Four filings exhort Supreme Court to re-examine Apple vs. Samsung 'slide to unlock' patent...

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 2017
Several interested parties have filed amicus curae briefings with the Supreme Court, urging the body to discuss the second Apple versus Samsung patent trial, and specifically evaluate the "obviousness" of Apple's Slide-to-unlock patent, and how it may have been misinterpreted by lower courts.




Individual filings in support of Samsung were made by the Software and Information Industry Association, and the Internet Association. One joint statement was made by the Hispanic Leadership Fund and the National Grange, with a second joint filing composed by Electronic Frontier Foundation, Engine Advocacy, and Public Knowledge.

All three friend of the court briefings address the interpretation of "obviousness" as it applies to patent law. Mostly using the same cases, the briefings claim that the lower courts definition of obviousness and what should be patentable flies in the face of precedence, and is dangerous for the future.

Apple's patent hold on slide-to-unlock is challenged in all of the filings, with the briefs claiming that the user interface method should have been declared as obvious, and non-patentable by the court given precedents spanning 50 years of case law. Additionally, the various groups filing all believe that should the ruling stand, it will have profound negative effects on a patent system already in need of reform.

One industry which would be significantly disrupted by the more restrictive view of obviousness in patents is the 3d printing industry. Already under fire from within, as well as from outside, the fight for patentability of raw materials for the 3d printers themselves may be hamstrung by a ruling supporting Apple.

A pro-Apple decision as it stands may serve to limit consumers with the printers to strictly patent controlled "feed stock" raw materials, and only those approved by the vendor that made the printer, according to the briefings.

Other impacted industries listed are pharmaceuticals specifically surrounding the current EpiPen pricing struggle, confusion at retail including package tracking technologies, and automotive part suppliers.

The writ of certiorari is required at this point because Samsung has exhausted all of its appeals with the lower courts on the matter. Should the Supreme Court agree with the briefings, the writ will re-open the appeals process surrounding the "slide to unlock" patent, and associated matters.

Annually, the Supreme court sees in excess of 8,000 requests, and approves around 1 percent. A writ is no guarantee of an overturn, and approving or denying a writ does not speak to the validity of lack thereof of any given case. Writs are only granted when the court sees sufficient danger to legal frameworks, necessitating a ruling by the highest court in the land -- or an order for a lower court to re-examine the ruling.

The long legal battle continues

In the original jury decision handed down in May 2014 both Samsung and Apple were found to have infringed on each others' patents. Samsung was still ordered to pay $119.6 million in damages to Apple for violating three patents, a far cry from the $2.2 billion Apple was seeking.

Following weeks of testimony and three days of deliberations, the eight-member Apple v. Samsung jury reached a decision awarding Apple $119,625,000 on three infringed patents and Samsung $158,400 on one patent.

The jury found all accused Samsung devices in infringement of Apple's '647 data detectors patent and partial infringement on the '721 patent for "slide-to-unlock" functionality, a contentious piece of IP in the case. Presiding Judge Lucy Koh already found Apple's '172 patent for text prediction to be infringed by Samsung in a summary judgment in January. Samsung emerged victorious on allegations regarding the '959 universal search and '414 background syncing patents.

A previous appeal filed by Samsung in January 2016 resulted in the verdict getting tossed in February, and found the patents either not obvious, or infringed. On review, a full court ruled in an 8-3 vote in October to reaffirm the verdict, and the $119.6 million award.

In November 2016, the appeals court refused Samsung's bid for a second re-hearing of the storied 2014 patent trial with Apple, and issued no commentary about the refusal.

