Printed from http://www.electronista.com

Samsung capitulates, will modify phones to avoid Apple ban

updated 11:18 am EDT, Tue August 28, 2012

Will continue fight to overturn or appeal patent verdict

Samsung, facing possible US sales injunctions against a range of products that generate billions of dollars in US sales annually, is talking to carriers about feature removals and workarounds along with design modifications on some of its smartphones in an effort to keep the products available to US customers. It will also pursue court remedies against the overwhelming victory scored by Apple in the recent patent trial, but will modify products in the meantime.

Samsung says it already has workarounds for two of the patents it was found to be guilty of infringing that are found in a number of products, most importantly the popular Galaxy S II smartphone, which is sold by all major US carriers, reports The Wall Street Journal. Keeping that phone on the market will also require some hardware design changes, as patent case observers and legal analysts think there is a high likelihood that Judge Lucy Koh will grant Apple-requested injunctions on eight Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S II.

The list of phones presented to the court for sales bans is believed to be just the beginning. The jury in the trial found a total of 28 Samsung products that were infringing on various Apple patents, and the company may well ask for further bans. Although the trial did not cover two of Samsung's latest products -- the noticeably less iPhone-like Galaxy S III and the "phablet" Galaxy Note -- Apple is pursuing a sales injunction on the S III in a separate case due to software infringements. Samsung is expected to work around those patents and is likely to keep the product on the market.

The eight phones targeted by Apple are Samsung's most popular models that were covered in the case, and are projected to generate $3 billion in annual US sales for the South Korean company. Any changes made to the products to keep them legal in the US are likely to also be made to international versions in due course to avoid similar lawsuits elsewhere.

Samsung says it will seek to have the jury verdict overturned through post-trial motions or the filing of an appeal, but assuming Judge Koh keeps the verdict intact, the appeals process is likely to take at least a year -- during which present and possibly future Samsung products could be subjected to injunctions, a possibility that would cost Samsung billions. The hearing on the sales injunctions is scheduled for September 20. [via The Wall Street Journal]




By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. prl99

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 03-24-09

    Does this mean Samsung will be forcing these changes onto existing phones or only making changes to the new ones? If it doesn't do the former, what good was the lawsuit? If they are required to force every Samsung phone to comply with the terms of the lawsuit (not sure what those were), I wonder how they plan on doing that.

  1. LenE

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-19-04

    The $1.05 billion(+) was for existing infringement. The changes are to prevent future infringement. Samsung is in a bad spot. If they don't make the changes on existing devices, then support becomes a nightmare. If they force changes on previously sold devices, then they piss off existing customers. I personally know a few Samsung phone holders that already are fed-up with their devices, without the infringing functionality being removed.

  1. Pixelsmack

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-21-10

    I find it humorous that Macnns website is current banner bombed with Samsung Galaxy ads.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 01-21-10

    Samsung's goal shouldn't be to put little hardware changes and software hacks into their products. Their goal should be to leapfrog Apple and to innovate. Of course, the problem with innovating and creating original next-gen designs is that they might fail. That's the risk Apple took (to great success obviously.)

    So, Samsung will try to patch up their existing (and upcoming) designs in the short term. If they don't do a good enough job, they're guaranteed to get sued again. Or, they can gamble on whatever they think the "next big thing" will be in the mobile space, with no guarantee of any success. Good luck with that.

  1. aroxnicadi

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-03-11

    Not worth buying a copycat piece of junk from Samsung, regardless if it's cheaper. They did this to themselves and if the executives at Apple have'nt figured it out yet then I would hope they do in short order, that Samsung can not be trusted, regardless of what side of the company your looking at and the internal firewall has'nt worked with Samsung.

  1. shifuimam

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 08-15-06

    Why innovate when you can just sue the pants off people? Sharing the sandbox is for babies!

    Probably also worth mentioning that Samsung's products are not "copycat piece[s] of junk". Cheap Android phones and tablets from eBay and DealExtreme are copycat throwaway electronics. Samsung's Android devices are designed and priced for the premium market. They are not budget devices at all.

