Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 26th Aug 2012 10:28 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless In light of the jury verdict in Apple vs. Samsung, the one-liners and jokes flew back and forth. One in particular, by Dan Frakes, has been copied and pasted all over the web, and it goes like this: "When the iPhone debuted, it was widely criticized for having no buttons/keys. Now people think the iPhone's design is 'obvious'." This is a very common trend in this entire debate that saddens me to no end: the iPhone is being compared to simple feature phones, while in fact, it should be compared to its true predecessor: the PDA. PDAs have always done with few buttons.
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by henryb7318 on Sun 26th Aug 2012 10:58 UTC
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The problem with your belief is that your own evidence Thom shows PDAs with more than one button. Apple *was* criticised for having no buttons apart from the 'home' button. That is a fact, and it's not because the iPhone was being compared to 'feature' phones, but the not so 'smart' phones of 5 years ago. Your comparison is not with phones.

The fact of the matter is, like it or not, iPhone owner or not, is that when the iPhone was released within months companies like Samsung rushed to emulate it. The jury in the US case knows this as they decided it to be so. This is after Samsung lawyers argued otherwise. If these people can see it, why can't you?

Reply Score: 4

RE: Problem
by ephracis on Sun 26th Aug 2012 11:22 in reply to "Problem"
ephracis Member since:

Obviously the jury foreman was biased (he owned a vague patent himself), ignored jury instructions (he wanted to "punish" Samsung with damages even though the instructions said they couldn't go beyond "compensation"), and heavily influenced the rest of the jury (based on report from another juror). Add to that all inconsistencies in the judgement.

So what the jury find or didn't find doesn't matter much to common sense. Clearly, everyone compared the iPhone to the feature phones they already owned and not PDAs. I know I did the same (I've never owned a PDA but did want one).

Anyway, if we (try to) put all bias aside and look at the matters in an objective way it's pretty clear that everyone is always inspired by someone. The question is: how much inspiration do we allow for society to thrive?

Personally, I think this should be OK because I see it as fashion and Apple is a great trendsetter:

Reply Parent Score: 11

RE: Problem
by Carewolf on Sun 26th Aug 2012 11:51 in reply to "Problem"
Carewolf Member since:

But most of the Samsung devices found to infringe in the recent case looked much more like the Palm in the picture than an iPhone. With a central button and two extra buttons on each side. Only one of the devices hid the side-buttons when it was turned off, but it still had more than one.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE: Problem
by some1 on Sun 26th Aug 2012 15:57 in reply to "Problem"
some1 Member since:

But most devices the jury found to infringe have more than one hardware button.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Problem
by jared_wilkes on Sun 26th Aug 2012 18:29 in reply to "RE: Problem"
jared_wilkes Member since:

And? The devices don't have to have only one button to be found infringing.

The problem is: people are sometimes making arguments based on their own logic, sometimes making argument based on what they think is the law, sometimes making arguments that are actually consistent with the law, and often mixing and matching and getting confused.

Thom thinks the iPhone was "obvious". I'm unsure if he thinks this personally or if he thinks legally in a court of the US as well. I disagree both personally and legally.

What I do know is: Samsung had an opportunity to prove it was obvious and failed to do so. They are represented (and so are almost all Android licensees and Google) by Quinn Emmanual, the Mighty Quinn. And they failed hard.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Problem
by hhas on Mon 27th Aug 2012 22:28 in reply to "Problem"
hhas Member since:

Is your entire argument really based on the fact that Thom doesn't own an Apple Newton to put in his photo? Oh wait, the Newton had zero buttons, not one, so I guess it doesn't count either.

Still, gotta imagine the day that some poor Apple engineer was hysterically hunting for the lost stylus to his beloved Newton, right when Steve storms into the room! Quickly, slap a phone card in the side of it as disguise: "This is, uh... my new mobile phone concept (and not the result of my dirty sweet love affair with John Sculley at all)!" Genius!


As for the 'Apple did it first then everyone else rushed similar products to market' argument, that's utterly irrelevant. The question was: 'Was the idea obvious enough not to justify a patent?', not 'Who was going to be first in proving the market was ready for such a product?' Hell, when I was a nipper I used to test uncertain waters by simple expedient of making my younger siblings jump in first; anything that didn't kill them I assumed was safe for me to try as well. Pretty sure I didn't infringe any patents either.

Patents are supposed to protect truly novel ideas, not every modest remix that comes along. (Protecting a specific implementation of an idea is what copyright's for; don't confuse the two.)


Man, now I wish Doug Engelbart had patented the crap out of his original mouse. Imagine Apple legal's face when slammed with a lawsuit for ripping off a genuine inventor's genuinely novel and original idea. Lord knows what Mac users would use as pointers now, straws maybe. /sarc

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Problem
by hhas on Mon 27th Aug 2012 22:42 in reply to "RE: Problem"
hhas Member since:

(BTW, full disclosure: A few years ago Apple merrily filed a patent on their own half-assed implementation of a bunch of concepts that they, myself and other Mac folks had all been happily putting into practice in closed- and open-source Mac libraries and languages for the previous 15 years. And guess what they wrote in the 'prior art' section? That's right: 'none at all'. Which, in addition to making it hard to make an honest claim of "we're only doing it as defence against trolly trolls", is also against patent law; but who's going to notice one more patent abuse, right? So when it comes to all these software patent pissing matches, I've precious few sympathies at all, because 99%+ are just sleazy business tactics.)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Problem
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 28th Aug 2012 09:22 in reply to "RE: Problem"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:

The fun part: I actually HAVE a Newton. It uses a UI paradigm (notebook paradigm) which was short-lived and died out quickly in favour of Palm's application-centric UI, which iOS, Android, and everybody else in the mobile space copied 1:1.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Problem
by zima on Fri 31st Aug 2012 22:25 in reply to "RE: Problem"
zima Member since:

Hell, when I was a nipper I used to test uncertain waters by simple expedient of making my younger siblings jump in first; anything that didn't kill them I assumed was safe for me to try as well.

So how many of them have you... expanded, that way? ;) (and/or what incentives did you use for speedy replacements)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Problem
by imaginarynumber on Tue 28th Aug 2012 18:30 in reply to "Problem"
imaginarynumber Member since:

Erm... have you never counted the number of buttons on an iphone, there is more than one...

Reply Parent Score: 1