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Entries in lawsuit (4)

Monday
Aug272012

Understanding Apple vs. Samsung

The Apple vs. Samsung trial continues to be a major topic of discussion on podcasts, blogs and forums. I followed the case fairly closely and feel I managed to grasp the various legal concepts and arguments presented throughout the trial. Because I invested the time and energy to try to understand the details of the case, I was not surprised by the jury's decision. I expected it. And to be quite frank, if an attempt is made to understand the legal issues involved, I honestly don't understand how any reasonable, logical person could disagree with the jury's decision. Contrary to the cries of some individuals that are decidedly pro-Samsung (or anti-Apple), the case was not as simple as "rounded corners" or "dark rectangles." The devil is in the details, as they say.

For anyone that desires a better understanding of why the jurors ruled the way they did, I recommend spending some time with the words of Nilay Patel. Nilay is a tech journalist and managing editor at The Verge. Nilay also happens to have a law degree from Wisconsin Law School and he is a member of the bar in Wisconsin and Illinois. Obviously, Nilay is well-qualified to address the Apple vs. Samsung trial, which he followed closely.

Following the jury's decision on Friday, Nilay posted this article at The Verge:

Apple decisively wins Samsung trial: what it means

I encourage all of my readers to click over and read the article.

Then, on Sunday, August 26, Nilay was a guest on the TWiT Network's This Week in Tech episode 368, hosted by Leo Laporte. I'm a fan of TWiT's lineup of shows and frequently listen to them during my walks. Whether your interest lies in Mac or Windows, iOS or Android, or a variety of other topics, the TWiT Network has a show for you.

I've embeded This Week in Tech episode 368 below. The episode is 2 hours and 15 minutes long. The coverage of the Apple vs. Samsung lawsuit is only about 36 minutes long. As a tech geek, I found the entire show of interest. But if you are only interested in the Apple vs. Samsung discussion, it starts at approximately 9:30 and ends at about 45:30. A couple of key highlights during the discussion: "Willful Infringement" is discussed at 22:10, and the oft-mentioned "Grid of Icons" is discussed at about 40:15.

If you are remotely interested in better understanding some of the legalities at play during the trial, I urge you to watch the entire 36 minutes dealing with the lawsuit.

 

Monday
Aug272012

"And we Intend to Protect Them"

On January 9, 2007 at MacWorld Expo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs formally introduced the very first iPhone in typical showman fashion.  Here are two Jobs quotes from that introduction.

We’re going to touch this with our fingers. And we have invented a new technology called multi-touch, which is phenomenal. It works like magic. You don’t need a stylus. It’s far more accurate than any touch display that’s ever been shipped. It ignores unintended touches, it’s super-smart. You can do multi-finger gestures on it. And boy, have we patented it.

And...

We’ve been innovating like crazy the last few years on this, and we’ve filed for over 200 patents for all the inventions in iPhone. And we intend to protect them.

I love a man of his word!

Sunday
Aug262012

Apple Shines, Samsung Whines!

The day after a San Jose jury awarded $1.049 billion in damages to Apple (Apple vs. Samsung), Dan Frakes, senior editor at MacWorld, posted the following tweet:

When the iPhone debuted, it was widely criticized for having no buttons/keys. Now people think the iPhone’s design is “obvious.”

Well said and spot on, Dan! Before the first iPhone ever shipped the web was filled with predictions that Apple would fail in the ultra-competitive mobile handset business. Let's look back at a few.

On December 23, 2006, before the iPhone was formally introduced to the world, The Register's Billy Ray boldly declared:

As customers start to realise that the competition offers better functionality at a lower price, by negotiating a better subsidy, [iPhone] sales will stagnate. After a year a new version will be launched, but it will lack the innovation of the first and quickly vanish.

It appears Ray's idea of "quickly" will be measured in decades, not months or years.

On January 12, 2007, Businessweek's Steven Wildstrom wrote:

The iPhone may challenge some Treo, Windows Mobile, and Symbian (mostly Nokia) products, but its hardly a threat to BlackBerry.

Fast-forward to 2012 and the iPhone is besting the BlackBerry in the workplace and RIM is struggling to stay alive!