    The new Galaxy S3 is a very, very nice phone. It's powerful and it's made with the same quality components as the iPhone It's also expensive like the iPhone (compared to budget Android phones, that is).

    Just because Android has the same very basic functionalities like pinch-to-zoom and clicking on a phone number doesn't automatically make it a copycat POS.

    It used to be, many moons ago, that such fundamental UI interactions were not patented or copyrighted, because the courts and the companies were sane and realized that it was counterproductive to expect everyone to reinvent the wheel every single time a new product was developed.

    It's gotten to the point that Apple doesn't want any Android phone to have any similarities to the iPhone. Why not patent the use of Gorilla glass, or a high-resolution screen, or a home button, or buttons on the side of the phone for controlling ringer volume? Does that seem any more ridiculous than patenting or copyrighting rounded corners on a device? Really?

    I would much rather see Apple come up with some truly innovative hardware, like they used to. They stopped doing that in the mid-2000s. The clamshell iBook was revolutionary. The G4 iMac was an absolutely incredible design that has never been replicated since. Now Apple has completely stagnated, and they know it. Sure, the iPad is thinner and lighter, but the basic design hasn't changed. Compare that to the Asus Transformer, which is freaking amazing in every possible way and managed to be innovative in a sea of tablets. The iPod Touch has barely changed in form factor since its release. The iMac has barely changed in form factor since the G5. The Mac Pro is even worse; the hardware design hasn't deviated at all since the G5 era. We're still stuck with generic, brushed-metal laptops.

    It's also worth pointing out that because Android is open-source, Google isn't going nuts trying to patent every feature of it. Android has, for a long time, been able to do things like group applications into folders (something Apple didn't do until iOS 4.0), allow for cut-and-paste via a click-and-hold method (which iOS copied, and it could even be argued that Android copied from Microsoft, since that exact functionality was present in Windows Mobile since at least 2000), and provide quick access to alerts via a pull-down menu bar at the top of the screen (something iOS 5.0 blatantly copied).

    If Google patented these features, iOS wouldn't be able to have them. Does that seem fair? Does that seem pro-competition and pro-innovation? Why does it make any more sense for Apple to demand that something as fundamental as clicking on a phone number to place a call to it (which, again, is not unique to iOS - RIM's BlackBerry OS has been able to do that for many versions now)?

    I realize that Apple and its fanatics are thrilled with the outcome of this lawsuit, but the rest of the world sees it for what it is - monopolistic, anti-innovation, and anti-competitive.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by shifuimamView Post

    It used to be, many moons ago, that such fundamental UI interactions were not patented or copyrighted, because the courts and the companies were sane and realized that it was counterproductive to expect everyone to reinvent the wheel every single time a new product was developed.



    In what mythical age might this have been?

    The 70s? When everything was either direct cabling or teletype-derived text interface?

  1. shifuimam

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 08-15-06

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Computer,_Inc._v._Microsoft_Corporation

    Quote: The appeals court almost entirely affirmed the ruling of the district court, establishing that, "almost all the similarities spring either from the license or from basic ideas and their obvious expression... illicit copying could occur only if the works as a whole are virtually identical." ... The circuit court dissected the GUI, following the lead of the district court, in order to separate expression from ideas (as expression, but not ideas, are covered by copyright law). The court outlined five ideas that it identified as basic to a GUI desktop: windows, icon images of office items, manipulations of icons, menus, and the opening and closing of objects. The court established that Apple could not make copyright claims based on these ideas and could only make claims on the precise expression of them.
    Essentially, basic GUI elements are not something that can be copyrighted. I'm not convinced that they're something that should be patented either.

    Do you sincerely believe that the United States patent system was created to "protect" such fundamental things as:


    • Rounded corners on icons
    • Clicking a phone number - on a phone - to call that number
    • Pinch-to-zoom


    I think the best analogy here is to look at cars. Motorized vehicular transportation revolutionized the way people lived and did business, much like how technology - especially mobile technology - has changed the way we do everything.

