back to article Samsung preps anti-iPhone 5 lawsuit before it's even out

Samsung will try to get the iPhone 5 banned in Korea by using a patent lawsuit to block the phone, a source has told the Korean Times. A Samsung executive told the paper that the next edition of the iPhone will almost certainly break patents that Samsung holds in Korea. The exec told the paper: "Just after the arrival of the …

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  1. Wang N Staines

    Hahahahaahaaa

    Winner takes all.

  2. Ragarath
    Thumb Up

    Not one to normally stick up for people suing to get their way but to be honest I am all for Samsung giving all they have to kick Apple and I hope they will keep going if they win.

    Apple have gone into the ridiculous with it's suits now and it needs to be taught a lesson.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Ragarath

      Erm, isn't it everyone else suing Apple and not the other way around...?

      1. g e

        Almost

        I think the phrase is 'countersuing' .. e.g. Apple started it.

        1. ThomH

          Apple didn't start it, they just jumped in with unprecedented vigour. As far as I can make out, Nokia started it by suing Apple in 2009. Apple have since gone after HTC (starting in 2010) and Samsung (this year), neither company having previously had much of an interest in legal pursuits.

          My phone's an iPhone, but I'm with Samsung on this one. I'm a turn the other cheek person in any situation with serious consequences, but I doubt this is anything more than rounding errors on the Samsung and Apple books, so letting Apple know that it can't bully everyone into submission feels like the right way forward.

          1. Lars Silver badge

            @ThomH

            No, Apple started by suing Nokia, and they lost and had to pay to Nokia.

            1. ThomH

              @Lars

              That's simply untrue. Nokia sued first. See e.g. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/22/nokia_sues_apple_iphone/ and, about a week later, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/28/apple_will_fight_nokia/

      2. L1feless

        @AC

        Are you for real? Apple issues a stop of sales for the Galaxy tab in AU as well as issues law suits in several other countries, all patent related. If I am not mistaken HTC and another Android manufacturer are also under the gun. Google passed along some of its newly acquired patents to 'assist' its partners in fighting Apple and they have launched counter suits. If we have taken anything from this it should be that patents are being abused.

      3. Blitterbug

        @AC

        Um, you not been reading The Reg much lately?

      4. Rex Alfie Lee
        Thumb Down

        You coward...

        Apple is suing everyone they can possibly get their dirty,scummy hands on & they deserve every bit that comes their way. Organisations are only responding to Apple's patent-based piracy...

    2. hexx
      Thumb Down

      really? apple sued them for copying and please don't tell me that samsung does not copy apple

      1. hyartep
        Facepalm

        they for sure lear from design language used by apple, so you can say the "copy" apple. but not more, than they did copy nokia.

        as far as i remember, nokia did never sue samsung because of the design.

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Samsung Does not Copy Apple

        Entering the market with a similiar, but obvious design is not patent infringement. I'm no particular fan of either Apple or Samsung, but to any outside observer, it is clear that Apple are the bully boys in the playground here and quite frankly they have all that is coming to them if they insist on trying to stifle innovation in this way.

        Of course, the only real winners here are the lawyers.

      3. hexx

        ok, so stating obvious isn't apparently welcomed here, at least that's how i understand nr of downrates :)

        1. call me scruffy

          Stating the Obvious?

          Have you seen what happens in the freetard debates?! ;-)

        2. ThomH

          @hexx

          Nah, it's just the point that Loyal Commanders makes is valid — there's a distinction between actionable copying (which relates to what's legally protectable and so invokes a whole bunch of other considerations) and merely following another company into a newly energetic segment of an existing market.

          So if you want to establish that Samsung copied Apple then the test is: what have they done, that Apple did first, that wasn't obvious or taken from an even earlier source? I think multitouch gestures are the only potentially relevant thing (which Apple own by acquisition, but you get the idea), but Apple appear to be claiming ownership of the tablet form factor, the famous rounded corners, etc. So Samsung appear to be saying, you know, we've done a whole lot of hard graft engineering on radio technology and if you want to start being legal about it then bring it on.

          I guess the iPhone 5 element is to threaten to hit Apple when it'll hurt them more and to make sure their threat gets the best possible airplay.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @ThomH

            It seems the Germans and Australians agree with Apple about what's legally protectable. As for Samsungs threat, it BS, if they can sue Apple over the IPhone 5 then they can sue over the IPhone 4. But there phone patents like Motorolas and Nokias are only good for getting a licence fee as they are licenced under FRAND

            1. Pax681

              @ AC.. FRAND patent use also have a clause in them...

              Don't sue us or we will sue you..... or charge you alkl the more for using our patents.

              so don't gimme that FRAND patent bullshit.. Apple sue and thus LOST their rights under the FRAND mechanism...

            2. Zippy the Pinhead

              @AC 21:58

              No.. Apple licensed that tech for the iPhone3 and 4 from Samsung. They own the tech in Korea. Since Apple has decided that they own all tech now Samsung has more than fittingly decided to teach them who actually owns the tech.

              1. Rex Alfie Lee
                Flame

                What would be really interesting...

                ...if Samsung stopped making iPhone parts then Apple would really need to think long & hard about their litigation. Samsung make make about one-third of the bits & pieces that iPhone use & without these bits the iPhone wouldn't work...

      4. bean520

        "Look and feel" lawsuits are generally invalid, as Apple themselves proved in the 80s. The only exception to this is blatant copyright infringement (copying graphics wholesale)

      5. Rex Alfie Lee
        Facepalm

        Who designed it...

