Apple & Samsung's Patent Nuclear War: 50 Lawsuits In 10 Countries In 1 Year

from the wasted-money dept

Of all the big patent fights going on these days over mobile phones/tablets, the highest profile has almost certainly been the battle between Apple and Samsung. But, in case you haven't been paying attention to all the lawsuits flying back and forth, in the past year it appears that there have been at least 50 lawsuits filed in ten countries around the world -- in just over a year. And to think, all of that money could have been spent on actually innovating. What a waste. Apple's Tim Cook is apparently claiming that he'd prefer to settle -- and the two sides are getting together in a few weeks to see what they can work out -- but also said:
"But it's important that Apple not become the developer for the world. We need people to invent their own stuff."
That's nice... but it ignores the fact that nearly every cool thing in the iPhone wasn't invented by Apple. Instead, Apple just did a nice job putting it together and bringing it to the market in a shiny package. We shouldn't deny how important that step is -- it's really much more important than most people are willing to admit. But, it's a shame that Cook would then go around repeating the myth that Apple "invented" the features that made the iPhone and iPad so popular. To complain that others need to "invent their own stuff" ignores how little of its own "stuff" Apple actually "invented."


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    A Guy (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 7:35pm

    Apple is kind of a lost cause in this regard. They're already on top, so any market changing innovations are likely to only bring them down relatively.

    In a few years, I wouldn't be surprised if we were all hating on Apple like people hated Microsoft when they were in the same position.

     

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      DOlz, May 7th, 2012 @ 9:22pm

      Re:

      I've owned Apple computers since 1978 starting with my 48k Apple ][. However; I've been losing patience with them the last few years. Between their lack of support for the Mac Pro towers and with Lion forcing us into the cloud, I'm starting to look at Linux seriously for the first time.

       

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        ltlw0lf (profile), May 8th, 2012 @ 7:22am

        Re: Re:

        I've owned Apple computers since 1978 starting with my 48k Apple ][.

        I gave up on Apple when they gave up on my Apple ][e. Although, I do like their PowerBookPros, but they are expensive hardware to run Linux on. Never had one fail, but an Asus or Toshiba laptop is a lot cheaper.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 11:52pm

      Response to: A Guy on May 7th, 2012 @ 7:35pm

      in a few years?! Surely a decade ago?

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), May 8th, 2012 @ 10:19am

      Re:

      In a few years, I wouldn't be surprised if we were all hating on Apple like people hated Microsoft when they were in the same position.


      I always knew I was ahead of my time. Since shortly after the introduction of the original Mac, it was clear to me (and I said so freely) that when you look at actual corporate behavior, the only difference between Microsoft and Apple was that Microsoft was a much larger company.

      Still holds true today (although Microsoft has become less egregious than they used to be, so in contrast Apple is probably worse now.) Apple has been a terrible corporate actor for decades.

       

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        TtfnJohn (profile), May 8th, 2012 @ 8:02pm

        Re: Re:

        To some extent MS has been forced into being less egregious than before, in many cases only by a matter of degree. They have largely failed in their attempts to control corporate networking to that upstart Linux and completely failed when it comes to MS servers on the Internet as a whole. This isn't to say they're not still a power to be reckoned with in either but that they failed in their goal on monopolizing them.

        They've also had some failures in the market. Big ones.

        The Zune MP3 player never did make it off the ground trying to take on the iPod.

        They're a poor also ran in a world of Apple, Android (Linux) and Blackberry in the most important portable computing device today --- the one we call the smart phone. Win7 was supposed to improve that and now the hopes are on Win8.

        A similar situation is emerging on Pads. The clear winner is the iPad with Android (Linux) emerging at the major competitor there as well. Again, hopes are pinned on Win8.

        This isn't to be taken that they can't compete in areas where their OS isn't preinstalled. It's fair to say that, for now, the X-Box is the premier game machine. It's also fair to say that no one is really making money in that field and that includes MS.