    Now, imagine if Ford Motors had patented the fundamental aspects of operating a vehicle. For example:


    • Separate pedals to operate the brakes and the accelerator, in a layout that places the brake pedal to the left of the accelerator
    • A wand attached to the steering column that moves up for the left signal and down for the right signal
    • Mirrors on the exterior of the vehicle to allow for viewing objects behind and to the sides of the vehicle
    • A belt that crosses over the torso of the driver and passengers, designed to restrain in the event of an accident


    These are all considered absolutely basic elements of any car in any country - in fact, in most countries in the world, these features are all mandated by each country's federal government as a matter of safety. This wasn't always the case - it evolved over time as certain features became clearly necessary to facilitate both safe and consistent operation of motor vehicles regardless of manufacturer.

    So if you take something like, say, pinch-to-zoom and suddenly insist that not only is it patented but you are going to militantly pursue anyone who uses that same fundamental interaction with the user interface, what is going to happen? Instead of having consistency in the basic operation of technology, you end up with significant fragmentation and incompatibility between products. Does that benefit anyone? It doesn't benefit the end user. It certainly doesn't benefit businesses and large-scale implementation of technology.

    Technology has indisputably become a necessary part of society in both business and personal use. It only makes sense that certain elements should maintain consistency regardless of manufacturer. Remember in the early days of networking, when each manufacturer and each brand had its own way of communicating with other computers? We take the basics of TCP/IP for granted now, but it wasn't always that simple and universal. We'd be decades behind where we are today if something as basic as TCP/IP or HTTP were patented and only available on a single platform from a single manufacturer that tightly controlled hardware and software (and, by extension, prices).

    ETA:

    Also, keep in mind that there are multiple features of iOS today that wouldn't be possible if Google had opted to make Android closed-source and patent every single element of the interface. Like notifications. And icon grouping. I realize you want to ignore this part of my previous post, but the fact remains that software development and technological advances flourish when people can improve on others' ideas rather than keeping everything in these iron-walled sandboxes that Apple is trying to enforce.

  1. Stuke

    Junior Member

    Joined: 02-11-05

    I would much rather see Apple come up with some truly innovative hardware, like they used to. They stopped doing that in the mid-2000s. The clamshell iBook was revolutionary. The G4 iMac was an absolutely incredible design that has never been replicated since. Now Apple has completely stagnated, and they know it.

    Read more: http://www.electronista.com/articles/12/08/28/will.continue.fight.to.overturn.or.appeal.patent.verdict/#ixzz24snfEK5K


    Did you miss the exhibits of before and after iPhone and iPad? Apple has innovated through to the last iPod nano. The belief that they stagnated and somehow compensate with what you say are questionable patents is absurd. Sorry but face it...Apple has always had a business plan for closed system start to finish and because everyone else (save perhaps RIM) hasn't is no reason to proclaim what they are doing is wrong or not correct. Sure, your opinion is your opinion. But Apple's business model and proof of industry-leading designed products patented for protection of that investment and insight is backed by its market cap and my stock value!

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by shifuimamView Post


    Do you sincerely believe that the United States patent system was created to "protect" such fundamental things as:


    • Rounded corners on icons
    • Clicking a phone number - on a phone - to call that number
    • Pinch-to-zoom



    DESIGN patents are indeed created to protect the COLLECTION of such fundamental things, assembled into a single product, yes.

    That is *exactly* why they exist.

    To what degree an assemblage of individual such characterizing elements may constitute an infringement of the design patent is up to the courts to decide.

    Which, apparently, they do, on occasion.

    Originally Posted by shifuimamView Post

    I think the best analogy here is to look at cars. Motorized vehicular transportation revolutionized the way people lived and did business, much like how technology - especially mobile technology - has changed the way we do everything.

    Now, imagine if Ford Motors had patented the fundamental aspects of operating a vehicle. For example:


    • Separate pedals to operate the brakes and the accelerator, in a layout that places the brake pedal to the left of the accelerator
    • A wand attached to the steering column that moves up for the left signal and down for the right signal
    • Mirrors on the exterior of the vehicle to allow for viewing objects behind and to the sides of the vehicle
    • A belt that crosses over the torso of the driver and passengers, designed to restrain in the event of an accident


    These are all considered absolutely basic elements of any car in any country - in fact, in most countries in the world, these features are all mandated by each country's federal government as a matter of safety.



