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Comment Re:Face saving (Score 1) 111

Those were creative works; you're confusing copyright with patents. Patents do not apply to Zynga's exploitation of indies.

Not at all - I'm addressing the false claim that "first mover advantage is tremendous" and therefore patents aren't necessary. It's not always true, as shown by those examples. The fact that they didn't have patents to protect them means that their sole protection was the first mover advantage, and that didn't help them one whit.

Comment Re:Apple is spending its patent portfolio (Score 1) 111

No, you're misreading it. To willfully infringe a patent, you must know about the patent, believe its valid, and go ahead and infringe anyway. What she's saying is that Samsung got expert opinions that said that Apple's patents weren't valid. Those experts were apparently wrong, according to the jury, but that belief takes out the second prong of willfulness, so Samsung didn't willfully infringe, and damages are not tripled.

But why wern't the 'damages' reduced? At least two of the patents from the trial were invalidated since.

That's an issue for appeal, not this stage of trial.

Comment Re:Apple is spending its patent portfolio (Score 1) 111

One very important sentence in the groklaw article:

The reason she found Samsung was not willful is because of all the prior art that their experts testified showed that the Apple patents were invalid.

Am I reading this correctly? Apple has invalid patents but still got damages out of them? Does this mean they are a one-shot deal and that other manufacturers can infringe now? In this case 1 billion dollars to render Apple's portfolio irrelevant was effectively very cheap, given the size of the relevant market.

No, you're misreading it. To willfully infringe a patent, you must know about the patent, believe its valid, and go ahead and infringe anyway. What she's saying is that Samsung got expert opinions that said that Apple's patents weren't valid. Those experts were apparently wrong, according to the jury, but that belief takes out the second prong of willfulness, so Samsung didn't willfully infringe, and damages are not tripled.

Comment Re:Face saving (Score 1) 111

If anyone could copy them without any way to sue, why would anyone bother spending money on the invention? Much cheaper to wait for someone else to invent it, and then copy it.

I don't know why this stupid meme just won't die. TO MAKE MONEY of course. Sitting on your ass selling nothing doesn't make money. Sitting on your ass and trying to sell a 10 year old product also doesn't make money when someone else is selling something newer and better. First mover advantage is tremendous. New shit sells

Tell that to TinyTower or Crush the Castle or any of the indie developers who saw Zynga or another company come out with a nigh-identical product a few weeks later, and then bury them via their better advertising networks.

Comment Re:Face saving (Score 1) 111

"this person infringed a patent willingly" requires that they haven't just harmed the patent owner, but they've harmed society because they're diminishing the exclusive incentive behind granting that patent

Is this only me who can't get the subtle meaning in this statement. Can this be put in more realistic terms?

Sure. Simply read the next two sentences:

If willful infringement causes inventors to decide to keep trade secrets, then we're all farked and those infringers should be harshly punished. But until then and particularly where infringers aren't willful, tripling damages seems incredibly out of proportion to the wrong.

Comment Re:There are no sides only facts. (Score 1, Interesting) 111

General feelings from the Apple side is that this is unfortunate but would rather Apple stop wasting time on it. General opinion from the Samsung/Android side is, **** Apple, waste as much money as possible.

This had *nothing* to do with feelings. Apple is unable to maintain its massive mark-ups of rebadged foxconn phones through innovation; its massive market share gone; the days of the iPhone killer long behind us; its marketing machine pushing it as the *one* phone turning on Apple.

[cough]iPhone snags its highest U.S. market share ever[/cough]

Comment Re:Koh . . . (Score 2) 111

No. Because she doesn't find her jury foreman to be a disturbing failure of vor dire. It's a patent case and he's a wannabe patent troll. If she doesn't find that problematic, one wonders what it would take.

