues that the patent is NOT for tap-to-zoom per se, and sure enough, it's not.

 

  • The patent is for a followup gesture on the screen while the first area is zoomed.   The second tap recenters the zoom over where the second gesture was.

 

(Frankly, that seems obvious too.  Consider:  tap to zoom already existed.  So you're looking at a zoomed page.  Now you tap somewhere else on the screen.  What are the possible choices that such an action might take?  Let's think.  It could do nothing.  It could bring up info on the page.  It could zoom back out.  It could recenter... oh, that's this patent.)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

This is likely only the beginning of the demise of this kind of nonsensical litigation, and hopefully a new start to actual product innovation.

Bring On The Patent Reform!
 
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

I read that. I think I even understand it. I wonder who writes all these patents, surely Steve & Forstall didn't write this?
edit: ok, I see the internet is filled with these patent writers. They come as cheap as $20/hour which seems undervalued.

 

Yeah, they're fun to read.   Most websites get patents wrong because they only look at the easy-to-read summary at the top, which is understandable, but almost always misleading.

 

All that is actually covered by a patent, is what is in the Claims section.   As you might have noticed, each claim must be a single run-on sentence.  That's why there's so many semi-colon separated clauses.    That's why I break it up visually into each step, so we can all read it easier.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kr00 View Post

SIGH!!!!! Some people just can't let go, even after a jury, judge and the patent office have validated Apples patents.

 

Ah.  So you believe in courts?  Then you must also support the judge and jury findings that there was no willful infringement on the part of Samsung, nor any infringement of Apple's old tablet design patent. 

 

Therefore, any time that someone claims that Samsung copied the iPad, you'll "sigh" and correct their mistaken beliefs, right?  After all, a judge and jury said Samsung didn't copy it.  (Heck, judges all over the world have ruled that.)

 

As for this particular patent, it hasn't been reexamined yet, AFAIK.   Although the judge denied Samsung's motion to find its claims to be indefinite, she also noted that Samsung had good reason to believe that it was probably invalid.

 

--

 

Interestingly, Apple said in the trial that they thought this patent was worth $2.02 per device.  That's a pretty high royalty rate for something that contributes so little.   Yet in another case, Apple wanted Motorola to license their critical radio patents to them for only $1.00 max per device.   

post #12 of 25

So when will Samsung be paying Apple the money they owe in damages, as determined by a jury verdict?

 

To my understanding it was to the tune of billions.

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

So when will Samsung be paying Apple the money they owe in damages, as determined by a jury verdict?

To my understanding it was to the tune of billions.

1.05B but as I understand it they get 'reductions' on things that were later revoked IIRC.
http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/08/24/jury-reaches-verdict-in-apple-vs-samsung-case/
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post #14 of 25
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Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

So when will Samsung be paying Apple the money they owe in damages, as determined by a jury verdict?

 

Both sides keep appealing things, so probably a while.

 

In the meantime, another Apple v. Samsung trial is coming up in a few months, also under Koh.   This one is all about utility patents, though.  No designs involved, IIRC.

 

--

 

To me, the most important cases that have yet to been determined, are what Apple must pay in FRAND royalties.   This is valuable info for Apple to know ahead of time, if they plan to release an inexpensive model for developing countries, so they can plan out their profit strategy in better detail.

 

At the least, Apple might suddenly see the wisdom of the way that royalties are often based on the selling price.  The lower the price, the lower the royalties, to encourage less expensive phones that more people can afford.


Edited by KDarling - 1/30/13 at 8:10am
post #15 of 25
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post
1.05B but as I understand it they get 'reductions' on things that were later revoked IIRC.

 

"Revoked".

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post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


1.05B but as I understand it they get 'reductions' on things that were later revoked IIRC.
http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/08/24/jury-reaches-verdict-in-apple-vs-samsung-case/

Correct. Judge Koh hasn't yet ruled on the final damages bill, so that's yet to come. There's also a possibility of on-going royalties being ordered.

