The endless patent battles between Apple and Samsung took an interesting turn this week when Apple claimed that the most recent court ruling violated the Seventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: the right to trial by jury.
Back in 2014, Apple was awarded $119.6M when Samsung was found to have violated three of the five patents in dispute. That award was overturned last month when an appeals court ruled that Samsung didn’t infringe one of the three patents, and declared the other two invalid.
The problem, explains Reuters, is that the appellate court didn’t just refer to the trial court record in reaching its conclusions, it also considered new evidence …
Apple and the FBI are set to start its court battle for the San Bernardino case in a couple of weeks, March 22nd. In support for Apple’s position, over 40 companies, organizations and individuals will file amicus briefs later today to rally against the government order for Apple to compromise its own iPhone security measures. Facebook, Google, Dropbox, Microsoft, Snapchat and more will sign on to briefs in the case, according to sources.
Via The New York Times, support was not immediate. Company execs were initially worried about the consequences on the industry if Apple lost out to the FBI. Bloomberg reports Samsung supports the idea of encryption but will not commit to file an amicus brief for its smartphone rival, the Samsung statement said it remains undecided on its court position …
An appeals court on Friday overturned a ruling that would have forced Samsung to pay $120 million in damages to Apple for patent infringement, reports Reuters. In this specific case, one of several patent battles between the two companies, Apple claimed that Samsung infringed on its “quick links” patent.
In the patent battle that feels as if it will never end, Apple has today asked the Supreme Court not to review Samsung’s latest appeals request in the two companies’ ongoing patent feud. Back in December, it was announced that Apple and Samsung had reached a $548 million settlement, but with a catch. Samsung said in its part of the agreement that it reserved the right to reclaim reimbursement should any position of the trial be modified…
U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh today decided to stop a group lawsuit against Apple over undelivered text messages caused by an iMessage bug, Bloomberg reports. The issue drew a lot of attention last year when the bug with Apple’s messaging system caused former iPhone users that switched to Android to discover text messages were not being properly delivered to their phone number. In dismissing the lawsuit, Judge Koh explained that while Apple’s iMessage system may have resulted in lost text messages, their was inadequate evidence that the group faced a “contractual breach or interference” from iMessage… Expand Expanding Close
Reuters reports that The Federal Court of Canada agreed on Wednesday to force Apple’s Canadian subsidiary to hand over records to the country’s Competition Bureau as part of an ongoing investigation looking into whether Apple unfairly manipulated its market power to bolster sales of the iPhone. Expand Expanding Close
Update — Apple’s statement via CNBC: “We thank the jury for their service and we applaud their verdict.”
A jury has decided that Apple is not guilty of violating antitrust laws in the decade-old lawsuit involving the iPod, iTunes Music Store, and digital rights management usage. The jury had to determine if the iTunes updates affecting customers’ iPods were “genuine product improvements” with Apple citing security concerns for implementing the usage of DRM. Expand Expanding Close
Apple is seeking to keep its involvement in GT Advanced’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing secret as it reportedly asked courts to file its objections in the case under seal. Bloomberg reports that Apple has requested permission to keep its comments in the case secret to avoid disclosing “confidential research, development, or commercial information regarding Apple’s business processes.” Expand Expanding Close
While this includes the devices that were at the center of the latest court case, it also includes “software or code capable of implementing any Infringing Feature, and/or any feature not more than colorably different therefrom,” which could be construed to mean current and even future devices.
A German court has dismissed a $2B patent claim by IPCom against Apple for use of a standard which is a mandatory feature in all cellphones. As we reported earlier this month:
The chip is used to identify mobile phones used by the emergency services in order to give them priority access to networks when they are heavily congested, such as during a major disaster. Carriers can set their networks to block access to all phones in the vicinity of a major emergency other than those identifying themselves as belonging to police and rescue workers. The chip can be included in the circuitry of either a phone or a SIM.
IPCom claimed a patent on the technology, but Germany’s Mannheim Regional Court dismissed the claim, along with a similar one against HTC.
