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.
It may be pretty hard for Apple to get away from the ruling that it has to state publicly on its website and in advertisements that Samsung didn't copy the iPad. An appeals court has ruled that the previous sentence should still be in place. The judges stated that, if Apple wasn't the one to clear up the confusion, the damage caused by the lawsuits all over Europe would be irreparable to Samsung.
Following up on last year's slide-to-unlock patent grab (which itself built on a patent granted in 2010), Apple has been granted another, yet more expansive slide-to-unlock patent, one which ditches the previous patents' emphasis on "predefined paths" in favor of more ambiguous language covering the movement of an unlock image to "an unlock region" on a device's display.
While US Patent 8,286,103 is largely similar to Apple's previous two slide-to-unlock, its language is considerably broader.
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.
Just when you thought this whole Samsung vs. Apple case couldn't get any weirder, we're now hearing that Vel Hogan, the jury foreman on the case who helped guide the jurors on patent law and owns some patents himself, was once sued into bankruptcy by Seagate. Samsung, as it turns out, just happens to be the largest single investor in Seagate, owning 9.6 percent of the hard drive company's stock. While it doesn't guarantee that a juror's judgment could be clouded, it is the kind of information one would expect to be volunteered to a courtroom.
Some very interesting legal news surfaced this morning in regard to a Motorola patent suit against Apple at the ITC. The lawsuit in question was filed back in August, and sought import bans on almost every Apple product currently manufactured based on seven Motorola patents. It had barely entered the preliminary stages before Motorola voluntarily sought for the case to be dismissed today.
Motorola provided no reasoning for the request, which is basically a matter of procedure - it will be granted.
Do you want to buy a Galaxy Tab 10.1? No? Well, that's pretty understandable, but for Samsung, a US sales ban on the tablet issued earlier this year has been a symbolic thorn in the company's side throughout its ongoing legal spats with Apple. Today, after a decision from the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals indicating the issue was ripe for review, that ban was lifted.
Judge Koh, reviewing the issue on the grounds under which the injunction was granted, found that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was not infringing the patents which Apple based its injunction request on.
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.
Have you heard?! Apple now says the Galaxy S III is infringing on its patents. Woe is us!
Except, this is a.) completely unsurprising, and b.) not really important in the grand scheme of things. Yesterday, Reuters reported that Apple had tacked on the Galaxy S III (including the Verizon version specifically, for whatever reason), the Note 10.1, and the original Galaxy Note to its upcoming California lawsuit against Samsung. And yes, they'll probably add the Galaxy Note II just as soon as Samsung gets around to releasing it here in the US.