        Most of the parts inside an Apple are actually built for them by Samsung. Now tell me who designed it really...

  3. Syren Baran
    Coat

    You are holding, aeh, using it wrong

    You gotta connect this RJ-45 cable before making a call.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      New keyboard, please!

      XD

    2. Error404

      almost................Apple being Apple it will be some proprietary cable like an iRJ-45

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Barrels of fun!

    These are big words, we'll see if Samsung has what it takes to push them through..

    In the meanwhile, if iphone5, an as yet unreleased mystery device, is going to "break (sic)" patents, isn't iphone4 infringing on them too? Why not begin with attempting to ban the existing model too?

    This saber-rattling paper flinging business is one good show. Absurd yet totally funny, all delivered with a straight face.

    1. Jedit
      Joke

      Well...

      ... they *did* say "so long as it has any form of telecommunications capability". That would give the iPhone 4 a pass.

    2. Rex Alfie Lee
      Devil

      It would be funny if...

      ...we could buy a Galaxy Tablet anyway but we can't. I live in Australia...

  5. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Oops!

    Apple legal vulture: "Hey, you can't sell a phone or tablet with rounded corners!"

    Samsung legal vulture: "OK, but you can't sell phone or tablet with any form of wireless then!"

    Apple legal vulture, in aside to colleague: "Ha, we have them now! I mean, who has something as old as a wireless on their phone?"

    If the patents stick then Apple are screwed in those markets - not much point in having an Apple device if it's just going to be a paperweight! Shirley, someone at Apple did a risk analysis of the oppositions' patent holdings before they went on this crazy legal trip?

    1. Naughtyhorse

      .... and dont call me shirley!"

      yes...

      it was on my list here...

      it's here somewhere...

      ...

      ....

      ah! there it it...

      just after testing that the iphone 4 aeral works

  6. Thomas 4

    I've just had a brilliant idea!

    Why don't all the electronics giant patent absolutely everything, then we we can halt the progress of human development completely. In a few decades, civilisation will be reduced to a crumbling wasteland, populated by a strange, rodent-like scavenger that kills things by spraying them with sheets of paper secreted from a bodily orifice.

    1. Kactus
      Go

      No Actually Thomas that is Brilliant

      You see if they patent EVERYTHING then the advancement of humanity stops for .... 25 years. And then no more patents!

      Brilliant.

      Unless of course we then start seeing infinite patent extension creep like we do with copy right. :/

  7. James Hughes 1

    Apple in the poop?

    Samsung can 'easily' change the shape of the Tab. Apple will still need to use Samsung's patents (or at least it will be much more difficult to get round them).

    Apple seem to have brought he wrath of <insert deity> down on their own heads.

    1. Monty Burns

      There is only one..... "Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!"

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but surely...

    can't Apple claim prior art with the iPhone4 and 3 as examples?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err...

      Not if Samsung has valid patents prior to the previous iPhones. It may well be the case that Samsung tolerated violation of their patents in SK because they were supplying the components for the phones, but the legal action from apple against the Galaxy Tab changed their mind.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        if they (Samsung) let them (Apple) slide on the earlier models

        and didn't just get a zero-dollar licensing agreement, then aren't those patents now invalid in that market?

        1. John Bailey

          No.

          Only trademarks must be defended, or they are considered to have fallen into disuse, and cease to be the "property" of an entity.

          So if Samsung found someone using a misleadingly similar logo, they would have to take action, or risk losing their trademark.

          Patents are a 20 year (I think) period of exclusivity. And no matter how many people are infringing, one offender can still be singled out and brought to court. The patent holder must choose to sue, but they are not obliged to.

          Same with copyright. No matter how many people infringe, the copyright period doesn't change at all. If it was otherwise, pretty much every movie, every song, and every big of software would be out of copyright, due to being copied by so many people.

      2. Rex Alfie Lee
        Flame

        Galaxy TAB...

        Interestng that Apple don't have a 7" form factor which is what the Galaxy TAB started at...

    2. Gio Ciampa

      As long as Motorola can say: "It's a phone... cough up!"

    3. MrXavia

      not really

      There have been tablets/pdas/phones around for many years that look similar to the ipad / iphone.

      my ancient 3g PDA video phone, that I cant even remember the name of, was similar enough to the iPhone 3/3gs. and acutally i think my galaxy s looks nothing like an iphone 3gs, and the galaxy s 2 is totally different to the iphone 4, there is no way you could mistake them as being the same!

      Apple are just taking advantage of dumb judges that know so little about technology and design they will rule on anything that gets them media attention.

      I would accept a technical patent on a real technological innovation as being a valid reason to pull it, but design? that's nonsense.

      Next you will have them claiming they invented windows and folders in the os!

    4. Zippy the Pinhead

      NO.. they licensed the tech from Samsung.. Now Samsung has decided enough is enough!

  9. Piloti
    WTF?

    Children......

    No I-'Phone Five ? Oh that makes me laugh.

    Actually it is quite scary, because all of this legal stuff is starting to show just how mindlessly stupid some of these patents really are. I am no Apple fan, nor am I a Samsung fan, but, I have to say, it is about time that *all* the hardware and software makes get their acts together, stop bickering about "rounded corners" and "making calls" and get on with making products people will buy. In the end, it is you and me, the people who buy these devices that lose out, because whatever the cost of litigation, what ever the cost of "settlement" it simple makes the price point that we have to pay ever higher.

    So, if anybody from Apple, Samsung et al ever reads this, STOP MESSING ABOUT SUEING EACH OTHER AND CONCENTRATE ON MAKING DEVICES.

