How is Samsung defending against Apple patent accusations: software workarounds and words

October 22, 2012
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Much to the general dismay and frustration of regular tech users, Samsung and Apple are not only carrying on with their legal feud, but seem to have again hit the throttle after a somewhat quiet couple of weeks.

We’ve just heard about two Japanese infringement accusations made by Samsung against the iPhone 4 and 4S and denied, and now we’re again hearing about the most important play in the global chess game between the two tech giants – the US trial that saw Apple (temporarily) capture Sammy’s queen.

As you probably already know, a California jury found Samsung guilty of infringing several Apple patents in late August, awarding the Cupertino-based company damages of around $1 billion. However, both Samsung and Apple appealed the verdict, with the former asking for it to be overturned, while the latter sought permanent injunctions against infringing products, but also enhanced damages.

This new ballgame opened with Samsung trying to bluff its way to victory, with a delayed claim of juror misconduct that has little to no chance of being successful, but it was pretty obvious that somewhere up the sleeves of the Koreans’ legal team there was an ace or two.

A filing made late last Friday might have revealed these aces, although it still looks like Samsung could be relying on its poker face more than its playing cards.

This opposition brief to Apple’s motion asking for injunctions and extra damages is very thoroughly reviewed and analyzed by Florian Muller from FOSS Patents at the source link below, but for those of you that don’t have the time or patience to browse through the entire thing, I’ll be trying to sum things up while filtering the “legalese”.

Samsung opens the brief with the same old “stifling the lawful, fair competition” accusation that, if you ask me, has even smaller chances of getting the Koreans out of this legal pickle than the juror misconduct claims. The “proof” that should sustain this accusation is rather thin and circumstantial, including comments from Steve Wozniak, one of Apple’s co-founders, which said that he “doesn’t agree” with the verdict.

Another pretty weak point that Samsung seems to make is challenge Apple’s public interest argument, stating that “preserving rights of patent holders” is the only thing Tim Cook and his company are after. Yeah, right, as if Sammy is all about human rights and freedom of speech and not looking for the firm’s best financial interest, too.

The last two defense arguments are by far Apple’s biggest threats, starting with the claim that there isn’t enough evidence to tie up the infringements already identified and the “irreparable harm” Apple claims to suffer and that should lead to sales bans.

As Florian Mueller notes, it’s “practically impossible to prove through consumer surveys that products were purchased because of certain designs or user interface elements, not because those factors aren’t important but because their impact on purchasing decisions is subconscious.”

So, Samsung might be out of the loop as far as sales bans are concerned based on this pretty logical rationale even if the initial jury verdict won’t get overturned after the appeals. Finally, some hope!

Last, but not least, the Galaxy makers are stating that they’ve redesigned all products that could have infringed Apple’s patents in both utility and design aspects, detailing all of the “workarounds” in their filing.

This is a sensitive matter however, because Samsung’s software tweaks are not exactly what you would call major and might be found insufficient to dribble past Apple’s “innovations”. In fact, it seems more like the Koreans are trying to find loopholes than to actually change things substantially to comply with court instructions, which sounds like a risky game to us.

Again, you can find all the details and technicalities on FOSS Patents, although we do hope we’ve managed to shed some light on the matter, too. And if we have, do come back to us with a comment and let us know if you think Samsung has done enough to save face. Will Apple get the increasing damages and injunctions it is looking for? Or will the initial California verdict be overturned completely?

 

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