Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

Summary: Business intellectual property patent and design wars are no longer confined to just a single country. Now, lead by Apple, they're being fought all over the world. Lucky us.

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Patent Absurdity

Patent Absurdity

Some fools still have this delusion that software patent and product design wars have something to do with some mythological real value of intellectual property (IP). While there are indeed cases involving a better mouse-trap, most such cases are about nothing but extorting cash from people who create real products, or, in the case of Apple vs. Samsung, Apple trying to preserve its market share against a would-be competitor.

Apple makes great products, but you wouldn't know it from the way it's attacking Samsung. Rather than let the marketplace decide whose products are better, Apple wants the courts to decide. Specifically, Apple is slugging it out with Samsung in a minimum of 19 lawsuits in 12 courts in nine countries on four continents.

Let that sink in for a minute. Apple is trying to use intellectual property law as a bludgeon around the world to protect its sales.

Around the globe the battle goes. In Australia, Samsung wins, for now, the right to sell their Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. In Germany, Samsung redesigns the same tablet in an attempt to avoid a European Union wide sales ban. And, the battle goes on and on.

Apple's claims are exactly the kind of over-reaching nonsense that the current state of intellectual property law that enables not only Apple, but any company with an over-broad IP claims, to use against anyone who dares compete with them. Many of Apple's iPad design claims, for example, can be shown to have prior art dating back to 1960s episodes of Star Trek!

Apple iPad design - it's been done before (images)

The European Union is finally taking notice of that what's going on here has less to do with IP rights and far more to do with trying to illegally beat the snot out of the competition. Joaquín Almunia, the European Union's Competition Commissioner, in effect, its chief anti-trust regulator has said: "In the IT sector, it is obvious it is not the only case. Apple and Samsung is only one case where intellectual property rights can be used as an instrument to restrict competition," Almunia said. He added that both standardization and intellectual property rights are two instruments that can be "used as a tool of abuse."

That's exactly what's happening. If Samsung, a global power in its own right, can't beat Apple, or decides it's too expensive to stay in the game, what chance does any other company have? A smaller business doesn't stand a chance in a world where a bully corporation can literally sue them around the world 24-hours a day until they collapse.

The sooner IP law is cleaned of its design, business practices, and software patent evils the better. If it's not, even if Apple repents of its anti-competitive ways, innovation in any technology is going to come to an end except for the companies that can afford the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars of global litigation.

Related Stories:

Samsung's Galaxy Tab sales ban lifted in rare Apple patent defeat

European antitrust regulators: Global patent battle could be 'used as tool for abuse'

Samsung alters Galaxy Tab design to avoid German sales ban

Google and Motorola Mobility: It's all about the patents

Google and Barnes & Noble get serious about Android patent lawsuits

Topics: Samsung, Apple, Enterprise Software, Legal

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242 comments
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  • AMEN!

    "The sooner IP law is cleaned of its design, business practices, and software patent evils the better."
    linux4u
    • Dream on

      @linux4u The U.S. President just signed into law patent "reform" legislation aka America Invents Act. It stacked the deck a little more in favor of large corporations with both large patent portfolios and large war chests.<br><br>Just another brick to lay onto the Occupy Wall Street wall.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • RE: Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

        @Rabid Howler Monkey odd, because he said to the OWS folks they were the reason he ran....<puke>
        QAonCall
      • Typical of any govt solution

        @Rabid Howler Monkey

        The original problem is never fixed, and the new reforms contain new rules and regs that benefit special interests and thus lay the groundwork for future govt reform. It's a never ending spiral and all we get are more laws and more problems!
        otaddy
    • RE: Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

      @linux4u Please distinguish between VALID patents and BOGUS patents. REAL ingenuity should be protected ... not in an "all mine" way, but so as to make reasonable royalties.
      BrentRBrian
  • iPad is a tablet, and no tablet before iPad had such design

