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Samsung Galaxy Nexus Ban Overturned 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the another-day,-another-apple/samsung-ruling dept.
Maow writes with word that the U.S. Federal Appeals Court has reversed a sales ban on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus phone. According to the decision (PDF), "Regardless of the extent to which Apple may be injured by the sales of the Galaxy Nexus, there is not a sufficient showing that the harm flows from Samsung’s alleged infringement. ...the district court abused its discretion in enjoining the sales of the Galaxy Nexus." The ruling also said Apple didn't do a good enough job showing that the allegedly infringing features were "core" to the Nexus's operation. The case centered on what is called "unified search," a method for bringing together search results from multiple places, such as a device's internal memory and the internet at large (U.S. Patent #8,086,604). "Apple must show that consumers buy the Galaxy Nexus because it is equipped with the apparatus claimed in the ’604 patent—not because it can search in general, and not even because it has unified search."
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Samsung Galaxy Nexus Ban Overturned

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  • Laugh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by koan (80826) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:18PM (#41632501)

    I saw it as Apples attempt to keep the larger screen Samsung phone from hitting the market before the iPhone5.

    • Re:Laugh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Laxori666 (748529) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:30PM (#41632659) Homepage

      That's certainly possible. This is what happens when you don't have free markets. It becomes profitable to divert some effort into abusing the regulatory systems instead of spending all your time and energy actually producing things.

      • Re:Laugh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Synerg1y (2169962) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:45PM (#41632803)

        It's not the market that's broken, but the patent system... it clearly wasn't designed for computers & technology.

        • Re:Laugh... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by d3ac0n (715594) on Friday October 12, 2012 @01:09PM (#41633107)

          I don't think Laxori666 was intimating that "The Market" was broken, but rather that our regulatory systems (that would include the Patent system) have shackled it to the extent that it can be more profitable to engage in legal assaults against your competitors than to actually PRODUCE something new for sale.

          Now, Apple is clearly doing both, but the fact that the legal avenue is even viable for them to bother pursuing should be of great concern to anyone wishing to see greater vibrancy and energy from the marketplace.

      • Re:Laugh... (Score:5, Informative)

        by sir-gold (949031) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:52PM (#41632891)
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Has anyone actually put out the costs broken down by general, defensive and offensive legal fees? I would really like to see it broken down that way.

          • by sribe (304414)

            Has anyone actually put out the costs broken down by general, defensive and offensive legal fees? I would really like to see it broken down that way.

            By far the majority of the spending referred to was for unusually large, one-time, purchases of patent portfolios from failing companies.

        • Re:Laugh... (Score:5, Informative)

          by sribe (304414) on Friday October 12, 2012 @02:27PM (#41633917)

          Last year, both Apple and Samsung (and Google) spent more on legal fees than R&D.

          No, they did not. The "spending on patents" which exceeded their R&D included huge (multibillion $) one-time purchases of assets, including patent portfolios, from failing companies.

          • Re:Laugh... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Laxori666 (748529) on Friday October 12, 2012 @02:40PM (#41634051) Homepage

            How is spending billions of dollars buying patents not "legal fees"? It's certainly not R&D. For example, Google could have spent money and come up with a phone on their own (R&D), but they had to buy Motorola in order to not be sued into oblivion by the other phone makers (legal fees).

            • by sribe (304414)

              How is spending billions of dollars buying patents not "legal fees"? It's certainly not R&D. For example, Google could have spent money and come up with a phone on their own (R&D), but they had to buy Motorola in order to not be sued into oblivion by the other phone makers (legal fees).

              "Legal fees" is commonly understood to mean "fees paid for legal services". NOT money paid for licenses, copyrights, patents, leases, tangible property, real property, non-legal services or anything else except, you know, actual legal services.

              And no, of course it's not R&D. Neither are a whole host of other things these companies spend money on, none of which magically become legal fees by virtue of not being R&D.

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward

                People are counting them as legal fees because their only purpose is to avoid costly lawsuits.

