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Samsung questions whether Apple can patent beauty in Australian court case

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
Apple and Samsung's ongoing international patent struggle took a novel turn in Australian Federal Court on Wednesday, with Samsung's counsel questioning whether Apple's claims to "beauty" and "elegance" in its iOS interface is enough to justify an enforceable patent.

slide-slide-slippity-slide
Apple's slide-to-unlock patent, shown here in a USPTO filing, is among those challenged by Samsung in Australian court.


ZDNet carried word on Wednesday that Samsung counsel Richard Coben argued before the Australian Federal Court's two-judge panel that Apple's patents ? such as pinch-to-zoom and slide-to-unlock ? describe only human-computer interaction, a design principle that cannot be patented.

Apple, Cobden said, was inferring that the interactions' functionality stems from the "elegant or beautiful" movements users perform to activate them. Such features, he said don't constitute grounds for a patent.

"Patents," Cobden argued, "are not granted for the reason that something is beautiful or elegant. The attractiveness of a feature is subjective."

Cobden went on to state that Samsung disputed the notion that functionality derives from the attractiveness of a feature. The gestures Apple has patented, he argued, are more akin to "fine art," and thus cannot be patented.

"What is subjectively beautiful to one may not be beautiful to another."

Samsung is attempting to invalidate the patents in suit with the Australian Commissioner of Patents. Apple cannot, Samsung argues, hold innovation patents and be granted standards patents for the same patents. Allowing them to do so, the company argues, would give Apple leeway to "threaten the market" with more patent suits.
post #2 of 39

Samsung's defense, ``We can't create it, but we know it when we see it, so we naturally copy it.''

post #3 of 39
Maybe Samsung can sue Apple on the grounds that "Patents aren't a thing."

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post #4 of 39
No. Obviously those claims are not enough. Nor is a black rectangle with rounded corners. Nor is a touchscreen.

Of course, those kinds of things are just details contributing to a larger whole. They are not the patent.

You can't attack a patent for some new machine, say, just because it uses gears and gears are old news. Not if gears are just a contributing part of a truly innovative whole, or the gears are of a new kind. People like to single out certain details of Apple patents, and pretend Apple is trying to patent that detail.

(If Samsung were smart, they have a program automatically generate 3D renderings of vaguely rectangular objects with every variety of size, outer frame, angle, curve, and color scheme. Come up with a dozen variables, say, and render 8 versions of each variable. Automatically generate almost 7 billion renderings, all dated and with a Samsung logo. (Better not print them!) Maybe put them up with public access. Then nearly any time anyone comes out with a future touch product, Samsung can simply search their database and claim prior art! There, Samsung, I gave you that for free.)
Edited by nagromme - 2/26/13 at 8:19pm
post #5 of 39
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post
Maybe Samsung can sue Apple on the grounds that "Patents aren't a thing."

 

At least "patents are subjective".

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post #6 of 39

Screw you Samsung.

First you try to distract people by claiming the "Rectangle with rounded corners" drama-queen episode, that costed you $1b so far, now you're doing it again by claiming "Beauty".

The pathetic thing is that some day you may actually believe the nonsense you are claiming.

Create your own stuff will you?

post #7 of 39
They're just happy that they can't have what they want without getting in trouble.
post #8 of 39
Is anyone else sick of these monkeys?
post #9 of 39

If Android wants to patent 'ugly', then I have no objections to that.

post #10 of 39
If Apple were arguing that they have the rights to beauty and elegance then Samsung would have a good counter-argument, but that isn't Apple's case.

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post #11 of 39

For those who do their own research, here are the Australian Apple patents in question:

 

Innovation Patents

  • 2008100283: List scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display (aka bounceback)
  • 2008100372: Electronic device for photo management
  • 2009100820: Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image
  • 2008100419: Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image
  • 2008101171: Portable electronic device for imaged-based browsing of contacts

 

Standard Patents

  • 2008201540: List scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display (aka bounceback)
  • 2005246219: Multipoint touchscreen
  • 2007283771: Portable electronic device for photo management
  • 2009200366: List scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display (aka bounceback)
  • 2007286532: Touch screen device, method and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics (aka vertical scrolling)

 

(An innovation patent is a quicker granted and shorter lasting version of a standard patent.)


Edited by KDarling - 2/26/13 at 9:24pm
post #12 of 39

Nobody is arguing that beauty can be patented. Sounds like another Chewbacca defense from Samsung's counsel.

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post #13 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider 
The gestures Apple has patented, he argued, are more akin to "fine art," and thus cannot be patented.
So copy a Picasso and sell it as original art. See how that works for you.
post #14 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Screw you Samsung.


First you try to distract people by claiming the "Rectangle with rounded corners" drama-queen episode, that costed you $1b so far, now you're doing it again by claiming "Beauty".


