battle

With Apple in the midst of its second major court battle with Samsung over alleged patent violations, and all but one of the five claims relating to Android rather than to anything Samsung-specific, it’s gotten me wondering whether further cases of this kind are truly beneficial to Apple.

I understand it emotionally, of course. It’s galling to work hard on a hugely popular hardware design or user-interface only to see someone else copy parts of it, and the desire to hit back at that is a natural one. But I’m not sure that it makes too much sense rationally … 

For me, there are three reasons for wondering whether Apple would be better off reaching a modest settlement than to battle these disputes out in court.

unlock

First, the specific features in question here are not that big a deal. I find it hard to believe that any of the five UI elements have a strong influence on anyone’s choice of platform. Samsung, or Google, could have solved the same problems in a slightly different way and the experience would not be dramatically different. Arguing that these features are worth $40 a phone is a tough sell.

Sure, the point could be made that the difference between a great design and a mediocre one is all in the detail. That the whole relies on each of the component parts. But if anything, that’s an argument for not sweating the small stuff in court: Samsung and Google haven’t replicated the experience of using an iPhone or iPad, even if they tried to. The things they’ve copied, if a court finds they have, don’t really add up to much.

Now, I risk life and limb in the comments by admitting this, but I did for quite some time use a Mac, an iPad and … an Android phone. That was more of a historical accident than a deliberate choice – my smartphone usage long predated the iPhone, and as a happy HTC customer from the Windows Mobile days, I stuck with the company when it transitioned to Android.

But the reason I finally made the switch to an iPhone was the ecosystem: the slickness of the way everything worked seamlessly together. It was that – not a few trivial aspects of the user-interface – that won me over. Other people may have different reasons for choosing an iPhone, but I doubt that anyone did so because they fell hopelessly in love with the specific format of the slide-to-unlock feature.

Apple Introduces Two New iPhone Models At Product Launch

The second reason I question the sense of huge courtroom battles is the distraction it creates. The court case itself may last a month, but every day of courtroom time will have involved weeks of research and preparation. Internal meetings, email exchanges, document trawls, interviews …

And this isn’t all work that can just be left to the lawyers. With senior Apple execs in the witness box, they will have been personally involved in a lot of the background and have almost certainly have spent many days in witness preparation. Apple’s lawyers will have briefed them on all the things they may be questioned about on the stand, agreeing responses to hundreds of questions that might be thrown at them and having them practice each of those responses.

When Apple is coming under pressure to develop new products, how much senior time do you really want to devote to arguing about features introduced on phones that are no longer even on sale?

ign

Third, by going to war in such a public way, it makes Apple look like it feels threatened by Samsung. You could argue that it actually helps position Android as a platform on an equal footing to iOS: “if Apple thinks Samsung has copied the iPhone, maybe it’s just as good?”.

Long before Apple’s “holy war” with Google and Samsung, it had a similar one with Microsoft. It spent a great deal of time arguing that Windows was copying the Macintosh user-interface. Did that boost Mac sales? Or did it just help position Windows as an equivalent operating system?

Apple lost to Microsoft and won in the first case with Samsung. Did either verdict make much difference to the future of either company? I’d say not.

Apple got over Windows. Perhaps its time for it to get over Android, settle the disputes and focus all its energies on looking forward rather than back?

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119 Responses to “Opinion: Should Apple settle its Android disputes and move on?”

  1. Honestly, Apple should just drop it and move on to other things. We all know that the iPhone came first and yes, Samsung did copy some things but honestly, you can’t patent every single thing in an entire operating system. Apple should be inventing new ideas instead of protecting the old ones. Does anyone else agree with me on this?

    • I completely agree. Everyone knows, why push for attention in court!?!

    • I strongly disagree… If this were the case why have a US Patent office in the first place. You cannot take intellectual property and pass it off as your own. If that was the case every time someone developed something new anyone else could come in a create a carbon copy and pass it off as their own… They should pursue this and follow up the patent infringement case.. It’s not about what came first, it’s about being compensated for theft of intellectual property.

      • frankman91 says:

        The issue is the vagueness of the patents. I don’t think they should have been allowed to get most of the patents in the first place. That’s a different argument for a different court.

        The point of the article is even if there was an attempt to copy the iPhone, it was not fully realized, and now the interfaces, and devices look and function very differently.

        This board constantly bashes every Android device for anything they can think of, then in the next breath claim its a carbon copy of an iphone; which is it?

        I highly doubt anyone went in to a store looking to buy an iphone and accidentally bought an Android because it was also a touch-screen device with a green phone for the dial icon.

        It has been a long running opinion that all these lawsuits are accomplishing is making Apple look scared, and petty, and getting all the layers on both sides rich.

        The one billion lawsuit one by Apple from Samsung was less than Samsung spent on advertising in the same year.

      • I get your point and I do agree. People should be able to protect their own intellectual property but when does “protecting” become “attacking”? How far should you be allowed to push your idea and protect it and how vague should a patent be allowed to be? I love Apple and I own many of their products. I want them to protect their ideas, but I don’t want that to be their only focus. Does that make sense? PS. Thank you for not being a troll about your opinion :)

      • bboysupaman says:

        I think that it is a mistake to say that nobody has ever purchased a non-iPhone and thought that it was an iPhone. I worked in an Apple store a few years ago and it was more common than you think to have people (especially older people) come in our store for tech support with their Android devices, because they thought that the guy at Verizon said it was an iPhone (probably just said it was similar… and it was a free phone). It happened at least once a month (more than that early on) that uninformed people would come in and truly believe that their touchscreen smart phone was an iPhone.