A "disturbing failure of voir dire" means "Samsung's lawyers failed to ask relevant questions of the jury, failed to investigate the jurors, and failed to look through their own records of who they've sued in the past"... or really, it means Samsung absolutely knew who Hogan was and held the past conflict in check in case the jury decided against them. Who are we kidding - if the jury had decided for Samsung on every count, would they be demanding a new trial because of Hogan's past? Of course not. Since they had every opportunity to investigate that past and likely knew of it, they can't play "ace up our sleeve" and spring it on the court post-judgement. Trials only work like that in the movies.

Comment Re:Face saving (Score 3, Interesting) 111

I give you exclusive rights to an invention, in exchange for you publishing your technical specifications, white papers, etc.

But current patents don't actually require you to publish your technical specifications, white papers, etc. You just have to publish the patent application.

And I agree, that's a failing in current patent law that should be addressed by Congress. The current test is whether one of ordinary skill in the art could recreate the invention from the specification, not whether any n00b could do so, but maybe the latter would be preferable.
That said, the specification is not required to be the sole disclosure, and companies can publish technical specifications and white papers without losing their patent rights, unlike with trade secrets. Maybe a better solution is that a compulsory royalty of x% can be increased for each additional piece of documentation that a company publishes. Just the spec? You get n%. Functional descriptions? n+m%. White papers? n+o%. Etc. More disclosure = more money, which is what society really wants, in the end.

Said values of n, m, o, etc. would of course be dependent on market analysis and the value of the invention.

Comment Re:Face saving (Score 5, Interesting) 111

Judge Koh knew that she has seriously fcuked up in the original trial.

I'm sure you have some precedent or legal doctrine to cite in support of this beyond "I hate people who disagree with me"?

This second round ruling - that Samsung does not "willfully" infringe on Apple's patents - is nothing less than a face saving move.

No, it's pretty reasonable. Willful infringement, under the current law, requires almost malicious behavior in which the infringer acknowledges that they infringe the patent, but then go ahead anyway. Basically, they have to be evildoers: "I think the patent is invalid" or "I think our system is different" isn't enough - they have to actually say "the patent is valid, and our system is an identical copy, and fark those bastards because muwahahaha!" And that results in potentially tripled damages.

But patents aren't about who's good and moral and who's evil and malicious... they're about who stepped up and publicized an innovation to share it with everyone else, and who hid documents as trade secrets in an attempt to capitalize on them forever. As Jefferson said, an exclusive monopoly is an embarrassment to society that is only conscionable if society benefits from granting it. It's a flat economic decision: I give you exclusive rights to an invention, in exchange for you publishing your technical specifications, white papers, etc., because society takes the long view and giving exclusive rights for 20 years isn't so bad if you're thinking in terms of centuries or milleniums.

So to get to a level of "this person infringed a patent willingly" requires that they haven't just harmed the patent owner, but they've harmed society because they're diminishing the exclusive incentive behind granting that patent. If willful infringement causes inventors to decide to keep trade secrets, then we're all farked and those infringers should be harshly punished. But until then and particularly where infringers aren't willful, tripling damages seems incredibly out of proportion to the wrong.

Disclaimer: I'm a very pro-patent patent attorney, though I am on the drafting and prosecution side, and not litigation. We tend to be pro-inventor, and less pro-cut everyone's throat and get as much blood as possible.

Comment Please... (Score 1) 111

how did Samsung unwillingly infringe? By copying the complete design of the original iPhone, they were just doing what a lot of Koreans do: make copies of original American products. My ex-gf was involved in a sportswear company and it was part of her job to create infringing designs so people would believe they were buying original clothes from the famous labels she stole the look from.

... like we're supposed to believe a Slashdotter even has an ex-gf?

Comment Re:The USPTO is holding roundtables (Score 1) 211

But it doesn't require particular hardware, any general purpose computing hardware with an appropriate display and sensors will do. It doesn't matter how they're implemented or what they're made of. The hardware could be made of condensed dark matter with darkenergytronic circuits and this patent would still apply.

Yes, and? That's still tied to hardware, and therefore this is false:

This patent covers math, and not just math, but an idea.

