When the US Supreme Court decided the Alice v. CLS Bank case last month, it was a signal that courts should be throwing out a lot more patents for being too abstract to be legally valid. Groups seeking patent reform and tech companies rejoiced, hoping the decision would knock out more of the patents wielded by so-called “patent trolls,” whose only business is litigation.
In legal papers (PDF), Samsung argues that both patents are attempts to “claim an abstract idea, implemented with generic computer functions that do not state any technical innovation.”
The search patent describes using “heuristics,” which an Apple witness described at trial as simply being “good ideas,” to “locate information in multiple locations.” Slide-to-unlock, meanwhile, “covers nothing more than the idea of moving an image to unlock the device.” Everything else in the key patent claim is generic computer language. “This simply is not enough to qualify for patent protection post-Alice,” write Samsung lawyers. “Both claims are invalid as a matter of law.”
Summary: Apple continues to misuse patents as a tool of competitive advantage, relying in part on a biased US corporations-run system (USPTO and ITC) or courts (CAFC)
AS WE SHOWED earlier this month, the US patent office has been exceptionally friendly towards Apple, not the Korean giant, Samsung. The USPTO (and by extension ITC) is one of those pseudo-public institutions that are run by US corporations, not impartial actors. Those are are friendly towards Apple have financial reasons to be like that.
It was very recently reported that Apple patents ideas that relate to stuff which already exists from Samsung but not from Apple. Since the patent system checks what’s already filed rather than what exists in the world/market, this type of abuse is allowed. Apple is basically allowed to patent what the rivals have (and have not patented), then copy the rivals and block their products (e.g. ITC embargo on imports). Watch this ITC war that Apple started. It’s failing badly, but it is still unjust. “Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.,” says this report, “on Friday agreed to drop their appeals of a patent-infringement case at the US International Trade Commission (ITC) that resulted in an import ban on some older model Samsung phones. Samsung has been seeking to overturn the ban, while Apple was trying to revive other patent claims it had lost. The import ban will remain in effect, according to a filing with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Last month both companies blamed each other for their inability to reach a global settlement. Appeals of district court cases between Apple and Samsung are still pending.”
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is a corrupt sham. It should cease to have any impact on law and it is highly predicable (barely surprising) that it let Apple make all this mess. As one respectable site put it, Apple’s patent wars may in fact be “a Marketing Strategy”, pretending that Apple invented everything despite its founder’s admission that it copies a lot from other companies. To quote the analysis: “The latest battle in the three-year long Apple-Samsung patent saga concluded few weeks ago. In contrast to previous litigation between the two tech-giants—which revolved on the overall look of the phones—this case focused around autocomplete, tap-from-search and slide-to-unlock software. Despite the technical nature of these innovations, there are a few broad managerial lessons that have emerged from this prominent patent case.”
Further down it says: “The Apple-Samsung patent war illustrates how patent litigation has impacts that go far beyond stopping a specific firm from copying a particular technology. This narrow view overlooks the effect it has on brands, and on other competitors not named in the suits. In considering their own IP strategy and in responding to litigation, managers can benefit from thinking more broadly about patent wars and recognizing their multiple effects.”
Apple is a shameful embargo company that copies others, then tries to ban them. Apple relies on an inherently corrupt and biased legal system in the US. Those who have not yet chosen to boycott Apple should think about what Apple does to innovation and fair competition. Remember that all those devices that Apple fights against are based on Linux. █
“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”
Summary: Apple is reportedly trying to start a new wave of patent attacks on Android/Linux — a plan which failed after misconduct at the legal system had been made publicly known
The USPTO not only lost the ability to protect its reputation; this long-lost reputation or credibility loss is bound to get worse because scope is expanding and the number of approved patents is rising, to the point where almost every application is successful at one point or another (e.g. after resubmission). Recent numbers showed just how bad it was getting all around.
There is a good new article where a conflict of interest has led to a judge stepping down, proving perhaps that in the area of patents we rely on people in gown ideologically deciding on stuff with their dogma and vested interests.
The USPTO’s conflicts of interest (e.g. profit from patents) and conflicts of interest in the courtroom (e.g. Jury moles) may be beneficial to Apple at one stage or another, but if justice prevails one way or another (eventually), then Apple’s war on Android will always fail miserably at the end. █
Samsung and Apple have been in the courts for years (only lawyers won). Apple started it all because Apple is silly and it was headed by an arrogant man at the time. To quote HBR:
Look out across today’s ultra-competitive smartphone market and you’ll see something resembling the religious wars of the Middle Ages. This is no quaint summer-weekend reenactment. The weapons being brandished are devilishly constructed patents; the rules of engagement the arcane procedures of federal courts. And the havoc being wreaked — in higher prices, banned devices, and stifled innovation — is laying waste to the industry landscape.