    1. Ed

      You lose out...

      You lose out if companies can't protect their R&D and design investment because they get ripped off by copycats as soon as they release an innovative product.

      They'll just stop investing in R&D as it won't be bringing their shareholders value.

      I disagree with many patents, but the concept of them is to protect inventors and hence they should benefit you as a consumer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Really?

        B*llocks about "rounded corners" is protecting Apple's R&D? The cost of vexatious lawsuits has to be met by somebody.

      2. Spikehead
        Joke

        There's a difference between patents protecting real technological innovation and patents protecting rounded corners. From what I have read about the Galaxy Tab argument is that it looks a bit like an ipad.

        No doubt someone who has read the whole argument will point out it's a bit more than that, but there still seem to be a lot of pointless patents out there. (Geddit?) :-D

      3. geekguy

        Protect inventors not large multinationals

        Patents were never designed to protect large corporations they were designed to protect the inventor so that they could leverage their designs without large corporations muscling in, the spirit of patents especially in the software arena is subject to widespread abuse and has been for quite a few years.

        I do not accept that apple needs protecting the same as a small startup company and I also despise the way in which all other software/hardware vendors patent some of the most trivial stuff to simply at a later date go after competition in an underhand and dastardly way, this time its going to backfire on apple, perhaps they may learn a lesson if a patent claim doesn't go their way in korea, a massive market for mobile telecommunications.

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Both need a thick ear!

      Both Apple and Samsung need to be grabbed sharply by the ear and marched out to the garage, given a paintbrush and a pot of paint and told to go paint the front garden fence! Teach them both to stop being so bloody stupid and to grow up a bit!

      "Nyah, Apple strarted it!"

      "Please Miss, Samsung keeps touching my stuff!"

      "Sir, Apple won't leave me alone!"

      "Please Sir, Samsung won't stop flicking things at me! Waahhh!"

      1. Rex Alfie Lee
        Facepalm

        Comment is pretty silly...

        Apple has blocked sales of Samsung products so if Samsung don't do something they lose a corner of the industry completely. Apple did this & deserve to be screwed by it...

    3. craigb

      " but, I have to say, it is about time that *all* the hardware and software makes get their acts together, stop bickering about "rounded corners" and "making calls" and get on with making products people will buy"

      but that's what samsung wants isn't it? They've made an awesome product(which I own so I am biased) and want the chance to compete in the EU market, which apple is using patent abuse to prevent.

  10. Piro Silver badge

    Apple started it

    So, go go Samsung!

    I hope they kick Apple's ass for starting this patent trolling crap. Two wrongs do sometimes make a right.

    1. Ed

      It's not trolling - Apple actually invented something. Patent trolls just buy up patents.

      1. Mike 29
        Trollface

        So you believe they invented the rounded rectangle? I have an iBridge to sell you.

      2. Piro Silver badge

        Oh please.

        The Galaxy Tab was ousted in German courts: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/12/german_court_bans_sale_of_samsung_tablet_media_reports/

        Based on appearances. There are a lot of examples of prior art for tablets, including, what I would say was 'mainstream' at the time: tablet PCs. HP Compaq TC1100 being a good example.

        They're just starting a fight because android is successful, and Samsung is making damn nice designs.

        Again, in the Netherlands: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/24/dutch_court_issues_injunction_against_samsung_android_phones/

        Another bunch of crap by Apple..

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/05/galaxy_tab_7_7_pulled_from_ifa/

        You can't argue that Apple is basically trying to scare its competitors away just because their products look similar, even though they copy no software.

        I'd agree with Apple if Foxconn was knocking off cheap iPhones and iPads on the side using the same moulds, tooling and software.. But this isn't that.

      3. Rob Crawford

        Apple invented something

        What rounded corners?

        1. Sean Baggaley 1
          Mushroom

          Unfortunately, Apple have a valid point...

          "You can't argue that Apple is basically trying to scare its competitors away just because their products look similar, even though they copy no software."

          Android is a flagrant rip-off of iOS. Like it or not, there's absolutely no reason why the iOS "grid of icons" GUI *has* to be the GUI used by Android.

          And if you want proof, I have only one word: "Metro".

          Microsoft have taken a completely different approach to a touch GUI, and it works very well indeed. It's also *genuinely innovative* in exactly the same way Android isn't.

          Apple aren't so much after Samsung as Android. And rightly so. That Samsung happened to be one of the first in Apple's legal firing line is probably not chance—it's no secret that Apple and Samsung have had a bit of a falling-out—but if German courts are *agreeing* with Apple's requests to ban Samsung's devices, there must be *something* to their claims. We're talking about Germany here, not eastern Texas!

          Remember, Apple's design philosophy is that the product design begins with the first chip and ends with the box packaging. Everything in between is included in the process, *including the software*, and that means the OS is considered an integral component, not something you throw into the mix near the end of the product development cycle and just tweak until it stops crashing.

          This flies in the face of the traditional approach to computer and phone design and development, where you designed to the OS and shovelled in features until you met your product's pre-approved wholesale price.

          This is why so many people are surprised at Apple's behaviour. As far as Apple (and, indeed, most non-tech-savvy customers) are concerned, a Samsung Galaxy Tab *is* an iPad clone. No "ifs" or "maybes" about it. The two look far too similar in both form and function for it to be a coincidence.

          Laypeople with little understanding of IT—and that's probably about 90% of the general public—don't know where the software ends and the hardware begins. And that's a crucial factor in Apple's approach to design.

