U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

Summary: A U.S. district judge said that Samsung's Galaxy tablets infringe Apple's patents, but questioned the validity of the legal status of those patents.

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A U.S. district judge in Northern California said that Samsung Galaxy tablets infringe patents held by Apple, but that Apple might find difficulty in establishing the validity of its patents.

According to Reuters, a court session was held earlier today to hear Apple's request to block the sales of some Samsung's Galaxy products from being sold in the United States.

In order for the injunction to be granted, Apple must show that its patents were infringed, but that the patents in question were found to be valid under U.S. law.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said that she would deny Apple's request for a sales embargo based on one of Apple's 'utility' patents -- a legal term to determine how an invention is used. Koh did not say whether an injunction would be grated based on three of Apple's patents relating to the design of the iPad.

In a tweet from the proceedings, Koh "held both tablets above her head, one in each hand". After asking Samsung's lawyers which was which, in an apparent design test, it "took them a while to do so".

A formal order will be issued "fairly promptly", Reuters reports.

Apple began legal proceedings against the Korean phone giant in the United States earlier this year in April, stating that Samsung had copied the patent-protected design of the iPad in its line of Samsung Galaxy products. Later in July, it filed a motion to ban the sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and Galaxy S 4G smartphone in a bid to protect Apple's iPad and iPhone sales.

Both Verizon and T-Mobile have weighed in on the ongoing patent spat, warning that banning Samsung's phones could impact its holiday season sales, and hamper the adoption of its next-generation 4G networks.

Samsung is the largest manufacturer of Android phones in the United States, with one in four citizens owning an Android smartphone.

This week, Apple won an injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia, preventing the sale of the Android-powered tablet.

As it happened:

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Topics: Tablets, Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Legal, Mobility, Samsung

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103 comments
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  • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

    All these patents should never been issued anyway. So, I agree with the judge, it is really difficult to see how these patents are valid under US law.
    tatiGmail
    • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

      @tatiGmail
      you can not have infringements on bogus patents.
      Apple should drop the lawsuit before they become the butt joke of the community.
      The Linux Geek
      • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

        @The Linux Geek You mean like "The Linux Geek" has become the butt joke of ZDNet?
        athynz
    • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

      @tatiGmail
      You guys (and Samsung and Google, for that matter) are living in some reality-distortion-field of your own.

      The writing is on the wall. Apple has won injunctions in Europe, in Australia, and now the US. Samsung's attempt at a retaliatory injunction in Europe just went down in flames. Oracle has Google by the balls, with or without Motorola. The Android makers are making substantial royalty payments to _Microsoft_, for God's sake, and Google is reduced to arguing in court "it doesn't matter if we ripped off patents, our customers deserve cheap knock-offs".

      The Samsung-Google-Android universe decided some time ago that patents don't really mean anything anymore, and they're all about to hit the brick wall of a legal establishment that feels otherwise.
      pdq
      • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

        @pdq First, your reality-distortion-field must even affect geography. Germany does not equal Europe. Europe has no injunction against Samsung. Germany does. Second, there are examples of touch-screen tablet devices dating back -decades- before the iPad. This constitutes "prior art." The vast majority of these Apple patents are therefore invalid and were obviously issued by a technological moron. Third, Samsung-Google-Android absolutely -should- be challenging these patents because they are so obviously invalid to any technical person older than 20. Apple did NOT invent the touch screen device or the tablet. Apple did not invent icons arranged in a grid on a screen. So, why does Apple have patents on these things? Answer: Our patent system is beyond ludicrous and only serves to keep lawyers rich.
        Last, the "brick wall of a legal establishment" is working on -both- sides of this case. It isn't Apple execs fighting Samsung execs. It's lawyers fighting lawyers. The goal on both sides is to bend the law in their own direction.

        The real issue should be why are we issuing patents on ideas which are so obviously not original? None of these things were Apple's original ideas, so why are they being allowed to own them and prevent others from using them?
        BillDem
      • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

        @pdq You're absolutely correct that Samsung is infringing on Apple's patents, that's not really the issue here. The issue is that Apple should not be able to hold many of the patents that they have and that Samsung infringes upon, no one should. It would be very hard for a tablet manufacturer not to infringe on these patents.
        Queuecumber
      • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

        @pdq

        He's dead, get over it.
        This nation needs a lot more than toys to address the problems in homelessness and unemployment.
        Kaptah
      • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

        @BillDem,

        Germany is one of the largest economies in the EU. It is a country full of technology fans. If Samsung can't sell to Germany, their product is doomed - even if they manage to sneak it in some other European country.