            • by Fjandr (66656)

              <snark>
              Really, Google could avoid paying for any patents and just make a cellular phone?
              </snark>

              Buying patent portfolios is like buying a house instead of renting. Google would obtain those patents either via outright ownership, or they'd rent them. You cannot make a cellular phone which is compatible with modern networks without patent encumbrance of some sort or another.

              Purchasing patent portfolios is to R&D what buying a building is to building one. If you need a building and one exists w

              • by Laxori666 (748529)

                You cannot make a cellular phone which is compatible with modern networks without patent encumbrance of some sort or another.

                That's precisely my point. But if the patent system didn't exist as it does now, you would be able to, if you could set your engineers to the task of figuring out how modern networks work and how to make something that interoperates with them.

                Purchasing patent portfolios is to R&D what buying a building is to building one. If you need a building and one exists which fits your purpose, and your time is better spent in other aspects of your business than the construction of something fitting that purpose, you buy it outright. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

                The analogy is flawed. When you buy a patent, you don't buy any information or knowledge, let alone anything physical. You merely buy the right to use certain information/knowledge because the legal system is set up such that it is illegal to use it - this even if you

                • by sribe (304414)

                  The analogy is flawed. When you buy a patent, you don't buy any information or knowledge, let alone anything physical. You merely buy the right to use certain information/knowledge because the legal system is set up such that it is illegal to use it - this even if you could have come up with it on your own. The analogy would be more accurate if you said "purchasing technology/blueprints/research" instead of "purchasing patents"

                  OK, fine, his analogy was not perfect. But yours is no better. The perfect analogy would have been leasing a building--not buying anything physical, merely the right to use something.

      • This is what happens when you don't have free markets.

        I am not an economist, so I am not sure what would free markets do in this case. I agree with Synerg1y's point -- the patent system is broken. So if the broken patent system exists, how would your "free markets" be?

        • Re:Laugh... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Rockoon (1252108) on Friday October 12, 2012 @02:06PM (#41633717)
          Free markets cannot exist while the government distorts them. This isnt about regulation, because regulation does not need to distort the markets.

          Market distortions perpetrated by government are often characterized by government money, but that isnt the whole story. The patent system is most certainly a market distortion, which seemed like a beneficial trade-off when it was only manufacturing techniques that were being patented. Clearly its not a free market if you arent free to also do what someone else is succeeding when doing. You shouldn't be guaranteed to succeed, but you should be free to try.

          The patent system, as it stands, is a gross violation of liberty. The society does not benefit when information that was naturally (going to be) public information is given exclusive use. Society only benefits in the case where what would have been trade secrets is made public through these government enforced incentives of limited exclusiveness. This kind of would-have-been-a-trade-secret patent is rare these days. Companies like Intel and Global Foundries certainly are involved in that kind of 'good' patent (not exclusively, see instruction set patents), but companies like Apple patent information that would by definition become public through the sale of millions of devices which demonstrate it.

          Its about time people stood up for technological liberty. End the 'design' side of the patent system, and reform the 'utility' side of the patent system.
          • Re:Laugh... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by makomk (752139) on Friday October 12, 2012 @03:45PM (#41634667) Journal

            Free markets cannot exist, full stop. For instance, every time a companies actions have negative externalities - costs that affect others who aren't doing business with them - that distorts the market even if there's no government, because it means the free market price of their product doesn't reflect the actual cost. We see this with global warming; in fact that's one reason why libertarians are so keen on insisting that it doesn't exist despite the actual evidence. There's a related problem with (for instance) deep sea fishing called the tragedy of the commons - without government intervention the free market would wipe out fish stocks and drive fishermen into bankrupcy, despite the fact that this makes everyone else worse off.

            That's before we even get into the problems with false advertising and food and drug mislabelling, and the consistent inability of the free market to deal with it, or natural monopolies and rent-seeking behaviour, or...

          • I find it rather amusing to read all this libertarian commentary treating the patent system as some form of "government regulation" as if it were some afterthought tacked on by politicians not as wise as the Founding Fathers.

