Samsung Forced To Hand Over Unreleased Products To Apple In Patent Dispute

from the that-doesn't-seem-right dept

In the ongoing silly patent fight between Apple and Samsung, the judge has ordered Samsung to give Apple some pre-release products (found via Copycense). While we've seen similar things before, this kind of order always bothers me, as it just seems wrong to order a competitor to hand over pre-release versions of competitive products. What if it turns out there's no infringement? Apple still gets to play with Samsung's products before they even hit the market? Why is this kind of thing allowed? Apple's -- and the court's -- argument is that this allows Apple to stop any possible infringement before it hits the market, but it also seems like there can be significant harm in sharing still secret info with a direct competitor. Even more bizarre is the basis for the judge's claim: that news reports quoted Samsung execs saying they wanted to change the Galaxy Tab to compete with the iPad 2. So what? In what way is it wrong for a competitor to shift gears once a new product hits the market? That's competition. What doesn't seem fair is Apple getting pre-release access to Samsung's products.


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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 6:46am

    Jokes at Apple's expense

    This involves Apple and patents; two things that trump the rights of some small no-name company.

    Or

    So that's how Apple innovates so fast yet still looks exactly the same as everyone else.

     

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      Some Other Guy (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 2:12pm

      Re: Jokes at Apple's expense

      Small?
      Apple : 310Bn market cap- source google finance
      Samsung : also hundreds of billions - source wikipedia
      OK, not small...

      No-name?
      "Apple" 1.2Bn hits (google)
      "Samsung" 1.15Bn hits. (google)

      OK. not no-name either.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 7:19am

    Completion is illegal. It's in the constitution somewhere. Ask any well-lobbied Congressman.

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 7:23am

    This could backfire. It might make it easier for Samsung to claim a patent violation when the next gen of iPhones comes out.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 7:28am

      Re:

      It's not a violation if Apple patents it first:

      1- Sue competitor for patent infringement
      2- Demand to see competitor's unreleased tech
      3- Court agrees
      4- Call the whole thing off. You already have what you came for
      5- Patent competitor's technology
      6- Profit!!!

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 7:30am

        Re: Re:

        On second though, I must've been drunk. 4 should be:

        4- Get competitor to pay licensing fees just to get you off his back

         

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        DannyB (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 7:33am

        Re: Re:

        I read elsewhere that the Samsung devices were to be made available to outside counsel only. That is, no lawyers that are Apple employees. Only lawyers working for an outside firm.

        If those lawyers disclose confidential secrets to Apple, then that is pissing off the court (eg, contempt) and could result in sanctions including possibly jail for the lawyers.

         

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    DannyB (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 7:31am

    I think Samsung will take care of Apple just fine.

    Samsung has already countersued Apple in multiple countries. 3 I think.

    Samsung and Apple have asked the ITC to impound and destroy each others' phones. I hope they both get their wish. (please bear with me a moment . . .)

    Samsung is much bigger than Apple. Samsung makes consumer electronics (TVs, mp3 planers, etc), appliances (washers / dryers, etc.), heavy industry (ever seen the Samsung logo on those giant gantry cranes that unload huge cargo ships?), and even jet engines. I think Samsung would survive if their phone business were disrupted. Apple, hopefully, would not.

    This patent aggression must be stopped. Don't forget that Apple also sued HTC in spring of 2010 for making phones that were excessively awesome. Only Apple is allowed to do that. Doesn't everyone know that the smartphone business is God's gift exclusively to Apple?

    Noticed articles recently that Apple is now looking to Intel for parts it used to get from Samsung? Gee, Intel doesn't make ARM chips. How about a nice power hungry hot running Atom processor? An iPhone with a built in cooling fan anyone? Jobs could show it on stage as the next innovation in smartphones!

     

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      dcee (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 8:02am

      Re:

      Samsung makes consumer electronics (TVs, mp3 planers, etc)


      Nice, are those the ones that includes drug inducing or the ones that fly? Or... maybe both?

