Apple patents were actually Google inventions, says Samsung

April 14, 2014
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Google Hiroshi Lockheimer

Apple and Samsung are again in locked horns in a bitter patent dispute that has, so far, spanned two years. After Apple’s 2012 win against Samsung involving a $930 million settlement, the two companies are at it again.

This time, Apple is accusing Samsung of having infringed on five software patents involving quick-linking, slide-to-unlock, universal search, automatic word correction and background sync. Meanwhile, Samsung is also accusing Apple of infringing on two patents that involve camera and folder organization and video transmission functionality. These involve a newer set of devices, including the flagship Galaxy S2 and S3, as well as the iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and iPad 2,3, 4 and mini, among others.

Apple has rested its case, giving its concluding statements in the previous week. Damages were computed at $2.191 billion, including lost profits and a fair amount for royalties. As Samsung begins its defense, it has called on Google executives to aid in proving Android has not copied Apple in developing the popular mobile operating system. Rather, the argument is that the innovations being claimed by Apple as its own were actually invented — or at least first utilized — by Android and Google.

Android beginnings

First on the stand on behalf of Samsung was Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s executive vice president for engineering at Android. Lockheimer gave an account of Android’s early days, starting with its fledgling team of less than 30 employees, which has fast grown to about 600 to 700 after Google’s acquisition. He recalled how, during this time, the team actively intended to make Android a discrete operating system — not locked into any hardware — and something that is not like other mobile operating systems.

“We like to have our own identity,” Lockheimer said. “We were very passionate about what we were doing, and it was important that we have our own ideas.”

We were very passionate about what we were doing, and it was important that we have our own ideas.

He then described the work habits at Android, which often involve 60 to 80 hour workweeks, and which “continue to be grueling.” The testimony is aimed at proving the Android team had been hard at work developing these features, and not simply copying from other technologies. According to Lockheimer, his first involvement with Android was in January 2006, when co-founder Andy Rubin invited him to view a demonstration of the OS. This means development on Android was well underway even before the iPhone first came out.

Google’s innovations, not Apple’s

Samsung is relying on Google experts’ testimony to debunk the claim that there is any value to Apple’s patents. For example, with regard to universal search — the ability to search both web and local content from a single interface — Lockheimer says internal Google data indicate that users are 98 percent more likely to click on web results rather than local ones.

Apple has tried to question the Google executive’s role in the trial, with counsel stating that the presence of Google personnel might confuse the jury. After all, it’s not Google that is on trial here, but rather Samsung. However, since the initial 2012 lawsuit and other legal and oversight proceedings involving Apple and Samsung, the sentiment is that Apple is using Android device manufacturers as a proxy in its war against Android itself, and by extension, Google.

For Samsung, Google’s involvement is meant to convey the message that the innovations are Google’s and not Apple’s, which means the Cupertino, CA company is claiming damages arising from the use of innovations that it did not invent in the first place.

Lockheimer is only one of the several Google executives and experts Samsung is calling in as witnesses. The Korean company is expected to present a total of 17 witnesses throughout the month to bolster its defense.

The question here is this: is Samsung on the right track? Is this the right argument to defend itself against Apple’s patent complaint, and is tapping Google’s help the correct means in achieving this?

Comments

  • Anthony

    The entire software patent system needs a complete overhaul… Period!

    • Daniel Tremblay

      Well said

  • pinkslip4steve

    Samsung didn’t invent Android. If Apple think some features in Android are stolen, they obviously is suing the wrong party. What an idiots. Steve is dead. Causes? Fatal exposure to his own thermonuclear bullsh*t. Next up. Apple Corp. Your market share will shrink to the size of a squirrel ball

    • John

      About how big is a squirrel ball again? It’s been quite some time since I last saw one.

      • Alex Cuaron

        Lets just say they are very very small….

      • bobprobert

        quite big actually

    • fredphoesh

      well spoken. What a repulsive organisation the Apple Corporation is.

    • Thoriq Rahman

      they don’t have balls to sue Google..

      • cee

        Its not balls, its that ScroUgle accounting works in such a way there is little point, look at the way they steal copy-write protected media, from books to films and make cash. If you were a published author, tv or film maker, you would understand the the issue better.