    You can patent design only assigning concrete product category.<br><br>So I could come up with mirror in frame that looks exactly like iPad long before iPad appeared, but this would mean nothing.<br><br>So whatever picture/photoframes from the past are irrelevant (the more so while facade is really similar, their actual shape was drastically different from iPad). And while there was somewhat similar tablet from HP, it still had shaped edges, even though small, no black bezel, no all-flat glass surface, and it was two-parts set with keyboard -- nothing like iPad.<br><br>So, obviously, Apple had the right to be angry when Samsung all of sudden decided to copy iPad from top to bottom, from icons to the packaging. [b]There is nothing absurd about these lawsuits[/b], it is just about protecting intellectual property. And about Samsung not having dignity and acting like a Chinese no name manufacturer of forged products.
    dderss
    • RE: Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

      @dderss That HP tablet is what most people called "Convertible" design. The iPad like, no keyboard tablet has been use since Windows XP time. <br><br>Example: <a href="http://www.emrexperts.com/tablet-pc/index.php" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.emrexperts.com/tablet-pc/index.php</a><br><br>Sorry to burst your bubble but photoframe like form factor is nothing new here. <br><br>The rounded edge design alone is not patentable (Mind you, EU's Community design is not patent) and the thinniess is either due to advance of semiconductor process and battery chemical science, and none of those are Apple creations.
      Samic
      • RE: Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

        @Samic

        Tablet designs before and after the iPad:
        http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6186/6062139040_0c33d3fda5.jpg
        dave95.
      • RE: Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

        @Samic

        Apple's history in tablets and tablets R&D started late 70's early 80's.
        http://liquidpubs.com/blog/2010/11/08/apple-their-tablet-computer-history/
        dave95.
      • RE: Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

        @Dave95 Well, actually...
        http://gdeluxe.com/tablets-before-ipad-part-ii/
        sy69
      • RE: Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

        @dave95
        You just proved my point.
        I said that before and I'll say it again, the look and feel can't be patented. The round edge and thinniness is due to nature technology advancement, and the progression of how tablet looks from then and now proves it.

        If you blow up that UMPC into 10 inch screen, you'll also get a iPad looks-a-like too. If getting rid of buttons means better, then Galaxy Tab 10.1 by definition is better than iPad since there are less buttons on Galaxy Tab vs iPad.
        Samic
      • RE: Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

        @dave95

        No one is denying that Apple has been there and did the grunt work. No one is accusing Apple of stealing. What Apple stand accused of doing is dismissing the hardwork of hundreds all over the world who were engaged to the same ends. Even in all your references, it's pointed out that all of the previous iterations were developed in conjunction with partners that developed ALL of the underlying hardware. Obviously, OTHERS BESIDES APPLE have been engaged in the work of producing a tablet computing experience ALL ALONG.
        tkejlboom
      • RE: Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

        @tkejlboom<br><br>[I] "No one is accusing Apple of stealing. What Apple stand accused of doing is dismissing the hardwork of hundreds all over the world who were engaged to the same ends."[/I]<br><br>Yes you will find plenty on this site and elsewhere accusing Apple of being the ones stealing from Samsung's photo frames, or HPs first clunker tablet PC that had resistive screens and used stylus. And came decades after Apple were researching and developing tablets. Samsung's lawyers went as for as showing the judge the science fiction film Odyssy using fictional tablets. Totally ignoring how they've slavishly modeled their Tabs and Smart Phones and power wall charger and power card and 30 pin connector and packaging from Apple's devices. <br><br> <a href="http://www.hasfarsha.com/316" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.hasfarsha.com/316</a><br><br>The rest of the world developing tablets need not worry about Apple coming after them. Like I said it's the blatants like Samsung that need to worry. Apple is not going after LG, Toshiba, Archose, Acer or the hundreds of other no-name tablet makers coming out with devices. If Samsung wasn't so blatant in cloning Apple we probably would have never heard of such design patants being granted to Apple. And Apple using it offensively against Samsung to protect themselves. And if Apple did not file for such a patent early and received it, they would have been the onse being sued by some no-name company in Texas patent courtrooms claiming originality of the iPad design.
        dave95.
      • RE: Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

        @Sy69: if we're to give credit to everybody who ever made a mock-up of some future technology they weren't actually capable of producing yet we might as well just hand everything over to the estate of Jules Verne and be done with it ^^
        nphyx
    • RE: Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

      @dderss
      you mad bro?
      Jean-Pierre-
    • Wrong, Apple copied the Samsung Tablet (photoframe).