As a result, Samsung is now on the hook for the $119.6 million ruling. Should the Supreme Court decline the writ, the matter is concluded.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    saltyzipsaltyzip Posts: 193member
    Why doesn't the judge just throw the whole sorry mess of a case out of court. I bet they've spent 10's millions in lawyer fees all over some silly rectangles and swiping fingers, ridiculous and childish.
    peterhartrogifan_new
  • Reply 2 of 18
    mubailimubaili Posts: 385member
    everything is obviousness in hindsight
    jony0StrangeDayssamian5747samian5747jbdragonrob53georgie01EsquireCatsnetmagepropod
  • Reply 3 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,008member
    I know there's at least a couple of forum members who take an interest in the dirty details of these patent infringement lawsuits. This is the brief for Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier that explains the basis for their argument. 

    https://www.scribd.com/document/345075854/17-04-10-Public-Knowledge-EFF-Engine-Amicus-Brief
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 4 of 18
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,235member
    The Neverending Story"
    StrangeDayspeterhart
  • Reply 5 of 18
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 697member
    I wonder if the original dial on telephones was patented or not. Ask anyone born after 1995 to use one to make a call and you will see how un-obvious it was.  
    Royfbpeterhartgeorgie01netmage
  • Reply 6 of 18
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,778member
    So obvious nobody else was doing it before, and Apple has already replaced it with something else after. Obviously there was no other way to unlock a device >roll eyes<

    Tho personally I don't think software (ideas) should be patentable -- instead code (implementation) should be copyrighted against theft, leaving the working mechanics of implementation to each developer. This solves many problems. 
    Royfbtmaymagman1979netmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 622member
    So obvious nobody else was doing it before, and Apple has already replaced it with something else after. Obviously there was no other way to unlock a device >roll eyes<

    Tho personally I don't think software (ideas) should be patentable -- instead code (implementation) should be copyrighted against theft, leaving the working mechanics of implementation to each developer. This solves many problems. 
    I think the obviousness of the slide-to-unlock feature (as described by claim 8 of Apple's '721 patent) is arguable.

    That said, what's important here is that it's a finding of fact properly (and as required by our Constitution) left to the jury. The jury heard about the prior art and heard conflicting expert testimony regarding the claim's obviousness in light of that prior art. It was also instructed on the legal standards that apply when it comes to determining obviousness in this context. Then the jury found that Apple's patent claim was not obvious. That conclusion was, I think, one which a reasonable jury could reach. It was supported by substantial evidence even if a contrary conclusion might also have been supported by substantial evidence. That's what matters. In the U.S. we have a right to have juries decided such things and, under most circumstances, have their decisions respected by appeals courts. The en banc Federal Circuit properly refused to substitute its own judgment for that of the jury on that finding of fact.
    netmageradarthekat
  • Reply 8 of 18
    Many great inventions seem obvious in hindsight. Just saying you can't patent something because it's obvious is ridiculous.  The wheel seems obvious in hindsight but I took millennia to invent, and  it was never independently invented in the New World. Often years of research and millions of dollars goes into inventing what seems to be obvious after it ends up in the shipping product.
    jbdragongeorgie01netmageradarthekat
  • Reply 9 of 18
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,769member
    mubaili said:
    everything is obviousness in hindsight
    So sliding a bar to unlock a barn door or a latch to lock/unlock a bathroom stall didn't exist before 2007? Perhaps Apple had some unique implementation that only they could ever have thought of. Other than that slide to unlock was obvious way before iPhone existed.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,769member

    Many great inventions seem obvious in hindsight. Just saying you can't patent something because it's obvious is ridiculous.  The wheel seems obvious in hindsight but I took millennia to invent, and  it was never independently invented in the New World. Often years of research and millions of dollars goes into inventing what seems to be obvious after it ends up in the shipping product.
    I dunno I think the patent system is crazy sometimes. Like Amazon's one click buy button. Seriously?
  • Reply 11 of 18
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,889member
    Ironic that Apple has stopped using slide to unlock. I find myself missing that aspect of the UI with my iPad Air since it lacks touchID. 