This is, however, unlikely to be the end of it. IPCom has a record of appealing such rulings, and attempting to charge for patents purchased from other companies is its primary source of revenue. The company owns more than a thousand mobile-related patents.
Apple did not violate a push notifications patent held by the Google-owned Motorola Mobility according to a ruling posted today by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
The International Trade Commission previously determined that Apple’s iPhone design did not violate a patent held by Motorola prompting the Google-owned company to appeal the decision, but today Apple was once again ruled clear of any patent violations.
Actual court drawing of Forstall (<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/slideshow?articleId=USBRE87906V20120810&slide=1#a=1">not a joke</a>)
We’re set to get a blast from the past on November 12th when ex-Apple SVP of iOS Scott Forstall is likely to come out of hiding to testify at the Samsung damages hearing alongside his once colleague Phil Schiller.
On Friday, the two sides filed a joint pretrial statement and lists of potential witnesses they may call. Apple’s list includes Phil Schiller, the company’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, and Scott Forstall, the former senior vice president of iOS software. Forstall’s departure was announced last October following the widely criticized launch of Apple Maps, which some observers said may have led to his firing. Both Schiller and Forstall also testified in the original trial.
Rounding out Apple’s lineup, Susan Kare, who designed the original Mac icons is also on the docket. Apple won an over $1B verdict in the initial trial but the amount was subsequently dropped to $400M by Judge Lucy Koh.
In its ongoing second major patent trial against Samsung, Apple yesterday filed a statement with the US District Court in California claiming that after examining the recently released Galaxy S4 it has “concluded that it is an infringing device and accordingly intends to move for leave to add the Galaxy S4” to its long list of 22 infringing products. Apple is hoping Judge Lucy Koh allows the S4 to be added, but in line with the court’s request to reduce the number of infringing devices ahead of a trial scheduled for spring 2014, Apple has also agreed to remove without prejudice one of the other 22 infringing devices from Samsung it currently has listed.
Apple’s current list of infringing Samsung products include Admire, Captivate Glide, Conquer 4G, Dart, Exhibit II 4G, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Player 4.0, Galaxy Player 5.0, Galaxy Rugby Pro, Galaxy SII, Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy SII Skyrocket, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 2 10, Illusion, and Stratosphere.
The filing also highlights a disagreement in which Samsung believes each carrier variant of a specific device should be counted separately. For example, “the Galaxy Nexus activated on Sprint must be counted separately from the Galaxy Nexus activated on Verizon; and the Galaxy Nexus operating on Sprint running Android version 4.0 must be counted separately from the Galaxy Nexus operating on Sprint, but running Android version 4.1.” Apple, however, claims that Samsung has not itself applied this logic: Expand Expanding Close
Bloomberg reports that the Berlin Regional Court in Germany has told Apple to change its policies for managing customer’s data on its website after ruling that Apple’s terms for data use go against German laws. According to a statement posted by a German consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VSBV), the courts have ruled that Apple cannot request “global consent” for use of a customer’s data” without informing the user of where and how the data will be used. It will also no longer be able to use German users’ data to “promote location-based services and products” or deliver the data to third-parties for advertising purposes: Expand Expanding Close
AFP reported Apple is in court in Shanghai, China again today, but this time it’s over a lawsuit alleging the company copied components of Siri’s speech recognition software. According to the report, Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology Co. claimed in pretrial proceedings that Apple infringed its patent related to voice recognition technology via Siri. While the suit notes that development of Siri began in 2007, there is no mention of Nuance. Apple currently partners Nuance with to implement the speech recognition component in Siri, and it is also a market leader that presumably has its own arsenal of speech recognition related patents.
Zhizhen says it patented its “Xiao i Robot” software in 2004, while Apple’s Siri, which made its debut with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011, was first developed in 2007.
“The company will ask Apple to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple’s infringement is confirmed,” Si Weijiang, a lawyer representing Zhizhen, told AFP.
“We don’t exclude the possibility of demanding compensation in the future,” he added.
