Can you patent a shape? That is a question so many media outlets have been asking since Apple's more generic design patents have gotten more legal attention, and unfortunately, it's resulted in a rather severe oversimplification of just what a design patent is, and what it can protect. Yesterday, Wired reported that Apple finally received a long-awaited design patent on the shape of the iPad, a patent which lists none other than Steve Jobs himself as a co-inventor (and, of course, Jonathan Ive).
In a request to amend its second California lawsuit against Samsung today, Apple asked a judge to the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, and Android 4.1 as it appears on the Galaxy Nexus.
At first glance, it may seem like Apple is now drawing in the entire Android operating system into the suit, but really, it's been like this from the beginning. The Galaxy Nexus was accused from the date of filing in this lawsuit of infringing eight Apple software patents, and today is still accused of infringing those 8 even with its update to Android 4.1.
Google announced in a statement today that Wisconsin Judge Barbara Crabb has dismissed Apple's lawsuit against Motorola Mobility claiming the Google-owned Moto's practices related to standards-essential patent licensing were unfair.
The lawsuit was set to go to trial in US District Court in Madison, Wisconsin this afternoon but was, according to Google, dismissed with prejudice by Judge Crabb this morning. Readers may remember that a similar Apple vs Motorola trial was canceled in Illinois by Judge Richard Posner earlier this year.
Remember when you were in grade school, and your parent or teacher told you to apologize to the other kid? And you'd reply, "I'm sorry that Johnny has a big stupid face and he made me want to punch it"? Apple's been doing the same thing, except in this case the kids are billion-dollar international companies. With big stupid faces.
By now you've probably seen Apple's original apology to Samsung, ordered by the UK court to punish the company's assertion that Samsung wholly copied the iPad design.
Let this be a lesson to you all: if a judge orders you to issue a statement saying X, it might not be a good idea to say "Well, that guy said X, but everyone else in the world thinks he's an idiot, so it doesn't really matter." That's roughly what Apple did when it posted this court-ordered concession on its website. When the UK judge came back and said, "Um, no, try that again," the Cupertino company was forced to issue a new version, sans snark.
It seems Apple is getting far more than it bargained for in its failed iPad lawsuit in the UK, having been ordered by a judge there to run statements in both print and on its website clearly stating that Samsung's Galaxy Tab had not copied the company's own tablet. Of course, when Apple ran the apology on its UK website, it was one paragraph of acknowledgement of the judgment, and four paragraphs of reasons why that judgment was stupid, essentially.
OK, everybody, it's patent time. Get your coffee. And preferably, keep sharp objects out of arm's reach.
As you may have heard by now, Apple now has a patent on touchscreen maps that was granted just a few days ago. The patent in question (which we'll call the '033 patent) can be found here. It's a real page-turner. I'm kidding, no it's not - it's a patent. It's about as exciting as a treatise on the effects of the 18th century transatlantic textile trade on horse carriage upholstery.
Good news, bad news, and really bloody ridiculous news, Android fans. Today, the latest round of DMCA exemptions has been passed and if you've ever jailbroken or rooted a phone, you'll be happy to know that this will continue to be legal. At least, for your phones. If, however, you want to gain su access to your tablet, you're fresh out of luck. Also, phones purchased after January 2013 cannot be legally unlocked for use on a carrier that didn't give you explicit permission.
After months of media hype and courtroom battles, Samsung was finally ordered to pay Apple $1.05 billion by a U.S. court a couple of months ago, for infringing the company's design patents. On the other side of the pond, however, things haven't been quite as clear cut, with a UK judge ordering Apple to publish ads stating that Samsung did not copy the iPad at all.
Today, Apple has posted a statement on its UK website saying just that, but its PR team has also taken the opportunity to say a few more words about Samsung as well.
In perhaps its soon to be most-publicized decision in decades, FOSS Patents is reporting that the USPTO has issued an initial finding of invalidity on every claim in Apple's patent for "rubber-band scrolling," that is, the scroll bounceback patent which anyone with half a brain knows is about as patent-worthy as any purely aesthetic user interface element is.