Print 45 comment(s) - last by iEatApples.. on Nov 24 at 12:06 PM

Got to ban them all

In the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California's San Jose courtroom Judge Paul S. Grewal has ordered that warring smartphone makers Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) and Apple, Inc. (AAPL) be allowed to dramatically expand their lawsuits by including nearly all of each others current product.

I. Round Two Set, With iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III Ban Requests Added

Round one of the battle in California U.S. District Court when resoundingly to Apple.  Initially, Judge Lucy Koh moved to dismiss the case, but in a somewhat unusual outcome a three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ordered [PDF] Judge Koh to reconsider tossing the case.  Judge Koh subsequently allowed Apple to take Samsung to trial, and in a stunning outcome the jury -- some of whose family members were Apple shareholders -- found Samsung guilty of $1.05B USD in damages.  Apple was found innocent of Samsung's infringement claims.

In the wake of that stinging ruling Apple looked to capitalizing, looking to triple the damages to $3B USD on the grounds that the jury found the infringement to be "willful" and non unintentional.

The Samsung Galaxy S III

But that round of the battle, which is still ongoing, only deals with last generation devices.  A second, newer case was filed by Apple in February target the Galaxy Nexus (which at the time was one of Samsung's flagship designs).  Apple alleged that the Nexus infringed on eight of its patents.  Samsung, as with the previous suit, filed a counter-claim, alleging the iPad infringed on eight of its own patents.

In recent weeks both companies have looked to pile on new claims to that second suit, asking Judge Grewal to refresh it to contain their rival's current products.

The iPhone 5

Samsung asked to add the iPhone 5 to the case and have the jury rule on new infringement claims.  Apple sought a far bigger expansion, adding a general claim covering all devices running Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Jelly Bean operating system (which in turn covers 17 stylus based products) and the Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung flagship phone.  Samsung balked at Apple's request arguing that it covered far many products.

Ultimately Judge Grewal largely sided with Apple's claim that it was valid to tack on a broad range of devices, despite the time involved, although he did offer Samsung a bit of good news by approving its iPhone 5 addition to the counterclaim.

II. Smartphone War Has Mostly Been a Stalemate

So far the smartphone between Apple and Android smartphone makers has been largely a stalemate, thus far.  Apple did dent HTC Corp.'s (TPE:2498) sales with a month long seizure of shipments, but it ultimately settled up with Android phonemaker into a long-term IP licensing deal after failing to secure more bans.

Technically, Google-owned Android phonemaker subsidiary Motorola Mobility and Apple are still at war, but their case has gone nowhere.  The pair's suits/countersuits have been dismissed with prejudice not once, not twicebut three times from different federal courts.

As for Samsung v. Apple, despite the big jury loss, virtually no Samsung products have been banned from sale.  Judge Koh recently struck down the ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (the precursor to the Note 10.1), as the jury found it did not infringe on U.S. Design Patent D504,889, a design patent which depicted a bulkier button-less early iteration of the iPad, nicknamed by some the "fat iPad".

Return of the Banned
Many Android smartphones have escaped Apple's ban hopes.

While Judge Koh did acknowledge that the Tab 10.1 was found to infringe on Apple user interface patents, she argued that was insufficient to ban the handsets.  

Judge Koh had put in place a preliminary injunction on the Galaxy Nexus, pending the outcome of the second trial back in June.  But in early October the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit tossed that ban as well, arguing that Apple's arguments regarding Samsung's supposed infringements were flawed and demonstrated a lack of understanding about the workings of Android.

While the $1B USD jury verdict was a blow for Samsung, considering the company is pulling in a cool profit of $7.4B USD per quarter, the impact shouldn't be too big, even if it holds up on appeal.

III. Samsung May be Forced to Pay More, But Bans are Unlikely

The Apple versus Samsung conflict, the last of the major lawsuit battles to appear to have some life left, also happens to be the most pivotal for both Android and Apple.  Samsung is by far the biggest smartphone maker, and is ahead of Apple in unit sales.  It is also the only smartphone maker to common anywhere close to Apple's gawdy margins (though it still makes much less profit).

The most wild outcome, with the additions would be for the nation's two best-selling phonemakers to have all their current product banned from sale.  (An outcome that would surely please some like HTC and Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V)).

More likely there will be few if any bans, based on past cases.  But the time-consuming case may lead to another billion dollar verdict.  

Apple money
In the last some jurors had family members who were Apple shareholders.
[Image Source: SomanyMP3s]

Apple has a distinct advantage in that the case is being tried in a local court, with jurors selected from a relatively affluent region, where many people are either Apple shareholders or have family members who hold Apple stock.  Judge Koh in the previous case said it would be fine for jurors to have family members with large amounts of Apple stock, as she did not see that as an unacceptable bias.

Amidst that outcome, the most likely outcome may be that Samsung is forced to pay another "licensing fee" sort of sorts -- a billion dollard dent -- but is unlikely to see substantial product bans, given Apple's unwillingness to license Samsung patents covering relatively trivial and ubiquitous software features (some of which are in the early stages of invalidation) or design features (like the rectangle).

Source: Reuters

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RE: What?
By V-Money on 11/16/2012 1:22:38 PM , Rating: 5
My guess, nothing banned and not a cent paid in the end.

Except for the I hate them. I remember watching back to the future II hoping that if any of it came true someday it would be getting rid of them.
The justice system works swiftly in the future now that they've abolished all lawyers. -Doc Brown

RE: What?
By nafhan on 11/16/2012 3:58:20 PM , Rating: 2
If lawyers were abolished, you'd still end up with individuals doing essentially what lawyers do now.

Basically, getting rid of lawyers wouldn't really change things. You need to work on the problem of "Why do we have lawyers, and how do we make it so they're not needed?" I'm not even certain where to start on that one... would probably need to ask a lawyer :/

RE: What?
By xytc on 11/19/12, Rating: 0
RE: What?
By maugrimtr on 11/19/2012 10:39:34 AM , Rating: 2
Was it ever documented if the juror's family shares were held directly or through a mutual fund? Basically everyone with a pension pot likely owns Apple shares indirectly - the idea of share being held indirectly is that you have no direct influence over buying/selling those shares and therefore it will not be considered a bias in the jury pool (anyone who can afford it SHOULD have a pension account to prepare for retirement).

RE: What?
By iEatApples on 11/24/2012 12:06:32 PM , Rating: 2
Basically Courts will become Computerized and decisions will be made on the facts as presented by witnesses and experts. Not by how how good or bad your attorney is or how much you paid them. Done more like going to traffic court or small claims court. Judges will put far greater leverage on information input done by computers. Not lawyers, who are inclined to be more Liars than Lawyers anyway!

Double Siding deals between attorneys are so prevalent now, that no one should ever trust any attorney. All they want to do is extend a profession, that is as old as Prostitution. Which is also a substitution for a real wife or mate, as attorneys are for real people or defendants speaking for themselves. By that time, we'll all be recorded doing everything we do wrong and so no denial to be made or proof otherwise to be offered in our defense! .....sad but true!

As for this article's insistence on insinuating that Apple was allowed to include Jelly Bean Android? That's complete bullshizt. Apple only requested it be added. But naturally, Samsung has nothing to do with creating Google Jelly Bean Android and so the Judge had to refuse it being allowed in the case!

This whole Apple v Samsung debacle will be settle like Apple v Microsoft and just end up costing us more money and keep rich attorneys getting ever fatter off our own stupidity in buying all these products in their Planned Obsolescence Con Style Business Model!

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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