            The fact is patents championed by Thomas Jefferson http://cti.itc.virginia.edu/~meg3c/classes/tcc313/200Rprojs/jefferson_invent/patent.html [virginia.edu] and enshrined in Article I Sec. 8 of the U.S. Constitution. It may or may not be wise to eradicate patents, but doing so will require a Cons

            • by Rockoon (1252108)

              I find it rather amusing to read all this libertarian commentary treating the patent system as some form of "government regulation" as if it were some afterthought tacked on by politicians not as wise as the Founding Fathers.

              The original patents were utility patents, not design patents. You are uninformed and you need to come to terms with that, such as not spitting ignorant bullshit at others thats based completely on incomplete information.

              • by elwinc (663074)

                The original patents were utility patents, not design patents. You are uninformed and you need to come to terms with that, such as not spitting ignorant bullshit at others thats based completely on incomplete information.

                Ummm ... the so called '604 patent that sparked the ban of the Galaxy Nexus is a utility patent. It's a patent about the utility of unified search and spoken results on a smartphone.

        • by Laxori666 (748529)

          My point is that the patent system itself is what makes the market not free. A freer market would be one without the patent system.

          How would that market operate? It means companies would no longer be able to make money by coming up with something and preventing other people from doing it (thus enjoying the benefits of a monopoly), but rather, to come up with something which they can make money from even if they have competition. Whenever there is competition in a free market, prices go down while quality go

      • by chrismcb (983081)
        Apple just released a new iPod, shortly before that iPhone 5, a few months prior iPad3, a few months prior iPhone 4s, a few months prior iPad 2. It looks like they are spending quite a bit of time and energy producing things. So what was your point?
    • by crachel (1970552)
      The Galaxy Nexus came out in November 2011. This ban that is being overturned occurred in June 2012.
    • by MachDelta (704883)

      Or it was a shot across Google's bow.
      If Apple really wanted to hurt Samsung alone, they would have picked the SII instead - it's very close to the same phone (admittedly, it was Samsung's "true" flagship phone as the hardware specs were the same or better). Going after the Nexus was probably nothing more than a two-birds-one-stone scenario, attacking their largest hardware competitor and their largest (only?) OS competitor (and sworn enemy) at the same time.

    • by jlv (5619)

      I saw it as Apples attempt to keep the larger screen Samsung phone from hitting the market before the iPhone5.

      The Galaxy Nexus has been on sale for almost a year.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      I saw it as Apples attempt to keep the larger screen Samsung phone from hitting the market before the iPhone5.

      Well, then they were late in getting the ban - the Galaxy Nexus has been on sale for almost a year already.

    • I saw it as Apples attempt to keep the larger screen Samsung phone from hitting the market before the iPhone5.

      Considering the Galaxy Nexus was released almost a year BEFORE the iPhone 5, that's unlikely.

    • by steelfood (895457)

      And it worked, this time at least. Even if they didn't stop Android outright, they were able to slow down its momentum for a short while. It's not a complete victory, but it's enough of one. The real question is, is it going to work again the next time. I hope not. More of these, and they could really kill Android's momentum and ultimately kill Android.

  • Thank you.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moheeheeko (1682914) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:21PM (#41632537)
    ...sweet merciful logic!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I know, I know, it's blasphemous and wrong, but don't worry! Friend Apple will be by to innovate the Appeals Court, correcting their faulty logic! Then the foul Green Beast will be forever slain, and all the true believers will be welcomed to iHeaven to stand by His side with His holy turtleneck! So don't despair!

  • by FirstOne (193462) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:29PM (#41632645) Homepage

    I.E.. Apple forfeits some of the bond they posted for PI, up to 96.5 million dollars, maybe more.

    This ruling can also put a serious dent in the Apple's victory over Samsung SJ court. The same reasoning will overturn that verdict as well. (Apple didn't show they were damaged by Customers seeking out those specific patented features.)