          Don't blame Apple. Blame Samsung—who even have their own OS!—for being too bloody lazy to do what Microsoft have done: R&D into an innovative new touch GUI that will most certainly differentiate their products from their rivals. In a good way.

          And now I'm depressed. I think Steve Ballmer is a poor CEO, and has the kind of face even his own mother would never tire of punching, so it says a lot that I'm holding Microsoft up as proof that you don't HAVE to slavishly copy everything Apple does to compete with them.

          Competitors have nobody but themselves to blame for their trailing position in the market. Where was their R&D spend going?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @ Sean Baggaley 1

            "Android is a flagrant rip-off of iOS. Like it or not, there's absolutely no reason why the iOS "grid of icons" GUI *has* to be the GUI used by Android."

            Apart from the fact that a "grid of icons" in a user interface has been common for years you mean... My iPaq had a "grid of icons"... Good ole Program Manager from Windows 3 days - yep, grid of icons there.

            Stick some icons on your Windows desktop now and what do you get? Yep, a grid of icons.

            An old Casio electronic diary of mine had, you guessed it, a grid of icons...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Pretty sure a calendar is basically a grid of "icons" as well

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Here we go again!

            Sean

            Google purchased Android (the company) in 2005, and no doubt their development started some years before that, so 2002, 2003 roughly.

            The original iPhone came to market in 2007 as did the iPod touch. So development on those started, what, 4 years earlier? So roughly the same time as Android.

            I had various Palm devices in the late 90s and earlier 2000s, those all had gridded icon layouts.

            I think this prior art makes any look and feel lawsuits null and void, if only the lawyers would think a bit before they commit to court cases.

          3. Raz

            @Sean Baggaley 1

            You are wrong, at least on the "grid of icons" argument. I have seen this type of UI for the first time in the early 90s in Windows 3.0, and I am sure it precedes even that.

            I have seen, and probably many other tech support people have the same experience, users that did not know or like to use the Windows menu system and wanted to have all their documents and applications one click away, so I cannot remove from my mind Windows 98 and XP desktops choke full of icons. I mean, the whole screen is a grid of icons, probably 24 tall by 40 wide or something, with shortcuts to hundreds of Word or Excel files, like this http://www.tipsinside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/many-icons-cleaning-with-broomstic.png

            Maybe those types of users are still around, but I am not doing tech support anymore :)

            So no, Apple did not invent this UI.

          4. Craigness

            @Sean

            If you want to make claims about who's copying who then you need some information. For example, if you want to claim that one OS is a flagrant rip off of another then you'll need to know which one came first. Android has been around since 2003 so, if you think that it and iOS are similar enough for one to be a copy of the other, then you must think that iOS is a copy of Android. Have you seen iOS 5's innovative new notification system? If you used an android phone in 2008 then you have.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_(operating_system)#Foundation

            There is no reason that a GUI has to be a grid of icons, that is true. iOS is a grid of icons, as were numerous GUIs before it. You think that producing a GUI which is a grid of icons means copying earlier designs, so you must think that iOS is a copy of earlier GUIs. Android, on the other hand, is not a grid of icons - it is a user-configurable and skinnable collection of icons and widgets. Maybe you're just trolling without having seen an Android phone (you'll not be the only one!) so check the link below to get an idea of what they look like.

            http://androidforums.com/android-themes/4425-post-your-android-desktop-101.html

            If you think that Galaxy Tab is a copy of the iPad it might be because there are a few similarities in the form factors of each and that you think the later product must be a copy of the former. So, check out this graphic of tablets before and after the ipad and you'll see that what you really think is that the ipad is a copy of earlier tablets. Though to be fair to Apple, their tablet is designed primarily for portrait mode whilst the rest are landscape and have different aspect ratios (unless you look at the documents Apple presented to the German court, where Galaxy Tab is a portrait-oriented tablet with the same dimensions as the ipad).

            http://www.2imgs.com/6c941c36e5

            And there you have it - by applying facts, instead of Apple marketing fluff, to your own biases it can be shown that you are in fact an Apple "hater" (and now, an informed one).

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Donkey. Bollocks.

            The grid-of-icons was demonstrated at PARC a *billion* years ago. Steve and Bill borrowed it for their respective OSs at pretty much exactly the same time. I don't see the innovation in using a scheme that your core audience grew up with, whether you're Apple or Samsung or Google or whoever. Good idea, probably. Innovative, no.

            That's besides the arse-clenching hypocrisy of the idea that Apple would get even remotely pissed-off at someone stealing anything to do with operating systems from them :p

            Microsoft are probably ready to take a different approach to the touch GUI because they already experimented with something functionally identical to iOS in the form of their "Table-top" concept in the 90's. Wonder if anyone at Apple read about that? Hmm...

          6. Matt Bryant Silver badge

            RE: Unfortunately, Apple have a valid point...

            Hmmm, "grid of icons".....

            Rummages in cupboard... Evidence for the defence, item one - hp Jornada 820, Windows CE 2.11, far too old for me to remember exactly when I got it, but some time in the '90s. UI has a grid of icons. Evidence for the defence, item two - - Psion 5 (1998 gift from a customer) with grid of icons. Evidence for the defence, item three - hp iPaq hw6515c with Windows Mob 2003, I think from 2005-ish, again with a grid of icons . All predate the iPhone, which didn't arrive until 2007, and the iPad (2010 release). I also have roughly half-a-dozen old Nokia and Moto phones laying around, all of which predate iPhone, and all have UIs with grids of icons. I even have an old hp tc1100 (somewhere), which was a tablet that predated the iPad, WITH ROUNDED CORNERS!!!