The central battle pits Apple against everyone and everything involved with Android, Google’s open source operating system.
Android’s release, for Apple’s late founder and CEO Steve Jobs, was the ultimate heresy. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to,” Jobs is quoted as saying in a series of jeremiads, “and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40bn in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”
And so Apple has. Between 2006 and 2012, the company was involved, sometimes as plaintiff and sometimes as defendant, in nearly 150 patent lawsuits around the world over various features of its iPhone — including hardware, software, and product design.
Like the religious wars of old, a complex web of alliances, side agreements, and mutual defense pacts have conspired to draw the entire industry into open warfare. Sony is suing LG. Nokia is suing HTC. Motorola (owned by Google since 2011) is suing and being sued by everyone.
Apple Inc and Google Inc’s Motorola Mobility unit have agreed to settle all patent litigation between them over smartphone technology, ending one of the highest profile lawsuits in technology.
In a joint statement on Friday, the companies said the settlement does not include a cross license to their respective patents.
“Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform,” the statement said.
Apple and companies that make phones using Google’s Android software have filed dozens of such lawsuits against each other around the world to protect their technology. Apple argued that Android phones that use Google software copy its iPhones.
It is starting to look like Apple is admitting defeat and abandoning Jobs’ aggressive legacy. It is worth noting that Apple has launched no new major cases since Jobs died. It is a good sign because it may mean that Apple as an aggressor in the courtroom might be a dead legacy. █
Summary: Steve Jobs and his ‘genius’ plan of starting “thermonuclear” war against Linux/Android turns out to be a colossal failure
Two companies, namely Apple and Samsung, command the lion’s share of the mobile market, so it should come as no surprise that there is fierce rivalry there. But Apple was the company which chose to start with lawsuits, perhaps realising even years ago that it was losing to Android on several fronts, including smartphones and tablets. Apple first sued HTC (which had few patents) and later took on the giant Samsung, which had a huge number of patents and also produced components for Apple. Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung was in many ways a sign of desperation and at the same time arrogance (claiming that the manufacturer and innovator was “copying” Apple). Google is like Apple in the sense that it doesn’t really manufacture anything, but it works on software and has got hardware partners. Samsung is doing a whole load of stuff, with staff that’s like 10 times (an order of magnitude) bigger than Google’s and Apple’s. Production helps make it all happen. Google focuses on server-side development/hosting and Apple does marketing.
When it comes to the mobile market, another non-hardware-producing company exists but hardly counts. That company is Microsoft and unlike Apple and Google, it is a loss leader. It’s an utter failure, subsidised in part by governments for snooping, back doors, etc. Here is a new article about Microsoft:
Microsoft‘s hopes of establishing a sizeable presence in the tablet market continue to be thwarted, new figures reveal.
And it seems as though Microsoft loses money on every Surface it sells, despite the relatively high retail price of the machines.
Notice this towards the end: “Chitika analysed the tablet web usage habits of tens of millions of North Americans found that Surface users generated a slightly greater share of their total online traffic during working hours when compared to iPad or Android tablet users.”
It probably means that those using a Microsoft-branded product are forced by employers to use it. To Microsoft, litigation against Android (often by proxy) is the only resort left, or racketeering tactics which attempt to make Android a cash cow of Microsoft.
What’s noteworthy at the moment is the outcome of this trial, which granted Apple only 5% (i.e. only cents on each Samsung device sold) of the amount of money it wanted to grab from Samsung. As one report put it:
The Cupertino company can notch a second win, but with far less damages than it requested. Apple wanted $2.2 billion, and the jury awarded it $119.6 million, or just over 5 percent of what Apple had requested.
Summary: Software patents make an appearance in Europe again, this time in FRAND form
SOMETHING troubling has happened in the Apple vs. Samsung case, which is how Microsoft’s subversive club of Android foes (Nokia, Apple, and Microsoft plus smaller trolls for the most part) has been trying to make Android expensive, undermining its principal selling point, The patent-stacking battle, which Microsoft has been wittingly and visibly involved it (Microsoft supports Apple and Oracle of course), now reaches a phase of EU intervention:
EU moves to end smartphone patent wars in landmark ruling
The ruling will help to draw a line under long-running feuds between smartphone makers
Apple propaganda sites have been covering this case, saying that “jurors deciding the outcome of the second Apple vs Samsung trial haven’t yet returned a verdict, but their options are limited to a few possible outcomes, ranging from a fiery thermonuclear blast to a wintery new Dark Ages.”
The European Union is stopping Apple and Samsung from suing each other for patent infringement.
Unfortunately, its “solution” is a terrible mistake: imposing “reasonable and nondiscriminatory” terms. In practice, this means patent licenses that discriminate against free software by charging license fees per copy, which free software developers can’t possibly pay. There is nothing “reasonable” about that.