    Additionally those features represent a tiny fraction of the overall value of the phones.. (big hit to damages award),

  • by jkrise (535370) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:40PM (#41632747) Journal

    unless you overturn the idiotic jury verdict, the entire World is going to laugh at you.

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:42PM (#41632781) Journal
    People don't always buy phones because of specific features any more - they buy it because of the brand and because it is the latest model from that brand. People will buy the Nexus instead of the Apple regardless of the specifics of its search functions.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by OrangeTide (124937)

      If the Nexus didn't have any features, then it would cease being a popular brand. That's kind of the point that Apple was trying to make.

      • by Todd Knarr (15451)

        Yes, but if this particular feature were left out, people would still buy it. The Appeals Court noted this clearly in their order:

        The causal nexus requirement is not satisfied simply because removing an allegedly infringing component would leave a particular feature, application, or device less valued or inoperable. A laptop computer, for example, will not work (or work long enough) without a battery, cooling fan, or even the screws that may hold its frame together, and its value would be accordingly deprec

        • Yeah, and this particular search feature is one that I have barely used in years of having an Android phone. To ban sales of the phone because of it is patently absurd.

          • I see what you did there!

          • Which is exactly what the court said, wondering "...whether the patentee seeks to leverage its patent for competitive gain beyond that which the inventive contribution and value of the patent warrant."

      • There's a difference between "You're infringing and will be punished" and "You're infringing and cannot sell the phone until we get this worked out". Blocking sales should be the nuclear option, only used in the most blatant violations of the most key features, which is what this judge is saying. Violating this patent to marginally improve the user experience on a device is not sufficient to run a company into the ground.

      • Nexus isn't a brand...You don't get it. Parent poster doesn't get it either. Read my above post.
        • Nexus is a brand. I worked on the Nexus 7 tablet. I guess you don't know what a brand is.

        • by Dishevel (1105119)

          Nexus is very "Brandish" to those of us who buy based on "Nexus"
          Nexus means that I am dealing with an unlocked, root capable phone running base Android software.
          I like Nexus s. Some of them I might skip because of the manufacturer but I will not be buying another non Nexus phone.

    • > People don't always buy phones because of specific features any more

      Actually, in some sense that is not true. When buying phones, it must be Android. That's what I'm looking for. I'll compare amongst Android phones for everything else, as you suggest. Brand. Features. Price. Size. Color. Style. Keyboard. Cameras.

      But not running Android is a deal killer. I buy the phone because it runs Android. Because it syncs with Google services, runs Google maps, etc. I buy it because I can get s
      • by jo_ham (604554)

        And before an iFanboy complains, I would point out that they do the same. They buy the iDevice specifically because it is from Apple, runs iOS, is high priced, takes away their freedom, etc etc.

        Why would they complain? Those are all perfectly valid positions to take. Your choice of platform and the criteria that are involved in its selection have nothing to do with anyone else - I just with that certain Android "fans" would appreciate that people who don't ultimately choose Android also have equally valid reasons and criteria.

        I didn't go for an iPhone because it "is high priced, takes away their freedom, etc etc." - that's simply a nonsense statement. My iPhone (in fact, my last two iPhones) have

        • by scot4875 (542869)

          Amazing how reasonable you can be when it comes to defending Apple from unreasonable claims.

          Too bad that capacity for reason completely goes away when it comes to defending Apple from reasonable claims.

          --Jeremy

          • by jo_ham (604554)

            Amazing how reasonable you can be when it comes to defending Apple from unreasonable claims.

            Too bad that capacity for reason completely goes away when it comes to defending Apple from reasonable claims.

            --Jeremy

            Such as? Give me a reasonable claim where you think my reason will elude me, or better a CID link to a post or two. Is this going to hinge on the definition of "reasonable"?