            In short, Apple's ludicrous "grid of irons" and "rounded corners innovation" argumenta are only fit for fertilising roses or filling the vacuous spaces between fanbois' ears.

            1. BasevaInc

              ladies & gentlemen of the Jury

              When the overside door stop, hmm PC, was designed all squared and clumsy, my client who also holds the patents on biblical "Garden of Eden" & the resulting "Fruit" which still bears the teeth marks of "Eve" was way ahead of the game with exhibit A: http://www.retroplanet.com/blog/retro-archives/american-icons/apple-computers/. As you can see rounded corners and compactness was always in their design philosophy.

        2. Rex Alfie Lee
          Facepalm

          Apple don't have the 7" form factor...

          How does the patent system work? What a load of crap...

      4. Gio Ciampa

        Invetnt? What exactly did they invent?

      5. Rex Alfie Lee
        Flame

        Apple invented something....

        Wow, tell me more. Don't stop at the good part. What was it that Apple invented, "round corners?", perhaps not, "full-screen phone?", definitely not, "the smart-phone?", no, that belongs to the likes of HP (crappy), HTC (ok), Nokia (best of the old bunch), "a sexy, smart-phone?", perhaps. Apple invented nothing dipstick. You have no idea at all of what you speak...

  11. Rupert Stubbs

    So why aren't Samsung suing everyone?

    Is this teally good news?

    If they really have patents that are intrinsic to the use of any mobile phone (which is the only conclusion that can be drawn from the fact that they are threatening the iPhone 5 before it even appears), then Windows 8 phones, LG phones, BlackBerrys and all others must be infringing the patents.

    Are we going to end up with a vast circle-jerk where everyone pays royalties to everyone else (as in MS getting $15 for every Android phone), thus jacking up the cost for no benefit whatsoever?

    1. IT veteran
      Thumb Down

      Maybe

      The others licensed the tech from Samsung, and didn't steal it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So why aren't we using Trident?

      Because nobody's started a relevant war with us. Perhaps Samsung are also willing to live in peace even though they have weapons?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      core technology patent pools

      the endless circle of minor contributors all feeding off the actual developer/manufacturers is a problem already solved. the GSM patents were gathered into a pool, and royalties sorted out according to merit. If you had a stake in the pool you got better discounts, you got aggregated protection, all in return for "no squabbling" clause, you were not allowed to bring suits against others in the pool.

      That worked great for the original technology, but then people started patent the idea of a phone with buttons that did stuff, and all that sort of nonsense - which the wise old guard at GSM had not thought worthy, or even patentable.

      The model broke down considerably with 3G - where the creators (i think) genuinely believed that using comms theory, that dedicated field of applied mathematics that deals with modulation and demodulation of signals, in order to make a radio-based product implementing the known benefits of code-division multiple access for instance, would not be considered as original. Broadcom thought differently and started the 3G patent goldrush, iirc, and various recombobulations of the same 3G thing became proprietary standards across the world.

      This is just for the core technical standards, the trivial stuff, like an email client in a phone, should be rejected by the novelty test within the patent process. New inventions are not novel if they can be reasonably simply deduced by one "skilled in the art". This was a difficult test to perform fairly, and most examiners didn't even bother trying, leaving it to the courts to correct their mistakes.

      So, that's how we got here. There are some big re-pooling initiatives out there, RPX corp, OIN, Allied security trust, so the tables are turning, at last. Simply shooting Apple would help, yes they have produced some major innovations, but it is not these that they are sueing with.

    4. Craigness

      Tech is widespread

      HTC apparently (it was alluded to in a Reg article) has a patent on combining a PDA and phone in 1 single device. If everyone sued for all the patents they own then nobody would be able to make a complete device - if you wanted to make a PDA Phone then HTC would stop you, if you wanted to let it browse the web then Samsung would stop you, and it you wanted to make it look like a JooJoo tablet then Apple would stop you.

      Stopping innovation in a market like this is a fruitless enterprise. When the fruity one works this out, we can all move on.

      1. call me scruffy

        Really?

        Broadcom don't have a patent on CDMA (Plenty of Prior Art, not least the Global Positioning System!) Instead they have a patent on a horrendous mass of bodges, workarounds and fudges required for CDMA to work in a cellphone type environment. The only virtue CDMA has in cellular comms is the dubious one of making money for broadcom. In most practical tests it fails substantially less gracefully than TDMA or FDMA, quite tellingliy demonstrated from the design of LTE.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          thanks Scruffy

          Broadcom - I did spot the mistake but left it uncorrected, I meant Qualcomm. They are both however deeply involved in the patenting of mathematics, which I diasagree with, though am willing to make an exception if it is genuinely novel. - like say RSA,or the Viterbi Algorithm - which Qualcomm's founder got little from (except worldwide fame and a string of great jobs).

          You are absolutely correct regds the difficulty of practical CDMA systems, the near-far problem being the big one, but also its non-delivery of range and bandwidth simultaneously, hence the need for picocells in your home.

          LTE is a much more robust technology, different timeslices are infinitely more orthogonal than different spreading codes, the same applies to different frequencies.

          I believe also that the LTE carries on the same patent pool system i mentioned, since it is a derivative of GSM, and the simplicity and fairness of this system is now a critical factor encouraging its adoption.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: core technology patent pools

        "the endless circle of minor contributors all feeding off the actual developer/manufacturers is a problem already solved. the GSM patents were gathered into a pool, and royalties sorted out according to merit."

        Thanks for describing a cartel for us.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          A patent is a legislated monopoly

          So the difference is semantic.