FRAND, as we have argued for years, is a Trojan horse for software patents in the EU and elsewhere. We need to reject this. Ideally, the EU should just send Apple and its “thermonuclear” ambitions somewhere far away — a place where the Sun won’t shine. Apple is the aggressor here and it is part of a broader plot to undermine Android and Linux rather than outwit or provide technical competition. █
Summary: Samsung’s proximity and increasing control of Tizen is another reason to avoid Tizen, not just Samsung
LONG before Samsung was really into Linux there were numerous efforts to bring Linux to mobile. It’s a shame that one of the largest such efforts is now controlled by Intel/Samsung but officially steered by the Linux Foundation, which is funded by those companies that help Microsoft. By far the biggest player, however, remains Android, which is also based on Linux (some journalists don’t seem to know that Android has Linux in it  and others overlook the contribution of Alien Dalvik back in MeeGo’s days ). There are numerous articles about Samsung’s adoption of Tizen as an important platform [3-5], but none of them offers a critical take on Samsung’s special relationship with Microsoft.
CBS had a lot of coverage regarding the latest Samsung phone [6-8] which increasingly involves the likes of Intel . The coverage in Muktware [10,11] focused on the features and release date, but there too there was no criticism of Samsung, which increasingly imitates the bad side of Apple.
The bottom line is, Samsung has too much control of Tizen and only to a lesser degree of Android. This is not a good thing; Samsung never cared about freedom, instead emphasising DRM and other such negative aspects of technology. This issue merits an open discussion. █
Tizen has a long road ahead in terms of matching Android in apps or popularity. Quite frankly, that happening is very unlikely. Of course, many would have said BlackBerry was unbeatable years ago, so never say never.
With a simple click, the Polaris App Generator software is able to wrap an Android APK and convert it to a Tizen OS executable file. This means developers don’t have to pour additional resources into manually porting their apps.
The long wait for a major Tizen OS device is finally over, and it’s a…smartwatch? At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Samsung skipped the unveiling of its first Tizen smartphone, and instead rolled out a trio of Tizen-based wrist computers: the Gear 2, Gear Neo, and Gear Fit. Due to ship in April, the devices are lighter and more stylish than Samsung’s Android-based Galaxy Gear.
The much-anticipated Galaxy S5 is finally here! After months of rumors and leaks, Samsung unveiled the successor to the Galaxy S4 at a press conference at Mobile World Conference (MWC) 2014 in Barcelona. Though it’s a minor evolution of the Galaxy S4, the new phone packs a sharp 5.1-inch screen, a faster, 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM and a 16-megapixel camera. Taking cue from the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, the smartphone is also waterproof. It features a new fingerprint scanner similar to the iPhone 5S.
We’ve waited for this moment for quite some time, but now the S5 has officially been revealed. Samsung’s latest offering comes with a 5.1″ 1920 x 1080p screen, 2GB of RAM, 16 or 32GB of storage plus the ability to host a Micro SD card. Android 4.4.2 is on board as expected, and it sports a 2.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon process (not sure of 800, 801 or 805).
Summary: How Samsung/Tizen and Jolla/Sailfish continue a tradition started with LiPS, LiMo, Moblin, Maemo, etc.
NOKIA is dying in Microsoft's hands and is now turning to Android for intrusion. It turned out that the “burning platform” which Elop had famously spoken about was actually Microsoft’s platform, not MeeGo or some of Nokia’s other Linux-based OS attempts (in addition to Symbian). Linux always gets its way, especially when the code is free and cannot be buried.
Sadly enough it is actually a company that pays Microsoft for Linux (Samsung, not Amazon, an Android ‘forker’ which does this too ) taking over much of MeeGo with the project now called Tizen. Jolla is a small company; it can’t match the size of Samsung. While this company develops some cutting-edge hardware [2,3] it turns out that it increasingly standardises on Tizen for gadgets [4,5].
It didn’t make its intended launch window of the 2013 holiday shopping season, but Amazon’s web TV set-top box is apparently still very much on the roadmap. Recode reports word from multiple sources today that Amazon is aiming for a March rollout of its Apple TV and Roku competitor. Having invested in developing a rich and varied Prime Instant Video library, Amazon has done a good job of distributing that content across platforms, but there are obvious benefits to the web company controlling and selling its own hardware.
A mere six months after the introduction of the Galaxy Gear, Samsung is returning to the smartwatch market with two new models: the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. Announced at Mobile World Congress today, the new watches remain faithful to the original’s look, but make a number of substantial alterations as well. The disappearance of the Galaxy branding is indicative of the biggest change: Android has been replaced by Tizen as the operating system on Samsung’s smartwatches.