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Apple Wins $120 Million From Samsung In Slide-To-Unlock Patent Battle (theverge.com) 72

Apple has finally claimed victory over Samsung to the count of $120 million. "The Supreme Court said today that it wouldn't hear an appeal of the patent infringement case, first decided in 2014, which has been bouncing through appeals courts in the years since," reports The Verge. From the report: The case revolved around Apple's famous slide-to-unlock patent and, among others, its less-famous quick links patent, which covered software that automatically turned information like a phone number into a tappable link. Samsung was found to have infringed both patents. The ruling was overturned almost two years later, and then reinstated once again less than a year after that. From there, Samsung appealed to the Supreme Court, which is where the case met its end today. Naturally, Samsung isn't pleased with the outcome. "Our argument was supported by many who believed that the Court should hear the case to reinstate fair standards that promote innovation and prevent abuse of the patent system," a Samsung representative said in a statement. The company also said the ruling would let Apple "unjustly profit" from an invalid patent.

Apple Wins $120 Million From Samsung In Slide-To-Unlock Patent Battle

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  • by arbiter1 ( 1204146 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @05:48PM (#55502579)
    Apple wasn't first to come up with slide to unlock, there was a Microsoft product that had it years before apple stole and it patented it as their own. Hence in some countries the patent is been voided.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2017 @05:55PM (#55502633)

      Apple's slide-to-lock application was rejected many, many times until it was re-written so that the "innovation" claim was "continuously holding your finger down while sliding". Its a bad joke in a broken system.

    • by Misagon ( 1135 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @07:05PM (#55502987)

      The oldest product that I have heard of was the Neonode phone, first exhibited in 2002. It had vertical slide-to-unlock, albeit with three different sliders (left, centre, right) that activated three different functions.

      The Neonode wasn't from Microsoft but it ran Windows CE underneath its own GUI.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I visited an ancient Roman amphitheatre in Italy once, and although obviously the original wooden doors were long gone the reproduction ones claimed to be historically accurate and had slide to unlock.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How can you be so wrong?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, Apple's slide-to-unlock is an adaptation of a physical door bolt that been around for thousands of years.

      https://images.homedepot-stati... [homedepot-static.com]

      Apple just took the door bolt and adapted it "for the computer." If that is a valid patent, I know a lot of real life things that could be adapted for computer use (patents, cha-ching).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2017 @09:18PM (#55503587)

      Seriously, Apple took another company to court because it put a SLIDE TO UNLOCK feature on a phone.

      Intellectual property is a farce. Patents destroy innovation and consumers suffer the most by all the lost competition.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        But... But... Without patent protection Apple would have no incentive to steal, I meant invent slide to unlock!

        They would just have used an unlock button... Okay, well that could get triggered easily, so maybe something that required a more definite action, like sliding but less obvious.

    • more proof the patent system is unfixably broken

    • Yeah, and if you had a PalmOS device and set the unlock password to a single space, you also had slide to unlock, because to write a space you would slide right. It would be weird if one owed royalties to Apple for setting the password to a space.

  • Well (Score:1, Insightful)

    I'm with Apple with the slide-to-unlock idea. AFAIK I never saw that before.

    For the "quick link" patent, that seems insane to me. The patent should never have been awarded in the first place, it's something that's obvious to anyone who has learned HTML.

    • Re:Well (Score:5, Interesting)

      by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @05:52PM (#55502615) Homepage

      It's absurd because physical slides to unlock already exist - you know, like a deadbolt. X but on the Internet or X but on a touch screen are not that innovative. It's about as genius as putting skeuomorphic buttons in a UI.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You forgot X with a LCD screen. So wow! Many innovative! Such X!

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      "AFAIK I never saw that before."

      Playstation portable, as well as many porable music players (including fucking CD players) had a physical slide to unlock WELL BEFORE Apple ever had it.

      The Supreme Court is very obviously staffed with a bunch of technologically-incompetent idiots and we need to change the constitution so we can get rid of them and vote every last one of their dumb asses out now.

      • I would think the real idiots are Samsung's lawyers if they lost 2 out of 3 cases so that it had to try to get to the Supreme Court in the first place.

        The real problem is the patent system that allows things like "slide to unlock", "rounded corners", and "1-click purchasing" to become patents in the first place. To get a patent it should not be obvious, not part of the natural world (using the widest definition of natural which includes mathematics), be non-trivial, be new, and have a working prototype. The

      • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

        The Supreme Court is very obviously staffed with a bunch of technologically-incompetent idiots and we need to change the constitution so we can get rid of them and vote every last one of their dumb asses out now.