        That being said, that was years ago. I think that people are now well aware that there are multiple touchscreen devices. If you go into any store that sells phones, there are at least 10 touch screen devices to choose from. Nobody thinks that they are all iPhones.

        I think that Samsung is a horrible company that does not innovate at all. They only copy ideas from other companies and then mass produce them more cheaply (from smartphones to refrigerators). But, I think it’s time for Apple to focus more money on innovating new things. Then again, why spend so much money for Samsung to copy the REAL next big thing all over again? It’s a vicious cycle…

    • I agree partially. I do think they should be protecting the old ideas that are still in practice. However, it seems as though they’ve already done enough of that, and not nearly enough innovating. Definitely time to move on, and with great fervor.

    • If you just read this article and your comment: sure! But the problem is that, if you look at the home screen, the lock screen, almost anything on the operating system, Android is copied from iOS! And without this home screen, this slide to unlock, …, almost nobody would use android at all. Maybe, as said above, slide to unlock isn’t that big, but the home screen, for instance, sure is, and even if apple isn’t suiting samsung for this, this plays a big role in the total sums of what Samsung(or Google) has stolen from apple!

      Just to have this complete, Apple has also stolen ONE(!) big thing: notification center!

      • frankman91 says:

        Non-sarcastic question: Don’t you believe that the home-screen grid layout is just an evolution of what palm was using? Same grid layout carried over multiple pages with single touch-to-activate functionality. It’s not really a novel way of laying it out. I credit Apple with a lot, but not that.

        I would also add that my home screen l(on Android) looks nothing like iOS, it actually matches what many android products put on the box, with a mostly empty main panel with a large clock and weather widgets with all my app icons on panels to the left and right of them.

        And don’t lose track of the fact that Apple is going against Samsung, not Google. Samsung is using Android with a custom launcher, but its still Android. It sounds like your anger should be at Google in which case you should be in favor of this lawsuit being dropped.

      • I don’t doubt that Android has copied iOS. Its undoubtable. I also agree that the home screens are similar and that slide to unlock was in iOS first but really, Samsung isn’t the problem. Google is the one who made Android and they are the ones who should be sued (sued for Android and a lot of other things as well). On the topic of notification center, did Google actually patent that or was it just a “feature” included in Android?

      • So the Notification Shade all the iOS fans enjoy is perfectly fine, even though it was on Android prior to iOS, and Google has even patented it? Slide to unlock was done by Nokia before it was on iOS. You are okay with Apple stealing this too?

    • Tallest Skil says:

      Just shut up. Are you insane? “It happened in the past, therefore forget about justice regarding it” is a valid defense if your goal is to be sent to a mental institution.

      Nice variation on “innovate, don’t litigate”, though. And by nice I still mean stop doing it entirely.

    • Ben Miller says:

      Apple is – by patent law – required to defend its patents and intellectual property. Apple must go after companies/people that seem to infringe its patents, even if they don’t want to. Else the patent will turn invalid. They don’t have to fight in court of course, the can settle outside the court.

  2. No way! I think Android has been fully copied from iOS as clearly shown by the pre-iPhone and post-iPhone android devices. On the other hand, I really like Windows Phone 8 because they did something completely different: different home layout, different animations, and so on.

    • scottishwildcat13 says:

      And how much of OS X do you think would be left if they had to take out everything they copied from the Xerox Star and other desktop environments since? It’s all swings and roundabouts.

      • supaflyboy says:

        The difference is Apple compensated Xerox for their IP. Google stole Apple’s work and gave it away to everyone for free. How would you feel is someone did that to you?

      • rettun1 says:

        The situations are quite different. The folks at PARC let Steve in to see projects they were toying with. He saw that idea of a GUI and took it to where nobody else could have thought. I’d agree that maybe he stole it, but they weren’t that mad.

        Samsung and some others saw a finished product, finished and released, and said “That. We should do that too”

        Not to mention the internal slides from Samsung that literally showed iphone features, then comparable features on samsung handsets. Then at the bottom of the slides they said which things from the iPhone OS they should take. They were revealed in the last trial

      • Just to back up supaflyboy and counter rettun1 …

        Apple PAID for that IP. Didn’t steal, didn’t borrow, they PAID for it. They did so at a time when the thing they were paying for was considered “worthless” by the people in charge of it (Xerox).

        They did the same thing with multi-touch on computers. The only people using multi-touch on anything approaching a “regular” consumer computer was FingerWorks who were largely and widely considered to have “failed” with their products which had a tiny niche in the market. Apple PAID for all the patents and hired the two FingerWorks guys to produce their product.

        Apple has *all* the multi-touch patents related to it’s use in computing devices completely sewn up and has from the beginning. If that fact doesn’t allow them to prevail against copiers then obviously the system is irretrievably broken.

      • Tallest Skil says:

        Why do you want to tell us that you know nothing whatsoever about history? Because it makes you look like an idiot.

        Apple “copied” nothing from Xerox.

  3. I think that they should defend their patents. But at the same time this shouldnt be dragged out this long., There should be a limit on the amount of actions to be done after a decision is made. This case could go on for so many more years because they will keep appealing every decision made.

    • Another good reason for them not to give up. It’s the patent process and the legal system that’s irretrievably broken. It’s that system that’s causing all the grief, dragging things out, and being generally an imperfect remedy.

      To punish Apple (by asking them to quit) just because we are all tired of the f*cked up legal system that clearly doesn’t even work, would be to commit a grave injustice. Those that want Apple to quit are essentially blaming the victim of the legal system, for the fact that the legal system is broken.