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post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

... To me, the most important cases that have yet to been determined, are what Apple must pay in FRAND royalties.   This is valuable info for Apple to know ahead of time, if they plan to release an inexpensive model for developing countries, so they can plan out their profit strategy in better detail.

 

At the least, Apple might suddenly see the wisdom of the way that royalties are often based on the selling price.  The lower the price, the lower the royalties, to encourage less expensive phones that more people can afford.

 

Once Samsung gets shot down on their licensing extortion, and things go back to actual FRAND licensing, as precedent established it for years, where the component manufacturers pay it and the patent holder doesn't revoke the license for components sold to competitors, the selling price of the phone won't be an issue, just like it ought not be.

 

Not that you care, since you are all about spinning BS.

post #18 of 25
Looks like the Judge and her team fast-tracked this one. And although she's said that a new trial would not be in the interests of justice, it doesn't seem quite probable that Samsung wouldn't apply for yet another appeal.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Once Samsung gets shot down on their licensing extortion, and things go back to actual FRAND licensing, as precedent established it for years, where the component manufacturers pay it and the patent holder doesn't revoke the license for components sold to competitors, the selling price of the phone won't be an issue, just like it ought not be.

 

Nope, that's not how licensing of ETSI patents have traditionally been done, especially with chipsets that can be used for multiple protocols.

 

For example, Qualcomm charges separately, first a set price for their physical chip, and then ALSO charges a target-device-price related royalty on top of that, depending on what you use it for (GSM, UMTS, CDMA, LTE, etc).  

 

Some example known starting royalty rates (before negotiation or cross-licensing) are:

 

  • Nokia - 2% of device price
  • Alcatel-Lucent - 2% of device price
  • Ericsson - 1.5% of device price
  • MMI (Motorola) - 2.25% of device price
  • Qualcomm - 3.25% of device price 

 

I think what has confused people, is the separate battle over whether or not a SEP holder can withdraw from covenants preventing them from suing licensees, by using a defensive clause wherein the covenant is dissolved if the licensee sues them.  (As Apple has done.)

 

So I repeat, Apple needs to settle up what they're going to pay, because it can range up to 30% of the price of a device if they refuse to cross license.  That's a lot.  (When pinned down by Nokia, Apple did settle and reportedly do at least some cross licensing.)  Fortunately, the FTC and DOJ have given everyone the way to do it.  Patent holders can now ask for binding arbitration, and licensees can no longer avoid such decisions forever. 

 

Quote:
Not that you care, since you are all about spinning BS.

 

Oddly, I've come to appreciate the way that you, and a couple of others, sometimes hide behind personal insults.  They're a flag to everyone whenever you're not confident of your "facts".  It's like a "tell" in poker.  Thanks!

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kr00 View Post

SIGH!!!!! Some people just can't let go, even after a jury, judge and the patent office have validated Apples patents. I thought trolls belonged under the bridge, not on AI. Such a pity.

 

 

 

 

On the other hand these type of patents are not fairing very well when they are re-examined by the patent office.....

post #21 of 25
The arbitrary rates of FRAND licensing we are seeing make the whole notion of FRAND in the first place meaningless. I mean - - you grant someone a key monopoly because there HAS TO BE A STANDARD way to communicate with something like a cell tower -- and in exchange, they keep prices low and fixed. By extorting 30% from Apple, Nokia should be invalidating their FRAND privilege. I would like the courts to turn their patents to open source -- that should solve this situation for the future.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post

The arbitrary rates of FRAND licensing we are seeing make the whole notion of FRAND in the first place meaningless. I mean - - you grant someone a key monopoly because there HAS TO BE A STANDARD way to communicate with something like a cell tower -- and in exchange, they keep prices low and fixed. By extorting 30% from Apple, Nokia should be invalidating their FRAND privilege. I would like the courts to turn their patents to open source -- that should solve this situation for the future.