        Consider putting the blame where it belongs: Samsung put many of the best minds in the industry at presenting their case, and they failed to convince the original Jury, they failed to convince the US Circuit Court, and they failed to sway the SCOTUS. Samsung's team failed, and they failed spectacularly: The patents are now among the few whose validity is affirmed by the SCOTUS.

        If there was a failure, it's Samsung's, not the Court's.

        I'm sure the irony is lost on nobody that Apple dumped "Slide to unlock" a

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          " they failed to convince the original Jury"

          I'm guessing you have no clue that they only want the dumbest people in the jury. Go sit down for voire dire some time.

          "they failed to convince the US Circuit Court"

          They're idiots too, ruling upon something almost 100% of them have no real-world first-hand RELEVANT experience in in the first place, thus they're out of their fucking jurisprudence.

          "and they failed to sway the SCOTUS"

          Same idiot SCOTUS that ruled on Citizen's United. Yea, that instills in me MUCH conf

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm with Apple with the slide-to-unlock idea. AFAIK I never saw that before.

      It's far from original. The physical version has been around forever. Google "slide bolt" for plenty of examples. Adding "on a computer" doesn't justify a patent.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by saloomy ( 2817221 )

        What? Are you nuts? Computers work completely different from reality. If I use a pin code to unlock something, and that decrypts a volume, or allows a download, it works NOTHING like a physical lock which has gears and aligns pins to slip into and out of traps. You obviously know nothing about how computers work to say "if it works in reality, making it work on a computer is not patentable". So If I have a child and it learns to talk, and I make a computer talk, that talking solution is not patentable? What

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Apple's patent isn't on the mechanism, but on the presentation. And slide-to-unlock's presentation is exactly the same as that of a physical lock.

        • by Trogre ( 513942 )

          Except that by putting it "on a computer" makes it a software patent, and therefore NOT FUCKING VALID.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anything that is obvious and can be replicated by someone skilled in the art is not valid. The rules say this, but they are ignored the by morons who run the system and gain prestige/profit while hurting actual innovation. Maybe the Trumpenfuhrer will fix this too as part of draining the swamp.

    • by alexo ( 9335 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @06:13PM (#55502731) Journal

      Anything that is obvious and can be replicated by someone skilled in the art is not valid. The rules say this, but they are ignored the by morons who run the system and gain prestige/profit while hurting actual innovation.

      It is a system of the lawyers, by the lawyers, for the lawyers; and it is working as designed.

      • Anything that is obvious and can be replicated by someone skilled in the art is not valid. The rules say this, but they are ignored the by morons who run the system and gain prestige/profit while hurting actual innovation.

        It is a system of the lawyers, by the lawyers, for the lawyers; and it is working as designed.

        That's not what the rule says, though. The AC grandparent is confusing two different things, and even has one of them backwards. Yes, anything that's obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art is invalid. But a patent is invalid if it can't be replicated by someone skilled in the art. Specifically, to be valid under 35 USC 112, a patent must contain a clear description that is "sufficient to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the claimed invention." In other words, the patented invention has to be able to be replicated to be valid.

        And that something can be replicated isn't proof that it's obvious. The actual rules are crafted to avoid hindsight, because everything looks obvious in hindsight. And given that the patent has to describe how to make and use the invention per the above, simply reading the patent opens you up to finding it obvious in hindsight. So instead, to show that the patent is obvious, the patent office has to show that each and every element in the claims can be found in one or more prior art references, and that it wouldn't require undue experimentation to combine them for one of skill in the art. Like, peanut butter exists, jelly exists, they're easy to combine on bread, so therefore peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are obvious.

        Now, I haven't looked into this patent or what's in the prior art, so I can't say whether it's obvious or not. It sure seems like a simple idea, but if it was obvious, why wasn't Samsung using it before Apple? And why did they copy it afterwards? It must have been commercially valuable for them to copy it, since they wouldn't have done so otherwise; and if it was commercially valuable and obvious, they would have done it earlier, since hey, free money. So maybe it wasn't obvious until Apple did it.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Now, I haven't looked into this patent or what's in the prior art, so I can't say whether it's obvious or not. It sure seems like a simple idea, but if it was obvious, why wasn't Samsung using it before Apple? And why did they copy it afterwards? It must have been commercially valuable for them to copy it, since they wouldn't have done so otherwise; and if it was commercially valuable and obvious, they would have done it earlier, since hey, free money. So maybe it wasn't obvious until Apple did it.