      @dderss

      Released well before the iPad, the Samsung Touch Tablet Photoframe is in fact the grand-father of the iPad that Apple slavishly stole from Samsung.

      Behold Samsung???s ???iPad??? ??? Made in 2006
      http://www.androidauthority.com/behold-samsungs-ipad-made-in-2006-21278/

      Samsung digital picture frame stores pics, movies, music
      By Marc Perton posted March 9th 2006 1:36PM
      http://www.engadget.com/2006/03/09/samsung-digital-picture-frame-stores-pics-movies-music/
      Samsung is entering the digital picture frame market with a 7-inch, full-featured model that includes both local storage and networking capabilities. The frame has a 800x400 display, 32MB of internal memory, support for SD, CF and USB devices for memory expansion, and built-in Ethernet for networking. Formats supported include JPEG, MP3, and MPEG-4. According to Samsung, the frame -- which will debut in Korea before being rolled out worldwide -- will support internet-based photo sharing, though the company hasn't supplied details about what services will be supported. Unfortunately, the display doesn't currently support WiFi, so all connectivity has to be handled through a wired Ethernet connection.

      Don't worry, Apple's headed right where they belong...

      [i]~~~~~~~~~~
      We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.
      ~ Steve Jobs

      We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk.
      ~ Steve Jobs said in 2008

      It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don't read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don't read anymore.
      ~ Steve Jobs, Apple???s Chief Reality Distortion Field officer said in 2008 about e-readers.[/i]
      WinTard
      • Apple headed right where they belong

        @WinTard
        Bigger than Microsoft. Right where they belong with huge profit margins.
        Cynical99
      • RE: Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

        @WinTard

        You write all the above just to show a square rectangular glass panel and claim that this was patent infrigement?

        Where is the Samsung square app icon and icon dock UI design that you allege Apple stole from this Samsung picture frame product?

        Where is the home button or the volume controls where you allege Apple stole their location placement first designed by Samsung for this picture frame product?

        I guess Apple decided it didn't need to steal the Samsung designs for the Ethernet and standard USB and memory slots incorporated into a glass panel display product.

        Where is the touch gestures or tablet OS functions that Apple stole from this Samsung product?

        In fact, isn't this Samsung product designed with just a non-touch capable screen technology anyway?

        If memory serves, Samsung never presented to any judge this product as proof of prior art but rather an old Paramount TV and Movie prop for this purpose. (Although why SJVN cites this in his blog article as an example of prior art laughablly dismissed by the Judge associated with this issue is beyond me. I thought SJNV was smarter than that.)

        Anyway, your opinion that this Samsung product inspired Apple's iPad is in error. Your opinion that Apple designers stole Samsung designs is slanderous.

        Your better than this.
        kenosha77a
      • RE: Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

        @WinTard Yeah but Apple had been working on tablet designs back in the 70s and 80s. And Apple filed the suit first. If Samsung came out with the design before Apple why didn't they file for the patent.
        rpollard1
      • RE: Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

        @Cynical99

        Yeah, huge profits made only on [b][i][u]your[/u][/i][/b] backs!

        Oooh, the irony!

        Hey, don't think you own Apple. It's Apple that owns you, and laughs all the way to the bank, thanks to the likes of gullible people like you.

        [i]~~~~~~~~~~
        The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.
        ~ Confucius

        It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance.
        ~ Thomas Huxley, 1825-1895, English Biologist

        Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, 'What's in it for me?'
        ~ Brian Tracy[/i]
        WinTard