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The future of mobile device design depends on nine completely random people: here's who

Posted: , by Victor H.

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The future of mobile device design depends on nine completely random people: here's who
Remember that huge Apple versus Samsung legal fight? You simply couldn't have forgotten it – we've been writing about it in not months but already what seems like years. It's finally coming to its glorious apogee these days and we're very soon to hear who won and pretty much what the future of phone design will look like. You might think that a lot depends on Lucy Koh, the California judge nominated by Barack Obama in 2010. You might think that a lot depends on the hordes of lawyers hired by Apple and Samsung.

Truth is, the outcome of this case lies on the jury. A jury might sound authoritative, but in reality it's just nine completely random people that have spend the last few days (not weeks, not even months) in court and getting acquainted with possibly the biggest legal fight in mobile history.

“I am worried we might have a seriously confused jury here,” Judge Lucy Koh said during one of the court proceedings. “I have trouble understanding this, and I have spent a little more time with this than they have.”

We wouldn't blame the jury if they don't completely understand what's going on – we have the background and we've spent the time to look through some of the documents, but still can't brag about having a full grasp of the patent issue. So shouldn't be an expert making the decision? Whatever it will be, it will come from:

1. An electrical engineer
2. A homemaker
3. A construction worker
4. A young unemployed man who likes video games
5. An insurance agent
6. An ex-Navy avionics technician
7. A store operations manager for a cycling retailer
8. A project manager for wireless carrier AT&T
9. A benefits and payroll manager who works with startups


That is two women and seven men and while you might argue that some of the professions might suggest some form of proximity with the world of technology and patent law, some of the other professions simply have nothing in common with those two areas.

The flipside of the coin is that if you bring experts, you risk bias and democracy. But this... just feels a bit risky. Whatever the turnout, one thing is sure – both Samsung and Apple will appeal. What do you think, who should be deciding this and will the current state of things work out fine?

source: Tech Crunch, Ars Technica, Reuters

18 Comments
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posted on 22 Aug 2012, 06:50 8

1. Ohrules (Posts: 305; Member since: 11 Jun 2012)


LMAO at the pic!!

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 06:57 2

2. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5534; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


NY Times published an article about a week ago that argued that a win by Apple would actually be a good thing, because it would spur competitors to innovate to differentiate their offerings from Apple's iDevices....

If the most likely outcome (split decision where Apple wins some and loses some) occurs, I suspect that will foster more innovation than an outright win.

Any projections for how long before the jury returns a decision? I say next week. Latter half of the week.

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 07:17 4

3. Evil_SaNz (Posts: 258; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)


Which innovation should bring? Trapezoidal phones? It's like making a patent for car's wheels: from now everyone beside me must use square shaped wheels. Nosense.

There are things that cannot belong to a patent. Mathematics, Physics belong to humanity.

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 07:27 3

4. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5534; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Things that are 'obvious' generally don't qualify for patenting, which is why I am expecting a mixed bag outcome. Once the invalid patents are cleared away, the remaining patents should spur innovation. One possible example is in the 'bounce' patent where the UI 'bounces' at the end of a list - Sammy has already released a change to its UI that replaces the bounce with a bluish blinking effect. Try it out on the VZW edition of the GS III.

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 08:09

8. Evil_SaNz (Posts: 258; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)


kk got it ;)

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 08:03 1

7. speckledapple (Posts: 877; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)


it does not matter if Apple wins or loses, I do not want every device to mimic or even draw anything similar tot he iPhone. I think that represents a serious lack of individuality which would be a sad tragedy if it continued. Not saying that Samsung did this but I do not think there should be validation with the way Apple has carried itself and its abuse of patents.

