Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 7th Aug 2012 12:24 UTC, submitted by henderson101
Legal "Comparing Samsung's flagship products before and after release of the iPhone & iPad, and how Apple's intellectual property infringement claims hold up." A terrible visual guide that ignores not only Samsung's own pre-iPhone designs, but also - and worse yet - the thirty-odd years of mobile computing that preceded the iPhone. Typical of today's technology world: a complete and utter lack of historical sense. Worse yet are the claims about icons: only the phone icon is similar, but Apple did not invent the green phone icon. This is a remnant of virtually all earlier phones which use a green phone icon for initiate/answer call, and a red phone icon for terminate/reject call. Claiming this deserves IP protection is beyond ridiculous, and shows just how low Apple is willing to go.
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RE[3]: I'm angry
by atsureki on Thu 9th Aug 2012 12:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I'm angry"
atsureki
Member since:
2006-03-12

The self-selected audience at a Apple product unveiling would audibly gasp in astonishment if Jobs had unveiled the new Apple iWheel. Of course, it would only work on Apple iRoads.


More breathless self-parody.

As for "visibly changing everything after it," this is only partially true. Yes, it meant that we all now have capactive touch screens. But no, it really didn't change anything fundamental. Again, there is no task the iPhone does that my Tungsten E couldn't do 5 years earlier. The interface was clumsier, but the CONCEPTS were identical: tap on an icon to launch an app; play games; listen to music; watch videos; have a to do list and contacts and calendar.


I'm not seeing anything to disagree with here. Concepts, tasks, feature checklists - yes, precisely. Trees. Things computers have always done, but with a clumsier interface. Apple did real, serious work figuring out how to make the interface not clumsy. And then Google and Samsung got out the tracing paper.

So the point is that technology evolved in 5 years? Go figure. And as much as Jobs was a design genius he isn't necessarily right on this. Numerous people I know (including my father) have complained about the lack of stylus. Samsung included one with the Galaxy Note. Generally, people have preferred a finger-only solution, but there are plenty of use cases for the stylus.


My point had more to do with the fact that Apple brought a very specific design philosophy to the problem, which differs from precursors like your Tungsten. I think they're right -- a stylus is easy to lose and hard to use. But the fact that there are people who want one, whatever their reasons, is all the more reason why Samsung et al don't have to copy Apple. They could go do something original instead.

Why is that what we're talking about? To the best of my knowledge, the trial is about specific patents, e.g. the '318 "overscroll" or "rubber band" patent. That patent was filed years after I played Bejeweled (on my Tungsten E again!). When you try to swap two jewels illegaly, they "rubber band" back in to place! Somehow, our patent system is so broken it thinks that this concept is somehow different when scrolling to the end of page, and different again if it's touch screen instead of a mouse, and different again if it's on a projector instead of an LCD screen, etc., etc., etc. Apple does not have a patent for the forest, only the trees.


Actually, I should correct myself here, because we're talking about at least three very different things.

First is the reactionary contention that Apple is not innovative, to which I say look at the forest, not the trees. (The latter is invention, the former is innovation, around and around we go.)

The second is patent law, which is stricter and more nuanced than people here give it credit for. When Apple patents pinch-to-zoom and rubber banding, they patent it with a specific, original equation to make it work. Like any other patented invention, this means two things: no one else can do it that way until the patent expires, and once it does expire, everyone else knows exactly how to do it. The patent system works. Maybe patents last too long, but coming from a context of Thom's red-faced vitriol against the whole system, we're really not ready to start debating the finer points yet.

Third is trademark/trade dress. This is sort of odd middle ground, and the whole point of the visual guide we're commenting on. You determine whether the forest was copied by counting up all the identical trees. It's a significant portion.

Wait, what? I thought the gestures on the iPhone were a spectacular example of Apple's innovative genius? Now they're not?


I really have no idea what you mean. Gestures aren't discoverable. Relying on them is bad for that reason. It's sort of like all those years when the Mac OS didn't use contextual menus. The fact that the option wasn't even available just made Mac software better, because you didn't have to go on a right-click easter egg hunt to find the missing functions.

All right, but that's still Google doing the copying, not Samsung.


It's Samsung selling the copy. Maybe the court will decide Apple should be going after Google directly, I don't know, but I think it makes sense. 'We make a product. They sell a copy of our product. Make them stop.' Google is the big wrongdoer, but it's much easier to make people understand physical copies than conceptual ones. Besides which, similarity to the iPhone varies significantly among OEMs. Arguing Google is the problem would be not entirely unlike blaming Napster for the infringement it enabled, for better or worse.