        Great work of the judge, by the way! If Samsung's own (trained) lawyers cannot distinguish the two tablets, what about the ordinary users? Who will go in the shop, see an tablet device that look and is packaged, like the so sucessful iPad and eventually mistakenly buy it --- only to discover it is something completely different! In most countries, especially in the EU this is prosecuted by law.

        If Samsung wanted to have 10.1" tablet, they did not have to copy 1:1 the iPad. Including the packaging!

        That much arrogance deserves punishment. Worldwide.
        danbi
      • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

        @pdq If you're too stupid to tell the difference in these two when you go shopping and you buy the tab thinking its an iPad you deserve what you got. Seriously you don't buy a tablet from someone holding it above their heard 20 feet away. The only thing they have in common is its a rectangle and flat. I can't believe a company (Apple) could summit a pencil sketch of a rectangle device and claim they invented the look and actually get a patent. Amazing!
        piiman
      • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

        @pdq
        "Whatever!"

        Apple has won injunctions in Europe, in Australia, and now the US.

        That's just good lawyers, and you know O.J. Simpson is innocent. :(
        lorin@...
      • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

        @pdq

        The basis for the injunctions in Europe and Australia are even recognized to exist under U.S. law, and have been rejected in case law on a philosophical basis repeatedly. Score at least one point in favor of the U.S. judicial system. We have enough of a problem with $100 billion dollar giants like Apple writing bogus patents. At least we don't allow them to patent the idea of selling a white computer/tablet/phone.
        tkejlboom
      • The rectangular shape is not the only thing they copied

        vulpine@... Samsung copied:
        - The CABLE (which was designed specifically for the iPod/iPhone/iPad)
        - The packing box ... which is patented.
        - Icons ... which are copyrighted
        - The iOS UI .... which Android cloned but in a completely acceptable way and Samsung changed to mimic iOS.

        Also, there is some gossip that Samsung may be the manufacturer of the fake iPhone clones being sold in China an other countries ....
        wackoae
      • German judges are not very tech-savvy

        @pdq
        German's ruling does not mean a lot, because many German judges are notoriuosly anti technology, and you can bet that this judge has never e.g. seen any episode of star trek NG, to name just one example where tablet computers were shown in use decades ago. The problem also with the European and German patent system is that the public officers who grant these patents do not always do a good job in researching BEFORE granting a patent. This is one of the really obvious cases.
        o_p_i
    • Stupid Patent Office...

      @tatiGmail
      When the judge held up the tablets side by side, Samsung should've brought in two tissue boxes, Puffs and Kleenex and coverd the names, and then asked the judge which was which!
      Stupid patent office.
      waziwazi
      • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

        That is easy. The one with more sheets is Puffs. But that begs the question. Tissues are fungible and the issue about "Kleenex" had to do with Trademark, not Patent. Actually the Judge was brillant in what she did, and the Samsung folks proved it by being puzzled by which tablet was the Samsung!
        charlesnadler2@...
      • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

        @zm_z Better than that, Samsung should have produced an iPad, a digital picture frame (from before the iPad), an HP Windows tablet (from before the iPad), and asked the Apple lawyers to point out the iPad, from across the room. Sure, maybe on edge, but the patented part is the fact it looks like a featureless picture frame with slightly rounded corners. Way too generic to be a patent that stands up in court. In fact, the fact the judge questioned it is a good indication of just how bogus these are. But until it's successfully challenged it court, it is considered valid.

        The big problem is that the PTO in the USA only does prior art search against existing patents -- they don't have the time for anything else. They count on the applicant to include all known prior art -- again, usually in the form of patent references. This is how IBM patented "cut and paste" in wordprocessor 1984, and how Apple patented the ancient look of the picture frame.
        Hazydave
      • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

        @zm_z
        I was thinking the same about flat-screen LCD TV's. Or the cars in NASCAR. Or refrigerators. Or Levi's versus Wrangler's.
        reziol
      • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

        @zm_z
        Yes these stupid look and feel patent wars were fought and lost back when computers were 8 bit machines. Why is the patent office still giving out such bogus patents?
        Iamjl
      • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

        @charlesnadler2@ That's a ridiculous test by the judge. You could hold up two phones and have trouble telling them apart. Besides, if you see them side by side on a table you can easily tell because the Galaxy Tab uses a 16:9 form factor, the iPad uses a 4:3 form factor. How is that the same?
        mrxxxman
      • RE: U.S. judge: 'Samsung tablets infringe Apple patents'

        @zm_z I really doubt anyone had trouble identifying which was which.
        They should have brought in a Star Trex tablet and asked the same. And what consumer buys a tablet from a sales man holding them over his head 20 feet away saying guess which one you want? PSSSST the BOX and the Tablets have their manufactures name on it. Duh!
        piiman