        Win8 has lots of fans out there and hopes riding on it. (I'm not one of them. The Windows desktop is the Windows desktop, functional but with plenty of unneeded and unasked for "improvements" that make it more difficult to use that it need be and still insecure at that. Win8 is good looking and shiny but it's still Windows no matter what its cheerleaders at ZDNet and CNET say. It's not going to be the magic elixir that suddenly thrusts MS to the top on Pads or Smart Phones because, like the Zune, MS doesn't seem to understand those markets.

        Apple has been able to fly under the radar for so long because MS was seen as the big bad bully, chairs flying out office windows and temper tantrums galore. Under the techie black turtlenecks and physical design brilliance of Apple they've always been a bit of a bully themselves. With Steve Jobs gone people seem less tolerant of Bully Apple and are recognizing that the big bad bully on the block now isn't MS any more it's Apple.

        Heck to get press these days the annual rumour of a merger between Adobe and MS has to start to circulate again.

        So for now, Apple is throwing patent lawsuits about like confetti, taking credit for work others have done before them (as always), and slapping DRM on everything they can find. Oh, and robbing open source and particularly Linux blind.

        Apple products have always been too expensive for me but on top of that now you can add the corporate attitude. Actually you could have before Jobs died.

        Now that he's gone, there is really something foul about the smell of them.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 8:04pm

    But, but, Apple invented the phone in the 1860's.

    Bell just copied it.

     

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    blackops2 (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 8:24pm

    true...

    you are right. because, as we know, Steve Jobs showed us just how important it is to "present" an item--not just at his presentation shows, but how he chose to package his items.

     

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      blackops2 (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 8:27pm

      Re: true...

      ...not to mention how labor was organized and paid for in other countries. sorry...i had to!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 11:12pm

      Re: true...

      America has turned into the marketing center of the world. All we do now is market ourselves; marketing, advertising, and sales. That's where all the jobs are these days. Sales, not engineering, not science, but sales. Even people with degrees in math and science from good universities wind up in ... sales. There are few science based jobs here. and when there are, they're done by ... immigrants.

      For example
      In the article "Diamonds Used To Increase Density, Performance of Phase-Change Memory"

      Frans Faase writes
      "I noticed that all the authors are Chinese. You would almost get the impression that research (in hard sciences) in the USA has been taken over by Chinese."

      http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/12/05/05/2236234/diamonds-used-to-increase-density-p erformance-of-phase-change-memory

      The U.S. really needs to work on encouraging more invention and innovation. Part of that includes fixing our corporate written IP laws. For example, copy protection length do not need to last so long.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 11:12pm

      Re: true...

      America has turned into the marketing center of the world. All we do now is market ourselves; marketing, advertising, and sales. That's where all the jobs are these days. Sales, not engineering, not science, but sales. Even people with degrees in math and science from good universities wind up in ... sales. There are few science based jobs here. and when there are, they're done by ... immigrants.

      For example
      In the article "Diamonds Used To Increase Density, Performance of Phase-Change Memory"

      Frans Faase writes
      "I noticed that all the authors are Chinese. You would almost get the impression that research (in hard sciences) in the USA has been taken over by Chinese."

      http://hardware. slashdot.org/ story/12/05/05/2236234/ diamonds-used-to-increase-density-performance-of-phase-change-memory

      (delete spaces)

      The U.S. really needs to work on encouraging more invention and innovation. Part of that includes fixing our corporate written IP laws. For example, copy protection length do not need to last so long.

       

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    Jay (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 10:02pm

    Can't we just say no more wars? They never end well for anyone. Make peace instead.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 10:15pm

    What is clear to me is that American companies are desperate and they are doing the one thing nobody should do and that is destroying trust.

    This is not something you can get back overnight it takes decades to build it, but never the less it is being squandered in the pursuit of some sort of advantage or leverage so they can compete. It doesn't help that American culture may be working against America itself by fueling a cycle of incompetence by the ownership mentality brought to new heights of absurdity.

    Every customer in America must worry about buying something from an American company today. Am I getting a product or a license? will I be able to do what I want? are there any hidden charges or costs involved? it is scary to be an American today with so many companies trying to pool the wool in front of their eyes all the time, you can't trust anyone anymore, you can trust the gas company, the electric company the tell company, this is just insane it was not like that 20 years ago people had a low respect for others but it was there, that is gone now and gone with it is loyalty.