Hm. I'm not sure I see "systemic and intentional copying" as the same as "counterfeiting." They don't put an Apple logo on the device, or try to pass it off as an iPhone.


But it's no less a (potential) violation of trade dress than putting a Gucci logo on a $5 bag.

The judge in the Psystar case decided their computers were counterfeit Macs. That's one of the reasons that word comes to mind. I'm also picturing the rash of horrible Chinese knockoff iPods with a thing on the front that looks like a scroll wheel but doesn't function like one, if it even functions at all. Take the same cloning concept, but made more competently by a more reputable company, and you have a similar situation to today's Samsung. Is it any less of a knockoff?

When the first car company added a radio, did anyone else adding a radio constitute "counterfeiting?" Keeping up with the competition is allowed.


Again with the trees.

Apple creates a beautiful, simple device and fills it with new software to enable its functions. The look is trademarked, and some of the functionality is patented. Samsung comes along, sees that Apple has done something better, knows that all the tech it uses is publicly available, and figures it can just sit down and copy away. Suddenly, there's a lawyer on the phone, because following Apple means stepping in some patents and landing on a trademarked look.

What is so maddening to me is that Apple does this EXACT same thing and doesn't see it. I've given numerous examples of things Apple copied, and you say "it's the totality of the thing, not the components."


I don't think you have. What did Apple copy? Calendaring? MP3s? Whose implementation did they copy? Whose design? So they weren't the first to include features. Big whoop. Including features is easy. Figuring out ways to make them work well together is hard. Just look at Linux: it has a gazillion features and remains a usability nightmare. It beat others to market with lots of things, but does it really make sense to say that anyone is copying it?

Then Samsung copies Apple and you say "burn them at the stake!"


I am mad at Samsung, but not because their complete lack of originality threatens Apple. It's far more insidious than that. It threatens innovation itself. I do believe it's discouraging to would-be innovators if copycats get away with it, but Apple will keep moving forward regardless. I'm more concerned about Nokia and Palm. After Android settled in as the iPhone for networks that don't carry the actual iPhone, there was no need for genuinely different and interesting smartphones, so down they went, and legacy RIM with them. The iPhone was popular; Androids copied it, and the carriers hawked them as an iPhone workalike. Instead, they should have been selling the same features packaged in a different and innovative way by Palm.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: I'm angry
by ingraham on Thu 9th Aug 2012 14:20 in reply to "RE[3]: I'm angry"
ingraham Member since:
2006-05-20

Me: "...Apple iWheel..."

atsureki: "More breathless self-parody."

Not really. Any Apple event will be successful. The only time I can remember an audience booing is when Bill Gates appeared on the big screen looking just like the talking head in the Mac 1984 commercial. Even the Apple products that went nowhere were vigorously applauded. I certainly used hyperbole to exaggerate the point, but the point is valid. Jobs always had the advantage of preaching to the choir.

Apple did real, serious work figuring out how to make the interface not clumsy.


And kudos. Good job. I bought an iPod Touch when it came out and rather liked it.

And then Google and Samsung got out the tracing paper.


Uh, no. Did they realize they had fallen behind the competition? Yes. Did they copy (yes, I said COPY!) certain features, like capacitive screens? Yes. But you keep saying how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, yet somehow Samsung tweaking its parts means it's copying the whole.

My point had more to do with the fact that Apple brought a very specific design philosophy to the problem, which differs from precursors like your Tungsten. I think they're right -- a stylus is easy to lose and hard to use. But the fact that there are people who want one, whatever their reasons, is all the more reason why Samsung et al don't have to copy Apple. They could go do something original instead.


And did. As I said, the Note has a stylus. If Samsung is just copying Apple why did they do that? Why does it have such an enormous screen when Jobs & co. feel that out-sizing the hand is the wrong move? Why are they using OLED tech instead of "Retina" displays? Samsung's forest, as it were, has plenty of differences to the iPhone, even if some of the "trees" were inspired by Apple's work.

First is the reactionary contention that Apple is not innovative, to which I say look at the forest, not the trees. (The latter is invention, the former is innovation, around and around we go.)