    • Tallest Skil says:

      >>But at the same time this shouldn’t be dragged out this long.

      I agree. Samsung should never have been allowed to appeal.

  4. Wayne Ohm says:

    another thing that bothers me is that the court records are made public for everyone to see including private email among Apple’s execs.

  5. 3monkies says:

    You’re right, I should go into your house, steal your shit and you should just get over it. Sounds like a plan…

  6. Let’s turn it around. Suppose, as a professional writer, you wrote a book that turned out to be a huge hit. It was the culmination of your life’s work, as well as the work of thousands of others. Would you just “let it go” and “settle” if someone copied entire chapters for a rival book? If so, then perhaps you didn’t think your work was that great in the first place. In this case, Apple clearly thinks their work IS worth it, and isn’t willing to let another company steal it wholesale just because some people are too lazy to stand by THEIR work.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      I think if you look at these five features in the totality of iOS, it is more like asking me my response if someone copied five paragraphs from a novel. I’d be annoyed. I’d probably complain. But I don’t think I’d drag it through the courts, even if I had the resources to do so.

      • In a novel, assuming a lot of chapters, I believe it would be like asking you how you would feel if someone copied 5 chapters. The paragraphs inside the chapters would be the code behind the features.

      • Are you belittling on purpose those patents? Take that functionality and implementation from Android away and you’ve got a fairly crippled OS both in terms of functionality and usability

        Why not writing second follow up and list why Apple should not let it slide? ;)

      • All I can say about this is, congratulations Ben of how you manage to get the crowded posts when 9to5 has no real Apple news for months. By the way how much left of the original 9to5mac remains here? Here’s a nice headline: Opinion: Should 9to5 abandon Mac and continue with Google?

  7. scottishwildcat13 says:

    “I did for quite some time use a Mac, an iPad and … an Android phone”

    I still do, plays perfectly happily with the Macs, iTunes and my AppleTV, for a fraction of the price.

  8. I can see both sides. Not fighting to protect what you’ve done in the past is like saying it’s ok for others to take what you have now or in the forseeable future. I do find it kind of odd that Apple went after Samsung and not Google though.

    • They go after Samsung and not Google because it’s about profits, not about the actual patents. They aren’t upset about losing the patents and the ideas, they’re upset about losing money.

    • Very hard to claim damages from a company that makes NOTHING from the software that was infringing, so they go after the manufacturer, who implements the OS and DOES BENEFIT from the software they chose to run…

      Without the software the phone doesn’t sell, by including it, Samsung profit from the patents in this suit…

      I think it is very clear, make them pay, there is no right way to steal IP and use it for free however you look at it…

      Plagiarism, would if you got caught, get you sacked, yet as a tech company they endorse stealing and that is ok…

      I don’t get it myself… ;)

  9. No way should Apple drop the charges. Steve Jobs made it very clear that he wants Android to be destroyed because it is a copy of iOS. They need to keep fighting until Android surrenders. I read an article that says when Google was developing Android they intended it to have actual keys and no touch screen. But when Apple released the iPhone, Google immediately copied Apple and made their Android phones have the look and feel of iOS.

    • Jobs also said that the perfect size for a phone was 3.5″ and that no one would ever use a tablet smaller than the iPad. Which phone and tablet are you using? Will you get the new 4.7 and/or 5.5. Samsung clones when they come out?

  10. Ken Mattlin says:

    This is a pure and simple instance of PRINCIPLE. Not a question of moving on,this is following rules that were put in place to make sure inventions and ideas are not just STOLEN without being
    acknowledged and or compensated for their use or value!

  11. supaflyboy says:

    So Samsung and Google and come along and copy Apple again the next time they revolutionise a market?! No way! Apple should keep this going as long as possible! The point of these cases is to serve notice that Apple WILL not tolerate blatant stealing of its IP.

    Look a Samsung now, they’re recent phones have been a pile of crap cause they have no one to copy from. That effect in its self is worth it and gives Apple a big advantage.

    • frankman91 says:

      What are you basing this on? The fact they made the number 2 selling phone of all time which was the most popular Android phone ever? Was it the terrible nature of the S3 that caused so many people to jump on the S4 and churn the rumor mills for the S5?

      Are you even aware Apples actual claims in these lawsuits?

    • cdmoore74 says:

      Looks like the S5 is off to better start than the S4 and HTC One 2014 edition. A personally don’t like the S5 and I’m a Note 3 owner. But I do like the water resistance and hope that carries over to more phones. I’ve seen the S5 survive a full cycle wash and left in a pool for 1 hour without missing a beat. Just a added feature like water resistance could cause someone to choose one phone over another. Not some slide to unlock or bouncy feature.

  12. For me, its obvious that Samsung copied aspects of Apple’s iOS. There’s no question. However, I can’t help but look at the various things such as the rounded corners bit and slide to unlock. I mean, to me, those things are obvious. Apple just came up with it first. What else is another manufacturer to do? Honestly, I’m just so sick and tired of it all. I’m sure I’ll get hated for this but, try to remember, this is just my feelings and opinions. I see Samsung as lame/lazy copycat when it comes to mobile devices but, I also see Apple as the lawsuit happy person who sues over anything and everything. Apple to me would be the person who would sue McDs over spilt hot coffee. I’m just so sick of it all. I use Apple devices. iMac, MacBook Air, iPhone and had an iPad and I say to Apple, move on already.

    • rettun1 says:

      That hot coffee reference you made just lost all credibility with me.