 

Not any worse that Apple saying that they will not pay more than $1.00 per device for a FRAND patient (less than others are paying) and not offer any cross licensing as most other companies do to get their FRAND licensing fees reduced....  

 

It is going to boil down to having to have a independent board set the fees and all parties have to abide by their rulings.....

post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post

The arbitrary rates of FRAND licensing we are seeing make the whole notion of FRAND in the first place meaningless. I mean - - you grant someone a key monopoly because there HAS TO BE A STANDARD way to communicate with something like a cell tower -- and in exchange, they keep prices low and fixed. By extorting 30% from Apple, Nokia should be invalidating their FRAND privilege. I would like the courts to turn their patents to open source -- that should solve this situation for the future.

 

~30% is the default total of all GSM patent royalties going to several dozen patent holders.

 
A newcomer with absolutely nothing to trade and no negotiation skills, might have to pay close to that.
 
At the other end of the spectrum, it's been reported that Nokia only pays a total around 3% for GSM, because they have cross-licensed all their patents for everyone else's.  
 
(In the early days of GSM, when Motorola owned over half the patents, they didn't even ask for cash payments.  They only had two license methods:   1)  you bought equipment from them and the license came with.  or 2)  you cross-licensed all your patents.   Other members eventually talked them into also accepting a cash royalty.)
post #24 of 25

This news is the kind that can potentially confuse everyone. Micron just received a patent for . . . (drumroll)

"slide-to-unlock".

 

The biggest surprise is that it's priority date is a full 4 years before Apple's patent for their iteration of the feature, going back to an original filing in 2000. That means Apple's already awarded slide-to-unlock patent can't invalidate Micron's  Then surprise two: Micron's patents are cross-licensed to Samsung.

http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2010/10/07/samsung-to-pay-micron-275m-in-10-yr-cross-licensing-deal/

 

A sample of the claims in Microns' newly awarded patent.

 

1. A system comprising:

a touch screen upon which a user is to enter, by drawing, a geometric pattern in a specified direction to gain access to the system; and

a processing circuit coupled to the touch screen to compare the user entered geometric pattern to a predefined geometric pattern stored in a memory.

The system of claim 1 wherein the user is prevented from accessing the system if the user entered geometric pattern does not approximate the predefined geometric pattern.
 
The system of claim 3 wherein the processing circuit is further coupled to the memory, the processing circuit is configured to receive the user entered geometric pattern from the user via the touch screen and to grant the user access to the at least one user-accessible file if the user entered geometric pattern matches the predefined geometric pattern.
 
The system of claim 1 wherein the processing circuit is configured to filter out input entered on the touch screen beyond the user entered geometric pattern.
 
The system of claim 1 wherein the user entered geometric pattern is a line.
 
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post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

So when will Samsung be paying Apple the money they owe in damages, as determined by a jury verdict?

 

To my understanding it was to the tune of billions.

 

Not likely anytime soon.  It was to the tune of 'billion,' not multiples.  Most patents are under review.  Three of the key patents are currently already invalidated. 

Samsung tried a quick nullification of one of the remaining patents, and was rightfully denied.  Their argument for the 'quick invalidation' was flawed as ruled by the judge.  The judge has also stated that that particular patent is likely to be invalidated (on other grounds).

 

The judge is likely to rule an adjustment to the sum.

 

In addition to the patents dropping like flies, another big adjustment is likely.  One of the key determinations in the $1.05b verdict was Apple argued some of the design oriented infringements were worth on the order of $30 per device and a big part of the sum is based on that.  To achieve that sum Apple had to declare it had done 'significant and irreperable harm' to Apple who would never, ever license those key distinctive features of the iPhone to anyone.  They have since licensed those patents to HTC for a sum 'much less' then $6 per device.  It looks like they tried to pull a quick one on the court, got away with it, then shot themselves in the foot.

 

The press from the $1b verdict actually helped Samsung quite a bit, and once adjustments are made I'd be surprised if the final value is anything remotely close to a billion.

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