Apple's done some nice things over the years. SCSI, FireWire, ADB, AppleTalk, HyperCard, the aforementioned Newton, etc. etc. I admit to some hyperbole on saying the iPhone had no innovation at all. What I find so frustrating is that Apple makes some MINOR innovations to put together all-around good product, then tells the world that they literally own everything related to it. I *WASN'T* using breathless self-parody when I used the line "We invented the rectangle!" Apple has pointedly said that they invented the rectangle and that anyone else using rectangles are copying them. The '381 over-scroll patent burns my blood; here is Apple claiming to have invented (invented, not innovated; they filed a patent) the concept, when there is prior art going back a decade. And they sue anyone else who tries it. And not it a "this is a good business move" way, but in a self-righteous, "how DARE THEY!" way. And before you accuse of more "breathless self-parody," no, that is actually MILD compared to what Jobs actually has said about it. Innovative? Sure. Anyone who copies any single portion is a thief? No.

The second is patent law, which is stricter and more nuanced than people here give it credit for. When Apple patents pinch-to-zoom and rubber banding, they patent it with a specific, original equation to make it work.


Not really. The '381 patent is infringed if you have a touch screen device, move the edge and a little farther and get a change in display state, and then when you let go it bounces back to the "actual" edge. The underlying algorithm is irrelevant.

The patent system works.


To an extent. There are plenty of examples where it's a disaster. The Lemelson patent comes to mind. The Modicon / Solaia 5,038,318 patent for a "Device for Communicating Real Time Data Between a Programmable Logic Controller and a Program Operating in a Central Controller" is another ridiculous example. The IDEA of patents is good. The fact that we patent crap that shouldn't be patent-able is a problem.

And back on Apple's self-aggrandizement, they are valuing their patents at $2 or $3 per unit and Samsung's at $0.0049. This is the kind of thing that leads me to make comments like, "What's next, the iWheel?"

Third is trademark/trade dress. This is sort of odd middle ground, and the whole point of the visual guide we're commenting on. You determine whether the forest was copied by counting up all the identical trees. It's a significant portion.


It's actually NOT what I'm commenting on. I'm commenting on the ego of Apple execs (and fanbois, though bear in mind I'm not necessarily casting you in with that lot.) They believe they invented every single tree in that forest, and if someone else copies any one tree they are clearly worthless individuals who have done nothing but stolen the hard labor of Apple's god-like geniuses. NO. The'381 patent should never have been issued. People doing bounce-back did NOT copy Apple. And yes, Apple's lawyers are specifically arguing this point. Not that having bounce-back contributes makes the whole more similar, but that having that one tree makes them intellectual property thieves.

Me: "Wait, what? I thought the gestures on the iPhone were a spectacular example of Apple's innovative genius? Now they're not?"

I really have no idea what you mean. Gestures aren't discoverable. Relying on them is bad for that reason.


Uh, there is NO WAY to use an iPhone without gesturs. The VERY FIRST THING YOU DO is swipe across the screen. You swipe to scroll. You pinch to zoom. Pinch to zoom is a gesture. The concept of gestures is ancient, but somehow the "pinch to zoom" gesture gets a patent and Apple sues over it.

Apple creates a beautiful, simple device and fills it with new software to enable its functions. The look is trademarked, and some of the functionality is patented.


Fair enough, although much of the patented functionality is a joke, and never should have been issued.

Samsung comes along, sees that Apple has done something better, knows that all the tech it uses is publicly available, and figures it can just sit down and copy away.


I disagree that they simply copied. In some ways, the tech caught up, e.g. internal antennae and more powerful processors. And the side-by-side visual is what prompts my whole "no one else can use rectangles!" diatribe. It's a black rectangle. Of COURSE they look similar. That doesn't mean "copied" and it doesn't mean trademark infringement.

Including features is easy. Figuring out ways to make them work well together is hard.


I'm not sure that helps your argument. Apple is accusing Samsung of including features, e.g. the '381 patent. There are tons of other differences, and I'd pay good money to hear an Apple exec get up there and say that Samsung made their phones AS GOOD AS the iPhone, which would be more of copying the whole.

I do believe it's discouraging to would-be innovators if copycats get away with it


That's why I'm so angry at Apple. Why bother to try and do anything if Apple will take it, patent it, and then sue everyone else out of existence? Stole from Xerox, sued Lotus and Microsoft. Stole the "bounce back" idea from hundreds of people, sued Samsung. Wanted $1.00 per port to license Firewire, which was basically serial SCSI. They have used legal bullying tactics since day one claiming that they are the only ones who've ever done anything, regardless of the facts.

Reply Parent Score: 2