It's been a rough year for Samsung, but the Supreme Court just gave the company a big early Christmas present... or at the very least, they denied one to Apple. Reuters reports that the highest court decided unanimously (8-0) that the $399 million in damages sought by Apple in the years-old iPhone design patent case was too much, siding with Samsung's appeal which said that copying only certain elements of the iPhone design patent didn't entitle Apple to all profits made from an infringing phone. Read More
While it's not the "rounded rectangle" iPad patent of fame, the iPhone 3G design patent is easily the second most-famous Apple design patent of record. It's called D618677, and it was a key issue in Samsung v. Apple "round one" - and by "key issue," I mean "reason for most of the remaining half billion dollars in damages." According to the USPTO, that iPhone design patent is now invalid on multiple counts of obviousness in light of prior art (in a technical, not literal, sense - two very different things).
Samsung was deemed to infringe this patent by a jury, and while it may well have were the patent valid, the USPTO is saying the point is moot - the patent itself is not eligible for protection. Read More
The United States Patent and Trademark office publishes publicly-available copies of all accepted patents, a great boon to nerds, lawyers, and technology reporters everywhere. The latest batch of design patents includes hundreds of obtuse examples, everything from glasses frames to mops, and among them is this little gem awarded to Samsung, US Design Patent D720,747. It's an interesting look at a style of tablet and cover from Samsung before in exactly this configuration.
While the filing is mostly concerned with a nondescript tablet and cover combo (or perhaps a tablet with a fully-integrated cover), there's a hole in the upper right-hand side and one in the upper center, ostensibly for allowing access to some portion of the tablet's functionality when the cover is closed. Read More
Remember when Apple was up in arms about Samsung swiping their look for the first generation of Galaxy phones and tablets? Prepare for a case of design patent infringement that makes that look pretty tame. Today Nikon issued a press release stating that it had won a preliminary sales and import injunction against Sakar International, a current licensee of the Polaroid brand name, for the Android-powered Polaroid iM1836. See if you can guess why.
Yup, that thing is a dead ringer for the Nikon J1, a high-end, compact, replaceable-lens camera that competes with the Micro 4/3 standard. From body shape to color choice to button placement, it's a pretty clear knockoff - even the plastic lip around the lens release button looks similar. Read More