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Future patent battles between Apple and Samsung could take an entertaining turn as Apple has been granted a patent on radial menus for touchscreen devices – using an illustration that bears a notable resemblance to the Air Command menu used by Samsung on the Galaxy Note 3.
Lest anyone accuse Apple of copying Samsung, Apple first patented the menu approach back in 2012 – a year before Samsung adopted it. The reason for the second patent granted today is that Apple seemingly had in mind OS X rather than iOS when it first came up with the idea, illustrating it in a desktop environment.
The second patent specifically references using the menu based on “input from a touchscreen.”
As ever, the fact that Apple has patented something provides no evidence at all that it will ever see the light of day in an Apple product – OS X or iOS. Apple plays around with all kinds of ideas and patents thousands of them, only a tiny minority of which are ever used.
With Apple possessing a patent for a particular menu approach used by Samsung, but patenting touchscreen application of the approach after Samsung launched it in a tablet, the legal arguments could get interesting should the matter ever end up in court …
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Air Command, Apple, Apple v Samsung, Apple vs Samsung, injunction, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Lucy H Koh, Patent, Radial menus, Samsung
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Samsung, together with its lawyers, will have to fork out a little more cash following its loss in its second patent battle with Apple. A court has fined lawyers Quinn Emanuel and Samsung a total of $2M for misusing confidential details of a patent deal struck between Apple and Nokia.
The documents were supplied by Apple to Samsung’s lawyers purely so that it could see that Apple was telling the truth about its patent deals with other companies. The documents were markedÂ “for attorney’s eyes only” and were not to be revealed to Samsung executives …Â
Samsung later quoted exact terms of the deal in its own negotiations with Nokia, proving that it had access to the documents and that the court order had been breached.
The court foundÂ Quinn Emanuel demonstratedÂ “(1) failure to institute sufficient safeguards for third-party confidential information, and (2) failure to comply with the notice and cooperation requirements set forth in Section 18(a) of the protective order entered in this case.”
With the limited exceptions described above, the court finds that the remaining costs and fees requested by Apple and Nokia are reasonable and shall be awarded. No later than 30 days from this order, Samsung and QE are to pay Nokia a total of $1,145,027.95 and Apple a total of $893,825.77 in fees and costs.
In the original trial, Samsung was found to have infringed on three of the five patents Apple claimed, and awarded damages of just under $120M. Apple was also found to have infringed some lesser Samsung patents, and was ordered to pay $158,400.
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Apple v Samsung, injunction, lawyer, Nokia, Patent, patent battle, patent case, Patent trial, patents, Quinn Emanuel, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Samsung, Samsung v Apple
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I know, your eyes are probably glazing over by now at yet another Apple v. Samsung patent story. It seems scarcely a week goes by without one of the two companies winning a point, losing a point, filing an appeal, winning an appeal, losing an appeal or applying for some kind of court order. And if you were losing count, the latest newsÂ reported byÂ FOSS PatentsÂ that a California court has rejected Apple’s application for an injunction againstÂ SamsungÂ still relates to the original patent battle between the two companies which began back in 2011.
Apple was originally awarded almost a billion dollars in damages for patent infringements by Samsung. Apple had argued that monetary damages were insufficient, and that the court should also have ordered that the infringing products be withdrawn from sale …Â
Given that the products in question are now obsolete, you might think this was somewhat academic three years on. ButÂ Apple didn’t care about obtaining this particular injunction. What it wanted was to establish the precedent that it is not always enough to award damages when Samsung is found to have infringed an Apple patent – sometimes the only acceptable response is to remove the Samsung product from sale. If Apple had established that point, it would be in a far stronger position with the next round of patent battles about to begin.
Judge Lucy Koh rejected the call for an injunction, however, arguing in essence that the patent infringements were not the reason consumers bought the Samsung products, and that Apple would gain too much of a competitive advantage if competitor products were withdrawn from sale.
To award an injunction to Apple in these circumstances would ignore the Federal Circuitâ€™s warning that a patentee may not ”leverage its patent for competitive gain beyond that which the inventive contribution and value of the patent warrant.”
The precedent suggests that the likely outcome of future patent infringement cases between the two companies will be similarly limited to financial damages rather than product injunctions.
