Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Aug 2012 23:54 UTC
Legal And just like that, within a matter of days, the jury has reached a verdict in Apple vs. Samsung. The basic gist is simple: Apple's software patents are valid, and many Samsung devices infringe upon them. Apple's iPhone 3G trade dress is valid, and Samsung's Galaxy S line infringes, but other devices did not. Samsung did not infringe Apple's iPad design patent. Apple did not infringe any of Samsung's patents. Apple is awarded a little over $1 billion in damages. Competition lost today, and developers in the United States should really start to get worried - software patents got validated big time today.
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Tony Swash
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This case exposes an unpalatable truth for some.

It is this.

Within the rather odd sub-culture that consists of Apple haters, Google /Android fans and extreme proponents of open source anti-IP ideology it is possible to create all sorts of imagined scenarios where one company stealing the product designs and IP of another company is a good thing, especially if the victim is Apple and the perpetrator is part of the Android community. Or even madder in the case of Samsung and Apple, that the stealing never happened. These imaginings can be worked up into such a self reinforcing culture that it becomes simply incomprehensible that anyone can believe otherwise. The cultural totems of this subculture become to be seen not as fictions or at best half truths, but as unassailable truths.

But the verdict in this trial punctures those balloons of self delusional constructs.

This verdict is so shocking and awful in this sub-culture because it is a horrible reminder of an unavoidable truth which many are desperate to avoid.

The truth that if you were to select a representative cross section of the uncommitted population and, in a scrupulously balanced forum, give them access to a representative cross section of background documentation from both Samsung and Apple, and let them listen to the best witnesses each side could bring, and let them listen to the arguments of both Samsung and Apple presented by the best advocates each could find, most ordinary citizens would clearly and quickly see the obvious truth. Samsung copied Apple, it did it deliberately, it did it in breach of patents, it did even after it was asked to stop and it did it wilfully.

Now of course the sub-culture will explode with indignation. The trial was fixed, the system is broken, it's all so unfair, boycott Apple, etc etc. But the community has to deal with this watershed event because it doesn't stop the wheels of justice turning. Apple voluntarily withdrew at the behest of the court many other of it's patents in order to simplify this case but it did so with out prejudice. Apple can, and almost certainly will, now assert those patents and will probably win more victories and the pain for Samsung and the other Android OEMs will increase.

So the challenge for those who love Android in particular is what to do next. What should Google do now? What should the community of Android fans now be campaigning for Google to do? Up until now Google has taken the weasel way out, it distributes Android within a very tight legal framework that prevents any legal cascade of responsibility back to Google, it has supported through logistical and political support the fight by many of it's OEMs to defend their copying, it has disgracefully used it's wholly owned subsidiary Motorola to pursue FRAND abuse as a strategy of counterattack. But none of that is working.

Interestingly in the evidence in the Apple Samsung case it was revealed that Google had asked Samsung to tone down it's copying and expressed concerns about the cloning approach that Samsung was pursuing. And that was the correct thing to do. But it was too little and too late. Now Google needs to step up and take on true responsibility of being the leader of the Android community instead of hiding behind disingenuous and hypocritical PR puff about 'openness'. Google needs to say it will not tolerate copying in the Android community, it needs to enforce a new and better ethical model in the community it leads.

If Android, and it's business and technological model, is as good as it's supporters and Google claim it is there will be a flowering of innovation, a stream of great products and everybody will benefit. It's time Google and the Android community started doing things the right way rather than the easy unethical way.

It's time to prove your mettle.

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