  12. P Saunders

    so they'll be calling it just "i" then

    blah

    1. hplasm
      Thumb Up

      "I Five"

      *clap*

      1. snowlight

        @hplasm

        Ooooh, Intel won't like that one at all methinks

  13. Jean-Paul

    Hmm right

    So Samsung is threatening to block the sales of an unrealesed phone to which they haven't seen nor explored but are certain it breaks their patents in Korea.

    ROFLMAO Is that really the best they can come up with? Also if that is that intrincis than surely they should have been protecting their IP for years already with everyone else on the market, or pencil up some licensing deals.

    Lets wait and see what they actually come up with, until such time it sounds like empty threats to me. What is next, the Samsung CEO is going to get his dad, and the army and the whole universe to beat up Apple's dad? Sounds like sore losers clutching straws and spending money with lawyers that is better spend on their own original designs.

    1. g e
      WTF?

      It's actually qute good

      It will likely force Apple to reveal design specs to peove (in apple's eyes) that they don't infirnge.

      You know how apple hates spec leakge.

      Then Samsung will probably wave some wireless patent at apple and tell them to go away and either write a very big cheque or stop making stuff that infringes their patents. Which is anything but a desktop computer and maybe the laptops.

      Do you really think people like Samsung don't think sh*t through first or is that the best YOU could come up with ?

      If anyone's been a bit hard of thinking it would seem (currently) to be apple themselves for thinking these tech giants would roll over on their say-so.

    2. Boggwoppit
      Trollface

      no mention of iphone 5 in Oz

      The claim says Apple infringed seven Australian patents owned by Samsung related to wireless communications standards by Apple's iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad 2 products.

    3. Craigness
      FAIL

      Jean-Paul

      You've not been keeping up with these patent lawsuit stories, have you? If you want a catch-up then you could start with the article you just commented on. In particular, read the following bits:

      "Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5..."

      "For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents."

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm gonna patent patent trolling.

    See what they think of *that*. The obvious prior art, of course, doesn't matter one jot.

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
      FAIL

      Too Late...

      ... somebody has tried that already

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/10/halliburton_patent/

      Halliburton wanted to patent "patent acquisition and assertion by a (non-inventor) first party against a second party."

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Pirate

        Quick...

        Patent attempting to patent "patent acquisition and assertion by a (non-inventor) first party against a second party." and sue Halliburton! No, wait there's prior art, better patent trying to patent tying to patent "patent acquisition and assertion by a (non-inventor) first party against a second party."

        **STACK OVERFLOW ERROR**

  15. Arctic fox
    Headmaster

    I see that the question of why Samsung only now has begun to sue has been raised.

    There are a couple of possibilities here which *might* explain why they only now are doing so.

    1. Until relatively recently Apple was a valued customer/partner of Samsung with whom the Korean company had a good working relationship. The iPhones/iPads sold gangbusters and Samsung earned handsomly on all the "bits" they supplied and Sammy had no reason to endanger that relationship.

    2. It was only when Apple noticed that Samsung was making some very good kit that was attracting attention and could compete with the iPhone and the iPad that Apple decided to start firing off writs at Samsung.

    In short it was only when Apple decided that attempting to cripple Samsung as a *device* producer in the market they are both competing in was more important than their hitherto productive relationship that Samsung started to sue in self-defence. Samsung has (AFAIK) not got a reputation for being *especially* litigious and I do not believe that they would have started their current legal campaign in the absence of the legal assault from Cupertino.

    1. gherone

      The old guys have learned about MAD.....

      As mentioned above, in today's world every one of the big Companies has a lot of patents which can cripple (take off market) pretty much any other product in the market place (in their fields). We can debate the relative merits of software, design, and business patents, their scope and vagueness, but they exist, and under current US law, they are legal.

      As such, you have an inherent Mutually Assured Destruction pact between the really big players in the industry, which know that YOU CANNOT BUILD ANY PRODUCT TODAY without potentially crossing some patents already issued (or about to be issued) to somebody else. They can, and will, find some of your products which cross their patents and take your products off the market if you dare sue them first, negating any wins you may get by suing them.

      Motorola, Samsung, Nokia, IBM, etc. have learned early that suing everybody in sight is a loose-loose proposition. They only sue (1) smaller companies with small pool of patents to extract royalties, or (2) when something really big is at stake. They WILL NOT sue everybody like Apple does, because they know the counter-suits will follow, and in the end nobody (except for lawyers) wins. Even when they call in the lawyers, the grown-up guys avoid suing suppliers or customers.

      Apple is a new kid, just joining the class of companies listed above, based on sales and stock valuation. They are familiar with lawsuits against mom-and-pop stores, review and fan web sites, and much smaller companies, where they can bully everybody, but have little experience in dealing with huge companies, like Samsung, which can counter-sue based on their own patent pools, and force (at least some) Apple products off the market. It is time somebody teach them a lesson about MAD, and force them to grow up. If iEverything gets banned in a couple of markets, maybe Apple will re-evaluate their legal priorities.

      Patents were intended to give the inventor a short-term monopoly in return for sharing the invention with the rest of humankind. They were not intended to cover design patents, like Apple's, specially with plenty of prior work floating around, nor companies with no intend to ever use the patent to make a real product (patent trolls). Of course, the best way forward would be to reform the legal patent system to bring it in line with the original intent, but this is not going to happen any time soon :(

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not sure what this is?

        "Motorola, Samsung, Nokia, IBM, etc. have learned early that suing everybody in sight is a *** loose-loose *** proposition."

        as opposed to a tight-tight proposition.