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 08:37 3

10. -box- (Posts: 3714; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


I've been listening to a few "expert" opinions on it (most recently on NPR last night, they had about a 3-5 minute article on it), and I think a mixed bag would be best. Apple's geometry patents and generic/overly-broad patents get rescinded, they have to pay a fine for infringing on Samsung's patents, Samsung gets a slap on the wrist with some fines for some aspects being too similar to apple's, and they're both ordered to STFU and act like adults.
If Apple won outright (unlikely, I would guess) then they might take that as an indication to go against almost every other phone and tablet maker out there they don't have an agreement with (i.e. Microsoft & Nokia) and use this case as a precedent. Samsung loses money, and while their recent investment to build another mobile chip factory is still worthwhile, it would be a sour taste due to having had to pay for infringement and still be a chief supplier for components, which may or may not be a lasting relationship.
If Samsung won outright (again, highly unlikely), then apple would lose its overly broad patents, and we'd likely see a significant drop in other lawsuits instigated by apple, and I would surmise that other countries where apple is waging legal war would reconsider their verdicts and patents (hopefully the EU first, with the silly "napkin drawings" patent). We might see a few more "copy-cat" designs, but since the iphone has gotten so generic, and seeing even cheap Chinese OEMs trying to individualize their own designs, I doubt that'd be the case. There will still be "KIRF"s, as Gizmodo calls it (knock offs trying to look and feel exactly like the original product, even including the packaging), but people who buy those should get what they deserve.

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 19:36

14. joey_sfb (Posts: 2565; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


Well said. I just want to add that if apple loses its good for all parties. Samsung would have more money invest in silicon manufacturing technology resulting in faster, cooler and more power efficient chips.

Apple with its vest billons will be force to product more innovative product that people would buy instead of using its billons to sue its competitors. Their engineers will be working hard in the lab instead of having to testify in the court room.

Consumer will get to choose from more choices and buy it at a more reasonable price than from a single company that hold a monopoly.

So i whole heartedly support a long term gain for all parties over apple immediate short term gain.

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 07:48 4

5. phitch (Posts: 214; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)


I love the jury selection -- it is going to be either a complete wash with neither side winning, or a split with Apple losing some patents and a little money exchanging hands. Here is why: A project manager for wireless carrier AT&T -- like any good phone person they are not going to want to s**t where they eat. Going against either side is not in his interest. A young unemployed man who likes video games. Probably has a prepaid phone of some sort, enjoys video games so he keeps up on technology, and most likely has a smart phone. The rest are a wash -- but those two could be the key to it all.

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 07:49 3

6. Beholder88 (Posts: 80; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


I'm also thinking it will be a mixed bag outcome. There is so much to consider and so many different aspects of it, there is no way that one side will completely come out on top. What it comes down to, is mostly the design of the software. As stated above, the shape of the phone is not something that can, or should, have a patent associated with it. Possibly some button placements and specific physical features like speaker placement and power/dock connectors, but not much else. It's going to be interesting to see the results, and how far they are willing to take it. Supreme court anyone?

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 08:17

9. DigitalMD (Posts: 226; Member since: 17 Feb 2010)


Irrelevant because the future of smartphone or no future actually depends on if cell carriers continue the trend of charging more for less. If they continue, then the smart phone craze is doomed and there won;t be any need to innovate.

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 09:42

11. whysoserious (Posts: 316; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)


This case is not that hard to understand! They just have to use their common sense and they'll know that this whole case is just plain stupid. End of story.

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 12:19

12. lyndon420 (Posts: 1687; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


I want Samsung to win, but at the same time I hope they raise their standards by coming up with designs that don't look like an iphone. IPhones aren't cheap, but they aren't really much to look at. Once you've seen one iphone...you've pretty much seen them all.

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 15:19

13. Non_Sequitur (Posts: 1111; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)


The S1 looks slightly like the iPhone 3G and 3GS. No other Samsung phone comes close.

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 20:33 1

15. BattleBrat (Posts: 1038; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)


Come on Snoopy, DON'T LET ME DOWN!!!

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 22:11

16. Tekkasonic (Posts: 7; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)


I don't know if its legal but here is my list, whats yours?

1. samsung
2. apple
3. samsung
4. samsung
5. apple
6. samsung
7. apple
8. apple
9. samsung

posted on 22 Aug 2012, 23:07 1

17. Zorin (Posts: 152; Member since: 26 Jul 2010)


Wish you guys didn't cut Michael Vick out of the image.http://dreamdogsart.typepad.com/art/2007/08/micheal-vicks-j.html

posted on 23 Aug 2012, 09:13

18. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3755; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


That is so funny. LMAO

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