  • Mike Bastable

    Too answer the question posed at the end.
    This is a very high risk strategy from Samsung and Google. Evidence shows that Android changed alot of things once iPhone emerged, these changes are well documented, to actually have Google claim these things in court it’s a risk if it is decided that they did not originate them, then the door is open for actions against Google. I expect Apple to win this case too, Samsung would be wise to bite the bullet and pay honest license fees to Apple, they do to Microsoft. The more Samsung taunts Apple and ignores the real origins of Android (as now know it) the more potential damage to Android long term.
    Apple really did change everything with the iPhone, really pleased they did that. Android copied and refined itself into a worthy alternative (which I love). Samsung copied the iPhone (this has been established) and should pay up.
    Samsung is nr.1 now, this at the expense of Nokia, Sony, Motorola, HTC etc…all of whom innovate and cross license each others tech. They got there by copying Apple. I would prefer the other companies be more successful and see innovation rewarded.

    • Jeff Moreira

      Yep, Apple invented a lot of things first, including the slide to unlock feature, below is a pre-finished version of it:

      • TheWay

        Great so the person who invented the airplane you mocking him with a stupid bird? have a little respect!

      • Mike Bastable

        You have been waiting to post that haven’t you. Saving and waiting. Clever. Clever.
        Now if you actually also contributed o the discussion it might have been worth the wait…

        • Jeff Moreira

          Right, check this prior-art slide to unlock then:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj-KS2kfIr0

          • TheWay

            that video was uploaded 29 06 2007 and the iPhone was announced in January 2007..but it doesnt matter who launced it first it matters who patented first

          • Jeff Moreira

            According to Wikipedia it was release in 2005, way before the iPhone.
            Also, even without patent, this is called prior-art, it already existed, Apple didn’t invented.

          • K.

            The date a video was uploaded to youtube is not relevant. But the fact that this phone by Neonode was released the N1m in 2005 is. Moreover Neonode filled a patent for slide to unlock in 2002 (http://www.google.com/patents/US8095879?dq=8095879&ei=YHdCT56bFerE2wXU8qiVCA).

          • Mike Bastable

            JEFF!!!!!!! for Gods sake DID you read the comment?…these are NOT my opinions! Do not try to prove stuff to me, the courts have sided with Apple consistently (in many countries) that much of Samsungs Galaxy stuff was a reaction to the iPhone and was guilty of copying Apple.
            I was pointing out that by involving Google the issues become BIGGER and possibly more damaging for Android if Apple win! Apple has avoided involving Google (there seems to be a status quo that being “inspired by” and then (in my view) improving upon iOS is acceptable).
            Samsung certainly copied Apple with the Galaxy reaction to the iPhone and THIS is what Apple (correctly) wants rectified.
            Please stop with the prior art (we have all seen LG’s touchscreen phones etc many times). My point is, and i would be interested if YOU had views on this, that by calling Google on its behalf Samsung risks Android being judged…and we have ALL seen the first “blackberry-esque” version of Android that Google was developing prior to iPhone.
            What Apple did very well, as usual, was the whole package of software, hardware and end user experience: it was awesome and unique…and thank god it inspired the awesome handsets we all use today.
            Samasung copies. Apple LG HTC Sony Motorola innovate. all kudos to the innovators.

          • K.

            10 European courts have ruled against Apple for the slide-to-unlock:
            http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/04/10-european-judges-found-apple-had-not.html

          • Mike Bastable

            Again i am not discussing the specific case of slide to unlock, i am looking at the broader issues. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows Samsung copies many companies.Although i will give them credit that since Apple started suing them they have been more careful and vaguely more innovative. None of the comments adress the issues of the article..they are just throw away insults to either Apple or Samsung. There is more here than that.
            K? Please reply to the poster who bought up slide to unlock, not to me, since as i stated i actually owned a neonode and am well aware of who introduced this piece of trickery.

      • Clint McKay

        Rofl :D :P

      • rattyuk

        Because we all go around with huge great door in our pocket?

        The solution Apple came up with was to stop butt dialing on a touch screen device by using a gesture instead of a random screen press.

        Anyway your argument is moot because Samsung have documentation saying that ripping off Apple’s solution was quicker and better than the solutions they came up with.

      • Intellectua1

        Amazing

  • Luka Mlinar

    One day people will stop buying Apple and all they will have left will be the lawsuit business.

    • Mike Bastable

      silly silly

    • rattyuk

      Why would these companies want to kill off their R&D dept?

      • cee

        rattyuk, Samsung have their own R&D dept, here is a picture of Samsung’s head of design…

        • Mikesphoneandtab

          I don’t agree with the underlying message, but we’ll played. I laughed.

          • cee

            The best jokes always have an under-current of truth to them.

            HTC & Microsoft pay royalties to Apple, why should Samsung not do the same, even Google told them to change their design.