    But I can see how for all devices with touchID, slide to unlock probably isn't optimal. 


    netmage
  • Reply 12 of 18
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,778member
    mubaili said:
    everything is obviousness in hindsight
    So sliding a bar to unlock a barn door or a latch to lock/unlock a bathroom stall didn't exist before 2007? Perhaps Apple had some unique implementation that only they could ever have thought of. Other than that slide to unlock was obvious way before iPhone existed.
    Why would it be obvious to create a simulated barn-door bolt on a glass screen that does not use physics to hold itself closed the way a slid bolt holds a door in place since it is neither a door nor holding anything closed? that...doesn't...make...any...sense. More obvious would be a button or tap-based action. 
    edited April 2017 netmagepropodradarthekatwatto_cobramacgui
  • Reply 13 of 18
    mubaili said:
    everything is obviousness in hindsight
    So sliding a bar to unlock a barn door or a latch to lock/unlock a bathroom stall didn't exist before 2007? Perhaps Apple had some unique implementation that only they could ever have thought of. Other than that slide to unlock was obvious way before iPhone existed.

      aaaahh  but it isn't a barn door or door of any kind. It's merely a graphical representation of a slider... it's the software and the technology behind it that is unique. Rockets and airplanes go up into the sky, and people have been throwing rocks up in the air for a long time. It's the technology behind trying to throw a satellite up in the air  that differentiates it from throwing a  rock. 
    netmageradarthekat
  • Reply 14 of 18
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,423member
    mubaili said:
    everything is obviousness in hindsight
    So sliding a bar to unlock a barn door or a latch to lock/unlock a bathroom stall didn't exist before 2007? Perhaps Apple had some unique implementation that only they could ever have thought of. Other than that slide to unlock was obvious way before iPhone existed.
    Seriously?  smh...
    netmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 18
    Yes sliding existed before the iPhone, but there is meant to be some level of protection for novel combinations of ideas. Take the Zune and the S3 as examples, both are devices that are highly similar to Apple's offerings at the time. Yet for the time both designs felt "obvious" and un-worthwhile of protection. It's a simple fact that good design feels obvious, in interactive devices it is the leading virtue of design. However "plain" and "obvious" alone isn't excuses for ripping off a design, especially to such shameless extents, because there are a limitless number of obvious designs if one actually bothers to design them.
    netmageradarthekat
  • Reply 16 of 18
    spice-boy said:
    I wonder if the original dial on telephones was patented or not. Ask anyone born after 1995 to use one to make a call and you will see how un-obvious it was.  
    As an old telegraph operator once communicated to a friend after seeing his first rotary dial telephone:

    -.. .- -. --. / --. .- -- -- .. - / .. / -.-. --- ..- .-.. -.. -. .----. - / ..-. .. -. -.. / .- / -.- -. --- -... / - --- / - .- .--.
    tallest skil
  • Reply 17 of 18
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,718member
    spice-boy said:
    I wonder if the original dial on telephones was patented or not. Ask anyone born after 1995 to use one to make a call and you will see how un-obvious it was.  
    As an old telegraph operator once communicated to a friend after seeing his first rotary dial telephone:

    -.. .- -. --. / --. .- -- -- .. - / .. / -.-. --- ..- .-.. -.. -. .----. - / ..-. .. -. -.. / .- / -.- -. --- -... / - --- / - .- .--.
    "DANG GAMMIT I COULDN'T FIND A KNOB TO TAP"

    *Translation courtesy of our old friend:  http://morsecode.scphillips.com/translator.html
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 18 of 18
    Film@11[email protected] Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Many great inventions seem obvious in hindsight. Just saying you can't patent something because it's obvious is ridiculous.  The wheel seems obvious in hindsight but I took millennia to invent, and  it was never independently invented in the New World. Often years of research and millions of dollars goes into inventing what seems to be obvious after it ends up in the shipping product.
    As it turns out, the ancient meso-americans did invent the wheel independently.  Just google "mesoamerican wheeled toys".
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