On March 28, 2007, MarketWatch's John C. Dvorak opined:

These phones go in and out of style so fast that unless Apple has half a dozen variants in the pipeline, its phone, even if immediately successful, will be passé within 3 months.

With a grand total of more than 240 million iPhones sold worldwide and sales of each new iPhone model more than doubling the sales of the previous model, it appears Dvorak slightly missed the mark.

On April 30, 2007, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was interviewed by USA Today's David Lieberman. Ballmer's prediction:

There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It's a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.

Oops, Mr. Ballmer! The iPhone currently has 63% market share with AT&T and 54% market share with Verizon. When you factor in the popular iPad and look at web market share, Apple's iOS grabs an astounding 65%Interestingly, Android's web market share is a measily 1%! I wonder which platform web content creators are more likely to support?

And finally, on June 6, 2007, PC Magazine's Jim Louderback confidentally predicted:

It'll be mildly successful (like Apple's desktops and notebooks, which have a 5 percent market share), but not at the level of the RAZR or Nokia's popular phones. 

Let's see, Google bought Motorola Mobility and recently announced layoffs, while Nokia is also struggling to compete. Both are casualties of Apple's confidence it could build a better mousetrap. Other handset makers are stuggling as well. And, by the way, Apple's Mac OS U.S. market share is up significantly, more than double the 5% Louderback quoted.

Those predictions are just a sample. There are many more to be found around the web. But back to Dan Frake's tweet.

Dishonorable Samsung

Before the iPhone became a huge success, the very features that made it truly revolutionary were criticized and dismissed. During the iPhone's developement, none of those features were "obvious" to anyone other than the team at Apple charged with designing the device. But once the iPhone went on sale and became a sensation, other handset makers were caught with their slide-out keyboards heading for the scrapheap. It doesn't take much to imagine the sense of urgency—maybe even panic—that was felt in the boardrooms of competitors. An internal memo described a "crisis of design" at Samsung. Yet, court testimony revealed that Samsung spent just three months mimicking details of the iPhone's design. The San Jose jury found that Samsung was guilty of willfully violating Apple's patented designs and trade-dress on multiple models across the Samsung line. Worse, in addition to copying features of Apple's invention, Samsung had the gall to claim that some of the iPhone's features were so "obvious" they shouldn't be patentable.

If the features were so "obvious" to Samsung (or any other handset maker), why didn't they implement and patent them first?

No, it was Apple that gambled on revolutionizing the smartphone market. It was Apple that spent five years in development reinventing the wheel. It was Apple that spent millions of dollars bringing the dream to reality and legally patenting and protecting the technology. It was Apple that ignored the pre-2007 history of how mobile phones looked and functioned and designed something magical.

So, it is right and just that Apple's employees and shareholders are the ones to benefit and profit from Apple's vision and leadership. Most definitely not Samsung, or any other idea-copying Johnny-come-lately.

Monday
Apr252011

Apple Gets Sued (yes, again!)

Bloomberg is reporting that a lawsuit has been filed against Apple Inc. in Federal court claiming invasion of privacy and computer fraud over Apple's alleged recording of the movements of iPhone and iPad users.

The complaint cited a report last week by two computer programmers claiming that Apple’s iOS4 operating system is logging latitude-longitude coordinates along with the time a spot is visited. The programmers said Apple devices are collecting about a year’s worth of location data. Apple hasn’t commented on the matter since the April 20 report was released.

The attorneys for the two named plaintiffs, Vikram Ajjampur and William Devito, are apparently seeking class-action status for the lawsuit.

It is important to note that, so far, there has been no proof or demonstration that Apple is "collecting" any of this location data.  All that has been demonstrated is that the location data is stored on a user's iPhone or iPad and that the data gets copied to the user's computer when he or she syncs their iPhone or iPad for updates and backup.  Nowhere has anyone proven that a single bit of that data gets transmitted to Apple or to any other party.

Until such time as there is some form of proof that Apple is both collecting the location data to their servers and using that data in a manner that allows them to personally identify a specific user, then my opinion is this lawsuit is meritless and a waste of the court's time.