    The one bright spot is the open movement that is trying to bring back that trust, you see, people working there have no hidden agendas, they don't want to collect every bit of information out of you so they can maybe sell it in the future to someone, there is no pressure to be a dick, there is only pressure to deliver the best product you can in the most honest way possible, which is why when I download something from an open source project I can trust it will not do something funny, that trust is priceless and it is spreading to other segments like manufacturing, and bringing back with it local jobs since the knowledge is universal but the production and work is all done locally.

    If people have told me such a model was possible I would have said they were crazy, but I have seen it with my own eyes what it means to be open and God it is better than any other American company PR, the powerfulness of trust is something priceless, you pay more for it because it is something that matters, you feel good about yourself in the morning supporting those initiatives and you can see the face of the people you support, they are your neighbors, they are your friends, they are your community, something corporate America has destroyed and I need it back, we need it back, I want to see everybody around me having a chance to work, not only the few, I want everybody coming together to solve a problem and working together and that is not going to happen if people think they can just own something and tell others what they can and cannot do, that is not the way, that is not how teams work together, that is why corporate America failed in the global market and why it will soon find itself having to defend their existence, but this time they may be not so lucky, there is no one who likes them and they don't promote a good medium for growth and innovation and by growth I don't mean financial but wealth growth, standard of living growth, security growth, harmony growth.

    Some people have started to get vocal about something economists have known for a while now. Infinite economic growth fueled by consumption is not going to happen or be sustainable and the whole growth mentality to keep stock holders happy probably will collapse in the near future at least for America, because the actual system is a pyramid those on top are the only ones who benefit and America is not on top anymore, Asia and that is a scary place to be.

    Instead some people have been working hard to find a "sustainable economic system" alternative that is not based on growth assumptions that will not hold well in the future, just because we don't have the resources to sustain everybody anymore.

    The greatest achievement of Steve Jobs and that I said as somebody who have not many good things to say about the guy, even though I never met him in person, but have my mind made up upon the horror stories that came out of his life is this, he was a translator a great translator, he was the GUI(Graphic User Interface) for the tech world, he knew what people wanted because he was an idiot like others, but he also was expose to tech people and he knew how to understand what they were talking about it and so he translated that to simple forms that people could understand, most developers(software or hardware) get stuck in the details, they want a control for every single variable they can control and that is nirvana and they frown upon simple interfaces, the thing is to get where they got they first had to use the simple interfaces first they first had to learn the basics nobody started doing the complex things and that is where people who are not in the profession are, that is the place they are stuck, they are in the simple part of it and Steve Jobs knew that that is why Apple's interface are simple and can be used by anyone, but underlying that is a lot of knobs and buttons to be used too if you know how to get to it.

    The point of that rant was to say maybe it is time to go back to basics and start with the simple GUI for everything in parallel with the old clunky complex one, not throw it away but let other competing models have their chance and see what it happens.

    Make an IP free zone region and see if it fares better or not, if it produces better outcomes.

    I would start in California, declaring free of IP laws and see what happens, but that is because I don't like Hollywood and I want the tools they use to harm others to be taken away, it could be Idaho too.

    End of my rant.

    Have a nice day everyone.

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, May 7th, 2012 @ 10:24pm

    History Recap

    The LG Prada (original model) was a stylish touch-screen phone released about 6 months before the first Iphone.

    The first Iphone was not even technically a “smartphone”—users could not install additional apps on it. If you remember, Steve Jobs said developers would have to write Web-based apps. But due to popular demand, an SDK was released, and the Itunes App Store opened—18 months later.

    Android was in development long before I think the Iphone even reached rumour stage. But it was not originally touch-based at all. That was added very quickly after the Prada and the Iphone showed that there was strong demand for touch-based devices. To its credit, if you look at the Android APIs, touch has been integrated very seamlessly into the entire UI operation, considering it was not quite designed in from the very beginning.