       

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      Tom, May 25th, 2011 @ 9:02am

      Re:

      Exactly! Apple's new iPhone has a new feature that has never before been seen in an iPhone! A fan! You remember all those times when your phone just exploded in your hand due to heat? Well, no more! As an added bonus you can also use your new iPhone as a space heater!

       

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      Michial Thompson, May 25th, 2011 @ 9:04am

      Re:

      Actually I hope that Samsung loses their asses on this one...

      Samsung opted to put profits above fixing customers issues with the Galaxy Android phones when they got into a battle with the Phone companies over charging for updating the core Android OS. They wanted to charge the cell providers for the update to the OS because they considered it a Feature rather than a FIX. The fact that the OS was free for them only further sours my opinions of them.

      I will NEVER buy another Samsung Phone or Tablet EVER because of this. If I had a choice for Cell I would drop the carrier too, but all the carriers united to refuse to pay for the Andriod update in that case. Both sides were equally wrong, BUT I have a choice with the Android Devices and Samsung was more in the wrong in my opinion.

       

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    Overcast (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 7:58am

    Apple sux, the more I hear about them - the happier I am that I haven't bought their junk.

     

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    James (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 8:01am

    What they get to see is...

    5 products that have already been seen. The court ordered packaging and device samples of the Galaxy S2, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Infuse 4G, and 4G LTE or "Droid Charge." All of which have already been on sale, close to it or have reached the light of day through other means (I'm looking at you Galaxy Tab 10.1 at Google I/O). So I'm pretty sure this won't kill Samsung's future products.

    So as long as "sneak peak" now means common knowledge, Apple totally has a leg up on Samy.

    This story is a mountain out of a mole hill if you ignore what devices were actually specified.

     

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    Kb, May 25th, 2011 @ 8:02am

    WHAT_THE_FUCK?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 8:05am

    I bet the judge has an iMac. And an iPhone. And an iPad. And Steve Jobs' picture under her pillow.

     

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    Doug B (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 8:44am

    Are you sure?

    From the article:


    She also limited the results of discovery to "Outside Counsel Eyes Only," meaning neither Apple nor its in-house counsel will get a peek at the phones or related marketing materials.


    Doesn't this mean Apple won't actually get to see/use the products?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 9:38am

      Re: Are you sure?

      Yes. This is common for technology suits between competitors. Such orders often prohibit Apple's outside patent counsel from seeing the products as well (not sure if this order does).

       

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    f100 (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 9:10am

    So you hand out 5000 'prototypes"???

    "While the models have yet to be officially released to the public and Samsung has argued that examination of production samples that may not necessarily reflect final shipping versions is inappropriate, Koh noted that the argument is undermined by Samsung's publicity efforts that have seen images and even demo units handed out to members of the media. In one noteworthy example, 5,000 Galaxy Tab 10.1s were given away to attendees at the Google I/O conference earlier this month."

     

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    hmm (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    What I'd do is..

    I'd make sure there was some weird out-of-place and quite obviously unique feature on the prototype, and if apple copied it that would be clear proof that the 'independant' lawyers were passing on info...

    Or make the prototype a pile of utter shit..since its a prototype then release the uber-cool 'final' version and point at Steve Jobs and laugh like a gibbon!

     

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    hmm (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 11:24am

    Also

    Since Samsung is SO much bigger than Apple, I'd make sure to source components from ALL of apples suppliers, and pay more for them than apple.
    Short-term iphones would grind to a screaming halt as there'd be zero production (iphone vaporware anyone?).
    Just make sure Jobs has announced the phone BEFORE you buy up every single vital component on the market! (or being as large as Samsung simply buy the component company and direct its entire output to Samsung)

     

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    Jesse (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 6:39pm

    Why do we even enforce trade secret protections if this is acceptable?

     

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