          • by jo_ham (604554)

            (additional: that comment (41636511) came off more adversarial than I intended)

    • The unique "feature" of the Nexus line is that it is comprised of stock Android phones. The line is not unique to Samsung, as the first Nexus was built by HTC, Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus built by Samsung, Nexus 7 tablet built by Asus. It isn't brand specific...the line is developed by Google in conjuntion with the aformentioned manufacturers. BTW, I have a Galaxy Nexus and brand had nothing to do with my purchase. I wanted a pure Android phone. Galaxy Nexus is one of the few phones recommended by the And
      • And this makes the case all the more intriguing. As the court pointed out, the feature in question (Quick Search Box) is a part of Android, not something provided specifically by Samsung, and it has existed for several years longer than this particular phone.

    • by Kartu (1490911)
      This is only true in case of Apple's customers. There is no such thing as "the last model" for pretty much any company, besides Apple, there is a bunch of different models with their own "latest": latest "Nexus", latest "Galaxy", latest "Note"...
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:42PM (#41632787)

    Will the next software update for the GN and GS3 then reactivate unified search?

  • by sir-gold (949031) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:47PM (#41632827)

    Version 1 of google desktop was released a month BEFORE this patent was even filed. I don't remember if version 1 had unified search, but the later versions definitely did.

    Is the US patent office pulling a Velvan Hogan and disregarding prior art just because it doesn't run on the same hardware? Or do they just automatically approve EVERY apple patent without research?

    • by suutar (1860506)
      more the latter, I think. They're overworked and understaffed and their directive seems to be "pass it unless there's an obvious an egregious problem and let the courts sort out anything else".
      • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:57PM (#41632969)

        And the court's default position is 'if the patent office passed it it's probably valid'.

      • by timeOday (582209)

        They're overworked and understaffed and their directive seems to be "pass it unless there's an obvious an egregious problem and let the courts sort out anything else".

        Well, the alternative is to re-create a new court within the Patent Office, which doesn't make a lot of sense. Making a judgment on whether something is patent-worthy is an inherently messy process, and making authoritative judgments about messy issues is what courts are for.

    • by sir-gold (949031) on Friday October 12, 2012 @01:10PM (#41633117)

      I just looked into the 604 patent some more, it was filed in 2004, but was rejected that year and another 8 times over the following years. It wasn't approved until 2011, yet it somehow still has an effective date of 2004.

      So it's not that the USPTO grants every apple patent, it's just that if you submit the same patent 10 times over the span of 5 years, they will eventually approve it, even if they shouldn't.

      • Seriously? That is way messed up. I pay for that patent office with taxes, I assume. I don't like it that a company can spam them, essentially, with patent applications until they get one through (presumably had an inexperienced reviewer or something). Blech. And this isn't anti-Apple, this is anti-anyone-that-does-this :P
        • by nephorm (464234)

          The USPTO is fully fee-funded, at no cost to the taxpayer (http://www.uspto.gov/news/speeches/2011/kappos_house_2012budget.jsp).

          Regarding multiple rejections, this is common in patent prosecution. A first Office Action is almost always Non-Final. Applicant has the opportunity to rebut the arguments of the examiner and/or file amendments to overcome the alleged prior art. If these arguments and/or amendments are not persuasive, or the examiner has new rejections (such as new prior art) necessitated by the am

  • by ByteSlicer (735276) on Friday October 12, 2012 @01:26PM (#41633307)
    So can Samsung now ask for compensation for the lost sales due to the ban? (Honest question to any legal person here that might know. It seems obvious and only fair to me, but justice is seldomly fair lately).
    • by sribe (304414)

      So can Samsung now ask for compensation for the lost sales due to the ban? (Honest question to any legal person here that might know. It seems obvious and only fair to me, but justice is seldomly fair lately).

      Apple was required to put up a bond before the injunction went into effect, for exactly this reason. That money is not going to be released to Samsung at this time, because the matter is not yet settled. This is a preliminary injunction on claims that have not yet gone to trial--it is not related to the recent verdict Apple won against Samsung.

    • I suppose they can sue the district court for abusing their discretion. But I dont think it has tried before, and I would expect the district court and the judges to have some immunity from prosecution.

