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Smartphone companies, including Apple, have little to show for patent litigation

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
An all-out patent litigation war between the biggest players in the smartphone industry, including Apple, Samsung, Motorola and Microsoft, has yielded very little for all parties involved.

Courts around the world have rebuked claims made in lawsuits from smartphone manufacturers, The Wall Street Journal detailed in an industry profile this week. The report was filed in response to the news on Monday that the European Commission found that Google's Motorola Mobility had abused ints dominance in mobile patents when it sought an injunction against Apple's iPhone in Germany.

Samsung Phones


The most high-profile victory thus far was won by Apple, which was awarded $1.05 billion by a jury in a patent suit against Samsung. But that decision is under appeal, and Apple has yet to see the money, while the judge vacated 40 percent of the award in March.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has also moved to invalidate some patents that are key to Apple's litigation claims, specifically inventions related to pinch to zoom and rubber banding user interface elements in the company's pioneering iOS platform.

Apple also temporarily won injunctions in the U.S. against infringing Samsung products like the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and Galaxy Nexus smartphone, but those bans were eventually overturned and sales were allowed to resume.

Patent litigation in the smartphone market has done little to shake up the status quo. Apple and Samsung remain the dominant players, together accounting for 100 percent of the industry's profit.

Meanwhile, competitors such as Nokia, Microsoft, BlackBerry, HTC and others remain bit players in the lucrative smartphone industry, as their own legal efforts have failed to secure any major, industry shaking victories.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said last year that he would rather settle litigation than take it to court, but added that he will do whatever is necessary to protect his company's intellectual property. He said if he could get a guarantee preventing future patent infringement from competitors like Samsung and Motorola, settling would be the preferable option.

"The key thing is that Apple not become the developer for the world," Cook said. "We need people to invent their own stuff."

And one Samsung executive characterized the current sprawling litigation as "a loss" for the smartphone industry as a whole. Samsung VP David Eun said at last year's "D: Dive Into Media" conference that he felt lawsuits were stagnating innovation.
post #2 of 28

This, of course, ignores the Apple v. Samsung trial, even though it mentions it, claiming that the appeal has any chance whatsoever of succeeding.

 

And all the invalidations of Motorola stuff, courtesy Apple.

post #3 of 28
The patent litigation is a "scorched earth policy" -- it's about denying companies the right to your IP -- NOT about profits. Samsung made billions copying Apple and only got a wrist slap -- but that Wrist Slap was actually beneficial to Samsung because it forced them to innovate. There are a few nice interface features on the Samsung -- but they are also hackneyed and poorly implemented. All the things that diverge from the iPhone, I can't really intuitively figure out -- there are little icons and status updates all over my Android phone and even with my background in interface design -- I can't figure them out. I'll just wait for some 14-year-old girl to explain them to me. This works out for Apple as well strategically; Samsung being forced to innovate and pretend it didn't rip off every other company on the planet for tech and ideas makes them conclude (like Microsoft did) that they are innovators. It's only a matter of time before everyone gets sick of the bloatware and hackneyed and poorly thought out "gee wiz, look what I can do" features. Can't wait for that waterproof Summer Galaxy Z phone that reads bubbles so I can use it in the pool!
post #4 of 28
A benefit that you can't directly measure in dollars is that it deters other manufacturers from walking all over your IP.
post #5 of 28
You can't plagiarize other people's work so why do we allow companies (*Sammy*) to infringe on patents?
post #6 of 28
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post
You can't plagiarize other people's work so why do we allow companies (*Sammy*) to infringe on patents?

 

Because "infringe" is somehow difficult to discern.

post #7 of 28
All the copiers are throwing up dust to try to prevent Apple's patents from stopping them.
post #8 of 28
WOW Neil, hate Apple much?? I had to read the article 2 times to get the drift of what you were saying.

APPLE FAILS To GAIN much money FROM LAWSUITS. Samsung says they do not copy, Samsung says they tell truth. Samsung says they innovate and will innovate again as soon as there is something great to copy. ER.. scratch that last part.