        INSERT TROLL ICON HERE

  16. cocknee
    Linux

    There's a troll in them Apple trees

    Apple is too arrogant, too controlling, too paranoid and is using legal nonsense to restrict competiion. I think most people can tell the difference between one slab and another and as others point out, there is prior art on this by other manufacturers.

    They're just hoping that no-one else has the stomach for a fight as they have limitless funds.

    Not that I beleive in karma but anyone remember SCO and their trolling law-suits?

    Apple have a talent for design and marketing, that's all they need. Consumers will make their choice and there are enough blind fanbois accross the planet to swell their coffers further when the next toy gets released

    (hmmm can see an ipod, ipad from where I'm sitting, ooooops)

    time to re-insall Ubuntu to feel clean again ;)

  17. Bonce

    And this benefits consumers... how?

    It doesn't does it.

    1. Stein Tore Dale

      It could force a ceasefire

      This attack from Samsung could force Apple to stop their patent war, much like how USA and Soviet waved their nuclear arsenals at each other. You may be able to give me trouble, but I can do the same to you.

      I hope (and believe) that this is the reason Samsung haven't done this before, and hopefully won't do this to other manufacturers. It's just a show of weapons to try to restore order. Hopefully it works, and this patent nonsense can stop.

  18. cloudgazer

    Nothing to see here folks, move along

    The key to all this is the requirement that patents that are essential to standards like UMTS and WiFi must be offered under FaiR And Reasonable Terms (FRAND or if you're in the states just plain RAND).

    In most jurisdictions this means that Samsung doesn't have a hope in hell of getting an injunction, though eventually they'll be able to extract some sort of license fees. They might be able to get an injunction in Korea thanks to home-field advantage, but even that's a long shot.

    The reason is that for an injunction you need to be able to plausibly claim that the damage being done by infringement is irremediable by mere cash damages, but if you're obligated to offer a license and the only problem is that you are unable to come to an agreement on price then that is self-evidently not so.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fair and Reasonable??

      Is it "Fair and Reasonable" to expect a company (Samsung) to grant a patent licence,at any price, to a second company (apple) where that second company is presently in the process of taking all available steps to destroy said first company?

    2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
      Trollface

      FaiR And Reasonable??? crApple???? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

      Seems Samsung is citeing Stanlely Kubrick's 2001 and teh BBCs "the tommorrow people" as pior art in its fight with Apple.

      http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20096061-248/samsung-cites-kubrick-film-in-apple-patent-spat/

      There's two ways of looking at this, there's prior art for the design of the iFad from 1968, or, it was designed as a BBC SiFi prop, in which case it's probabaly crap!

    3. Syren Baran
      Boffin

      I'm no patent laywer ...

      "The key to all this is the requirement that patents that are essential to standards like UMTS and WiFi must be offered under FaiR And Reasonable Terms..."

      ... but i think the keyword in that sentence is "essential".

      You know, patent titles such as "Turbo encoding/decoding device ..." or "Apparatus and method .. for reducing Peak-To-Average Power Ratio ..." don't really sound essential, just bloody useful.

      So Apple might actually evade those patents by crippling performance and battery life. Not a bad deal, considering they can keep the rounded corners, no?

    4. david 63

      Fair And Reasonable Terms...

      ...spells FART in my book.

  19. Steve Evans

    Sounds good to me.

    If there is one thing which might get the US patent office to buck up their ideas it will be their favourite litigant Apple being hoisted by their own petard.

    The only people profiting from this are the lawyers. Certainly not the end user. I'm sure there are plenty of small inventors too who just don't bother due to the legal mountain they could face.

  20. The New Turtle
    FAIL

    It's not at all about consumer benefit or protection of R&D

    Pure greed, and the fear that, as number 1, the only way Apple can go is down.

  21. Zippy the Pinhead
    Trollface

    Fail on Apple

    If Samsung does hold the patent on this.. just refuse to license to Apple. Apple will instantly drop from the cellular market! haha

    Major fail on Apple!

  22. DEAD4EVER
    Go

    apple v samsung 2

    go on samsung keep it up with thease patents fire them back at apple teach apple a lesson that apples not the only company in this world who can make smartphones and tablets etc.

  23. launcap
    Stop

    err...

    "claims that Apple infringed seven Australian patents owned by Samsung related to wireless communications standards, with its iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad 2 products"

    I thought that patents related to international standards had to be free or FRAND? In that case, how can they be asserted in a court case?

    1. gherone

      See above....

      There are plenty of patents with are not essential, just "bloody useful" to quote a reply from above. FRAND patents tell you what needs to be done to achieve compliance with a standard, not how to do it in the most effective way possible (they just give you a reference implementation). This is where the licensee's design team comes into play, and why you have implementation, performance and price variations between products compliant to the same FRAND standards, and such implementations may have their own patents, not part of the pool.

      Typically, once you pay for a chip from company like Samsung, they agree not to sue you for using the chip and the IP incorporated into the chip (it is assumed that the sale price covers all associated licensing). However, Apple is using custom chips, designed by Apple, and without access to the exact wording of the contract between Apple and Samsung, one cannot say what Samsung IP is or is not included in the deal. Now, with Apple deciding to go elsewhere for their custom chips (TMS if I remember correctly), they are likely to loose any access they may have had to Samsung IP, which opens the door for the lawsuits even wider.

  24. Hungry Sean

    two words

    nuclear fuckin' warfare.

