OK. This isn’t exactly a weekly update, but the battle that seemed to be over just a little over a month and change ago is still seeing some remnants of action. 10/11/12 was a fantastic day for Android enthusiasts as well as Samsung and Google since the patent-based ruling over the Global Search feature on Android was overturned by an Appeals Court in the US. When this happened, we all saw a faint ray of light coming in through the iCloud and hoped that it was only the beginning of something good. As it turns out, over the last week and a half, we can say with confidence that the iClouds are clearing a little, and more hope is coming through. In other words, people are beginning to realize that the entire ruling was absolutely off-base, inaccurate at best, and overall preposterous.
This is the first instance of sanity that we have seen since the Nexus was freed to be imported into the US, and it comes in the shape of a lost appeal courtesy of our friends on the other side of the pond (UK). This is sort of interesting, as it is the second time around that we see this news coming from the UK. The first time around, a UK court had ordered Apple to display ads essentially apologizing to Samsung and stating, in writing, that Korean giant did not infringe their patents. Such a thing must be done for 6 months. The ruling coming from the judge was dripping with sarcasm, as the main statement was that people could not possibly confuse the iPad with the Galaxy Tab due to the latter “not being cool enough.” Quite honestly, this writer is officially confused, as I am not sure if the judge was being serious or simply sarcastic. In any case, the ruling was appealed by Apple and just like it was ruled, the judges preceding the appeal process (all three of them) deemed that the original ruling was valid and will stand. Still, the punishment being imposed on Apple falls short in comparison to the one imparted against Samsung in the US by the country’s High Court. But wait! Don’t go away just yet, because there’s more!
Crossing back the Atlantic over to the US, we have yet witnessed a second sign that the entire thing was poorly handled from the start. The reason for this statement is very simple. If a patent is indeed valid and ruled as such, there should be no “back and forth” on the verdicts. No, with this I do not mean that people cannot appeal to a decision, but the patent is a black and white document that explicitly depicts the design, use(s), and considerations taken when a product is patented. As such, there is VERY little room for interpretation by the law, as the writing is not done in a subjective way that gives room for interpretation, but rather it is a set of solid facts. The first overturned patent, as stated before, was the ’604 patent. Today, we received news that a second patent has been overturned.
Patent number 7,469,381 is being deemed as invalid by by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). This patent deals essentially with the “bouncing scroll” feature that we all love so much. As it turns out, re-investigations on these are revealing that this is not exactly an original feature and as such, the claims on this patent may end up going overboard and invalidated. This would also be fantastic news for HTC who is also being slapped for the same. According to the source, there will be a preliminary ruling on HTC’s case as well towards the end of November (right in time for Black Friday). Now, this is far from being final, as this is just now being investigated by the USPTO. It then needs to make its way to the court, the appeals court, go through the entire process of appealing (which I can only assume is already underway), and finally a ruling can be made based on the evidence. Everything and anything can happen in between, but as stated earlier, it is a ray of hope.
So, where do we go from here? There is the distinct possibility that our beloved justice system will cast the veil from their faces (and their heads from their rear ends), and start looking at evidence with both qualified and objective people, unlike their selection of jury from the past “main event.” Just think about this for a second: The UK justice system is not exactly new (they’ve been around for quite a little longer than its US counterpart), but yet they can see the rather obvious differences between two products, including the fact that one of them has an Apple logo in the back, whereas the other does not. The ruling of “confusing one with the other” is the intellectual equivalent of saying that you bought a Toyota instead of a Ford because it had wheels.
Well, we sincerely hope that the second set of good news amounts to something, and that US courts realize that 1 billion dollars is a lot of money to make someone pay, particularly when you do not even have your facts straight or use common sense while shelling out the sentence.
Thanks for reading.
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