back to article South Korea bans Apple's AND Samsung's ageing phones, tabs

Both Apple and Samsung got teeny fines and had some of their products banned in South Korea, after a court in Seoul found they infringed on each other's patents. The South Korean court said that Apple had infringed two of Samsung's wireless patents, while Sammy had infringed on a fruity firm patent related to a "bounce-back" …


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  1. Silverburn

    It's telling that the first thing I thought of when reading this was the fights I used to have with my siblings over some crappy toys.

    Very quickly my mum would barge in and take all the toys away, and we'd get no dessert with tea.

    That fact an incident between 8 year old can have any parallels with a dispute between supposedly mature companies is a sad indictment indeed for the companies.

    Frankly, both companies deserve this, but the fines should have been way, way Bigger to discourage future childish squabbles.

    1. Captain Scarlet

      Aren't they handing each other money though, so they aren't really being fined just getting all their money taken by lawyers seeing £££'s

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Fines go to the court. Damages go to the contestants.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        in effect both of them pay a heavy financial penalty, the cost of their lawyers. A series of lose-lose results might encourage these wealthy companies to act like grown-ups.

    2. Captain DaFt

      Nah, smaller! If I were the judge, I'd grant'em a dollar and a condom each.

      Then when they asked, "Why a condom?" I'd reply, so you can go fuck yourself!"

    3. LarsG

      And now in the US Samsung has lost the case and must pay Apple a cool billion... Ouch!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor reporting El Reg

    here is what the judge actually said according to reports with a bit more detail:

    "There are lots of external design similarities between the iPhone and Galaxy S, such as rounded corners and large screens... but these similarities had been documented in previous products,

    Given that it's very limited to make big design changes in touchscreen based mobile products in general... and the defendant [Samsung] differentiated its products with three buttons in the front and adopted different designs in camera and [on the] side, the two products have a different look,"

    In other words yet another Judge saying that Samsung did not copy the iphone/ipad design and that any similarities between them have been dictated by function which those of us who are a bit more objective than the brainwashed cult of Apple have been saying all along. Don't agree that Samsung infringed on anything as the 'bounce-back' patent should never have been awarded.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Poor reporting El Reg

      Bounce back is one of the reasons I bought an iphone. Just saying, it was so cool. Bounce bounce bounce.

      1. Schultz

        No bounce back

        Indeed, this is one of the major gripes I have with my ancient Samsung Spica: It won't bounce back.

        If I try to bounce it off the floor, the battery cover (and sometimes the battery) comes off. Is it worth to pay big-$ for a bouncing phone? I don't know, you fanbois tell me.

      2. stanimir

        What's up w/ commentards?

        Lately almost any sarcastic post is down voted into oblivion.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Missing the biggest part of the story

    The most important thing here is that the judge ordered products banned because of FRAND patents - i.e. samsung are allowed to demand an unacceptable amount for essential patents like 3G, and the courts will ban the products in korea if the demand is refused.

    End result? If you want to sell phones in south korea you'd better have a pile of essential patents, because if not your products are going to cost 2x more than other companies because of license fees - and you're effectively locked out of the market. The whole point of the 3G standard and FRAND licensing is to avoid this, but that's no longer the case in Korea. It's a huge loss for the korean people and for choice in korea.

    On the apple side, it's a pretty reasonable decision from the judge I think - blocking the more extreme of apple's design patents while protecting some of the stuff they've invented. Samsung will simply design around it - end result will be that their products are a bit more different from apple's, everyone wins.

    1. Peter 48

      Re: Missing the biggest part of the story

      I am unfamiliar with this particular case, but if it is anything like other cases involving FRAND, the problem wasn't that Samsung were asking for too much, it is that Apple insist they are entitled to use it as the licenses are covered by their parts manufacturer and that Samsung would be double-dipping (or something along those lines)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Missing the biggest part of the story

        I doubt that's the case here (although I've not followed this particular case either). In other cases, samsung's claims have indeed been rejected because of double dipping (and that's likely why the 4S and ipad 3 aren't targeted - they switched wireless chip supplier at some point and the new supplier is already licensed).

        In all the recent cases though, it's basically come down to the fact that samsung are asking for 2.4% of the retail cost of the device (add the other few hundred patent holders at that kind of figure and you can see why that's totally unacceptable), while apple are offering amounts similar to what they're paying other SEP holders.

        (And yes, apple have confirmed that in court, have confirmed they're licensing SEPs from other companies, and Samsung have failed to answer the question "who else is paying 2.4%?" It's a patent hold-up.)

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Missing the biggest part of the story

          The 4S and the iPad 3 probably came out after the case was lodged - the same as the Galaxy SIII, which is not covered either.

          They have to state in the court documents, which products violate the patents. If the 4S et al weren't announced / on sale when the case was lodged, they aren't covered and Apple and Samsung would need to make new complaints for these specific models... Which wouldn't cover the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy SIV and so on and so on...

    2. daiakuma

      Re: Missing the biggest part of the story

      Samsung are NOT allowed to demand an "unacceptable amount" for their FRAND patents.

      FRAND stands for "Fair, Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory".

      If the patents were not standards-essential, they would not be subject to FRAND rules, and Samsung would be able to demand any fee they liked, or refuse to licence them. Then if Apple were unwilling to pay the fee and unable to persuade Samsung to negotiate a fee that was acceptable to them, their options would be either to design around each patent (finding an alternative way to do things), or remove the offending feature(s) entirely from their product(s).