No mention that Samsung is being charged with paying bloggers to lie and post negative bloggs online (some are so bad its totally obvious [Apple bad. Samsung good. buy samsung. hurry]

Motorola sale to Google for 12 BILLION to buy patents to fight Apple seems a total waste as patents are almost all FRAND. Courts saying FRAND is just that. Settle but no injunction.

Bla, Bla, Bla. Point is Apple has been making great headway across the world and while they would rather have companies not steal / copy IP, they will sue if required. This can set the stage for years to come.

Just a thought.
post #9 of 28

It's hard to say whether the litigious nature of these companies hinders or helps innovation. I think patents should be very strong and hold a lot of weight in court, especially software patents, but should have a short life span. This would perhaps help short term innovation a lot with them trying to out-innovate one another, but in the long run humans as a species would benefit the most.

 

Thoughts?

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post #10 of 28

mutually assured annoyance. 

post #11 of 28
Originally Posted by majjo View Post
Considering 2 of the parents used by apple on this suit are undergoing review at the USPTO, I think Samsung would have a good chance of getting some of the damages removed on appeal.

 

Which were those again? I've forgotten. 

post #12 of 28
Originally Posted by majjo View Post
915 and 381

 

I can't see them being invalidated permanently.

post #13 of 28
The only winners in all this back and forth litigation are the lawyers, who are laughing all the way to the bank.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by willb2064 View Post

The only winners in all this back and forth litigation are the lawyers, who are laughing all the way to the bank.

Let's not forget the paid expert witnesses -- the other actors in this idiot kabuki theater who get paid regradless of the outcome.

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by willb2064 View Post

The only winners in all this back and forth litigation are the lawyers, who are laughing all the way to the bank.

 

Considering patents are essential to any technology business (not to mention nearly every other business as a competitive advantage), lawyers would be involved in any event. It's all a cost of doing business and it all eventually gets passed down to consumers, so long as the company survives.


Edited by SpamSandwich - 5/7/13 at 9:52am

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #16 of 28

Judges love their paychecks and job security. Naturally they'll do nothing to jeopardize that.

post #17 of 28
Patents are irrelevant when your largest supplier is also your most successful rival.

Samsung has essentially lost $7.8 bn in revenue from Apple annually, which almost certainly would have much greater in 2013 considering the growth of Apple sales.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post

Patents are irrelevant when your largest supplier is also your most successful rival.

Samsung has essentially lost $7.8 bn in revenue from Apple annually, which almost certainly would have much greater in 2013 considering the growth of Apple sales.

The way that Apple is spreading around it's inventory purchases Samsung would likely lost some percentage of those sales anyway IMHO. Apple is increasing it's efforts to avoid single-source components and thus a lock-in to only one supplier. 

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post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post

Patents are irrelevant when your largest supplier is also your most successful rival.

Samsung has essentially lost $7.8 bn in revenue from Apple annually, which almost certainly would have much greater in 2013 considering the growth of Apple sales.

 

Samsung are not loosing. Their profits have skyrocketed.

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post #20 of 28

This is nonsense. Microsoft managed to get the licensing agreements it wanted from nearly all the Android vendors. Apple managed to get the licensing terms it wanted in its settlements and also got a cross-licensing agreement with Microsoft. The Samsung case isn't over yet, so we'll see how that goes. Apple's suits were never about "thermonuclear war" or "hindering competition" (both notions are completely absurd), they were about licensing terms.

post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post

Samsung has essentially lost $7.8 bn in revenue from Apple annually, which almost certainly would have much greater in 2013 considering the growth of Apple sales.

 

A few years ago that would've probably caused more than one Samsung factory line to shut down.  Now times have changed.

 

First, there are a LOT more parts consumers these days.  Many of them might have to switch to Samsung as a supplier, if Apple becomes the prime customer of their old supplier.

 

Second, Samsung themselves have become one of their own best customers.  They recently took over from Apple as the largest electronics parts consumer in the world.