The company is behind Siri-like software called ‘Xiao i Robot’ that it claimed was first developed before Siri in 2004. The technology is apparently available on some smart TVs and enterprise applications, but it doesn’t appear to be available as a consumer-facing app for smartphones or tablets. The video below appeared online when the company originally filed suit against Apple last year, and it shows the Xiao i Robot software running on a Lenovo smartphone:
The grey market for iPhones in China is no secret, with thousands of the devices smuggled from places like Hong Kong and the U.S. back into Mainland China for sale by scalpers. Today, Reuters reported that 26 suppliers of one of China’s largest online grey market iPhone dealers, Lanyou Shuma.com, are currently on trial in a Shenzhen court. According to local reports, many of the suppliers accused in the case are “described as housewives who frequently travel to Hong Kong.” Citing various local newspapers, Reuters said the housewives were usually paid 20 Yuan to 30 Yuan for each phone smuggled back to China, with 25 of the defendants accused of smuggling both iPads and iPhones:
On Wednesday, 26 suppliers of Lanyou Shuma.com were tried in a Shenzhen court as part of five rings that smuggled more than 162,000 mobile phones worth over 500 million yuan ($80 million) from Hong Kong over the past two years, the Beijing News said.
Half of the suspects are described as housewives who frequently travel to Hong Kong, according to another newspaper, the Southern Metropolis Daily, adding that they were paid 20 to 30 yuan in commission for each phone they brought back to the mainland
The Lanyou Shuma.com digital store, once one of the largest on China’s Taobao Marketplace, was forced to close in April by Taobao after Hong Kong authorities launched an investigation on possible smuggling of the iPhone 4S, the Beijing News said.
“The proper remedy for Samsung’s misconduct is judgment that Apple’s asserted phone design patents are valid and infringed. Through its extraordinary actions yesterday, Samsung sought to sway the jury on the design patent issues, and the proper remedy is to enter judgment against Samsung on those same patents. It would be, to be sure, a significant sanction. But serious misconduct can only be cured through a serious sanction—and here, Samsung’s continuing and escalating misconduct merits a severe penalty that will establish that Samsung is not above the law.”
Apple also outlined an alternative set of sanctions, requesting “the Court should (i) instruct the jury that Samsung engaged in serious misconduct and that, as a result, the Court has made a finding that Samsung copied the asserted designs and features from Apple products; and (ii) preclude Samsung from further mentioning or proffering any evidence regarding the ‘Sony design exercise’ for any purpose.” FossPatents said Apple’s requests could mean big problems for Samsung moving forward: Expand Expanding Close
As we reported earlier this month, Apple was set to appeal a $1.2 million fine imposed by Italian anti-trust authorities Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato. The authorities argued Apple is misleading consumers by selling its one-year AppleCare warranties without informing customers of a two-year warranty mandatory by European Union law. Apple officially lost the appeal in court this week, which forced the company to pay the €900,00 fine and alter its AppleCare policies to properly inform consumers going forward. Apple can still appeal the decision, but consumer groups from 10 other countries are also requesting Apple change its policies—indicating this could soon be EU-wide. (via Repubblica.it)
Following the Path incident, a letter sent from lawmakers to Apple in February requested information on how the company collects personal data. The two congressional representatives behind the letter, Henry A. Waxman and G. K. Butterfield, sent letters to 34 app developers requesting similar information. One of the letters was sent to Tim Cook and Apple about the “Find My Friends” app. The letters are requesting that developers answer questions about their privacy policies and how they handle user data. In response to Path, Apple already confirmed, “Any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.”
Earlier this month, we reported that U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner ruled in favor of Apple’s request to view documents related to the development of Android and the Google/Motorola acquisition. Apple claimed, “The Android/Motorola acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apple’s claims and defenses.”According to Bloomberg, Apple told the courts last week that Motorola has yet to fulfill the original request, but Judge Posner denied Apple’s request this week and said, “Motorola’s objections are persuasive.” Two patent infringement-related trials between Apple and Motorola are set for June, and Posner warns Apple will have to “narrow its request to a manageable and particularized set of documents” for any future production of data requests. Expand Expanding Close