     

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      Brian, May 7th, 2012 @ 11:34pm

      Re: History Recap

      Touch support in Android predated the iPhone announcement.

      The iPhone certainly increased demand for touch-based devices after it was announced/shipped.

       

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    techflaws.org (profile), May 8th, 2012 @ 2:37am

    Damn, there was a video that compared features of various Apple devices with other devices (mainly Android?) that came ealier. Can't find it anymore. In case anyone has a link, please post.

     

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    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), May 8th, 2012 @ 3:35am

    "But it's important that Apple not become the developer for the world. We need people to invent their own stuff." - Someone Needs Their Tie Loosened

    What's more striking about this comment is Apple's also notorious for going after anyone who puts an apple in their logo.

    Mother Nature must be rolling in the dough the licensing fee Apple pays her for the use of an apple logo.

    Wait... billions in profit? I sit corrected. >:[

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2012 @ 4:13am

    Jobs was an expert at rebranding other's people work, is legacy will last.

    At my job there are a lot of rebranders also, analysts design the products and services for years, do a lot of research and study, then the interface designer comes and in his presentation he say:

    "My idea is... ", "as you can see in my proposal.... "

    Apple its a full tribe of them, now there is a lot of money and they live happy with together, but soon they will start to eat each other, its on their regime.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2012 @ 4:51am

    just like the entertainment industries. so much easier and better to put the blame somewhere else that admit to failings at home

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, May 8th, 2012 @ 5:22am

    Platform Defections

    Here’s another fun statistic: apparently about equal proportions of buyers of the Nokia Lumia 900 are coming from Android and Apple platforms.

    But there are about twice as many Android as Apple users.

    Therefore, Apple users are twice as likely as Android ones to defect to the Windows Phone platform.

     

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      ltlw0lf (profile), May 8th, 2012 @ 7:29am

      Re: Platform Defections

      Therefore, Apple users are twice as likely as Android ones to defect to the Windows Phone platform.

      Ick...well, at least Microsoft will protect them from guys dressing up as copy machines, walls, and desks. I'd prefer to use a real operating system on my phone, thank you.

      I just wish the Android vendors were a little more on the ball keeping up to date. They seem more interested in the sale than they do in the support, but luckily, with a rooted phone and the awesome guys at Cyanogenmod, I have no problems with support.

       

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    peter, May 8th, 2012 @ 7:02am

    Don't inovate, litigate

    Unfortunatly this disease is spreading far and wide, even to my workplace.

    I designed a new equipment for and my Company made millions in profit from it*. For several years I have been trying to get the company to invest a small amount to develop and improve this product, but their attitude was basically that it kept selling so why waste money on development?

    In the meantime I saw other commpanies develop competing products and now our sales have fallen to zero. My company's response? Spend money to develop the equipment to keep it competitive? Nope, they have lawyers sending threatning letters. The kicker, they have spent more on teh lawyers thatn it would have cost to develop the equipment to be competitive again.

    And they pat themselves on the back for a job well done!!!!

    * No, since you ask, i didn't get a penny, but the Sales guy (who knew so much about it that he had to ring me up to ask what the equipment did and who the customer was, when compiling his sales figures) got a large bonus for several years on the back of the sales of this equipment. Bitter and twisted Engineer? Who me?

     

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    Kevin (profile), May 8th, 2012 @ 7:48am

    Just not Apples

    Well some folks are finally waking up to Apple's business model, which makes Microsoft look like a bunch of angles.
    Apple has always been a "Do it our way or not at all" company.
    They created a market convincing some that owning anything but an Apple device meant you were second class.
    That may have worked with computers but the phone world is a different place and this time they have competition that may well be better than Apple's offerings.
    What is needed in the USA is high penalties for any plaintiff that loses, and I mean big penalties, big enough to make them think twice.
    Or, any item that is subject to a law suits should be subjected to a mandatory time limit to settle or the item goes into the public domain. Now that I would love to see.

     

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    Shmerl, May 8th, 2012 @ 2:18pm

    Apple is the aggressor

    Note, that it was Apple who started it. But at some point they all should come to their senses and stop this sheer stupidity.

     

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