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05.12.18

Companies in the Red Resort to Patent Litigation Rather Than Creation

Posted in America, Apple, Asia, Patents, Samsung at 10:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coolpad
Reference: Coolpad

Summary: A little update about patent litigation involving Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi and even the dying Coolpad

THE DEMISE of BlackBerry (like a hundred-fold decline in terms of revenue) has meant that it is being reduced — however gradually — into a patent troll. The company’s patent activities are being noted in this new article, “What’s Driving Our $11 Price Estimate For BlackBerry?”

But BlackBerry isn’t alone because Apple follows its footsteps and so did Nokia. Florian Müller spent years keeping abreast of Apple and Samsung patent disputes and just before the weekend he covered the latest twist, citing that old judgment from the courts of the Northern District of California (in anticipation of another):

We’re just days away from yet another Apple v. Samsung trial in the Northern District of California. IT’s a re-retrial over damages, following a trial, a retrial, Samsung’s successful appeal to the Supreme Court and various other procedural steps on the way back to where we are. By the way, the dispute started more than seven years ago (mid-April 2011).

Judge Koh’s final jury instructions will inform the jury of the relevant factors for the article-of-manufacture determination. If the jury determines the relevant AoM is an entire smartphone, Apple gets a huge damages award. If the jury concludes the casing/screen is more reasonable, then the amount will be less extreme amount, but still a chunk of money.

[...]

“Determinative” is not part of everyday language, but it isn’t too uncommon either. Reasonably educated people should figure out what it does mean and what it doesn’t. Numerous other passages of the preliminary and final jury instructions contain words that jurors may misunderstand in similar ways as Apple fears.

The parties couldn’t agree, so Judge Koh will have to decide. Technically, “not determinative” is simply accurate. In colloquial language, one could add a few words like “in their own right,” though one could also argue that any additional words could create confusion, too.

Generally speaking, Judge Koh’s proposed preliminary and final jury instructions combined don’t really tell the jury much about how to make the article-of-manufacture determination. For an example, the amicus curiae brief filed by the Obama Administration with the Supreme Court contains additional helpful guidance that Judge Koh could, but apparently won’t, provide to the jury.

There’s an additional article about it: [via Müller]

The U.S. District Court for Northern California will be rehearing arguments next week in a major design patent case between the two tech giants Apple and Samsung. The case could very well be a turning point for the future of the tech industry. Major technology companies have largely weighed in on the side of Samsung as the industry worries about the long term impact of the case and its potential to empower a new breed of design patent trolls and encourage more litigation.

Apple Inc. launched a tense legal fight over whether some design features of its iPhone were infringed upon by Samsung devices. The dispute resulted in a longstanding legal dispute which eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Apple argued that it could claim remedies equivalent to the total profits of an entire smartphone if even one design patent was found to infringe. This awarding of total profits came from a 19th century law written long before a multifunctional device as complex as a smartphone could be imagined.

Watchtroll, a site friendly to the litigation ‘industry’, has publishedApple v. Samsung Retrial: An Opportunity to Finally Clarify Design Patent Law” (there’s no lack of clarify, they’re just protesting the status quo, as usual).

Another site of patent maximalists took note of this lawsuit against Apple — one that we covered last weekend and the week before that. “Apple has built its success on innovative products,” it said. “It has sought to protect this innovation through patents and registered designs. Apple is no stranger to asserting its patents and designs against its competitors but it is also regularly on the receiving end of third parties asserting their patents.”

Well, Apple isn’t particularly innovative; it just tells this lie to itself and to its hardcore ‘followers’ (loyal clients), who perpetuate such myths. It’s true that Apple uses patents on designs — not mere trademarks — to go after rivals, including Samsung. We spent years ranting about several such examples. There was nothing innovative about these designs; some were downright laughable — something that a young child could easily some up with in a matter of minutes.

Earlier today Müller looked eastwards again and took note of patent lawsuits by China’s government-connected giant (Huawei) versus Korea’s giant, which isn’t so government-connected because South Korea is capitalist, not Communist. He spoke of what Huawei had done in the US using patents:

Procedurally, this is an appeal to the Federal Circuit, based on the rule that any case involving at least one patent infringement claim must be appealed to the Federal Circuit, which, however, applies the law of the regional circuit in question if an issue is not about patent law in a strict sense (infringement, validity etc.). So in this case, the Federal Circuit will act as if it were the Ninth Circuit–or at least it will try to.

[...]

As for political/diplomatic implications (also called “international comity”), it’s actually a positive thing for Samsung in this case that it’s not a U.S. company. In some other cases, such as Apple v. Samsung, it would benefit from it, but in this dispute with Huawei and in times of “trade war,” it’s a good thing that this is a dispute between foreign companies–and let’s not forget that the Northern District of California was Huawei’s venue choice when it brought its cross-jurisdictional complaints.

Earlier this year we said that China's patent policy would drive out companies not only from the US but also from Korea (LG for instance). There’a also a number of disputes among Chinese firms, so it causes domestic feuds (waste of commercial resources). The following is not the start of it, but it is the latest example where a company is trying to ban actual products of another company (Coolpad v Xiaomi):

After noticing intellectual property right violations three months ago, Coolpad notified Xiaomi and since the latter hasn’t yet taken any action, Coolpad has requested that eight Xiaomi devices be recalled from the market. In addition to that, the company also wants compensation for economic losses resulting from patent infringement.

Coolpad filed the lawsuit through Yulong Computer Technology, their subsidiary company, at the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court. One of the patents behind this controversy is related to software, being termed as ‘method for implementing call record interface system of multi-mode mobile communication terminal,’ as per MyDrivers. Other infringements relate to app icon management, notifications and the system’s user interface (UI).

Here is another report about that:

Coolpad has filed a lawsuit against Xiaomi regarding patent infringement. From a hint revealed by the company’s CEO, it was thought that the lawsuit has been settled outside the court. But that’s not the case. Coolpad has come up with an announcement that the lawsuit it filed against Xiaomi is before the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court. Notably, the lawsuit has been filed by Yulong Computer Technology, its subsidiary.

At the top of this post we included a summary sheet of Coolpad because we are hoping to show the reason for such a dead-end strategy. If Coolpad cannot sell much anymore, then perhaps it’s thinking of just taxing other company’s products.

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