This patent explicitly requires a touch screen and a processor. It would not cover thinking about the idea, writing the idea down on a pad of paper, using a pad of paper to write out pseudocode to perform the functions, etc. While the patent may include math, it also includes specific hardware elements and is therefore not just math or just an idea.

Comment Re:The USPTO is holding roundtables (Score 1) 211

You have a software-only touch screen? What do you touch it with if it's not tangible?

General Purpose Computing Devices should not count as the apparatus in "Method and Apparatus For ___" that all software patents use as a loophole.

Why not? Bearing in mind that a general purpose computing device won't help with novelty or nonobviousness, why should it not be a good limitation that anchors an otherwise abstract idea?

... Except that you didn't bear that in mind:

I can implement this slide to unlock bullishit on paper: A greeting card, for example. It's implemented on my damn door, Already. Those are examples of hardware tied to the software. The idea of sliding to unlock something is not new or innovative. Applying it to general purpose computing devices with general purpose touch input screens whereby dragging or "sliding" is a well understood, non inventive input method is asinine, obvious at best.

You're confusing three different statutes. Patent eligibility is under 35 USC 101 and defines what subject material is potentially patent eligible - processes, machines, articles of manufacture, compositions of matter. You're trying to conflate a rule under that with 35 USC 102 or the requirement of novelty, or 35 USC 103 or the requirement of nonobviousness. There's no need to do that, and it muddies the waters - 35 USC 101 is specifically about whether something has patent eligible subject matter, period. A wheel, for example, is neither new nor nonobvious, but it's definitely a machine. Similarly, a process that is implemented on a computer is definitely a process, regardless of how new or old the computer is. Those considerations come next, under the other two statutes.

The software patents were supposed to depend on some specific hardware capability that was unique to the hardware, not re-implementable on every other device with a damn touch screen and CPU -- Say, in a factory where software controls a special robotic arm.

Says who? The Supreme Court hasn't, and neither has Congress.

Personally, I think all the software patents should be tossed out. Even if the software depends on some specific hardware construction, then the specific hardware construction should be what's patentable -- There are no needs for software patents. Software is just a recipe made of math.

Recipes are also patent-eligible subject matter, provided they're new and nonobvious (the latter being the really tough one for any combination of existing food components).

But here, you get to the right place:

To put it another way: If it's so damn general purpose that I can create op-codes and "run" the software on graph paper with my mind being the "apparatus" following pen-up, pen-down, erase, and compare instructions, then it shouldn't be patentable. Patents were never meant to stop people from thinking!

That's exactly right, and that's the reason why abstract ideas and algorithms aren't patentable. It's also the reason why laws of nature aren't patentable - you can't patent the law of gravity, even if it was just newly discovered, because you can't get an injunction to keep people from being bound by it. Similarly, you can't get an injunction to stop someone from thinking.
But this patent requires hardware. You can't possibly infringe it by thinking, because your mind is not a touch screen connected to a computer processor - and broad generalizations of what it means to be a "processor" aside, the patent is limited to computer processors. You can do your graph paper version all you want, and you'll never ever infringe the patent. It doesn't attempt to stop you from thinking, so it doesn't run into that perfectly-valid thoughtcrime justification.

Comment Re:The USPTO is holding roundtables (Score 1) 211

Here is a simple suggestion.

MATH IS NOT FUCKING PATENTABLE YOU IDIOTS! STOP ALLOWING SOFTWARE PATENTS SINCE THEY ARE JUST MATH.

Software patents that are just math are not allowed. You'll see that this one involves hardware, which is not just math*.

*unless you're saying that all hardware can be abstracted as mathematical relationships, and are therefore arguing that all machines are unpatentable too?

yeah sure, that would apply __IF__ this patent was tied to some hw. if it were, it wouldn't be a problem and nobody would have to care about it either.

You have a software-only touch screen? What do you touch it with if it's not tangible?

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