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Apple v Samsung, Apple vs Samsung, California, injunction, Lucy H Koh, Lucy Koh, Patent, patents, Samsung, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
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EU Commission says Motorolaâ€™s injunction against Apple in Germany amounts to abuse, prohibited by antitrust law
As if we needed someone to tell us that the ongoing patent lawsuits between Apple and Motorola in Germany were getting a little out of controlâ€¦ Today the European Commission has finally stepped up calling Motorola’s enforcement of an injunction against Apple with mobile standard essential patents “abuse of a dominant position prohibited by EU antitrust rules.” The EU Commission, however, does note that the statement of objections sent to Motorola does not reflect the final outcome of its investigation into its use of standard essential patents (SEPs):
The Motorola Mobility SEPs in question relate to the European Telecommunications Standardisation Institute’s (ETSI) GPRS standard, part of the GSM standard, which is a key industry standard for mobile and wireless communications. When this standard was adopted in Europe, Motorola Mobility gave a commitment that it would license the patents which it had declared essential to the standard on FRAND terms. Nevertheless, Motorola Mobility sought an injunction against Apple in Germany on the basis of a GPRS SEP and, after the injunction was granted, went on to enforce it, even when Apple had declared that it would be willing to be bound by a determination of the FRAND royalties by the German court.
The EU Commission essentially states that Apple should be able to license the technology under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms decided by a third-party, and that Motorola’s approach with its latest injunction could â€śdistort licensing negotiations and impose unjustified licensing terms.â€ť Back in February of 2012, Apple was for a short while forced to remove all 3G devices from its online store in Germany following the injunction, and at the time Apple noted that “Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago.â€ť
Today’s Statement of Objections sets out the Commission’s preliminary view that under the specific circumstances of this case – a previous commitment to license SEPs on FRAND terms and the agreement of Apple to accept a binding determination of the terms of a FRAND licence for SEPs by a third party – recourse to injunctions harms competition. The Commission is concerned that the threat of injunctions can distort licensing negotiations and lead to licensing terms that the licensee of the SEP would not have accepted absent this threat. This would lead to less consumer choice.
The Commission will not come to a final decision in the investigation, which was originally opened in April of 2012 following the injunction in Germany, until both parties have had an opportunity to enter a defence. It could then possibly “issue a decision prohibiting the conduct and impose a fine of up to 10 % of a companyâ€™s annual worldwide turnover.”
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According toÂ a report from Reuters, Nokia has this week become the first company to submit an amicus brief in support of Apple’s attempt to secure injunctions on several Samsung products. While the full contents of the brief have not yet been revealed, Reuters reports Nokia argued its position in a summary of the brief that was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington on Monday.
In an accompanying summary, however, Nokia argued that a trial court judge got it wrong when she denied Apple’s request for a permanent injunction.
In the filing on Monday, Nokia attorney Keith Broyles from Alston & Bird argued that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, erred by ruling that Apple must establish a “causal nexus” between its patented feature and the demand for its phones in order to secure a permanent injunction.
Nokia argued that the rule “could cause wide-ranging damage to the United States patent protection landscape.”
Companies and advocacy groups will still be able to submit briefs on behalf of Samsung after the company’s written arguments in the coming weeks. Nokia said its decision to submit the brief is to “advocate for patent rights as a means of fostering innovation.”Â
“Nokia has recently been involved in numerous U.S. patent lawsuits, as both a plaintiff and defendant,” Broyles wrote. “Nokia is thus both a significant patent owner that might seek an injunction to protect its patent rights, and a manufacturer in an industry in which patent owners routinely issue threats of injunctions for patent infringement.”
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Apple Has Been Denied a Permanent Sales Ban on the Samsung Phones and Tablets That Infringed on Apple’s Patents
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U.S. Judge Lucy Koh granted Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone in June, and the decision resulted in the temporary removal of the device from Google Play pending a software fix with Android 4.1. Today,Â Reuters reported thatÂ Apple’s U.S. injunction on the Galaxy Nexus has been reversed. TheNextWeb got its hands on the official order:
Samsung argued, somewhat humiliatingly, that the sales of the Galaxy Nexus were so poor that they didnâ€™t pose a threat to Appleâ€™s iPhone and that the unified search feature was not essential to the success of its device. The appeals court apparently agrees, as it states in itsÂ official order:
â€¦it may veryÂ well be that the accused product would sell almost as wellÂ without incorporating the patented feature. And in thatÂ case, even if the competitive injury that results fromÂ selling the accused device is substantial, the harm thatÂ flows from the alleged infringement (the only harm thatÂ should count) is not.