      Search “mcdonalds coffee burns pictures” and tell me that you wouldn’t want compensation

      • Tallest Skil says:

        ‘Kay, uh, was the coffee advertised as being hot? Was there a defect with either the lid or the cup? Was the customer handed the purchase in a manner unbefitting its contents?

        If those four questions come back as Yes, No, No, and No, respectively, there is absolutely no case whatsoever.

      • frankman91 says:

        I studied this case in my engineering ethics class, its not a great cut-and-dry tool for making arguments. I hereby stricken this example from future postings (kidding of course).

      • I agree with Tallest Skil on this one. That is a good reference to make.

    • greggthurman says:

      Those things are so obvious it took Samsung several iterations to successfully copy them.

      Its obvious to me that all those willing to give up have no sense of self worth. They are “let’s just get along” appeasers, afraid/unwilling to do what is right, preferring instead to taking the easy path of accommodation and compromise.

    • At last someone talks sense. I’m a huge Apple fanboy and I use Mac, iPhone and iPad. But I’m completely against these lawsuites. They are not the feautures that attracted to mo to Apple. If someone invented square TV doesnt mean anyone else who follows cannot make TV’s in square shape. Please grow up Apple. Put these valuable money to R&D and give us more awesome products. Thats where your legacy is.

  13. Never give up when you are doing the right thing. Right is right, and that’s all there is.

    If you know your cause is right, and you give up, you have done worse than to have never fought in the first place. Even if you lose, if you are right, you keep going.

    To do otherwise is to eschew “rightness” (and basically “civilisation” BTW) altogether.

  14. Apple should fight tooth and nail for everything it is entitled to. Google and Samsung, among others, have blatantly cheated their way to the market and Apple should stand up for what is right.

  15. ovumcerebrum says:

    You’re missing the point of the battle. Had Apple won against Microsoft (which by using any logical reasoning it should have) then Apple would never have approached the brink of bankruptcy. Had Apple won, no other company would have dared to carbon-copy their creation.

    And with Samsung, it’s not simply ‘hurt feelings’ that keeps Apple on the warpath..it’s economics, presents and future. Android/Samsung blatantly stole Apples iPhone interface and functionality, just as Microsoft did with Windows. The Microsoft loss taught Apple to patent everything in triplicate. But, even that didn’t matter to Google and Samsung – because they ran the numbers and discovered lawsuits would probably be just a fraction of what profits would be for an iPhone clone…and so far they’ve been right. (Side note: Samsung is the worst villain of all because Apple trusted them to make the displays for the iPhone of which they had all the specs. They saw this piece of magic and thought “who cares if we get sued..we have to get in on this).

    Therefore, in order for Apple to keep this thief from continuing to rape & pillage them (and also to dissuade other would-be thieves) they have no choice but the stay the course and continue the fight.

  16. if apple gives up the fight – why have patents? Why have USPTO and their equivalent across the world? The viability of the patent system and the rule of law must prevail. If not we become china and/or japan of the 1960’s.

    • Because there were never supposed to be software patents. They are such a gray area. Patents are, and were always, meant for hardware and hard parts. How do you patent words?

      Apple has stolen the Notification Shade from Google. Now Apple is stealing the phone size from Samsung. iOS was crippled from the start, and Google took it and made it a thousand times better. There is soooo much limitation with iOS, but with Android, the sky is the limit.

      How could Google have stolen something that looks and acts nothing like an iOS product? When Samsung and Google came out with their 7 and 8 inch tablets, what did Apple do? Apple copies more than any other company, including Samsung, so I think it is time to look inwards.

      The Icon Grid on iOS??? LG used that in their Prada phone way before Apple announced the iPhone.

  17. Nope, they stole allot of stuff, they should go after Samsung and Google until they relent and agree to pay royalties and admit they only came up with their TI and other concepts after they saw Steve Jobs reveal the iPhone inb 2007. Samsung and Google dont have the imagination to create an iPhone, NO WAY..

    • cdmoore74 says:

      How about Apple invent something new and innovative instead of relying on the courts to bail them out. I understand protecting your ideas but at the same time people want what Samsung has. Apple is not living up to expectations.

  18. Apple also needs to make a point about not being cheated. Keep in mind that Samsung has a lot of insight in Apple’s technology due to their manufacturing agreement. This puts Samsung somewhat at an unfair advantage for competing. One could argue that if Samsung devices and Android weren’t in the market the sale differential would be huge for the iPhone. So the features in this lawsuit might look simple but the entire impact of all these little things add up and constitute a market challenge for Apple even if their technology is better. You may have the best product but noise can still hurt your sales…

  19. Google copied many patented aspects of iOS. The sellers of android phones have not bargained with Apple in good faith and agreed to pay reasonable royalty payments for using technology that was developed over many years. Does Apple not deserve to protect their intellectual property? Should they just allow anyone to copy their great ideas and sell cheap plastic phones with all Apple technology in their user interface? It is a well proven fact that Samsung had a goal to beat Apple and had no problem stealing their ideas. I respect Microsoft. At least they came up with original ideas for Windows phone and dealt with Apple fairly and paid royalties when they were rightfully owed.

  20. No, I don’t. Some of the commentary below seems to completely miss the point. Apple isn’t doing this for publicity. They get plenty of that without these court cases. It’s in their best interest to pursue people that steal their intellectual property relentlessly. Turning the other cheek will only sends out the message that it can be gotten away with. Which, in turn, will lead to more of it. Litigating now will lead to less litigation later by making it known that the price that will be paid for stealing their technology will outweigh any benefit. If you read publications like Engadget you know companies in these Asian countries especially seem really keep on making knock offs and counterfeit products that are meant to resemble technology that companies like Apple have spent billions developing. Allowing them to do so with impunity would be foolish and only encourage more of it. Costing Apple, and other companies that fall victim to it, potentially billions of dollars.