            Apple pay royalties to Xerox and SRI for the Mouse and GUI.

            The most ironic part is Xerox only used GUI and the Mouse on one product; Photocopiers.

          • Jesus

            um… you can see that the designs are different?

  • TheWay

    What are u doing Google? why are you siding with Samsung?
    Is just matter of time to see Samsung Search with LOGO in four colors and You Should Tube That by Samsung
    Remember Samsung copies everyone not just Apple

    • The-Sailor-Man

      “What are u doing Google? why are you siding with Samsung?”
      LOL
      Don’t you think Google should be siding with the TRUTH, first?

  • huwu

    If apple wins this case it will just show how biased the us courts are. Slide to unlock was already invalidated in other courts

  • chromefans

    Both Apple and Google are American company, so judge will try to win both, or make them come to agreement, cross licensing, or whatever judge think best.

    In any case, Samsung will still lose, because it’s not American company.

    • melhiore

      In that case US court will prove that american patent system is a fucking racist!!

      • mobilemann

        funny as apple won in South Korea and Japan too. extra points for being discriminatory (in this case against Americans) while talking about racism.

        seriously, this is the dimmest group of commenters i’ve ever seen.

  • Rushan

    Apple will win this case since its an American company. If anything happned nagatively, there is someone behind to veto

    • cee

      like the cases Samsung lost in South Korea, or Japan

      • mobilemann

        Are you just blindly agreeing? apple won most recently in South Korea and Japan as well.

  • Steve

    All apple are doing is trying to hold Samsung in court. The longer they hold them in court the longer Samsung have to wait to be able to sell their amazing product’s that lead the way in technology.

    • rattyuk

      Save that isn’t working. Even the phones in this current case are over 3 years old. Samsung don’t care they just release their rip offs and by the time they are taken to court it is too late.

      BTW Samsung are very worried about not selling as many of their high-end phones as they hoped and now with the Chinese companies coming in with excellent low-end offerings they are going to start to feel the pinch.

      • jake

        check the latest reports from websites, the s5 is off to a very big start bigger than the s4

    • cee

      Oh another company of ‘honesty’. who lie publicly to share holders about sales figures.

      Google and Samsung deserve each other.

      I think the funniest thing is the cross-licencing agreement they have, because Samsung are just gonna rip off Google and replace Android with Tizen.

      Five years from now you will be asking do you remember Google, Bing it!

  • Alex Cuaron

    Apple patents everything.. Its into this mad rush.. Google just keeps calm & makes life easier for everyone around.. They actually invent things.. Not like that baby fruit…

    • Roberto Tomás

      well if you want to get technical — most of their patents are actually bought from others. They dont invent much of anything, just spend money.

      • rattyuk

        “most of their patents are actually bought from others.”
        Care to support that argument? And no, Xerox, was very well compensated.

        • Roberto Tomás

          well you just supported it for me. I didnt say that they dont pay well. But they do pay often. Clear examples are NeXT, PCC, Nortel, IV, Maya-sys, Kodak … hell even the iPhone 2′s body design was an Indonesian buyout. there are dozens of them, each with hundreds if not thousands of patents.

          • cee

            What a bit like: Android was bought in (and was so bad, it had to be started over to emulate the iPhone (as well as ripping off oracle to boot)).

            WP, spreadsheet and presentation software, was OpenOffice.

            YouTube, whose creators have lambasted Google for what they have done with it.

            Nexus, was a Motorola patent trolling exercise.

            Oh and IV, was first supported by…Google, and now Microsoft.

            Self-driving cars were invented before Google, its just BMW and Volvo didn’t brib…i mean make enough political contributions to get the cars on the road

            And of course Google was at the cutting edge of digital photography like Apple was in partnership with Kodak, oh sorry, Google didn’t exist when all the invention was going on in digital photography.

            Google buy-in everything, the only thing brought to the table by Google was a ‘fuck you’ attitude to everyones privacy (this does not include the top brass at Google, if you Bing: CNET blackballed).

            Eric is a sweaty cretin and the two boys only care about how much they can make from your personal data.

            And now they want carte blanche access to everyones medical records, and with a history of being seeded by the CIA, and the illegal dangerous drugs they profit from, trust is not a term that Google care for.

            DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT GOOGLE’S BUSINESS IS?

            ADVERTISING SPACE, EVERYTHING ELSE IS JUST TO FURTHER THAT GOAL.

            Having spent 15 years in advertising, guess which department in all agencies make the most profit… the department who sell personal data on punters.

