03.22.16

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Design/Software Patents Next on the Supreme Court’s Agenda as Android/Linux Case Escalated to Highest Possible Level

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Patents, Samsung at 3:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wasting valuable courts’ time on some silly patents that are neither novel nor nontrivial (prior art below)

Gates

Summary: The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is going to deal with inane Apple patents that are being used in an effort to make billions of dollars (‘Apple tax’) out of a Linux-based operating system (Android) which competes against Apple’s

TECHRIGHTS has among its primary goals the abolition of software patents and the success of FOSS, which is ascending in Europe these days. This would be beneficial to software developers and probably for the public as a whole. The losers? Probably patent lawyers and their biggest clients, who refer to their patent portfolio as a “war chest”.

“We believe that real change can come from the courts, especially the high ones, which everyone must follow.”We recognise that significant change hardly comes from politicians anymore, as they are nowadays funded (especially in the United States) by the aforementioned “biggest clients”. We believe that real change can come from the courts, especially the high ones, which everyone must follow. Consider the long-awaited SCOTUS appeal regarding an Android case. Can SCOTUS bury so-called ‘design’ patents, which are essentially akin to software patents (usually a GUI with some buttons and unspecified callback functions for behaviour)? After Alice, which changed a lot, we sure hope so.

We have been covering Apple’s attacks on Android/Linux since the very beginning (the Apple vs HTC case). It’s still being dragged on, even several years after the death of Steve Jobs, which says a lot about Apple (they are still an aggressive patenting company). The expected decision on whether it shall be dealt with by SCOTUS was scheduled for Monday, after some people waited in vain on Friday. This has been covered to death in the media by now, so we won’t bore our readers with yet more of the mundane pertinent details (we covered these before anyway, including the laughable patents at hand [1, 2]).

“It’s still being dragged on, even several years after the death of Steve Jobs, which says a lot about Apple (they are still an aggressive patenting company).”To give just a short media survey/roundup, Spicy IP oddly enough chose to focus on another case. It said: “We’ve been given to believe that the Roche vs Cipla appeal came up at the Supreme Court today.”

An article by Joe Mullin, on the other hand, noted: “Are design patents for “carpets and wall-papers and oil-cloths” or smartphones?”

Korean English-speaking media said the obvious, FOSS proponents like SJVN spread the news early on, and maybe hundreds if not thousands of media outlets wrote about this as well. To quote SJVN: “Years in the making, the Supreme Court has agreed to listen to Samsung’s appeal of Apple’s design patent awards. [...] At first it looked like Apple won its design patent wars over Samsung. As time went on, that “victory” started looking more like a defeat as Samsung won its appeals. Now, Apple is in even more trouble. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has elected to hear Samsung’s appeal of the $548-million award lower courts gave Apple.”

“The expected decision on whether it shall be dealt with by SCOTUS was scheduled for Monday, after some people waited in vain on Friday.”To quote Florian Müller, who used to be a FOSS opponent (Microsoft/Horacio Gutierrez paid him for this) but later seemed to have flipped back to pro-FOSS, he wrote: “The Supreme Court of the United States has just published a decision it had already made on Friday (March 18): Samsung’s December 2015 petition for writ of certiorari (request for Supreme Court review) in Apple’s design patents case has been GRANTED with respect to question 2 (damages). As a result, the Apple v. Samsung damages re-retrial scheduled to begin later this month in the Northern District of California is almost certainly going to be postponed indefinitely, as Apple is seeking unapportioned infringer’s profits on all five products still at issue and won’t be entitled to that if Samsung prevails in the top U.S. court.”

“For my take on why design patents were neglected for such a long (and crucial) time,” wrote this person to Müller (whose expertise is this one particular case), linking to the paper about design patents. To quote part of the abstract: “This project, initially published as a two-part series of articles entitled ‘Design and Deviance: Patent as Symbol, Rhetoric as Metric,’ reveals the unrecognized power of gender and sexuality norms in the deep discourse of pivotal American case law on design patents.”

“A re-retrial was scheduled to take place in California in a week,” Müller wrote. “In light of the Supreme Court decision I’m sure Judge Koh will cancel it.”

The reason we quote Müller so extensively about this particular case is that, with respect, he did follow this case for many years. He later added:

  • “Apple’s lawyers filed 10 pages to tell Judge Koh the re-retrial should go ahead despite SCOTUS cert presenting risk of re-re-re-retrial…” (source)
  • “Now, I understand Apple’s lawyers in the sense they want to just dismiss Samsung’s Supreme Court case and say “hey, they ain’t gonna win it”” (source)
  • “But when a case has already had a trial and a retrial, and needs a re-retrial, then the judge won’t take the risk of a re-re-retrial.” (source)
  • “I actually thought it was not a bad thing to have a Korean-American judge in charge to understand cultures, documents etc.” (source)
  • “What I accuse her of is upholding ultraweak patents. Injunctions: granted some, denied some, appeals court was moving target.” (source)

“Watch how some patent lawyers view things. It’s all about money to them (even a crude picture of dollars).”Here is an analysis by a Professor of Law (journalists tend to be clueless about these matters) and Patently-O‘s take from Jason Rantanen and Professor Crouch, who looks for some input through a survey.

Levy from CCIA (lobbying) wrote: “CCIA argued to the Court that this interpretation overreached in an unconstitutional way, and that the correct interpretation could be found by looking at a related statute, the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act.” Rob Lever, a journalist, said that: “The US Supreme Court on Monday opened the door to reducing the hundreds of millions of dollars in damages owed by Samsung to Apple in the blockbuster patent case between the world’s biggest smartphone makers.”

“We look forward to following the case and hopefully we shall see Apple walking away with nothing.”Watch how some patent lawyers view things. It’s all about money to them (even a crude picture of dollars). To quote a part of it: “It is penny-wise and pound-foolish to scrimp on “preparation and prosecution” of patents—which if the invention is any good, will be infringed and attacked—and then to spend hundreds of millions on patent infringement and validity and damages litigation and appeals.”

We look forward to following the case and hopefully we shall see Apple walking away with nothing. As usual, only the lawyers are guaranteed to win.

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