  21. Yes!! Apple’s sole focus needs to be innovation and forging the future. Doubling back to punish those riding its coattails dilutes its cultural and historical significance as a visionary and inspired company.

  22. Are you crazy? Of course not!
    Let Samsung PAY ahr ahr ahr for their crimes !!!

  23. Uh, no fuck samsung and their flimsy cancer-causing phones. Run them out of the market.

  24. Apple is being ridiculous. I had iPhones since original until iphone 5, with intermediate devices since HTC G1 to Galaxy s4, and I will tell you this – nobody decides on one phone or the other based on the slide to unlock button. Lets not forget also, that current notifications in iOS and notification center as it is – was also copied by apple thanks to cydia developers that first introduced those features in jailbroken devices. And Control Center existed in androids for years before ios7. So Apple is not all that nice and flawless either.

    They need to drop it and start doing their R&D for new products and services more, than they concentrate on protecting Slide to Unlock..
    Reason I switched, and my in-laws (which were hard core Apple Fans, with laptops, tablets and phones with Apple) is simple – Apple has been stagnant in their iOS development for 7 years and my in-laws finally got simply bored with it.

    • Thank you for being one of the only reasonable people on this thread. I want you to know that among the sea of comments featuring gems like “samsung’s phones cause cancer” you were a bright light in the darkness.

      • Dan Harveyy says:

        yes this post was a voice of wisdom in a sea of borderline religious madness… all these apple fanboys are so evveloped in their Apple worship that they havnt realized that Apples innovations come from a broad spectrum of people and many of those people werent Apple employees or even contracting for them, both iOS & OSX are based off unix for a start, and the Dock, 3D chiseled widgets, & large colourful icons, some of the main things together with the unix modular OS that made Apple stand out after years of stagnation, were decended from NeXTSTEP, circa 1991, not to mention Apple took an opensourced code and closed it up almost completely, and made everyone constantly upgrade & buy new cables, & didnt recall products with obvious faults like the Ipod Classic 120gb that just stopped working for no reason at all, not syncing or loading or just loosing all the data, regardless how many times you reformatted it & restored (pages & pages of google posts about that one) .. and yup, look at the Android gadgets coming out, like Galaxy note, the easier useability & drag & drop of Androids, non-proprietry cables, upgradeable storage, all the Roms available for pimping your droid, the ability for most droids to replace the battery for a higher capacity, how easy they are to root (jailbreak) & Samsung isnt even the even the only tough competitor, the HTC One M8 is a beautiful ph, as is the LG Nexus7 , but Apples recent philosophy of clinging to Jobs ideas for dear life isnt just affecting their smartph market share, even more & more designers are going back to windows over mac, and its obvious to see that Apple doesnt have many fresh ideas..

        dont get me wrong, i love my 2010 iMac, but i also love my 2nd hand rooted(jailbroken) HTC Sensation running the 2nd latest Android OS with a custom Rom that lets me configure stuff how i want.. even if i had the money to shell out for a brand new handset, i would probably get a Nexus7 or an HTC OneM8 over an overpriced iPhone5s (over $1000 new in NZ, $800 2nd hand if your lucky) vs my 2nd hand ph which cost me $130, but theres many brand new & well featured Android handsets for below $700.. but price alone isnt why ive chosen Android over iOS even though i use & love my iMac, its useability & configuribility.. im not limited to iTunes for starters, i dont have to freak out when i loose the charger cable, android phs are easier to root or break, & everything can be customized.. So yep, i think that apple, rather than focus on petty details and lawsuits, need to get back in the innovation lab, cos even if they do make money if they dont come up with something fresh when theres so much competition, (Galaxy note is samsungs most recent innovation & Apple hasnt shown a device that even comes close to the capabilities, HTC OneM8 is even more attractive than an iPhone..& Ubuntu is next OS up in the ring & will pack a punch) then theyre going to be left behind & loose credibility like windows did for a while.. swings & roundabouts.. the cycle of market capitalization & innovation..

  25. I need to quote Mr. Jobs form 97… : “We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win Microsoft has to lose. OK? (Applause). We have to embrace a notion that for Apple to win Apple has to do a really good job”

    The same goes for Android. If apple wants to win, they have to make damn better phones and User Interfaces, not lawsuites.

  26. Overlord says:

    So, after all this years of “mambo jambo yadayada stole my ideas”, it’s all ok? :)

  27. togetherinparis says:

    Samsung robbed Apple blind and used what they stole publicly to amass an Apple-like fortune. But Apple robbed me blind. I wrote the Robin Williams speech from Dead Poets that Apple uses to sell iPads. So, if only fabulously rich companies can use the justice system as is the case here in the USA, should we sneer at Apple’s dilemma and deny them just compensation for their loss at the hands of deliberately thieving rogues? Two wrongs don’t make a right. One just verdict is better than total lawlessness. The courts were set up to assure some sort of rational reasonable behavior by people and then corporations were invented. Now only the very wealthiest corporations can use the courts. There is no shame in Apple’s legal defense. The fault as everyone knows is with Samsung’s executives who ordered the deliberate thefts of Apple’s UI. I wish Apple well. After all somebody somewhere sometime ought to get at least some justice in this world.

  28. Brian Victor says:

    May I be the first to say that I have no idea whether or not Apple should settle because I’m not a lawyer, not an Apple VP, and don’t understand all the intricacies that could affect this decision even after reading the article?

