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Judge Overrules Samsung Objection To Jury Instructional Video 232

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the sure-patenting-boxes-is-legal dept.
itwbennett (1594911) writes "U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh on Sunday overruled Samsung Electronics' objections to showing jurors a recent instructional video on how patents work, ahead of a trial in a patent dispute between Apple and Samsung. The new video, called 'The Patent Process: An Overview for Jurors,' was developed by the Federal Judicial Center to provide jurors with an introduction to the patent system. Samsung's objection is to several scenes in which Apple products are depicted and used (and, by extension, seen as patentable and innovative)."

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Judge Overrules Samsung Objection To Jury Instructional Video

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:26PM (#46626969)
    Apple products in a patent instructional video? In a case involving Samsung? Steve Jobs is smiling somewhere. (As to where he is smiling from, I'll leave up to your imagination.)
  • Bad law... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msauve (701917) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:27PM (#46626971)
    How can an "instructional video" showing one of the parties as an example not present a bias?
    • I agree its incredibly odd. I might stick with examples from over 25 years ago to avoid actual current patents as much as possible.

    • Re:Bad law... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:44PM (#46627093)
      Not only as "an" example, the video featured an Apple II (I think), an Apple MacBook Pro, an Apple iPad, and then an Apple iPhone all in succession during a discussion about how patents lead to inventions which change society. I mean... really?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by cryptoluddite (658517)

        These are shown for about 5 seconds of a 20 minute instructional video, and none of them even show an Apple logo. Later in the video it shows people using an Apple laptop to do work, not as an example of a patented technology.

        This is such a tea pot tempest. It'd be silly to not use this video.

        • Re:Bad law... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by causality (777677) on Monday March 31, 2014 @10:11PM (#46627527)

          These are shown for about 5 seconds of a 20 minute instructional video, and none of them even show an Apple logo. Later in the video it shows people using an Apple laptop to do work, not as an example of a patented technology.

          This is such a tea pot tempest. It'd be silly to not use this video.

          The problem is that we have two standards. One is the level of objectivity and reasonable thinking you should be able to expect of adult people. The second is the actual thinking you really get from adult people.

          According to the first, it's truly a tempest in a teapot. According to the second, the cost of producing a video that would put to rest entirely such objections is negligable compared to the cost of the rest of the trial.

          Branding, logos, and emotional situations associated with them are used in marketing for the precise reason that they bypass the former standard and appeal to the second. All major corporations engage in this. Apple is not in any way special and neither is Samsung. They do it because on the vast majority of soft-minded and easily influenced people, they work. Just consider, why would beer commercials show vibrant parties and bikini babes instead of telling you about how the beer was brewed and why it's better? Why do car commercials show families and small children to tug at your heartstrings instead of explaining why their engineering principles are sound? They want the second standard to prevail; it is much more malleable and easier to manipulate by far.

          • Branding, logos, and emotional situations associated with them are used in marketing for the precise reason that they bypass the former standard and appeal to the second.

            I think you're overstating it. What you have said is certainly true to an extent. However going with the brand also means you get to go with a company you're somewhat familiar with.

            I've had good experiences with Toyota cars, as have many other people (they are widely reported as reliable). This makes me biased towards that brand, and being

            • by causality (777677)

              There's a smooth transition from a known company with a known reputation to hind brain reaction to the brand name. The former is entirely reasonable, because it's not worth my while spending 3 weeks evaluating a dishwasher before purchasing.

              But I assume that at least you'd be on the market because your old dishwasher broke or something reasonable like that. Although it hardly takes three weeks to look up something like a Consumer Reports rating...

              Anyway, the main purpose of much advertising and branding is to convince people to expend and possibly go into debt to buy shit they don't need. Many millions of dollars are poured into this effort for the simple reason that it works. It doesn't deserve to work, but it works.

              Just ask yourself

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SuperKendall (25149)

          These are shown for about 5 seconds of a 20 minute instructional video, and none of them even show an Apple logo.

          So in other words, the jurors could easily assume they are Samsung products. :-)

        • Re:Bad law... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Zukix (641813) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @03:50AM (#46628559)

          Look at 4:43. It is a perfect example of how I would design intentional bias.