 

For that matter, Samsung semiconductor revenues could go up in the end, just from not having to sell Apple its usual high quantity at super low prices.

post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

And one Samsung executive characterized the current sprawling litigation as "a loss" for the smartphone industry as a whole. Samsung VP David Eun said at last year's "D: Dive Into Media" conference that he felt lawsuits were stagnating innovation.


Of course it's a loss for the smartphone industry.  Samsung needs to be able to freely copy Apple's products without fear of being sued!  /s

Samsung is the biggest offender of this.  They blatantly copy Apple, admit it in court, gambled that they can litigate it and overwhelm the courts, and in the end they have reaped so much money that any supposed win by Apple will be a drop in the monetary bucket.  Just a part of doing business as far as Samsung is concerned.

post #23 of 28
"Patent litigation in the smartphone market has done little to shake up the status quo." Indeed. Perhaps that is the point. The litigation is a huge barrier to entry for HTC et al. (although admittedly HTC has fared rather well in its own litigation). "Apple and Samsung remain the dominant players, together accounting for 100 percent of the industry's profit." Surely, both Apple and Samsung enjoy their respective positions. Anyone else (i.e., HTC et al.) that gains traction will certainly take a share of the pie from Apple and/or Samsung.
post #24 of 28
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post
Samsung is the biggest offender of this.  They blatantly copy Apple, admit it in court, gambled that they can litigate it and overwhelm the courts, and in the end they have reaped so much money that any supposed win by Apple will be a drop in the monetary bucket.  Just a part of doing business as far as Samsung is concerned.

 

One of the only legitimate solutions in this is to shut down Samsung's handset division and turn over all properties and documentation dating to mid-2006 therein to the authorities, who, after probably a year or two of going over everything, will bring further lawsuits against the individuals and groups directly responsible, if any, for the copyisting. A fine, as well, levied on Samsung for damages since 2008.

 

"Look and feel" needs to actually be protected.

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

One of the only legitimate solutions in this is to shut down Samsung's handset division and turn over all properties and documentation dating to mid-2006 therein to the authorities, who, after probably a year or two of going over everything, will bring further lawsuits against the individuals and groups directly responsible, if any, for the copyisting. A fine, as well, levied on Samsung for damages since 2008.

 

"Look and feel" needs to actually be protected.

 

It would be easier for Cook to send some ex-Sayeret Matkal Ninjas in to take out Samsung's leadership.

 

Alas cyberpunk is so 80s and 90s.

post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

It's hard to say whether the litigious nature of these companies hinders or helps innovation. I think patents should be very strong and hold a lot of weight in court, especially software patents, but should have a short life span. This would perhaps help short term innovation a lot with them trying to out-innovate one another, but in the long run humans as a species would benefit the most.

Thoughts?
On software patents:
First define what with software is truly novel. Doing such-and-such in the cloud should be no different than doing it on the Internet, on the TV, or through the mail.

Second, determine how you can make a "concept" patentable-- including processes, algorithms, and transformations. Patents are for embodiments of ideas, not the ideas themselves. The legalese of saying an idea is an embodiment of an idea corrupts this process.

On litigation and the current status:
Turning patents into commodities has plenty of problems; it is scarcity that gives a commodity value. When one patent has no true value, other than to a non-practicing entity, then the incentive to patent ideas disappears. Patents as a legal defense seems to have run its course for the most part.

If only 1,000 patents were granted per year for the most novel innovations, maybe the system could be fixed. Right now it is just agame.
post #27 of 28
Yielded very little for all the parties involved....you forgot the lawyers.
post #28 of 28

News today that another Apple patent that Samsung was deemed to infringe has had those claims preliminarily rejected by the USPTO. This time it's the "translucent images on a computer display" patent (RE41922). So far four US Apple patents that Samsung was found guilty of infringing are now being re-examined and at least preliminarily rejected.

 

EDIT: FOSSPatents has posted a blog article about it.

http://www.fosspatents.com/2013/05/us-patent-office-tentatively-rejects.html

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