    Seems like Samsung is one of the many companies that views its stockpile of patents as a deterrent. Now that the deterrent effect has failed, they're compelled to unload in retaliation. No one wins if the two manufacturers succeed in blocking each other from shipping devices to major markets, and it looks like they are on course to do just that. This could certainly get ugly.

    Why do we have patents again?

  25. lotus49
    Thumb Down

    Intellectual property = giant fraud

    The whole concept of intellectual properly is flawed.

    The world (by which I mean everyone except for lawyers) managed very nicely without it for a very long time. There are drawbacks to ditching IP law but in practice it's the big boys (and their lawyers) who benefit and everone else (ie smaller content producers, inventors and us the paying public) loses.

    The concept of IP has had its day. It's time to ditch it completely.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple should be careful

    Taking on any conglomerate that's big enough to have a Heavy Industries subsidiary.

    More so when it's strategically important to a nation.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The perfect retaliation would be that if Samsung succeed; to then force Apple to keep buying the processors from them until the supply contract ends.

    There was some new recently that Apple were looking for another supplier for the cpu's, so that's probabaly another reason Samsung probably don't care if they piss Apple off.

  28. BitDr

    I dunno....

    Apple suing samsung (and other tablet and phone makers) because of the form factor or touch screen interface is much like Michelin suing Continental because their tyres are round, have treads on them, and roll.

    On my Xoom I have very few app icons on the "desktop(s)", only the ones I use most frequently. On an iPad or iPod Touch all of the app-icons are always in your face... making for some quite cluttered screens.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wake us up...

    ...when it's all over and they're making out with each other!

  30. Bango Skank

    What we need is more lawyers!

    Not really, we need less money being spent on lawyering and more on developing gadgets.

  31. General Pance

    You hold 'em down, I'll kick 'em

    Samsung, if you can metaphorically smack Apple in the head, and metaphorically kick its teeth in, I'll happily metaphorically urinate all over its corpse.

    1. Dana W

      heh

      Dream on. Apple will be here for years to come. The Linux Desktop is a niche and will remain a niche, Windows is yesterdays news. And Android is buggy freebie crap for budget phones.

      I'm getting way too many thumbs up recently. This should fix that.

      1. Steven Roper

        Upvoted

        because obvious troll is obvious... ;)

  32. P Zero

    Anyone else see the problem in releasing one phone a year now? What's good for the goose is good for the gander...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't think Samsung has a case here -

    For the patent to stand, the iPhone's wireless technology actually has to work properly. Apple lawyers will go - "hey you have to hold the phone this way for the radio to work, so our technology is different to yours"

  34. Jeffrey Nonken

    This just in: Apple sues Microsoft because they have employees, too!

  35. Dick Emery

    An iPod for an iPod. A bluetooth for a bluetooth. Arrrrrrr me hearties (Speak like a pirate day is almost up)!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    opening a new can of worms

    We'll all have to stop talking soon. It's going to cost us a fortune with Apple owning patents on the English Language - "app store" anyone?

  37. sleepy

    Of course there's prior art in the world of fiction for a brilliant little pocket screen that just does what you want. But nobody actually made one until Apple.

    Like Google's, Samsung's own responses to iPhone weren't successful enough for their taste, and instead of working at it until they had something both original and competitive, they copied Apple and added a couple of features. After ten year's work, Apple wanted a little more differentiation.

    Patents are a far from ideal tool to keep hold of your product's differentiation, but that's the tool Apple has. Far from being a novice at this, Apple has repeatedly been on the losing end big time. Numerous far east companies cloned the Apple 2 (see Wikipedia). It took Microsoft a decade to copy the Mac OS, but then Apple lost out in court, and Mac almost disappeared without trace. In getting multimedia into Windows, Microsoft copied Apple. But this time Steve Jobs negotiated a settlement that guaranteed five years more life for Mac, together with $150M cash, allowing Microsoft to "save" Apple.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Either way, it will drag on long enough for Apple to establish a new differentiator.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its easy for Apple to comply if they lose

    a simple software update (crippleware) to turn of the phone function.

    After all, it's not like they haven't done this sort of thing before.

  39. Martin 63

    as per icon

    Im a bit confused now. I just checked my Psion 5 and it still has rounded corners. Ditto my netbook (also psion), and my other netbook (Acer). Last time I saw a palm pilot the icons were also very round.

    Id prefer it if people just chose the best product to suit their needs. This spat has stopped people in Germany, Australia and possibly Korea from doing so.

    1. Peter 48

      sales continue in germany

      not sure about australia and korea, but in germany it doesn't seem to have stopped the sale of glaxy kit one bit. Walking around several cities in Germany last week I spotted numerous displays and promotions for the galaxy tab, S2 and other samsung kit in shops and flyers. The problem is the ban only restricts samsung from selling and promoting their kit, it doesn't apply to telecos, tech stores and independent stores. Not much of a win for apple there then.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Patents

    UI design should not be patentable.

    </end of>

  41. BasevaInc

    @Raz Hmm your history might be way off

    When IBM DOS & Microsoft DOS was the command line OS of choice back in the day Apple was already running point & click desktops with grid configurations. Hey they was even small war over who invent the cursor, they Microsoft after how many years decided to copy the Apple concepts and Windows 1.0 was born.

    1. Steven Roper
      FAIL

      And who did Apple steal the GUI design from?

      The WIMP interface (Windows, Icons, Mouse and Pointer) or GUI, as I recall, was actually invented by a company called Xerox, I believe. And no, Xerox did not license the technology to Apple, they simply stole it. But I suppose what's good for the goose isn't good for the gander after all, hey, fanboy?

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