          Its a freeze frame with the apple logo and the text slowly imposed. "New, Useful, not obvious to one skilled in the field.".

          The text frames the apple logo making part of the natural scan of the eyes. The word "one" hangs above the logo.

          The Apple logo is the brightest item in image and placed at rule-of-thirds-intersection. No other image detail competes with the logo i.e. no human eyes, no coffee logo, no bag logo, no logo in the t-shirt, no logos in the background etc. Its form is clear despite the filter blurring out other features of the image.

          Before and after the freeze-frame, the logo is shown and the direction of the inventor's gaze is always towards the apple logo.

          A disgraceful infommercial.

        • I disagree as Apple is IN the case. However, small, it can have a influence by showing Apple products in a positive light.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by the_B0fh (208483)

      I like the way you didn't look at the video before commenting.

      Lets see how might the video not be biased. Oh, it has laptops and desktops from various manufacturers, *INCLUDING* Apple.

      Gee, some how, that becomes bias?

      What an idiot.

    • Re:Bad law... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rnturn (11092) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:14PM (#46627215)

      If Samsung loses this decision, anyone want to guess what the basis of their appeal will be?

      Was it not possible to come up with an instructional video that used fictional companies, inventions, etc. to instruct the viewers? Using Apple products -- or any other well-known vendor's produts -- as examples was not terribly bright.

      • by Xest (935314)

        I don't even know why they bother turning up to Lucy Koh's trials in the first place, it's such a kangaroo court with her they've lost the second she's named as the judge.

        She used to work as a lawyer for Apple for crying out loud and her courtroom is basically in Apple's back garden. Everything about cases involving her stink of stitch up.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Does US law have a process for appealing against the choice of judge, based on the fact that she has consistently shown a clear bias towards Apple over the years?

    • Re:Bad law... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anubis IV (1279820) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:24PM (#46627275)

      There's a quick video montage of inventions starting at the 2:55 mark which features an old polycarbonate MacBook (or a late-model iBook?), an iPad, and an iPhone, but the logos are not visible on any of them. To be perfectly honest, despite having owned an iPad and that model of iPhone, I didn't even recognize them as being Apple products until I re-watched the video, just because of the angles they were shot at and the actions the scenes were focusing on. Had I not been looking for them, I wouldn't have seen them.

      The only Apple product that is on-screen for any length of time, as well as being the only one with the logo clearly visible, is what appears to be a MacBook Pro being used by the actor portraying an inventor, but in no way was it suggested that the computer itself was the invention. Rather, the invention was some CAD diagram he had on his computer. Even so, the computer does get quite a bit of screen time with the shining Apple logo clearly visible.

      • by causality (777677)

        There's a quick video montage of inventions starting at the 2:55 mark which features an old polycarbonate MacBook (or a late-model iBook?), an iPad, and an iPhone, but the logos are not visible on any of them. To be perfectly honest, despite having owned an iPad and that model of iPhone, I didn't even recognize them as being Apple products until I re-watched the video, just because of the angles they were shot at and the actions the scenes were focusing on. Had I not been looking for them, I wouldn't have seen them.

        This sounds so much like the product placements in movies, or the subliminal advertising experiments conducted decades ago. Whether these methods work or not, the intention is rather clear. Why do judges recuse themselves from trials in which they may have an interest? It is not because we have proof positive that the judge cannot maintain objectivity, but rather because in a fair trial we wish to eliminate such concerns entirely. The outcome and the precedent are simply too important.

        Whatever you th

      • Re:Bad law... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by quantaman (517394) on Monday March 31, 2014 @10:44PM (#46627659)

        There's a quick video montage of inventions starting at the 2:55 mark which features an old polycarbonate MacBook (or a late-model iBook?), an iPad, and an iPhone, but the logos are not visible on any of them. To be perfectly honest, despite having owned an iPad and that model of iPhone, I didn't even recognize them as being Apple products until I re-watched the video, just because of the angles they were shot at and the actions the scenes were focusing on. Had I not been looking for them, I wouldn't have seen them.

        The only Apple product that is on-screen for any length of time, as well as being the only one with the logo clearly visible, is what appears to be a MacBook Pro being used by the actor portraying an inventor, but in no way was it suggested that the computer itself was the invention. Rather, the invention was some CAD diagram he had on his computer. Even so, the computer does get quite a bit of screen time with the shining Apple logo clearly visible.