    And every single one of them, or its various components was patented, in various forms.

    Except maybe the three-pedal arrangement for throttle, brake, and clutch, which, incidentally, was first implemented by CADILLAC in 1916.

    Here's your three-point seat belt: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/07/dayintech_0710
    (Volvo just chose to make it freely available to anyone, in the interest of humanity.)

    I see people ask in these threads "well, what it Goodyear had patented the tire?" Fact is, he DID patent it! (It didn't stop the piracy.) Ford DID patent his transmission.

    A lot those things wouldn't have been POSSIBLE if it hadn't been for the promise of patents allowing for them to make money for their inventors.

    And they forced others to either license them, or to find different (better) ways to do things.

  1. macmediausa

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-23-05

    Pinch to zoom is not a fundamental aspect of a phone. Back in 2007 and all of the years before that with smartphones, there was no such thing as that and no one even thought of using it until Apple experimented. You can make a smartphone NOW without that feature. Just put buttons on the screen for "+" and "-" to zoom. It may not be as nice or intuitive but Apple was smart enough to think of it first. Everyone else just ended up copying it because it was so useful

  1. shifuimam

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 08-15-06

    Originally Posted by macmediausaView Post


    Pinch to zoom is not a fundamental aspect of a phone. Back in 2007 and all of the years before that with smartphones, there was no such thing as that and no one even thought of using it until Apple experimented. You can make a smartphone NOW without that feature. Just put buttons on the screen for "+" and "-" to zoom. It may not be as nice or intuitive but Apple was smart enough to think of it first. Everyone else just ended up copying it because it was so useful

    You fail to see, though, that hardware across the board has this feature now. It is an expected fundamental behavior.

    Why did Apple only go after Samsung? Every single Android and WebOS device produced in the past two years has pinch-to-zoom. Why did Apple not sue HP and HTC and LG and Sony for putting the same feature on their devices? Why aren't they suing Microsoft for including it in Windows Phone 7?

    Why didn't Apple sue Alps and Synaptics for including this feature on the trackpads they manufacture for every make and model of laptop on the market? Why aren't they suing manufacturers of GPSes that have this feature?

    I know you desperately want to believe that this should be a completely unique functionality that only Apple is ever allowed to have, but if that's the case then they need to go after everyone who uses it, not just the one company they see as an actual threat to their sales.

    Or they could just, you know, keep innovating instead of crying to mommy when someone else on the playground wants to share the sandbox.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by shifuimamView Post

    [Why did Apple only go after Samsung? Every single Android and WebOS device produced in the past two years has pinch-to-zoom. Why did Apple not sue HP and HTC and LG and Sony for putting the same feature on their devices?



    C'mon. That one is really easy to answer.

    First, you establish legal precedent. You don't sue fifty parties over the same thing: You sue the one of the more obvious ones that is most likely to survive until the end of litigation, and actually pay up the amount you're asking for. The biggest fish, as it were.

    Once legal precedent is established, you have the clout to smack everybody else over the head with. Having been awarded damages that would put any other company straight out of business is extremely helpful in asserting that you WILL **** people up for stealing your stuff.

    That's how it works.


    Samsung is by far the most solvent competitor, and the one with by far the biggest public attention, and incidentally, have developed notoriety as one of the most obvious design plagiarists of Apple's. The biggest fish.

    If the richest, most powerful competitor, with the most money to spend on lawyers, LOSES, that sends a pretty strong signal to the rest of the industry. Apple may not even *have to* sue anybody else (at least in the U.S.).


    Originally Posted by shifuimamView Post

    Why aren't they suing Microsoft for including it in Windows Phone 7?



    Because Apple and Microsoft have had a perpetual cross-licensing agreement for interface elements in place since the early nineties (late eighties?).

    It was part of their settlement.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by shifuimamView Post

    Or they could just, you know, keep innovating instead of crying to mommy when someone else on the playground wants to share the sandbox.



    This goes for Samsung, not for Apple.

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