    • by tobiasly (524456)

      So can Samsung now ask for compensation for the lost sales due to the ban? (Honest question to any legal person here that might know. It seems obvious and only fair to me, but justice is seldomly fair lately).

      Yes, but it was only actually banned for a few days. The appeals court stayed the injunction shortly after it was granted.

    • It pisses me off because I know that a lot of potential accessories were held back from the market because the Nexus was banned.

      It's my one complaint about this phone atm, that there are so few things in the way of mounts, etc.

      (It's also why Apple's decision to go with thunderbolt is damned annoying. Nothing like seeing speakermounts which could be standard split into two 'camps' on store shelves)

  • A good example (Score:4, Interesting)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Friday October 12, 2012 @02:47PM (#41634135) Journal

    A very good example of how our legal system would be improved by a 3-strikes rule.

    If a court case is overturned on appeals, clearly, the lower court not only didn't do their job but in fact caused a 3-fold increase in the burden borne by the court system: the original court trial, the appellate hearing, and the subsequent case.

    I've always wondered why, when an appellate court overrules a judge, there's no consequence for the judge. Simply put - if a judge is overturned 3 times, he obviously shouldn't be a judge any longer.

    (If judges are particularly rare or dear, and we need them, implement some sort of "3rd strike = 25% pay cut for 1 year" rule to significantly punish these individuals that are so critical to our legal system.

    • by FirstOne (193462)

      Frequently overturned judicial rulings will hurt that judge's chances for advancement.. If a complaint is filed, the chief judge(for the district) will assign it to an appointed judicial committee for review.. That proceeding can result in private or public censure..

      The Chief judge can also place that judge on low profile case list for an indefinite period.

    • A very good example of how our legal system would be improved by a 3-strikes rule.

      If a court case is overturned on appeals, clearly, the lower court not only didn't do their job but in fact caused a 3-fold increase in the burden borne by the court system: the original court trial, the appellate hearing, and the subsequent case.

      I've always wondered why, when an appellate court overrules a judge, there's no consequence for the judge. Simply put - if a judge is overturned 3 times, he obviously shouldn't be a judge any longer.

      (If judges are particularly rare or dear, and we need them, implement some sort of "3rd strike = 25% pay cut for 1 year" rule to significantly punish these individuals that are so critical to our legal system.

      Well I believe if a judge is wrong then he should get some sort of punishment. I mean for all we know he could have been paid big $$$$ to make rulings like this.

    • by dkf (304284)

      I've always wondered why, when an appellate court overrules a judge, there's no consequence for the judge. Simply put - if a judge is overturned 3 times, he obviously shouldn't be a judge any longer.

      Because that's far too rigid. If the original case depended on a tricky point of an obscure law, it's quite possible for the trial judge to get it wrong in a subtle way. Or if there were two cases being brought at about the same time that tested a new law and two trials were decided in different directions based on different readings of the same law, that would require the superior court to describe which is actually correct. These are examples where counting them as "strikes against the judge" would be exc

  • " a method for bringing together search results from multiple places, such as a device's internal memory and the internet at large

    What, you mean fucking combining fucking results from several fucking searches? That's not a fucking invention -- that's fucking obvious. Fuck.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We (who wanted to buy a Samsung product, but who were unable to because of the legal shenanigans of Apple Corp.) should file a class-action law suit against Apple, naming as a codefendant every employee of Apple, every Apple store, their lawyers, and so on, for statutory and punitive damages for presuming to restrict our freedoms laboring under the sadly mistaken assumption that we would buy Apple's products if there weren't an alternative.

    There's always an alternative to buying Apple products: NOT buying A

    • by arekin (2605525)

      If life exists elsewhere in the universe, they likewise don't need Apple products

      Apple disagrees, everyone wants to purchase apple products, even if they don't know it.

  • This still doesn't disprove the fact that Samsung are thieves who don't care whose features they steal from. We should not look to corporations as being good or evil -- they're all evil.

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