The pathetic thing is that some day you may actually believe the nonsense you are claiming.


Create your own stuff will you?


Unfortunately, considering the relative success of Samsung, the USD $1 bbn is probably worth the result. Additionally, considering Samsung's unprecedented USD $12 bbn advertising and marketing campaign USD $1 bbn is a drop in the bucket.
post #15 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post

Unfortunately, considering the relative success of Samsung, the USD $1 bbn is probably worth the result. Additionally, considering Samsung's unprecedented USD $12 bbn advertising and marketing campaign USD $1 bbn is a drop in the bucket.

Right or wrong it seems impossible to argue that the end isn't highly profitable for Samsung.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #16 of 39

Apple is never going to win the patent war. All they can do is win with common sense and manufacturing capabilities years in advance of everyone else. Samsung has no common sense and it's not something you can learn.

post #17 of 39
Originally Posted by paxman View Post
So copy a Picasso and sell it as original art. See how that works for you.

 

If copying technology is any indication, they'll get off scot free in most countries.

Originally posted by Marvin

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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Samsung's defense, ``We can't create it, but we know it when we see it, so we naturally copy it.''

 

Close, what Samsung really did here was introduce the dreaded "Chewbacca Defense" MORE INFO
post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Nobody is arguing that beauty can be patented. Sounds like another Chewbacca defense from Samsung's counsel.

 

Argh! I just made this point and saw that you made it already.

 

Well, the only thing I can add is it is "exactly" the Chewbacca Defense -- which is turning into a valuable illustration of a logical fallacy that is used all the time. It's a bit more descriptive than merely saying a "straw man argument" because a Chewbacca Defense attacks the credibility of the prosecutions argument by introducing nonsense. Samsung is arguing that patenting beauty "makes no sense" and they are right.

 

Samsung can apply for the patent on "Ugly and lacking in creativity" -- and that also, would make no sense.

 

Another thing that doesn't make sense is toupees for belly buttons; "Your alleged honor of this supposed jury -- belly button toupees make no sense; patenting beauty makes no sense -- I move that you throw out this speculative case because it makes no sense."
post #20 of 39
This is one of the stupidest arguments Samsung ever made.

I can sorta agree on and see what they are trying to accomplish by saying that elegance and beauty should not be the metric for granting a patent.

But their premise is just plainly wrong and cannot be supported.
How can they seriously argue that human interactions = beauty and elegance.

Can they not think of any other core functions of human interactions?
(e.g., reduction of input error, increase in efficiency to unlock which you could have achieved by drawing a pig on a screen rather than a simple sliding before it can be unlocked.)

Come on, there are definitely other more glaring functions that are not aesthetic based.
post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

If Apple were arguing that they have the rights to beauty and elegance then Samsung would have a good counter-argument, but that isn't Apple's case.

I'm skeptical over whether this was even the argument. It looks like another out of context quote. Appleinsider has at least posted documents when they're available. I wonder how many people read them.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post


So copy a Picasso and sell it as original art. See how that works for you.


Patent law, trademark law, and copyright law are three different things, and they vary by country.

post #22 of 39

Whats a Chewbacca defence ?

 

I love how samsung operate, use any distractions minced with legal jargon.

I have mentioned it in a previous thread, but why does the US allow a foreign company (samsung) to blatantly steal their IP and do absolutely nothing about it.

You would think there would be directives from the government for the courts to come down really hard on this.

Perhaps the US is losing its mojo.

post #23 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanada View Post

Did Samsung really just say what Apple does is akin to fine art, and you can't patent art? The Samsung Fandroids must be scratching their heads right now.

Only because they just felt something go 'whoosh', over their heads!

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post #24 of 39

The entire thread went 'woosh' over most commenter's heads.

 

Australian patent law is not the same as either the US or EU, and the acceptance of software as patentable depends on some subtle arguments developed over the past 20-something years there.  The "fine art" comment has nothing to do with art in the traditional sense (paintings, sculpture etc). This short caselaw article explains what Samsung's argument is and why it matters. If you're still interested after that, there's links to more detailed and thorough explanations at the same site.

 

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Case_law_in_Australia


Edited by Gatorguy - 2/27/13 at 3:42am
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post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post

Unfortunately, considering the relative success of Samsung, the USD $1 bbn is probably worth the result. Additionally, considering Samsung's unprecedented USD $12 bbn advertising and marketing campaign USD $1 bbn is a drop in the bucket.

That's the really unfortunate thing. Samsung blatantly copied Apple's products and created a foothold in the market by doing so. No one could possibly doubt that their near-exact duplicates of the earlier iPad and iPhones were part of the reason they're the only Android handset maker who's profitable right now - and they own the lion's share of the Android business. Even if the $1 B fine were tripled, Samsung still came out ahead by stealing Apple's IP.