  29. I think that if Apple is going to pick at Google and Samsung, they’ll pick right back, and it’s not in Apple’s interest to having Google and Samsung fighting back. I’m sure some of us remember Steve Jobs saying that he would never allow the iPhone to have native apps, and changed his mind when Google announced theirs.

    Many of Apple’s ‘breakthrough’ ideas are taken from the Jailbreak community and other tech companies. Parallax? iOS6 jailbreak. Panorama? iOS 5 Jailbreak. Control Center? Jailbreak, toggles? Jailbreak. I’m not saying that Apple is wrong to incorporate these features (although some credit to the community would be nice), I’m pointing out that Apple has not invented every single thing on their phone; and the more they bring up who invented what, the more they are going to regret it.

    Apple has a tendency to innovate, jump way ahead, and then let everybody catch up for five years before jumping ahead again, and it seems they’re letting everybody else get ahead. A comparison of the Note 3 to the iPhone, or the Samsung ATIV book 9 to the Macbook Air, or the Surface Pro 2 to the iPad (the thing runs a full operating system), makes it difficult to say that apple is still leagues ahead of the competition, if at all. They are at a crucial point, where they may end up falling behind if they fuck up too much, and pursuing lawsuit after lawsuit may be one of the factors that pushes them off the edge.

    • johnpford says:

      I first want to say that I’m not a lawyer but I have friends who are. We had a conversation about this and one of them basically said it was easier for Apple to go after Samsung, Motorola, etc because you can show revenues being gained by the feature. But Google’s revenues are driven by ad revenues which is much more difficult to get a valuation on. Everything gets fuzzy after that because I was 3 beers in and a blonde walked by.

  30. Tallest Skil says:

    Not until it’s off the market, no.

  31. Brian Victor says:

    Lovejoy said, “Now, I risk life and limb in the comments by admitting this, but I did for quite some time use a Mac, an iPad and … an Android phone”
    Ben, did your wife make you buy the Android? Blink twice if you need us to call for help. :D

  32. RP says:

    In the short term It may seem like it’s not worth it, but it is necessary. Yes it may be messy and time consuming, but if they just let it stand other companies will get more brazen. It’s a pitcher throwing a fastball inches from the batter telling him to back off.

  33. Brian Victor says:

    Loveyjoy said, “You could argue that it actually helps position Android as a platform on an equal footing to iOS: “if Apple thinks Samsung has copied the iPhone, maybe it’s just as good?”.
    I see your point. Many people will no doubt think that too uncritically (i.e. not consider things like app ecosystem, usefulness of other features, how the phone uses its specs, etc.). My wife does have an Android Samsung S4 (and wanted me to go cheap and buy one too!). When it comes to copying, I think of it as counterfeiting, but slapping your own brand name on it. Principal of the thing matters and with this much money at stake, it is understandable that Apple doesn’t want to let this go.

  34. Nah, I disagree. If the tables were turned, Samsung wouldn’t have no problems about doing the same. In essence, ‘Don’t hate the playa, hate the game.”

  35. exspyguy says:

    I say they press on current course. Eventually we will get judicial precedent on how far one company can go to ‘use’ or ‘follow’ another companies idea and innovation. This is important for the level of effort someone goes to innovate. Why work hard if some knuckle head on the other side if the world is going to steal your idea, make it cheaper, and sell it in your neighborhood?

    Is it plausible that Google and Samsung just happened to think about deploying the same interface using the same techniques and procedures that Apple at about the same time? Sure. Is Google a company known for tech innovation? Yeah. Is Samsung a consumer electronics company that is known for its consumer product engineering? Yes.

    What we need to know, is taking someone’s IP and deploying it without permission to make a profit an acceptable practice?

    It’s depends on what your definition of ‘is’, is.

  36. newmorning says:

    Do you really think you’re qualified to comment on IP protection policy?

  37. Hey everybody, stop reading this poor man’s Mac news source and check out my website, www(dot)9to5mack(dot)com, and read the latest commentary by author Ben Juvjoi where he argues that maybe Apple should drop its patent lawsuits against Samsung. Just check the site out once, and you’ll see that 9to5mack far more innovative than 9to5mac. We use a font that is twice as big and all words are spelled, “fonetikalee.”

  38. johnpford says:

    Isn’t there a larger issue though?

    First is that you have to defend your patents or you will lose them correct?

    Second, is that Apple should abandon the lawsuits even though they are winning them? Even though there is a complete disregard for elements that are protected?

    There is no way to know for sure, but I believe there have been numerous attempts to come to a compromise but neither party will settle. To be honest if I were samsung why WOULD I settle. The amount of profit they are generating while pushing the embargo’s out is more then paying any fine they could possibly be ordered to pay.

    Samsung’s model is pretty smart. Look at what they can use straight from Google. Intellectual property owned or not. Modify where necessary to create market differentiation. Go as long as they can with IP violations, meanwhile see if they can find a different or better way to do the same thing(like how they got around the swipe to unlock).

    • No, patents aren’t trademarks. You can sit on a patent and wait until the last day before it expires, and file a lawsuit. Trademarks require you to make sure the mark isn’t used outside of your discretion. If people begin to associate the mark with another product or service, then you claim to the mark is effectively cancelled.

      How did Samsung get around slide to unlock?

  39. I don’t know. I read an article the other talking about this and they made the comparison to the Windows lawsuits in a very different way. In that article they pointed to Apple being forced to license their IP to Microsoft as being what contributed, not note completely caused, to their losing the OS war for so many years.

