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Print 18 comment(s) - last by DrChemist.. on Apr 20 at 11:09 AM

Global patent war could reach an armistice, sparing the companies billion in mutual business

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) ended 2011 in a virtual tie for the global lead in smartphone sales.  Apple is the maker of the iconic iPhone, pivotal in the smartphone craze, which took off in 2007 after the early efforts of the likes of Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).  Samsung, meanwhile, has emerged as the world top phonemaker of the world's top platform -- Android.

I. Settlement Talks Announced

The pair on Tuesday agreed before Judge Lucy Koh to participate in "Alternative Dispute Resolution" (ADR) -- a series of settlement talks.  Judge Koh described:

The parties have indicated that they are willing to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference ('MJSC'). ECF No. 873. Therefore, the parties are hereby referred to an MJSC with Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero with a 90-day deadline. As the parties have indicated in their joint statement, the chief executive officer and general counsel of Apple and the chief executive officer and general counsel of Samsung shall appear and participate at the MJSC.

While the settlement talks will take place in and primarily pertain to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California -- a San Francisco court -- a settlement deal could reach globally, ending the companies’ lawsuits against each other spanning twenty cases in ten different countries.

Samsung v. Apple
"Frenemys" Apple and Samsung have agreed to consider settling.
[Image Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Both companies have created controversy in their bids to ban each other’s best-selling products.

II. Controversial Cases

Apple's ban hopes hinge upon patents such as its prized multi-touch patent, which describes:

A touch panel having a transparent capacitive sensing medium configured to detect multiple touches or near touches that occur at the same time and at distinct locations in the plane of the touch panel and to produce distinct signals representative of the location of the touches on the plane of the touch panel for each of the multiple touches is disclosed.

The only issue is that description -- and the body itself -- covers multi-touch methods that had already been widely documented in research labs, other patents, and tech demos.  The crucial thing is that Apple's patent was on multi-touch on a capacitive display.   

Multi-touch
Apple claims it "invented" multi-touch despite decades of prior art.
[Image Source: XDA Developers]

Similar issues have been raised about Apple's "slide to unlock" patents. Apple's legal approach has been matched by Samsung, which attempted to sue Apple using many standards patents it had promised to freely license under the "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) rules.  Samsung's interpretation of non-discriminatory apparently means not discriminating against anyone except Apple.

III. Why Settle?  Try, "$8B USD in Mutual Business"

Despite both companies' controversial tactics and bitter feud, they also share a great deal of business.  As one of the world's largest smartphone chipmakers, Samsung manufactures nearly all of Apple's smartphone and tablet system-on-a-chip designs. The companies reportedly have $8B USD worth of common business a year.

Apple A5
The brains of the iPhones are still made by Samsung, now at its new Austin, Texas factory.
[Image Source: iFixIt]

Thus there's a lot of pressure for Apple and Samsung to settle from a mutual interests perspective.  Then again, Oracle Corp. (ORCL) and Google Inc. (GOOG) failed to reach a settlement in a similar talks, and their case went to trial.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung will both participate in the settlement talks.  If a settlement is not reached, a trial will begin this July.

Sources: Reuters, FOSS Patents



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Me thinks something else
By DrChemist on 4/19/2012 9:29:03 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone else feel that with the 100s of lawsuits creating such a broken relationship with Samsung has caused serious issues for Apple more than Samsung.

Apple is acquiring the image of a patent troll who thinks only about money and the DoJ and EU is starting to look at them as an anti competitive monopoly who doesn't want to do anything but remove the competition at all costs in a thermonuclear war.

As an extra side note, remember how Apple was looking around for different manufacturers to due their SoCs and memory. I think they soon found out that Samsung has the best memory and manufacturing capabilities 2nd to Intel with these two. Apple's Tim Cook doesn't have the chip on his shoulder like Steve did and looks at it in a bigger picture that fighting like this does nothing but hurt Apple as they need Samsung for every almost every fast selling product they make. Call it Frenemies if you like but it just shows how Apple is just a design company that puts together tons of everyone elses products in one nice package. If they piss off everyone else in the manufacturing community by sueing them out of existence they lose. There I said it.




RE: Me thinks something else
By Tony Swash on 4/19/12, Rating: -1
RE: Me thinks something else
By GotThumbs on 4/19/2012 10:59:00 AM , Rating: 4
Apple fan in the house.

Oh, and no one buys your "Again zero evidence for that. Apple only has a reputation as a 'patent troll' amongst a tiny minority of people who obsess about such things"

Only the uninformed would believe you on that one.

Nice try though. Steve would be proud of his dedicated helper.


RE: Me thinks something else
By amanojaku on 4/19/2012 11:06:55 AM , Rating: 3
We should check Tony's attic. FrankenSteve might be roaming around up there.


RE: Me thinks something else
By Cheesew1z69 on 4/19/2012 11:01:22 AM , Rating: 1
That's just his SJ blow up doll...


RE: Me thinks something else
By Tony Swash on 4/19/2012 1:03:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Oh, and no one buys your "Again zero evidence for that. Apple only has a reputation as a 'patent troll' amongst a tiny minority of people who obsess about such things"

Only the uninformed would believe you on that one.


Fair enough. Now post some evidence that Apple has a widespread reputation as a patent troll. Any evidence.