And, of course, the normal shills will defend their right to do so.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

The entire thread went 'woosh' over most commenter's heads.

Australian patent law is not the same as either the US or EU, and the acceptance of software as patentable depends on some subtle arguments developed over the past 20-something years there.  The "fine art" comment has nothing to do with art in the traditional sense (paintings, sculpture etc). This short caselaw article explains what Samsung's argument is and why it matters. If you're still interested after that, there's links to more detailed and thorough explanations at the same site.

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Case_law_in_Australia

You really didn't need to bother. Everyone knew that you'd be rushing in to defend Samsung and Google's right to infringe everyone else's intellectual property.
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post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

So copy a Picasso and sell it as original art. See how that works for you.

No doubt they'd argue that Picasso's use of a rectangular canvas made his paintings open to be copied.
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post #27 of 39

There is such a thing as beauty and elegance in engineering and you should be able to patent it. It is when you, e.g. solve 5 problems with one simple and intuitive solution instead of 5 separate discordant solutions.

post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

So copy a Picasso and sell it as original art. See how that works for you.

You can, you just can't try to pass it as a Picasso. How many cover bands are there making money singing songs of other bands.
Edited by dasanman69 - 2/27/13 at 6:28am
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post #29 of 39

So just like with "rounded rectangles" Samsung creates a strawman so they can knock it down.  When did Apple EVER claim they have the rights to beauty or elegance?

post #30 of 39
yes, but if that patent is required in order for that beauty to be created...
didn't Australia allow/grant the patents in the first place?... so ugly duckling into a swan?... and now "we can't have that"...

so, models are not needed for beauty!... yes that is correct... anybody could be wearing the clothes on a runaway and show them off... but that does not happen... why not?... because the clothes need someone beautiful to give people the idea that they could/should be wearing these clothes...
post #31 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by hfts View Post

Whats a Chewbacca defence ?

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=what%27s+the+Chewbacca+defense%3F

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #32 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by haar View Post

yes, but if that patent is required in order for that beauty to be created...
didn't Australia allow/grant the patents in the first place?... so ugly duckling into a swan?... and now "we can't have that"...

so, models are not needed for beauty!... yes that is correct... anybody could be wearing the clothes on a runaway and show them off... but that does not happen... why not?... because the clothes need someone beautiful to give people the idea that they could/should be wearing these clothes...

Bad analogy. You using beautiful models to show off your clothes doesn't prevent me from using beautiful models or even the same exact ones. You might have 2-3 under contract but not all of them.
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"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #33 of 39
Quote:

I need to use that more often, but how many here will take offense that you took them to Google? Lol
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post #34 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fake_William_Shatner View Post

Argh! I just made this point and saw that you made it already.

Yes, but then we're both right! 1smile.gif

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post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

I need to use that more often, but how many here will take offense that you took them to Google? Lol

1) I don' think I've used LMGTFY for a couple years. I'm not sure why I'm sure people have asked questions that they could pop into Google. Teach a man to fish...

2) LOL you're right. Some want nothing to do with Google in any way but "Let Me Bing That For You" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

edit: It exists: http://letmebingthatforyou.com/?q=What%20is%20the%20Chewbacca%20defense%3F

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #36 of 39

Uhm, Samsung, isn't that what is called patenting your intellectual property? The design of an interface or product is in direct correspondence with how your customers feel connected to the brand (in this case, Apple). If anything, I think that design patents could be even more important then technical patents in some cases. The feel of a product (digital or physical), the color and material, the roundness of a corner, and the elements used throughout a product are what makes a consumer feels connected with it. 

 

I do believe that wether or not you find something beautiful can be very personal, but if a designer gets the combination of design elements (hardware and software) just right, the majority of consumers might feel inclined to unconsiously agree with the choices made by the designer. It's part of what makes or breaks a product imho, and with copy-frenzy-companies like Samsung around, I can only agree that design patents are a necessity. :)

post #37 of 39

Just to be clear:

 

The patent in question is a utility patent, not an ornamental design patent.

 

(The diagram at the head of this article is the wrong one for this particular trial.)

 

This is a correct drawing:

 

 

 

Carry on...


Edited by KDarling - 2/27/13 at 9:30am
post #38 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Apple is never going to win the patent war. All they can do is win with common sense and manufacturing capabilities years in advance of everyone else. Samsung has no common sense and it's not something you can learn.

Common sense is a non-sequitur in this context. You are talk about engineering capabilities, design sense and business sense. Ethics aside, Samsung is showing tons of business sense in their strategy. The proof is in the numbers.

post #39 of 39
News today the the EU version of this patent has been invalidated by a German Federal Court during an IP infringement trial, and none of Apple's amendments to try and save it have been accepted. Apple will no doubt try to appeal the decision. Personally, based on the reasons given for the invalidation, I don't see the patent being resurrected.
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