Daily Cuppa: Samsung's weekend of patent madness

Daily Cuppa: Samsung's weekend of patent madness

Summary: It was all Samsung this weekend, with its battles against Apple in both South Korea and the US receiving verdicts. Take a sip and catch up on what you missed.


We hope your weekend was great, because for one particular South Korean technology company, it was not so great.

After three weeks of testimony and three days of deliberation by the jury in the Apple v. Samsung case in the US, there was finally a verdict: Samsung has been ordered to pay Apple damages of US$1.05 billion.

Don't forget that Samsung was also attempting to sue Apple for patent infringement. How did it fare? AU$0 in damages.

So, what does this mean? Some say that this doesn't matter at all, since the case will probably get stretched out to the Supreme Court, highlighting the absurdity of the patent system.

Others have different theories, betting that this will open new opportunities for other companies. Those that are looking to benefit could include Nokia and Microsoft.

Google, meanwhile, might be quivering in its shoes, realising that if Apple can successfully sue Samsung, then perhaps it is in the firing line, too. Many of the patents that Samsung was found to have infringed upon, such as the one for its application grid layout with an icon dock at the bottom, are based on Android.

So far, the only place where patent-infringement lawsuits seem to be making any sense at all is in Samsung's home country. A Seoul Central District Court in South Korea has found that Samsung violated one of Apple's patents, and that Apple violated two of Samsung's. The verdict: both companies lost, with bans placed on the sale of a number of devices from each. Perhaps that will make companies reconsider suing each other, and stop the patent madness.

Don't be fooled into thinking that all of these lawsuits mean the end for Samsung, though. UK mobile operator Three has signed Samsung up to build out its 4G network, so even if Samsung's handset business takes a hit, there are always other industries that it can use to get itself through a rough patch.

Topics: Samsung, Apple, Google, Legal, Microsoft, Nokia, Patents, Telcos, Australia

Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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  • Here's some fresh news to sip while served hot

    re: "to the Supreme Court, highlighting the absurdity of the patent system."

    So-called "reform" was passed last year... "reform" that anybody even doing a cursory glance of the documentation could sufficiently and quickly dissect and realize the reform would only make these issues worse...
  • Mistrial

    I know there are few with better legal knowledge than me. So here is a question:
    Jury had to answer 600 questions. Assuming that everyone on the jury needs to participate that means that 3 minutes per question will result in 1800 min or 30 hours.
    Given the fact that one juror said some "minor" issues as prior art were "bogging" the process down it could be assumed that there were no real deliberation and evidence was not considered.
    I am sure that could be cause for mistrial (if my assumptions are correct). Please feel free to criticize.
    • I'll feel free to agree with you

      And I'd love to read the questions - if any of them is a loaded question, designed to compel a juror to feel a certain way, then you bet there should be a mistrial.
  • Reductio ad absurdum

    I think we might want to pause before concluding that a case which reaches the Supreme Court "highlights the absurdity" of some area of law. Does deciding whether a warrant is required for police to place a GPS device on someone's car (an actual case) highlight the absurdity of the Fourth Amendment, or does it just tell us that GPS devices are sufficiently novel that the issue had not previously arisen?

    Also, I don't think the Supreme Court has the power to decide that a law is absurd. Unconstitutional maybe, but absurdity is a defect that requires a legislative remedy. Many people think that the last legislative remedy applied to patent law increased the absurdity.
    Robert Hahn
  • More reasons to never buy Apple ...

    my personal opinion. All this is doing is putting a hold on real innovation from both companies. One would hope that a settlement might be worked out.
    In my opinion, the only GOOD thing about a cotinuation to the Supremem Court would be if they made a ruling which clarified what is and isn't patentable and helped to clear up the jumble of vagueness surrounding issues like those in the Apple and Samsung suit.
  • Thanks Apple, but no thanks

    Apple was once a company that innovated and for sure caused innovation. Now they have set the trend that will forever prevent anyone else from following their trend. OK, it could be also argued that they only partially innovate and then stifle. And possibly this is more true. Indeed, more true.

    Mr Apple, the world doesn't beckon to you or you alone. You operate in a very competitive market and using patents as you have done to prevent competition is immoral.

    We all wish you well it whatever course you must now take, alone.