    Is it worth it? Maybe. After all, Apple might have only won $1 billion dollars, but how much more did Samsung spend on defense lawyers? How much easier is the next case going to be because Samsung has already been found guilty of patent infringement once? After they lose a few cases of patent infringement, how much easier is it going to be to get Samsung products banned? And once that happens how much easier to get new Android products banned unless Samsung spends time and money developing ways around the infringing designs?

    I still contend that this isn’t about making Samsung pay. I think that it is an effort to make using Android a losing proposition for Samsung. If it were really about Android why aren’t they going after Google? If Apple can make it so costly for Samsung to use Android, that they switch to Tizen or Windows. Then I think that Apple would have to consider that a win. After all, Samsung is a huge proportion of Android’s sales and pretty much the only company making profits from the sales of Android.

    Splitting the Android camp up is a much larger win for Apple then any court case. It is all about pushing Samsung to divorce itself from Google and Android. And, fortunately for Apple, I think that Google is helping them with their increasingly draconian actions against the hardware manufacturers.

    • herb02135go says:

      I’m loving the airing of Apple’s dirty laundry.

      Interesting how comments here say the patent system is broken but we need to keep it going. Such dysfunction from the fans!

      What Apple is going after isn’t principle, it’s money.

      Can someone provided a link to Apple’s patent on rounded corners? How about the patent on “shiny”?

      • You’re talking about US Design patent D504,899 (http://www.google.com/patents/USD504889). Please note that the patent was declared valid in Federal Appeals Court. What Apple lost was a claim of infringement where a jury decided that the Samsung tablet didn’t violate the claims as written. It did not find the patent invalid. The current trial will not determine validity of any patent claims, just determine if the other party is infringing, and if so, how much that party should pay for the infringement. If the judge decides that a party knowingly infringed, then they can award up to triple damages over the jury award.

      • bboysupaman says:

        herb01235go,

        The patent system IS broken. That is WHY they need to keep it going. If there is a poorly written law and nobody ever takes advantage of that law, it will never change. If there is a poorly written law that people continue to manipulate and use loopholes, the system will have to be revised eventually. At this point, that is the best reason to continue these suits. At some point, they are going to have to say, “Hey! We need to reform this patent system! It’s getting ridiculous!”.

      • Jack Gnasty says:

        Sure, right next to your patent on douche-baggery

      • Dear bboysupaman;

        What exactly is your problem with the patents in this case? I’ve noticed a lot of comments in this and other blogs where the posters know little or nothing about patents, nor have they even taken the time to read the claims. Is there a specific claim in this case that you think is being misused or read in an ambiguous fashion?

  40. rzozaya1969 says:

    I think that in technology, almost nothing is invented 100% alone… Mostly everyone builds and create based on previous data. Apple has fallen into this, it didn’t invent the categories which is famous for. It´s strength was doing them superbly and market and sell them as well, but not inventing the wheel.

    I also understand the part in slowing the competitors using lawsuits. I think that both parties have fallen into this.

    Ok, maybe (most probably) Samsung wanted to match some issues that, from an objective standpoint, doesn’t make a reason to go from platform A to B, but it has helped Apple make the impression that Samsung success is based solely on copying this issues. What about stuff that Apple has copied?

    In part, I think this would be like Ford suing General Motors because their cars uses black, circular wheels, the same as they.

    What I think that this lawsuits harm is smaller developers which might take not make a decision to build something which somebody else might then claim that looks like on of their patents.

    I think that the lawsuits are just a waste of money.

    If Apple want to hurt Samsung, they should loose Samsung as their supplier and buy elsewhere…. the same for Samsung, if he would want to hurt Apple, stop selling… but both of those option make them loose money… so going to court might be cheaper than a more radical approach.

    • Apple Insider just posted an article showing PPT slides from Samsung engineers who were tasked with developing a slide to unlock implementation that would get around Apple’s patent. I think if you read, I mean really read that, then I think you would reconsider your whole post. What that presentation says is that Samsung engineers just couldn’t find an acceptable replacement procedure, and as such, just decided to throw in the innovation towel and copied Apple. And then I dare you to find a similar move by Apple or any other fortune 500 company that acted so brazenly.

    • Jason Piebes says:

      You are missing a huge part of the industry here… LICENSING. Other manufacturers have similar products because they work out licenses. Motorola invented the GSM cell phone system. They licensed it and got paid. Did you know Microsoft gets paid for every Android handset sold? That’s because Microsoft licensed technology that is used in Android. They invented it so they get paid. Simple. And it’s Apple’s prerogative if they want to license or not. If not, then others will just have to find another way. That’s the way it goes. Instead of copying the slide-to-unlock, Samsung could have been first to implement a real fingerprint unlock system. Instead, they wasted time copying Apple and ripping off ideas.

  41. ziongpham says:

    No. End of sentence.

  42. Mark Carabin says:

    I find it funny that Apple seems to have moved on already, in a sense, from one of the issues being brought up here. One of the things that’s been coming up the most, the slide to unlock feature, has already been replaced by something more simple, intuitive, and that Samsung has once again tried to replicate and failed. Using Touch ID to unlock my phone now seems like second nature, and going back to slide to unlock, even on my iPad, is now boring and a bit of a (first world problem) nuisance. The finger print reader in the S5 can do a few more things, but from what I’ve seen one handed use (how I usually unlock my 5s) is next to impossible.

  43. Normally I’d be tempted to say “drop it and move on”.

    But we all know that Samsung lives from audaciously copying others’ work and then laughing in their face like a monkey. It’s their bread and butter. So, on that respect some retribution is in order for them, somehow.

