Happy New Year! It's that time again; with the new year comes our new annual prediction post. I tackled this last year, and rather than do a bunch of crazy, pulled-from-thin-air predictions, I ended up with a link-filled research-fest for the year. It worked out pretty well, so that's what's on the docket for today. First though, I'll take a look and see just how many of last year's predictions and rumors came true, and provide some updates for the more important topics.
Update: AllThingsD, reaching out to Motorola, and received the following response:
“As we have previously stated Motorola Mobility is focusing on fewer mobile devices ... As a result we have phased out some of our lower tier devices in Europe/Germany.”
Sounds like we won't be seeing any of those devices return.
-- Original Story --
I haven't been following Motorola's ongoing patent spats in Germany particularly closely in the last year, but I do know the company hasn't been doing well there.
After winning a $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung for alleged trade dress dilution and patent infringement, Apple has filed a motion with the presiding judge of the tech world's biggest trial requesting a massive increase in the initial jury award.
An additional $707 million has been tallied up by Apple's lawyers as being due to the company, and unfortunately, the logic here is sound. The jury in the case found Samsung willfully infringed Apple's design and software patents (meaning they should have known they were infringing, basically), and under US statute, this entitles Apple to an award of triple the amount of the actual damages resulting from infringement.
Reuters is reporting that Samsung will be amending its counterclaims against Apple in the two companies' second lawsuit in California, currently scheduled for trial in March 2014. Here's what Samsung is saying:
"Samsung anticipates that it will file, in the near future, a motion to amend its infringement contentions to add the iPhone 5 as an accused product ... Based on information currently available, Samsung expects that the iPhone 5 will infringe the asserted Samsung patents-in-suit in the same way as the other accused iPhone models."
This trial focuses squarely on software patents Apple is claiming are violated by the entire Android operating system (eg, the app picker, unified search, auto-correct), and has essentially nothing to do with product design.
According to Bloomberg, Motorola Mobility has just filed a new lawsuit against Apple at the ITC. Now, ordinarily, we might not report on the filing of such a suit - especially when the complaint hasn't been made public (we have basically zero details). What makes this particular filing important, though, is that it is the first lawsuit filed by Motorola now that it is officially, 100% a part of Google.
With Samsung and Apple's California trial scheduled for Monday, more and more information is being unearthed about the parties' respective claims. Yesterday, though, AllThingsD parsed out a few pieces of evidence from an unedited version of Apple's filing (not publicly available) that look quite bad for Samsung. I'll just quote them as they appear, because they really don't need much context:
- In February 2010, Google told Samsung that Samsung’s “P1” and “P3” tablets (Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1) were “too similar” to the iPad and demanded “distinguishable design vis-à-vis the iPad for the P3.”
- In 2011, Samsung’s own Product Design Group noted that it is “regrettable” that the Galaxy S “looks similar” to older iPhone models.
Update: It appears Samsung sent out the update removing universal search from international Galaxy S III's mistakenly. I'd say the point still stands for the United States, though.
On December 1, 2004, a patent was filed in the United States naming Apple as asignee (owner). Its title is "Universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system." This patent, which you can find here, has become Apple's most effective weapon in its fight to see Android dubbed an iOS "ripoff" by courts and consumers.
Over at FOSSPatents, Florien Mueller has gotten his hands on a copy of a filing containing Apple's damages claim against Samsung in their much-publicized California lawsuit. The contents indicate that Apple is seeking $2 billion in unjust enrichment damages (the amount Samsung has wrongly profited infringing Apple's design patents), along with $500 million in lost profits. A smaller $25 million royalty for various technical patents like tap to zoom and overscroll bounce is included, but only in regard to a few products.
After an injunction hearing earlier this week, Judge Posner has issued his final decision on whether to throw out the Motorola v. Apple case. The result? You're (both) outta here.
Judge Posner dismissed both parties' cases with prejudice earlier this evening (meaning Apple and Moto cannot refile against one another on these issues in any other federal court). Apple will, of course, appeal.
Posner's feeling on Apple's insistent demand for an injunction against Motorola's smartphone products was summed up best by the following excerpt from the decision:
And while the patents themselves (or some of them at least) may well have considerable value, after the claims constructions by Judge Crabb and myself and after my grants of partial summary judgment only a handful of the original patent claims remain in the case; infringement of that handful may not be a source of significant injury past, present, or future.
The presiding judge in the Motorola v. Apple case in Illionois, Richard Posner, has just handed down an order dismissing all claims of both parties in the case, just as it was set to go to trial on Monday. Posner's preliminary order (he'll be writing a full decision soon, which I can't wait to read) basically says neither party was able to show that the infringement of patents by the other resulted in the production of evidence that said infringement actually caused them any harm.