Samsung questions whether Apple can patent beauty in Australian court case

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.

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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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40


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

  • Reply 2 of 40
    Maybe Samsung can sue Apple on the grounds that "Patents aren't a thing."
  • Reply 3 of 40
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    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.)
  • Reply 4 of 40


    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".

  • Reply 5 of 40
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,498member


    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?

  • Reply 6 of 40
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    They're just happy that they can't have what they want without getting in trouble.
  • Reply 7 of 40
    Is anyone else sick of these monkeys?
  • Reply 8 of 40
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,432member


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

  • Reply 9 of 40
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member


    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.)

  • Reply 11 of 40


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

  • Reply 12 of 40
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 40
    sflocal wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 40
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 40


    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.

  • Reply 16 of 40


    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.

  • Reply 17 of 40
    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
  • Reply 18 of 40
    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."
  • Reply 19 of 40
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 40
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    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.

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