According to Reuters, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled the court “abused its discretion in entering an injunction” and will send the case back to the California court for consideration.
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Aereoâ€”the service that streams over-the-air local TV to any Mac, iOS device, or PC running Safari for $12 per monthâ€”just got a second chance at survival. According to The New York Times, a U.S. federal judge on Wednesday rejected a temporary injunction spurred by television broadcasters, saying a ruling for the broadcasters would have shut down Aereo.
Reuters reported that Walt Disney Co., Comcast Corp., News Corp., Univision Communications Inc., and the Public Broadcasting Service tried to stop Aereo with the injunction, claiming they would “lose their right to retransmission fees from cable and other companies that rebroadcast their programming, and also lose critical advertising revenue”:
- U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan said on Wednesday that while the broadcasters demonstrated they faced irreparable financial damage if were the venture were allowed to continue, Aereo also showed it would face severe harm if the requested preliminary injunction were granted.
- ‘First and foremost, the evidence establishes that an injunction may quickly mean the end of Aereo as a business,’ the Manhattan judge wrote in a 52-page opinion.
The New York Times quoted Aereo’s Barry Diller, who noted a trial still lies ahead for his company, but he is now â€śfar happier to begin this process with the judgeâ€™s ruling.â€ť One of the plaintiffs, CBS, told the publication it would continue to seek damages and a permanent injunction: â€śThis is only a ruling on a preliminary injunction. This case is not over by a long shot.â€ť
9to5Mac reviewed Aereo in March and found its broadcast TV-like experience encouraging and well worth a test-drive:
- Overall, Aereoâ€™s HTML5 user-interface is the most impressive on the Mac platform. Its ease of browsing, watching, and recording local TV through Safari is a unique take during an age that offers countless ways of viewing cable without an actual television.Â The main takeaway with Aereo is that it works best on the MacÂ and the iPad, video quality is identical to what one would see on a HDTV, and the DVR function is extremely handy.
- [...] For many people, its DVR functionality alone is worth the $12 monthly fee. For others, the admission price might be too hefty when compared to cheaper services that also offer cable programming and better streaming.
- Hands-on with Aereo: $12 monthly broadcast TV with DVR live-streams in Safari for Mac and iOS (9to5mac.com)
- Judge rejects Samsung’s request to remove injunction on U.S. Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales (9to5mac.com)
- Apple wins injunction on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, ahead of Google I/O kicking off tomorrow (9to5mac.com)
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There were reports earlier this week that District Judge Lucy Koh issued a preliminary injunction on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the United States related to the ongoing cases between Apple and Samsung. At the time, reports claimed the ruling would kick in once Apple posted a $2.6 million bond. Today, FossPatents reported that Apple has since done so, allowing the preliminary injunction to formally take effect:
Apple didn’t hesitate to post its $2.6 million bond to protect Samsung against the possibility of a successful appeal, in which case the preliminary injunction would be found to have been improperly grantedâ€¦ the injunction has taken effect and Samsung must abide by it. Otherwise Apple could ask the court to sanction Samsung for contempt.
With Apple pulling $39.2 billion in revenue last quarter, we know it takes only a matter of minutes to make that $2.6 million, which is meant to protect Samsung from damages in case the injunction is found to be wrongly issued. On Tuesday, Judge Koh made a statement following her ruling that Samsung “does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products.” FossPatents continued by giving its outlook for the trial set to take place this summer:
I have previously stated my belief that Apple goes into this summer’s trial with a fundamentally stronger case than Samsung. That belief is mostly based on the strength of the asserted intellectual property rights and the fact that Samsung mostly relies on FRAND-pledged standard-essential patents (SEPs)â€¦ Apple won’t be able to prevail on each and every intellectual property right it asserts, but I think Apple will at least win parts of its case while Samsung will at best win a FRAND royalty but no injunction over SEPs.
- Apple wins injunction on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, ahead of Google I/O kicking off tomorrow (9to5mac.com)
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