Patents

How to Follow the Apple v. Samsung Patent Trial

The Internet has made following trials in real time feasible, more or less.  For the press to cover controversial trials is nothing new, but in the past these were mostly criminal cases.  Today, thanks to sites like groklaw.net, people can follow technology industry cases in detail – descriptions of what is going on in the courtroom, documents and (in the case of groklaw), unsparing commentary.

Groklaw is following Apple v. Samsung from a distance (at least compared to its recent coverage of Oracle v. Google), and the traditional press appears to be covering the case heavily, but only at a general level of detail.  However, someone has put together a twitter feed consolidating the tweets of several industry reporters.  It’s almost like a shadow jury, but a jury of people more knowledgeable about the companies involved than the average juror.  And, in some cases, openly opinionated.

The lawyers involved in this case, and certainly in any case covered in detail by groklaw, must dread the possibility that jurors are reading these materials.… Read the full article

Apple’s “Bounce Back” Patent

by Lee Gesmer on August 2, 2012

Apple's "Bounce Back" Patent

It seems that Google’s “bounce back” patent is going to play a big role in the trial between Apple and Samsung, underway in federal district court in Palo Alto.  References to it in Apple’s opening statement highlighted this patent. I wasn’t sure what the “bounce back” was, but I think I’ve tracked it down.

How do you know that you’ve reached the bottom or top of a page on an iPhone or iPad?  The screen “bounces back” in the opposite direction.  Or, as described in patentese in U.S. patent  7,469,381, issued to Apple in December 2008:

In accordance with some embodiments, a computer-implemented method for use in conjunction with a device with a touch screen display is disclosed. In the method, a movement of an object on or near the touch screen display is detected. In response to detecting the movement, an electronic document displayed on the touch screen display is translated in a first direction.

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Judge Posner Puts the Kabosh on Apple/Google Smartphone Patent Suit

“It’s not clear that we really need patents in most industries . . .. You just have this proliferation of patents. “It’s a problem.”

Judge Richard Posner, Silicon Valley MercuryNews.com, July 5, 2012

 

Do you recall the final scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail?  After 90 minutes of farcical medieval/King Arthur-inspired humor the film concludes with a big attack scene (cliché visuals of swords, spears and knights in armor, opposing armies lined up in a field, battle music ….).  King Arthur makes a Crusades-inspired speech and yells charge.  Just as the armies are about to engage a police car pulls up with siren blaring.  20th century British bobbies jump out and arrest some of the knights, who put up no resistance.  Others are simply told to go home.  The war is cancelled.  (video).

This is not very different from what just happened in the patent war between Apple and Motorola Mobility (owned by Google) over smartphone patents.  … Read the full article

Judge Young Issues Mea Culpa on Expert Witness Testimony in Patent Case, Orders a Do-Over

Massachusetts U.S. District Court William Young has been teaching evidence law for as long as I can recall, even as far back as his pre-federal court days, when he was on the Superior Court bench (Judge Young was appointed to the federal bench in 1985, and had been a Massachusetts Superior Court Judge from 1978 to 1985).

So it comes as a surprise to many when Judge Young admits he made an evidence-related error during a recent patent trial, and that as a result he will order a new trial.

The case is NewRiver, Inc. v. Newkirk Products, Inc.  In brief, NewRiver’s patent claimed as an invention a computer-assisted method for manipulating securities information in the SEC EDGAR database to extract only certain information, such as mutual fund prospecti.  After trial the jury held some claims to have been infringed, and others to be invalid as obvious. The issue that has attracted attention is contained in Judge Young’s decision addressing the usual tsunami of post-trial motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.… Read the full article