            Google are leading us into a world like Idiocracy, free stuff covered in adverts.

          • Roberto Tomás

            you misunderstood the point. I didnt claim that *only* apple buys their patents, I said that Apple definitely *does* buy most of their patents.

          • cee

            Sorry, but do you have any data to back this up? Its sounds like you are talking loud and saying nothing.

            Lets play spot the copy…

          • Roberto Tomás

            Asked and answered. As for your patent example: Im sure Apple has filed for at least *one* patent that they did themselves (and no, I actually don’t recognize it – shape is similar to a laptop, and yet Apple isn’t renowned for their display technologies, which is what made that form factor possible). I just claimed that most of their patents weren’t done in house, but rather were purchases. The examples I gave were of bulk purchases of large portfolios. But they also (like practically every other business) hire and “absorb” one-off patents from individuals, so the number of in-house patents is really much lower than it would appear just looking at large purchases.

          • cee

            You missed by a mile dude, the point of the images is that not only have google copied the patent, they even copied the illustration to boot.

            Are you that seriously brain-washed by The Cult of Google that you now claim that Apple are not renowned for their display technology, did I read that right.

            First personal computer that could display anything
            First phone to have gorilla glass
            First full colour screen computer
            First computer that could display 16.4million colours.
            First HiRes phone (iphone 4 with retina display)
            First hires laptop
            First desktop with mini display port
            First with Thunderbolt Display ports and monitors
            First and cheapest desktop that and edit 4k…and that only a short list
            And I haven’t seen a VGA port on a mac for at least 18years
            You are either a noob or just ignorant
            End of conversation

          • Intellectua1

            I cannot believe I just read that whole comment

          • Roberto Tomás

            you’re really so far off topic (and factually incorrect) at this point that I dont want to pretend we’re even talking about the same thing.

          • mobilemann

            yeah man, what assholes they are for not inventing their own RISC chips; Oh wait, they did with Acorn computer, that spun off to form ARM holdings, who design 99% of mobile platform processors.

            Dear Kids on this site, all corporations have done horrible things. Treating this stuff like a team sport only makes you look childish, and idiotic.

            /note 3 user.

          • Roberto Tomás

            Wait — I didn’t call *anyone* an asshole. I like Apple, I just think of them as a great investment firm.

          • mobilemann

            I didn’t say you did, i was just pretending to go along with the hive mentality of this site for a brief moment.

            They are a great technology company that forces others to do better work. (just like Google and Microsoft) Any other company you support, hires the same law firms, patents and protects their IP with the same attacks, that’s all my point was.

        • mobilemann

          they had a good licensing deal with xerox, until they took off (apple) and xerox re-negotiated via law suit. It sounds fucked up, but it is pretty common.

      • The-Sailor-Man

        Even if so, Google don’t make what Apple is doing now.
        Apple are helpless and mad, because Samsung is taking over.

      • Alex Cuaron

        Steve Jobs… RIP.. but he really was a douche…

  • endy

    Google needs to deal with Apple once and for all. That way the OEMS can build in peace. If I were Samsung, I would tell Google that the Galaxy
    Line is going Windows unless Google stops the bullying from Apple.

    And Apple is so pathetic to sue the OEMS instead of Google directly. Their thermonuclear war is with Android, so they should fight that battle with Google. Let’s get that war on and go get the popcorn.

    • cee

      Galaxy’s going Tizen, after Samsung have taken all of Google ‘patents’.

  • Schiller

    Will this battle be fought again at an American court`? If yes, Apple wins.

    • mobilemann

      apple’s also won in germany, korea, and japan.

  • Thoriq Rahman

    and maybe someday Apple will have a patent to sapphire crystals screen and then they sue Vertu.

    I hope samsung launch their YOUM flexible display soon and shut apple out of this patent war.

    • cee

      What the flexible display invented Sony?

  • dick

    I threw my galaxy s3 out of my car window

  • Deveron

    Heck yeah they’re right! This is the strategy they should have taken from day 1 (silly UI choices notwithstanding).

  • SkylaC90

    It may come down to the intelligence of the jury it seems, I for one don’t trust dishonorable judge Lucy Koh. But that’s another topic for another time. Samsung should easily win this so long as the case is being judged on solely based on facts and not feelings.

  • Stephan Hall

    And think about the consumers paying for these “high price” attorneys! Apple is getting pissed because they can no longer rape the consumers for their devices. It’s embarrassing that an American tech company cannot compete but resort to attacking others who innovate and produce products that everyone wants!