          Aren't patents meant to be used to claim monopoly on the method used to implement something, not monopoly on implementing something? Slide to unlock can perhaps be patentable as the same can be achieved with other solutions. It is essentially "Allow the user to unlock the phone" + "with a slider", where the latter part could be considered non-obvious, although even that is debatable.

          The other feature is "Allow selecting a phone number" + "by touching it" + "and highlight it so that the user sees it is touch

        • by Chozabu ( 974192 )
          We've had physical slide locks for... a very long time. (slide to unlock)

          and candles that burn down, or water containers that fill up to measure progress (progress bars)

          I don't think anything whose entire patent is "X that already exists, but on a computer" should be valid.

          This reeks of American gvmnt helping out local companies - we hear similar stories about China now and again on slashdot. This is no better.
          • We've had physical slide locks for... a very long time. (slide to unlock)
            and candles that burn down, or water containers that fill up to measure progress (progress bars)
            I don't think anything whose entire patent is "X that already exists, but on a computer" should be valid.

            That's all true, but irrelevant. The patent isn't actually "physical slide lock, plus a progress bar, on a computer." If that's what it claimed, you'd be right, it would be clearly obvious. But it's not. That's just how people paraphrase the patent - and paraphrasing, by definition, is describing something in known, simpler terms. If I paraphrased a self-driving electric car as a "horseless carriage that runs on stored energy, and like a horse, can get itself home when its rider is asleep," that doesn't mea

            • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

              That's how you implement a virtual version of a physical slide-lock. BFD. That's obvious-city in my book. I'd throw it out. Might as well patent explosions in video games because they are virtual. If a video game had a slide-lock door where the player slides it to get into a room, it would have the same legal problem if we follow this crap.

              If you pollute the patent catalog with frivolous shit, you waste time and money and just make lawyers and patent trolls rich.

        • It sure seems like a simple idea, but if it was obvious, why wasn't Samsung using it before Apple? And why did they copy it afterwards? It must have been commercially valuable for them to copy it, since they wouldn't have done so otherwise; and if it was commercially valuable and obvious, they would have done it earlier, since hey, free money. So maybe it wasn't obvious until Apple did it.

          It was obvious how to do it, but not why. Patents are only meant to cover the "how". The fact that no one else saw a commercial advantage in this form of user interface before Apple did it does not imply that there was anything non-obvious about the implementation. For that matter, there may not have been any commercial advantage to be had from implementing slide-to-unlock until Apple did it, at which point it became valuable simply because it was what people were used to from using Apple products. Apart fr

  • by presidenteloco ( 659168 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @06:08PM (#55502699)

    Apple's cash reserve is $250 billion or so.

    And it probably cost both companies the same amount as the award to litigate this.

    • Agreed. The purpose of this lawsuit is to force the courts to make a decision on how these patent infringements will be decided. I gives them precedent and understanding for future patent decisions, for both companies.
  • by kiviQr ( 3443687 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @06:22PM (#55502791)
    now I have to replace all my door slider locks.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Simple. Apple = USA, Samsung = South Korea. Even though Apple uses every trick in the book (and probably beyond that) to avoid paying astronomic amounts of taxes in the USA (and elsewhere).
  • FFS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2017 @07:20PM (#55503061)

    For the dumb fucks defending Apple and their glorious victory, please realise that this is just yet another win for the corpocracy.
    $120 million dollars for slide to unlock???
    $120 MILLION dollars? For one shitty shitty little miscellaneous "feature" that provides ZERO innovation?
    If you contain even a snifter of intelligence you'll realise that this outcome just cements the absolute power these big, shitty corporations have over us small time developers.
    Just try to develop an app that doesn't fall foul of the hundreds of thousands of bullshit software and design patents that these corporations pump out. It's absolutely impossible.
    Fucking depressing.

  • by fred6666 ( 4718031 ) on Monday November 06, 2017 @07:40PM (#55503159)

    Apple won on that case against Samsung in one (albeit rich and populous) country out of almost 200. Does it mean Samsung is right in the others? Why isn't Apple suing everywhere?

    The real question is why is the USA patent system so broken that a case like this can be won by Apple.

  • On the single most fucking obvious way possible to unlock with a touch screen. How the fuck else are you supposed to do it?
  • And in other important news, the sun rose this morning.
  • software that automatically turned information like a phone number into a tappable link.

    Apple re-invented regular expressions also? Patents are supposed to be "non-obvious" to practitioners in the field. A judge and/or patent reviewer somewhere is incompetent or bribed. Fire their ass!

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