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Apple becomes the latest to jump on the complain train after FOSS Patents attacked the move

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) isn't happy with the fact that one of its two U.S. carrier partners -- Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ) -- threw its weight behind rival Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO 005930) in a civil dispute [1][2][3][4][5] between the companies.  

Apple has filed civil suit in 
Northern California District Court against Samsung claiming Samsung's Galaxy S smartphones steal the look of its patented iPhone and iPhone 4 design (U.S. Design Patents D618,677 and D593,087) and that it owns the exclusive rights to manufacture minimalist tablet designs via its 2004 "fat-iPad" design patent (U.S. Design Patent D504,889), and hence Samsung -- who makes the minimalist no-face-button Galaxy Tab 10.1 -- is in violation.  

Apple also asserts a single technology violation against Samsung, regarding a patent on lists that bounce back when you release them while touch scrolling (U.S. Patent 
No. 7,469,381).

As recent legal changes have made it harder to ban products from the market in corporate intellectual property disputes, Apple is seeking a back door, asking the 
U.S. International Trade Commission to ban imports of Samsung product, pending the outcome of the civil case.  As Samsung (like Apple) imports all its handsets and tablets from Asia, this would effectively ban sales.  

While the civil case and ITC complaint are intimately linked -- Verizon's amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief applies specifically to the civil case.  FOSS Patents 
attacked Verizon's motion earlier this week suggesting a possibly illegal/anticompetitive conspiracy between Android OS maker Google, Inc. (GOOG) and Verizon.  Mr. Mueller also complained that the brief would allow certain companies (implied: Samsung) to "steal" the intellectual property of "original innovators" (implied: Apple).

Apple unsurprisingly agreed with Mr. Mueller's analysis, issuing an 
Opposition Filing [Scribd] to Verizon's Motion.

11-09-27 Apple Opposition to Verizon Motion

The company's primary argument against the brief boils down to it complaining about Verizon's timeliness in filing the brief.  Apple's lawyers quote a judge in a previous federal case who wrote that an amicus curiae brief must be filed "no later than 7 days after the principal brief of the party being supported."  As Samsung submitted their Opposition brief on August 22, nearly a month before the Verizon filing, Apple contends the brief should be denied from consideration.

Apple admits, though, that there are no rules governing the timeliness of submissions at this level of the courts.  It writes, "The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not provide for a non-party's submission of amicus briefs in district courts."

In the case that the court rejects its arguments on the grounds that there are no formal rules about timeliness, Apple wants the court to give it until October 6 to respond.  That would be precisely one week before the October 13th hearing, which should decide whether the Northern California District Court and the U.S. ITC agree to grant Apple's request on a ban on sales of Samsung's smart phones and tablets in the U.S.

Thus far Samsung has essentially won a case in the Netherlands, where the judge found it to violate the technology patent on scrolling (easily remedied by an OS update), 
but not the design patents (given how different Samsung's devices look).  By contrast, a judge in Germany -- Europe's third largest tablet market -- ruled in favor of Apple, upholding its claim to own sole rights to produce minimalist tablets.  Samsung's tablets were summarily banned from sale on the German market.

The presiding judge in the case is 
Judge Lucy H. Koh, the Motion hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, and the case number is 11-cv-01846-LHK "Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. et al".

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Dang it Apple!
By Darksurf on 9/28/2011 10:42:22 AM , Rating: 5
Please Apple, quit thinking you should own the rights to the knowledge of everything in the universe. Sadly, everyday you are making me wish Apple will just curl up and die after these lawsuits. You are doing nothing, but hurting yourself and innovation of new technology. Why not just try to come up with more appealing technology that is less locked down with more variety and properly compete with competitors instead of trying to take them out of the game by injuring them?

Apple, you make me sick.

RE: Dang it Apple!
By AMDftw on 9/28/2011 10:51:56 AM , Rating: 3
hope Apple chokes on it. Android ftmfw!

RE: Dang it Apple!
By vol7ron on 9/28/2011 7:22:28 PM , Rating: 3
I don't see how you can patent a minimalist design. You should only be able to patent features a product may have, not the lack of features.

Because the natural progression is starting from nothing, everyone has the same blank canvas, minimalist design. It's what we add to it, special functions that are added to it that should be allowed to be patented, not the other way way around.

The moment you start talking about design patents, you're going to get into a battle of actual design, not same concept. While I do own iPhones... this is the most ignorant court case I've seen in a while. It sounds like Apple is losing the argument and is resorting to "name calling."

RE: Dang it Apple!
By AntiM on 9/28/2011 11:33:03 AM , Rating: 2
How the heck can you patent a rectangle? Besides, Capt. Piccard used such a device long before it was possible to actually manufacture one. So I say, prior art, Star Trek.

RE: Dang it Apple!
By Solandri on 9/28/2011 1:55:05 PM , Rating: 2
And if anyone is hung up about Star Trek being a fictional TV show, not a practical business plan, the following dates from 1994:

RE: Dang it Apple!
By drycrust3 on 9/28/2011 11:24:15 PM , Rating: 2
not a practical business plan

So what about a company that is still in existence and that manufactured a computer with a touch sensitive screen prior to the establishment of Apple? Is that good enough?
Since when has "a practical business plan" been an excuse to get a patent for something that already exists? Can I patent a wheel? No! So how come Apple can patent something that was manufactured by another company? Is the fact the company is still in business enough evidence of their invention being a practical business plan?????

RE: Dang it Apple!
By DJ Brandon on 9/28/2011 1:09:34 PM , Rating: 3
It really is great to finally see an increasing folk see how bad Apple really is for the industry. What they do to companies and their gustapo like tactics. Steve Jobs as smart as he is thinks he is above and better than people. Insults nearly every other tech market out there. Shows no respect for the industry itself and is making a joke out of patents. I hope Apple gets what is coming to them. Maybe someday some of the Apple Fanbois will wake up and see what their 'Great Steve Jobs' is doing.

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