        The phone and tablet shown in the video aren't particularly identifiable on their own, but shown immediately after an Apple laptop a viewer would automatically assume them to be an iPhone and iPad.

        The trial is about whether Samsung violated Apple's patents on phones and tablets. The video leaves the impression that not only are Apple's patents valid, but they're such amazing examples of patents that the Federal Justice Center chose them out of countless possible inventions as examples.

        I'm not sure you can get much more prejudicial than "you need to decide whether Apple's iPhone and iPad patents are valid, to understand the issue here's a video made by the courts that gives examples of good patents... like Apple's iPhone and iPad patents".

        There was an earlier version of the video [youtube.com] that Samsung wanted them to use. I honestly don't understand the decision.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Look at Koh's previous decisions against Samsung. Denying perfectly good evidence, ignoring serious problems with jurors, and now this. It makes sense in that light.

    • Re:Bad law... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe@[ ]mythe.com ['jws' in gap]> on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:34PM (#46627331) Homepage Journal

      I can see what they're complaining about. I skimmed through the video, and the Apple logo was clearly shown on Apple devices. I didn't notice other brands shown anywhere. They should have been a little better about covering up all references to specific devices (i.e., the logos).

      I could see the implied "Apple is ok, they're even in our instructional video". So ... someone has to go edit, and then they have to go find themselves a new jury who's never heard of Apple or Samsung. I'm surprised they found enough for the jury to start with.

      • by causality (777677)

        I can see what they're complaining about. I skimmed through the video, and the Apple logo was clearly shown on Apple devices. I didn't notice other brands shown anywhere. They should have been a little better about covering up all references to specific devices (i.e., the logos).

        I could see the implied "Apple is ok, they're even in our instructional video". So ... someone has to go edit, and then they have to go find themselves a new jury who's never heard of Apple or Samsung. I'm surprised they found enough for the jury to start with.

        Indeed. The court showing an Apple logo (or if they ever showed a Samsung label) for even a moment is a potential problem. The effect of a large, official establishment of some sort showing acceptance of such things, for even a moment, is not to be underestimated. It's the entire basis of all celebrity endorsements, for example.

        "This major actor used Product X and says he likes it, therefore maybe I will like it too!" sounds silly and full of fallacies. But it works. There is no reason to assume tha

  • Instant. Appeal. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Outtascope (972222) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:32PM (#46627001)
    Un. Fu. King. Believable.
  • Why??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JakartaDean (834076) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:32PM (#46627005) Journal

    Why would she allow a prejudicial video when an alternative, with no products from either side, is available? The entire text of her ruling reads:

    Samsung’s objection to Apple’s proposed version of the Federal Judicial Center instructional video (ECF No. 1534) is overruled. The parties shall bring the November 2013 version of the video, “The Patent Process: An Overview for Jurors,” and shall include the handout referenced in the video in the jury binders.

    The article apparently originally appeared on Recode.net [recode.net] so better to use primary source (which has the ruling and both videos.

    • by msauve (701917)
      OTOH, maybe it helps Samsung by providing an obvious legal error as a basis for appeal.
    • by mjwx (966435)

      Why would she allow a prejudicial video when an alternative, with no products from either side, is available? The entire text of her ruling reads:

      Because a neutral video cant be used to influence the jury.

      Judge Koh's handling of the previous Apple V Samsung case was extremely biased and she got away with it. Why would there be any need to be fair now?

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:53PM (#46627143) Homepage

    I'm seriously tired of this crap. I no longer care who wins or loses in any of this. The patent system is simply being abused in every which way. Software patents have got to go as do design patents as petty as rounded corners. This idiocy has got to end at some point. I honestly expected it to come to a head before now. This is like walking in mud from New York to California.

    • There is a plaintiff in this case. If you think the system is being abused they'd be the target of your animosity. Not that Samsung is innocent of abusing the system, but there are very few out there as outright hostile as Apple when it comes to these things.