      1. Rabbit80

        Re: Missing the biggest part of the story

        "Samsung are NOT allowed to demand an "unacceptable amount" for their FRAND patents.

        You sir, are wrong. There is no guidance on how much is determined to be reasonable, and Apple are in no position to dictate how much they think is reasonable. If Samsung need to charge the equivalent of 2.5% of the cost of an iPhone in order to make a RoI, then that is a perfectly reasonable amount. If they invest a billion dollars in the research behind these patents, they are quite entitled to set a fee that allows them to recover those costs and make a profit. FRAND does not mean free or nearly free, if it did then then companies like Samsung would not create the technology, they would wait until somebody else did it and license it for a fraction of the cost.

    3. Psyx
      Thumb Up

      Re: Missing the biggest part of the story

      Really? I thought the biggest part of the story was falling of my chair laughing at them both.

  4. Turtle

    2 Samsung Patents were SEPs

    The two Samsung patents which Apple was found to infringe were standard-essential patents encumbered by FRAND obligations. This is not a small detail, by the way, and should have been in the original story. SEPs can not be designed around. We will see what happens both with any appeals, or in any changes to Apple's current market and business plans in South Korea.

    1. vic 4

      Re: Samsung Patents were SEPs / Frand

      Doomed to repeat the same posts over and over again. Yes, they are frand but apple still must license them, Apple have refused to negotiate when samsung made them an offer, they spat their dummy out and made no attempt to resolve the issue. Instead they took samsung to court for infringing their none frand "patents". Ignoring the whole hypocrisy of it there is no doubt they need a license for samsungs patents, they opposite is what they need to prove in various courts of law.

      From what I'm aware of Apple have made no real attempt to get a license, but are claiming as a defence that they could not get a fair price, they should have took legal action to get a fair price IMHO, I'd be incredibly vary of releasing something that was not licensed. Imaging me selling PCs/Macs without legit copies of software on them because I thought the price was too high (ok not a perfect analogy). Just because they frand does not allow a company to use something without paying, get a grip and negotiate, so seriously expect everyone to believe that no one in Apple is capable of doing that? Personally I think if they had just paid samsung that their case would have looked so much better for them, they would have looked a lot more mature than the childish behaviour they are exhibiting.

      I've still not found any information about who samsung have licensed to and for how much so can't comment on how fair or excessive 2.5% is. However I really doubt they charge everyone the same %, that would be crazy, a fixed price per unit or multiple of yeah and then work out what percentage of the device that is. However without knowing the details of other license fees I can only speculate as I'm sure most people on here seem to. I'd love to know the details if they are out there somewhere.

  5. That Steve Guy
    Thumb Up

    Like two misbehaving children...

    Good to see them both get dsicplined for throwing their toys out of the pram.

    We can only hope the US court does something similar, as this has gone on far too long.

    "Don't care who started it, stop misbehaving or you'll both get in trouble!"

  6. technocrat
    Thumb Up

    Teach them both

    for being ridiculous and takign crap to courts....HA HA.

  7. David Lawrence

    So in the end.......

    ....both firms won (it's the currency.... geddit??)

    Mine's the one with the Google Nexus in the pocket.........

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So in the end.......

      "Mine's the one with the Google Nexus in the pocket........."

      Google Nexus you say, would that be a HTC or Samsung Google Nexus? That has round corners too right?

      (Lawsuits at the ready)

  8. Anonymous Coward 15

    Stable door, horse, bolted

    Did this judge work for the ASA in a previous life?

  9. Alan Denman

    The iPhone has cool bounce

    Obviously who needs a bonce when there is bounce to be had.

    Its enough to make me jump through my hula hoop.

  10. Shakje

    So both companies were fined small amounts

    And they both have a really good excuse to only sell their latest, more expensive offerings to consumers, and you think this is a good result? K.

    I like the idea behind it, I just don't think it's actually hurt either, and has possibly benefited them.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Points for the woman laughing her head off article thumbnail. Got a friday chuckle out of me.

  12. Efros
    Thumb Up

    Sounds as if

    The Judge knows his Shakespeare: "A plague o' both your houses!"

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Patents are becoming an arms race. Perhaps when there's a patent like a nuclear bomb it will stop this whole war of invention?

  14. toadwarrior

    So people have to buy the most expensive, latest models from them? Oh the horror.

  15. Richard 120

    Patent Gridlock

    I'd like to coin the phrase, and possibly to patent it, actually no, fuck that, it doesn't help the consumer in any way shape or form.

  16. CarlC

    I will now show my ignorance, so apologises up front.

    My thought was that Samsung and the other SEP holders negociated by saying - Hey Samsing, Nokia here, you need my patents and I need yours, lets tally up. Right, You owe me 50c/ we owe you 50c. If that is what happens I can understand the 2.5% of retail cost that Samung is demanding. The conversation goes something like this;

    Apple: We want to use your stuff Samsung.

    Samsung: Okay Apple what SEP patents do you have we need?

    Apple: erm well None...........

    Samsing: Ah right, okay so we have nothing to trade on SEP, I guess we will need to charge you the full fee.......

    So I guess if Apple had SEP patents it would help them a bit..............

    Am I missing something here?

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