Print 27 comment(s) - last by ddzonmi.. on Aug 27 at 1:14 PM

He says Apple is the biggest troll in the current legal conflict

The small legion of lawyers from Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) and Apple, Inc. (AAPL) will today be waging war as their high-profile trial begins in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, Calif.  Both companies have submitted their briefs [1][2].  The jury has been selected.  Everything is in place for a dynamic legal war as each company seeks to convince a jury that the other is "stealing" its technology.

I. "Patenting the Rectangle"

On the eve of that battle, Kevin Packingham, Samsung's Chief Product Officer, discussed his feelings on the case with Wired.  The interview provides a fascinating look at Samsung's complexities and frustrations.

One topic that drew Mr. Packingham's ire during the interview was Apple's lawyers claiming that their design patents grant them a monopoly on rectangular patents.

iPad girl
Apple claims to have "invented" the rectangle, in essence. [DeviantArt/KalasPuff]

He comments:

In terms of patents, we have a made lot of contributions in the design space as well. I would say the patents we’re struggling with — where there’s a lot of discussion and litigation right now — are around these very broad design patents like a rectangle. For us, it’s unreasonable that we’re fighting over rectangles, that that’s being considered as an infringement, which is why we’re defending ourselves.

Hopefully the entire industry is in the position now where we have to defend ourselves and say, “Look, it’s unreasonable for us to be in the position of claiming that there is design, claiming that there is some sort of protected property, around a rectangle.” So I would say, yeah, we have design patents as well, but they’re not as simple as the rectangle. And so that’s where I think you see a little bit of this challenge.

In some cases, for most of us in the industry, it’s defying common sense. We’re all scratching our heads and saying, “How is this possible that we’re actually having an industry-level debate and trying to stifle competition?” Consumers want rectangles and we’re fighting over whether you can deliver a product in the shape of a rectangle.

Logically, as an engineering and manufacturing company, it makes more sense to focus on the things that are really relevant and we think are truly intellectual property. They are truly unique, and have come intrinsically out of the investments we made in R&D. A rectangle did not come out of R&D investment that we’ve made. Some of our products happen to be in the shape of a rectangle, but I wouldn’t consider that to be an art or a science that we’ve created.

To be clear, Mr. Packingham's comments refer to the arguments constructed by Apple's lawyers.  The actual patents in question, such as a patent on the iPad design (U.S. Design Patent D504,889):

Apple D'889 patent
Apple's D'889 patent [Image Source: Google Patents]
...are mostly pictures with little text.

Apple's lawyers are choosing to claim that those pictures represent a patent granted on a rectangular "minimalist" design.

II. Samsung Sees Apple as Only Unreasonable Player

The Samsung executive labels Apple as the key villain of the patent wars, commenting, "In the current environment, there’s just one company that’s firing the first shot consistently."

Perhaps alluding to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), another operating system veteran who Samsung has an intellectual property licensing pact with, he adds, "There are a few areas where there has been some contention recently, but if you look at those areas of contention, they were legitimate and people were able to come to terms, business terms, that were reasonable. That’s the way the system should work."

Galaxy Tab 10.1N
Samsung licenses IP from Microsoft. [Image Source: Ubergizmo] 
Mr. Packingham discussed his company's awkward position producing the chips that power every iPhone and iPad.  He says that "[At] times... I’m absolutely appalled that we sell what I consider to be the most innovative, most secret parts... of our products to... Apple [or anybody]."

But he says the semiconductor units says, "Look, that’s none of your business. You go make your mobile phones and if you’d like to use our components, that’d be great." 

The situation may seem odd, he acknowledges, but it's a product of the modular, "isolated" nature of Samsung's business units.

Mr. Packingham is optimistic that one day Apple will see the light and stop patenting obvious/already-existing features -- like rectangles, slide to unlock, or making graphics disappear.  He also hopes Apple will eventually move to licensing its valid intellectual property like Microsoft.  

He comments, "We need to find a way in which we can have healthy competition and not try to stifle competition with patents that aren’t particularly unique, and really don’t represent intellectual property."

Apple likely see things a little differently, and it seems unlikely that the company will change its tactics any time soon, despite the criticism.

Source: Wired

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Eat me apple!
By Ammohunt on 7/31/2012 2:20:12 PM , Rating: 1
I just patented the trapezoid shape...

RE: Eat me apple!
By JasonMick on 7/31/2012 2:43:00 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Eat me apple!
By ProZach on 7/31/2012 8:08:26 PM , Rating: 2
It's ugly :)

By the way, I'm pretty sure I ever tried handing in a college assignment on triangle paper it would thrown away before being glanced over. The rectangle has been a proper format for reading and writing data since before... oh, so that's why you picked that thumbnail at the top :)

RE: Eat me apple!
By jdietz on 7/31/2012 2:45:32 PM , Rating: 4
No one will buy it. Consumers want rectangles.

RE: Eat me apple!
By aurareturn on 7/31/12, Rating: -1
RE: Eat me apple!
By Rukkian on 7/31/2012 4:27:45 PM , Rating: 1
Why do insist on putting off topic trolling on every post.

If you post relevent information that people want to read, you get voted up.

If you post off-topic troll posts, you will get downvoted. My 8yo could figure that out.