  • by Wycliffe (116160) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:19PM (#46627243) Homepage

    I'm not convinced someone who doesn't know what a patent is BEFORE being selected is
    the best person to decide a case like this. Why can't we have scientists in the jury when
    it's scientific, medical professionals when it's medical in nature, computer experts when
    it is computer related, etc... I think it's unrealistic to pick someone who doesn't know what
    a patent/modem/etc.. is and expect them to make an accurate decision when they don't
    understand the technology or process involved.

    • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:48PM (#46627393)

      I can see arguments for both sides.

      We're all aware of some of the asinine judgments that jurors and judges have passed down when they don't understand the technology or science at play.

      On the other side, however, only allowing doctors to serve as jurors for doctors or engineers to be jurors for engineers can get into some dangerous territory quickly. For instance, what's to stop them from looking out for their own? Doctors could get sued for malpractice and never be found to be at fault. Engineers could be sued for cutting corners and then get off the hook because "it's simply too complicated for a normal person to understand". Having a jury of your peers that includes laypeople ensures that such things aren't possible. Having a random sampling also helps to ensure everyone is treated more equally, otherwise some people will be playing under a different set of rules than the others.

      That said, having laypeople is fundamentally at odds with the patent system, which specifies the idea of non-obviousness in terms of whether or not it's obvious to one "skilled in the art", i.e. someone with domain knowledge. A layperson isn't really qualified to judge non-obviousness without first receiving sufficient instruction to become skilled in the art, which simply isn't feasible. As such, it seems like it may make sense to bring in professionals for such cases.

      One result I can pretty much guarantee for you is that if they do start bringing in professionals instead of laypeople to deal with these cases, the patent system will get overhauled in short order, simply because the professionals won't want to be getting dragged into court constantly to serve as jurors a disproportionate amount of the time compared to a typical person. Any changes that need to happen to get things fixed will suddenly happen when you start inconveniencing everyone in the field.

      • by geekmux (1040042)

        I can see arguments for both sides.

        We're all aware of some of the asinine judgments that jurors and judges have passed down when they don't understand the technology or science at play.

        On the other side, however, only allowing doctors to serve as jurors for doctors or engineers to be jurors for engineers can get into some dangerous territory quickly. For instance, what's to stop them from looking out for their own? Doctors could get sued for malpractice and never be found to be at fault. Engineers could be sued for cutting corners and then get off the hook because "it's simply too complicated for a normal person to understand".

        Ironically, that exact excuse was not only used, but also accepted time and time again when lawyers from the banking institutions were dragged in front of Congress to try and explain their questionable business practices, time and time again.

        Care to tell me again why the hell that excuse would not work in cases where patents and billions are at stake? Seems to be good enough for the entire American financial sector.

    • Part of the problem is that people who are familiar with "x" will tend to sympathize with others of their kind. Look at the problem we have holding any member of the criminal justice system - from street cops all the way to judges - liable for even the most egregious illegal acts. It's crazy.

      Juries should be a mix of experts and non-experts alike, with the experts providing needed information for the others. There's no perfect way around it, but the current method of "throw out all jurors with an IQ over

  • FYI.
    I recall slide to unlock on the Medtronic N'Vision 8840 circa 2002.
    Maybe you can get *that* bogus patent thrown out?

  • I was going to suggest using a wheel as an example, but Apple claims that invention for the iPod dial.

  • by itsdapead (734413) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @06:39AM (#46628945)

    Whisky tango foxtrot?

    I could understand it if the judge decided to show something she'd TiVOd of Discovery Channel the week before but this sounds as if it was made for this specific purpose.

    What possible combination of misconceptions would lead the 'Federal Judicial Center' (the name suggests they might have the odd law degree to share between them) to feature any recognizable commercial products in an instructional video specifically made to instruct jurors in cases inevitably involving competing businesses?

    Surely, any moron commissioning such a video would have 'Don't show any brands or recognizable products' on page 1 of the brief? With a footnote saying 'even if its arguably not in the context of patentability - we don't want to create excuses for objections or appeals when all those fellow lawyers are getting paid by the hou...

    Oh, wait.

  • by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @10:16AM (#46630025)

    Apple owns the patent for not showing an apple logo in instructional videos, thus in order to not violate the patent and get sued they MUST use an apple logo in their instructional video. It's simple really...

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