RE: Me thinks something else
By nolisi on 4/19/2012 3:51:09 PM , Rating: 2
Did you miss the part where Apple files patents for already well established ideas/implementations and then sues based on them? Are you unaware of the fact that there are a good number of Apple users who are dissatisified with their legal approach? (I'm responding to you via iPad)


RE: Me thinks something else
By Trisped on 4/19/2012 8:20:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Any evidence.
You said any.

Apple has been suing companies for the last year and a half based on patents of existing tech. They are going so far as to block sales of products by competitors resulting in major losses to their competitors, despite the fact that the competitors were willing to license the tech, even though the patents should not be enforceable.

How does this not constitute "... a person or company who ... enforces patents against one or more alleged infringers in a manner considered by the target or observers as unduly aggressive or opportunistic." /
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll
The interesting twist that Apple brings is that they do not buy the patents, the patent existing ideas, then use it to sue those who use or came up with the idea.

If you require additional evidence then please read the DT posts on the issues.


RE: Me thinks something else
By DrChemist on 4/19/2012 11:41:52 AM , Rating: 2
Ummm hello? . . . DoJ and EU over the eBooks. Taking over the voting on the SIM card standard by buying the votes while offering no improvements but size. Plus Samsung does almost everything in house even. Memory, CPUs, screens, the whole shabang.

I don't even need to argue any of this. I will let the rest of AnandTech down vote another Tony Swash post until everyone stops reading it


RE: Me thinks something else
By Tony Swash on 4/19/2012 4:03:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ummm hello? . . . DoJ and EU over the eBooks. Taking over the voting on the SIM card standard by buying the votes while offering no improvements but size. Plus Samsung does almost everything in house even. Memory, CPUs, screens, the whole shabang.

I don't even need to argue any of this. I will let the rest of AnandTech down vote another Tony Swash post until everyone stops reading it


I think we may be talking at cross purposes. Here is what I think we are discussing:

DrChemist said "Apple is acquiring the image of a patent troll".

My reading of that statement is that he is saying that Apple is developing a reputation in the world at large amongst the general public as a patent troll. My response was to say there is no evidence for that.

In fact all the evidence I can find, such as surveys and polls conducted with large samples using neutral techniques and conducted by independent third parties, universally show that the general public has a very good view of Apple, it's products and it's customer services. I have seen nothing, not a single shred of evidence, that there is a significant proportion, in fact any measurable proportion, of the general public that think that Apple is a patent troll. I asked if anybody had such evidence.

You counter by mentioning two events which presumably in your opinion show that Apple is a patent troll. So all you are offering is evidence of what your opinion is. There is still no evidence showing that the general public thinks Apple is a patent troll, in fact only a tiny minority of people even knows what that means.

I repeat - only a tiny, and for all intents and purposes, irrelevant group of people think that Apple is a patent troll. If you think that statement is wrong then by all means offer up some evidence of what the world at large and the general public think about Apple and patents.


RE: Me thinks something else
By Trisped on 4/19/2012 8:38:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is still no evidence showing that the general public thinks Apple is a patent troll, in fact only a tiny minority of people even knows what that means.
I repeat - only a tiny, and for all intents and purposes, irrelevant group of people think that Apple is a patent troll. If you think that statement is wrong then by all means offer up some evidence of what the world at large and the general public think about Apple and patents.
Have you found any surveys asking explicitly if Apple is a patent troll? Bet yet, have you found surveys if Apple is using its patents in an "unduly aggressive or opportunistic" way as I am sure the average person has a hard time understanding what a patent is let alone a patent troll.

As for DrChemist's post "Apple is acquiring the image of a patent troll". You have the evidence that a number of posters on this form (myself included) and at least a few DT writers believe that Apple is a patent troll (or something close to it). Therefore you have more then enough evidence to justify DrChemist's statement. I will point out that you probably missed the non-absolute what that DrChemist made his statement buy using the word "acquiring" which means that Apple does not yet have the image, but it is on its way to getting it.

Since Apple is a company who's model revolves around image, I am sure they will take steps to prevent it from becoming to wide spread.


RE: Me thinks something else
By DrChemist on 4/20/2012 11:09:34 AM , Rating: 2
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/19/us-apple...

Anti trust law suit evidence for you.


No comments?
By amanojaku on 4/18/2012 10:13:04 PM , Rating: 5
A settlement is clearly not what we want. We want an AC/DC-style conclusion!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qjrNuQz14I




RE: No comments?
By Spuke on 4/18/2012 10:58:03 PM , Rating: 3
"And he's got big balls, and she's got big balls, but we've got the biggest balls of them all!"

I like this one better.


RE: No comments?
By Spuke on 4/18/2012 10:59:33 PM , Rating: 2
How much you wana bet
By ViroMan on 4/19/2012 6:46:12 AM , Rating: 2
This is just a ploy to get the people off of each others back by saying... "look we tried to see eye to eye and work out a deal with the enemy but, they wouldn't hear us and made exorbitant demands. So the next step is to litigate them out of competition."




Didn't...
By msheredy on 4/19/2012 12:19:17 PM , Rating: 2
...see this one coming.




Pointless
By ricardonest on 4/19/2012 2:48:26 PM , Rating: 2
So after reading this article, and based on the obvious mutual relationship Apple has with Samsung? Why did they waste so much money to go through this whole process of suing each other. Kind of ridiculous. You would think this could've easily been settled out of court. Anywhoo... did a little digging and dug up some information about Samsung and Apple patent lawsuit histories.

For Apple: http://bit.ly/wbPaeh

For Samsung: http://bit.ly/HSMVls




"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007














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