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10.08.12

Misconduct in Apple Litigation Against Android Discredits Patents, Courts

Posted in Apple, Patents at 11:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

William Sydney Porter, who coined the phrase “banana republic”

William Sydney Porter

Summary: The ugly details about a pro-Apple verdict and some related news about a decaying system controlled by multi-national corporations

Articles about misconduct in Apple’s trial against Android say that “Samsung Seeks New Trial, Accuses Foreman Hogan Of Implied Bias” and “Samsung claims foreman lied about his past to get on Apple v. Samsung jury”. Jury of cultists?

“This is what happens when litigation becomes a business strategy.”Groklaw, an in-depth research site, looks closer at “More Unredacted Documents… Re Foreman, “Proof” of “Copying” That Isn’t” and this seems likely to become horrible PR for Apple and for the legal system. Jones writes: “The judge in the Apple v. Samsung case ordered more documents unsealed and unredacted, and so there is another mountain of filings that previously were redacted and are now publicly available in full. When you see “Filing is Sealed” on them, you can ignore it. It’s no longer the case. And while many of the new filings are dated as filed this month, if they say “Unredacted”, they are actually older documents now being refiled in an unredacted state, so a lot of the discovery arguments you’ll see on the list are already ruled on. We also learn some new details about the foreman from his bankruptcy that raise additional questions in my mind.

“As for what’s new, the parties are, as usual, going at each other in every possible way in every nook and cranny of the post-trial motions. Samsung points out that the judge told the parties to restrict their filings regarding a permanent injunction and enhanced damages to 30 pages. Apple instead helped itself to extra pages, Samsung says, by attaching a gazillion exhibits and declarations. The motion for enhancements was filed under seal originally, but you can read the public version [PDF], and if you go to this page, you’ll see for yourself all the exhibits attached to docket number 1982 and the declarations in support that follow, numbered from 1983, which has more exhibits, to number 1986. Samsung has a point. And so Samsung wants some portions of the declarations cut, and it presents a list of proposed cuts, also asking for expedited briefing.”

Apple is meanwhile getting more software patents and getting sued for violating some [1, 2, 3]. This sort of hypocrisy was covered here before.

This is what happens when litigation becomes a business strategy.

“Sony has many patents, so going to patent war against it would not be wise.”Andy Oram, a proponent of software patents (but whose opinion might be changing on this), spoke to Keith Bergelt, who then says that “OIN has spent millions of dollars to purchase patents that uniquely enable Linux and open source and have helped free software vendors and developers understand and prepare to defend against lawsuits.”

This is not the solution. It might be fine for giants like Sony, but what about SMBs? To quote Reuters, “Sony Mobile, which uses Google Android software for its smartphones, has not seen much impact from patent problems of the software platform.”

Sony has many patents, so going to patent war against it would not be wise.

Google is patenting software as well. Bad stuff, but business as usual in the US. Software patents are granted there without shame [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. It’s a bragging right. Newspapers treat it like a national sport as if monopolies are trophies. Never mind if it is a monopoly on ways to save lives.

Michael J. Miller says that “Software Patents Mean More Litigation, Less Innovation” (in IDG and also in other networks) and disdain of the patent system as a whole becomes very publishable (we omit many such articles that criticise the patent system because of Apple alone).

The legal system as a whole suffers a PR crisis after juror misconduct in the case against Android. Let’s not forget this other important case: “I suppose that “any and all other orders and rulings adverse to Oracle” language might be an umbrella intended to include the denial of its JMOL motion, actuallly, now that I’m reading the wording carefully. But what they really care about is getting a ruling that Java APIs are copyrightable, including “structure, sequence, and organization of the accused 37 Java API packages”. That was their claim against Google, that it infringed those interfaces. Here’s the order Oracle didn’t like on that point (Docket No. 1211).

“Appeals matter, as you can see.

“The legal system as a whole suffers a PR crisis after juror misconduct in the case against Android.”“I hope you also see why politicians are currently trying their best to stack the courts with judges who see things their way. People who want to win no matter how, and who believe in might-makes-right, view it as a great solution. But I hope you see why it is so important to keep politics out of the courts. What is the point of having a judicial system where you get rubber-stamped, political results, rather than results based on the facts of your case? It makes a mockery of the concept of blind justice, not to mention Constitutional principles, meaning not looking at who the parties are but just evenly treating all comers, based on the law and the facts.”

See? Even a legal site like Groklaw is fed up. Professor Larry Lessig recently gave a major speech about how the occupation of lawyers became tied up to corporate interests (working for companies) rather than people. It’s a systemic corruption. He too calls it “corruption”. As apocalyptic as it may sound, perhaps the best chance for elimination of software patents in the US is a serious collapse of the whole system.

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4 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    October 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Gravatar

    Jury of cultists?

    Assuming they were a part of the “Free” cult, how would this *help* Apple? That makes no sense.

    In any case, the fact Samsung copied Apple was well known before the trial – though the trial uncovered even *more* evidence (and more direct and damning evidence).

    Samsung copied Apple – this is not in question.

  2. Michael said,

    October 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Gravatar

    Oh, and “See? Even a legal site like Groklaw is fed up.”

    That is a joke, right?

  3. mcinsand said,

    October 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Gravatar

    This wasn’t only damning to the patent system and the courts, but it also showed just how far Apple is willing to sink in order to support the myth that Samsung copied them. The unredacted text that is now unsealed from Samsung’s internal meetings shows where the internal drive was, and it was to innovate, rather than copy… and, if you’re going to hunt for innovation in the phone market, Android pretty well has a monopoly on that for the present time. Apple had to work overtime to cut an paste from those meeting minutes to a dishonest degree in order to create ‘evidence’ of copying.

    HOWEVER, we have seen some evidence of copying recently, and it is clear. Until the iPhone 5, it was easy to tell the boxy, small iPhones from the rest of the smartphone market. When I was at a smartphone display last week to see the iP5, it was amazing how much it looked like… the Samsung Galaxy. I think we can see just who is slavishly copying who, just like the ideas that Apple stole from the Samsung Diamond Touch!

    Michael Reply:

    This wasn’t only damning to the patent system and the courts, but it also showed just how far Apple is willing to sink in order to support the myth that Samsung copied them.

    There is no "myth" here – the evidence that Samsung copied Apple is overwhelming. It can be seen in the devices themselves, the power supplies, the marketing material, the boxes, etc. And from the trial: screen by screen comparisons describing what they wanted to copy from Apple!

    The unredacted text that is now unsealed from Samsung’s internal meetings shows where the internal drive was, and it was to innovate, rather than copy… and, if you’re going to hunt for innovation in the phone market, Android pretty well has a monopoly on that for the present time. Apple had to work overtime to cut an paste from those meeting minutes to a dishonest degree in order to create ‘evidence’ of copying.

    I would love to see you try to back that.

    HOWEVER, we have seen some evidence of copying recently, and it is clear. Until the iPhone 5, it was easy to tell the boxy, small iPhones from the rest of the smartphone market. When I was at a smartphone display last week to see the iP5, it was amazing how much it looked like… the Samsung Galaxy. I think we can see just who is slavishly copying who, just like the ideas that Apple stole from the Samsung Diamond Touch!

    Again: do you have anything to back that? I suspect not.

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