Monday, 18 November 2013 15:11

Apple Get's Another Chance at a Samsung Ban...

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In the long running battle between Samsung an Apple there is new twist. It seems that an appeals court would like a lower court to reconsider the Apple request for a permanent injunction on Samsung products based on three utility patents. Now, while having a court reconsider something is not unusual it is interesting to note that the patents in question constitute a very small portion of the products in question. It also comes not long after the US Administration blocked a similar ban won by Samsung against Apple for patent infringement, but upheld one requested by Apple against Samsung.

These occurrences appear to show great bias for Apple and could have a serious economic impact on the US if the trend continues. We have heard rumblings that many foreign companies already feel they are discriminated against and when it comes to Apple they are on the losing end of the stick right out of the gate. The evidence for this was highlighted during the recent Samsung V Apple trial where the jury not only miss calculated the damages, but also awarded damages for products that were not found to infringe on Apple’s patents. Judge Koh is working on a new damages hearing in an interesting manner. Both sides are being forced to present their case in exactly the same manner as before with no new evidence or deviations. This new “trial” will determine the damages that Apple will be awarded (although Samsung will still be allowed an appeal).

What is interesting is all of these cases (and many others that Apple are involved in) stem from a very broken patent system. No one is arguing that patents should exist or that they should be protected. Instead people are arguing that you should not be able to patent the obvious, or anything that has a clear history of prior art. This means that the US Patent and trademark office needs to step up and do their job of properly vetting these patents before granting them. This goes for all patents and should include periodic reviews of patent to ensure they are still valid. Additionally there should be a clearing structure for FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) patents. Lately there has been a ton of abuse of FRAND patents on both sides, but with the majority of the abuse on the side of the companies looking to use the patents. Simply put: FRAND does not mean free. If a company is abusing a FRAND patent, but not paying or refusing to negotiate for reasonable terms then they should be required to stop using the patent until they do settle on terms.

The US will find itself in a very bad position in the global market if they continue to protect companies in the way they are doing with Apple. Apple’s patents are flimsy and do not really stand up to the test of prior art and in many cases they are blatantly obvious. Still they continue to win the support of the US Patent Office and judicial system. This trend will only force companies to pull their products from the US market in order to get away from Apple’s brand of competition. So while Apple uses the court system to compete and the US is propping up their patents the consumer and the economy suffers… yeah I can see how justice is being served here.

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Read 2488 times Last modified on Monday, 18 November 2013 15:20

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