RE: Eat me apple!
By silverblue on 8/1/2012 2:20:51 AM , Rating: 2
If you are Tony Swash , you will get downvoted. My 8yo could figure that out.

There, fixed that for you. ;)

RE: Eat me apple!
By TSS on 7/31/2012 5:27:02 PM , Rating: 4
Excuse me, but do you work for Apple? No? Then you have no business deciding what other people want.

If Apple says i want a hexagonal phone, then by god i want a hexagonal phone!

Why Are All Wheels Round?
By Arsynic on 7/31/2012 2:14:59 PM , Rating: 5
Because at the time, it's the only patent Apple didn't own.

RE: Why Are All Wheels Round?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/31/2012 4:00:17 PM , Rating: 1
The same cannot be said about our brothers to the north, sadly. Apple must have gotten to them first :(

RE: Why Are All Wheels Round?
By augiem on 7/31/2012 4:50:28 PM , Rating: 5
Since when did that stop Apple? They probably have a patent going through as we speak.

Apple DID invent the rectangle.
By retrospooty on 7/31/2012 2:08:57 PM , Rating: 5
And the colors white, black and any product with brushed metal or a brushed metal look to it. ;)

Now Apple needs to invent a short cliff it can go play hopscotch on.

RE: Apple DID invent the rectangle.
By BZDTemp on 7/31/2012 5:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
Good one.

I do however think Bang & Olufsen took that one by a few decades. Still they better lawyer up because who is to say Apple won't go for them next :-)

By BugblatterIII on 7/31/2012 7:37:44 PM , Rating: 2
Apple needs to invent a time machine if they're to have any hope of justifying these patents.

By acps6996 on 7/31/2012 6:48:57 PM , Rating: 3
If they put a Star Fleet uniform on the guy in the picture for the "rectangle" patent, you could have seen him on TV, in 1990, on Star Trek:TNG running around on the Enterprise. The "idea" of a rectangular tablet with no buttons is not a new one. Now Apple just needs to retroactively sue the TV studio for infringing on their patent.

By Spookster on 8/1/2012 12:30:19 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder how long before TV studios realize that if they start patenting all these ideas they come up with in their SciFi movies and TV shows that they'd be rich...errr richer.

Jury should stalemate and throw the case out
By ProZach on 7/31/2012 8:00:47 PM , Rating: 2
Neither party wants to settle or license for whatever stubborn reasons they can articulate. Seems if nobody is wrong then nobody can win. Give 'em both the finger.

It would be much more interesting if both parties focused on making something the other team could not possibly "copy."


...I guess that would go against a certain company's beliefs that the real ruler is the one who "borrows" and combines the best bits of others' designs and achieves fluke success during the insurgence for (trendy) wireless mass-consumables.

By spamreader1 on 8/1/2012 10:49:34 AM , Rating: 2
The lawyers win.

US Patent Office...
By masamasa on 7/31/2012 6:59:05 PM , Rating: 3
It's broken. The patents they approve and issue are a sham. Their credibility....none.

Patent squatters circling like vultures. Why? Broken patent system, broken patent office.

The entire thing is a farce and Apple is the star of the show. This will come back to bite them in the ass.

Besides the HP Tablet PC...
By Omega215D on 8/1/2012 3:09:06 AM , Rating: 2
Here's a nugget from a small startup: Go Corporation

Our friends from Xerox:

And countless others that predate the iphone/ ipad.

The problem was that the tech at the time didn't allow for the sleek designs we have today (die shrink, advanced panels) and it certainly wasn't in reach of the average consumer price wise. Smartphones were very expensive and the networks barely had data we take for granted today. Apple was just at the right moment in time BUT with help from the companies they are suing.

By Tony Swash on 8/1/2012 6:34:57 AM , Rating: 1
The problem was that the tech at the time didn't allow for the sleek designs we have today (die shrink, advanced panels) and it certainly wasn't in reach of the average consumer price wise.

You missed this early tablet prototype.

All Apple basically did was fit this in a new form factor :)

I see the Samsung trial has raised the bollocks quotient on DT to new and stellar levels.

What ?
By Gondor on 8/1/2012 2:13:56 AM , Rating: 2
... grant them a monopoly on rectangular patents.

Aren't all patents rectangular ? As in: submitted and issued on rectangular pieces of paper ? ;-)

By ddzonmi on 8/27/2012 1:14:00 PM , Rating: 2
This cannot stop the fact that Apple will be substituded by Android and coming Win8 + Nokia
Now it's the peak for AAPL

Couldn't have said it better myself
By Tony Swash on 8/1/12, Rating: -1
RE: Couldn't have said it better myself
By jRaskell on 8/1/2012 11:03:56 AM , Rating: 3
I regularly mistake the Galaxy for iPhone at a distance of just a few feet.

Sorry, but that right there is complete BS. Anybody that would mistake a Galaxy for an iPhone from only a few feet away is utterly blind. Didn't bother reading the rest.

By Cheesew1z69 on 8/1/2012 1:10:19 PM , Rating: 2
When someone says something like that... Apple shill. No doubt.

By connor4312 on 8/2/2012 10:03:44 AM , Rating: 1
I stopped after counting nine grammatical mistakes in the first paragraph. It's a real good source you have there!

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