    I can’t say if litigation is the best way, but it is a way. The other thing Apple can do is keep up their good work, never release crappy products like Samsung does (*) and somehow be a lil more responsive to public demand.

    (*) I also happen to use a Galaxy Fame and it’s by far the worst phone I’ve laid my hands on, even counting the old Nokia era in the late 90s. This thing is sloooooow. Apple never releases such crappy stuff and I thank them for that. (having said that, Apple seems to care only about the top of the food chain, not even the middle :/ – nobody would complain if this year they release the 5 or even the 4S at around $300-350 contract-free)

  44. Ben, I must say, this is one of the shortest sighted opinions I’ve ever read. It reeks of someone who values sales and “doing business as usual” than the moral ineptitude of what’s taken place here. Unfortunately small businesses have a very difficult time with patents as the cost to defend them usually far outweighs any rewards. Yet companies do the best they can to stick up for what is rightfully theirs. Apple has the good fortune to have enough funds and resources to defend their property against flagrant stealing. And, the problem with patents are, unless you defend them, they become worthless in court.

    Perhaps you should spend more time painting, writing a novel, making a film, and discover how deeply you feel violated when someone replicates exactly what you’ve done first.

    I usually don’t bother writing anything in response to editorials, but I think this is one of the most short sighted things I’ve ever read as we march into the future and things become even more complex.

  45. rlowhit says:

    Before all this started I believe Tim Cook mentioned he rather settle than fight. Samsungs response was something akin to we will never settle and rather burn Samsung to the ground than settle.

  46. Oft times, a settlement is the better part of honor. Look at the iBook litigation, Apple got a worse deal out of the fight than if they had settled. Unfortunately in today’s business environment, patents are not the iron fortress of protection that these used to be, technology moves so quickly that any advantage a patent may grant is quickly surpassed by even more advances. The Courts move so slow that it is not worth the effort in most cases. I cannot remember the last time that a patent was upheld that materially affected the patent owning firm.

  47. Vlad Didenko says:

    As someone pointed out on Twitter, the slider idea is documented since 1991:

    A specific decoration IMHO is not a patentable idea, but a fashion design.

    • Vlad Didenko says:

      Starting at 2:54 (the comment system removed the time reference).

    • Jason Piebes says:

      The problem with that analogy is that it takes a team of people to code that swipe, code the physics that make it ‘feel’ real, code for security issues, etc… It’s not simply a jpeg on a screen made in photoshop. This isn’t about patenting fashion, it’s about patenting Gore-Tex fabric used in the fashion. Big difference.

    • If you read the claim, it says that the graphic has to move with the finger. The prior art that you show above is a toggle switch, either off or on. Also the slider in this example is not used to unlock a touch display. There are five steps in the claim that each need to be met. Can you please take the time to find an example of a finger touching screen that has a sliding graphic that moves with the finger and unlocks the display. I’m not being facetious here. The law is very specific about how a claim is interpreted, and the example above does not meet the necessary burden to be considered prior art.

  48. Off course they should let it go and move on. even ask google to let them copy some titbits from Android. lolzzz

  49. Think about those people that works/worked in Apple who spent hours and hours to think of an Idea, hours, day and night making the software and hardware that changed the way people use their phone. I don’t think its all about the money, some if it yes, but I think it’s also for those people who stood with apple in creating their products. That was their hard work and I think that Apple is right to sue, it is their right to sue Samsung. These are my thoughts and opinions. I also think I’m being naive…this is business after all.

  50. cdmoore74 says:

    Finally! A Apple website that gets it. I wish I could say the same about Macrumors and their fanboy followers.
    People just don’t see the big picture. Even if you win the case it does not mean that Android owners are going to magically flock to Apple. Their are so many people who do not like iOS and small screened phones. It’s so simple but Apple makes it appear so complicated. I’m not even sure if a 4.7″ display is enough to bring back Android users after they use iOS; Android is still ahead because Apple has been playing around in court for the last 3 years.

    • Jason Piebes says:

      Get’s what? You seem to be on a different page entirely. The lawsuit is about preventing other companies from profiting off billions of dollars in research and not paying for the technology. And if so many people dislike iOS then I suppose they could go without those iOS features that Android ripped off… Oh but wait, you want it both ways because you simply dislike Apple. You’re not an Android “fanboy” at all are you?

    • Actually, Apple had two MBAs testify, as they concluded their witness list, that the features in question did contribute to customers selecting Samsung over the iPhone. And those lost sales are a major reason why Apple is asking for $40 per unit instead of $4. And the judge in this case already ruled that the process by which Apple derived the $40 per unit price was perfectly reasonable under statute. In other words, Apple may not get their customers back, but they are within their right to seek compensation for lost revenues.

  51. Such a pity.. may of you are saying to drop it.. Well its like a group of goons stabbed a geek in the back with a knife and you say let go? Definitely not.. Android is a rip.. but Don’t forget Samsung has stolen the designs too…even their galaxy 5 has a lock screen copied even to the placement of the camera for usage if its locked.. Such level of stabbing definitely needs to be a lifetime imprisonment or hang to death

  52. Jason Piebes says:

    “Move on” say the people who have never invented a thing in their life…

    So employee B copies employee A’s great idea. The boss sees the great idea and promotes employee B. Should employee A just “get over it”?

  53. Yes, it’s time for Apple and Samsung to both put a sock in it. I’d like to see them make some kind of settlement or shady backroom deal and go back to what they both do best. This really isn’t good PR for either of them, and lesser companies wouldn’t engage in this kind of drivel for this long. I guess it shows just how much money both have to burn….