Will the outcome of the Apple vs Samsung case stifle or help innovation?
The jury has decided that Samsung infringes on virtually all Apple patents, and Samsung could be forced to pay $1.05 billion. If Northern District Court of California Judge Lucy Koh agrees that Samsung has infringed willfully on the patents, that sum could triple.
But as much as those scary billions of dollars are thrown around, the big question remains what will this mean for other Android phone makers and the ecosystem as a whole. Jury foreman Velvin Hogan was very explicit saying that the jury isn’t defending the right of a company to patent black rectangles as Samsung claims, but rather saw an issue with the particular Samsung designs. Google has also come up with a statement that should calm everyone down, saying that the verdict affects Samsung, but not the Android ecosystem as a whole.
Still, we can’t help but ask ourselves every time we see a rectangular handset: is it Apple-proof? We’re sure we’re not alone in feeling this new fear. After the ruling, Apple has a precedent at hand and it could use it as a weapon (be it a real weapon, or an imaginary fear mongering threat) in Steve Jobs’ notorious “thermonuclear” war on Android.
What really matters however is innovation, and that’s what we want to ask your opinion on today. Will the jury’s staggering decision stifle or actually help innovation? One side argues that the ruling will stifle innovation by stripping Android of common sense gestures like the bounce back and multitouch ones, and paints Apple as a big scary corporation with tons of lawyers ready to attack. The other says the opposite - this decision will finally force companies to design something on their own, not just steal ideas. What’s your take on the issue? We’re looking forward to your arguments in the comments below.
- Will the outcome of the Apple vs Samsung case stifle or help innovation?
976 votes (976 votes) The decision is a loss for consumers. It will bring "Apple tax" to Android and ultimately stifle innovation with fear.
220 votes (220 votes) The decision is a win for consumers. It sends a powerful message that you can't just steal ideas, and it will stimulate real innovation.
1. ilia1986 (unregistered)
Unless someone invents a way to scroll through a list more effectively than with one finger, to zoom in on something more effectively than by using pinch-to-zoom and indicate that one has reached the end of a page more effectively than rubber-bouncing - it's an insane loss for consumers and a great impact on consumer choice and freedom.
8. wendygarett (unregistered)
Soon Google will patent 'command to zoom' and 'taste to unlock' to replace Apple so-called innovation :)
15. Aeires (unregistered)
I don't think I want to taste my phone.
19. wendygarett (unregistered)
Nah, just sayin :)
Im satisfied the face unlock on my android phone
It makes me convenience to show my pretty face on it :D
35. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1284; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
I would like you to show your pretty face one me :D
17. remixfa (Posts: 13913; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
nah, it will be think to zoom! and double blink to unlock. lol
Or they could make you snap along to the Adams Family theme song... that would be entertaining at least to see people walking down the street doing that. lol
31. Victor.H (Posts: 425; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Laughed at the Adams Family snapping along idea! You know, you should patent it, remixfa, it's money :)
33. remixfa (Posts: 13913; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
i got me some official Apple "iNapkin" patent drawing paper, and Imma get to work on that :)
38. tedkord (Posts: 4827; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
Nice try, but all those actions are just zero length pinches. The only way to escape Apple lawsuits is to not compete with them.
48. gallitoking (Posts: 4690; Member since: 17 May 2011)
the clapper didnt take off as expected... so i dont see the snap to unlock.. but at least the writer seems to thinks so.. have fun unlocking your phone at a crowded stadium..
55. remixfa (Posts: 13913; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
That was half the joke.. watching other people doing it and the randomness it would cause.
Way to completely miss the bus on that one. Not everything has to be crazed fan warfare.
18. whysoserious (Posts: 316; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)
"Lick To Unlock"
Hmmm.. That seem legit.
46. som (Posts: 768; Member since: 10 Nov 2009)
People must stop buying and boycot Ape products until all lawsuits are drop.
52. Hemlocke (unregistered)
Allowing companies to just steal patented processes would stifle innovation far more. How is allowing cheating more conducive? If everyone can do the same thing on all phones, then why bother developing the next great thing or a better way to do anything? There is absolutely no incentive to innovate if a company knows that any company can just copy their work without spending the time and resources actually developing the process. If a company, like Samsung, wants to use patented Apple processes, then they need to pay for it. If the price is too high, develop an alternative.
54. xaz0r (Posts: 3; Member since: 24 Jun 2012)
Actually it's kind of fair. Apple is just as welcome to use Samsung's ideas as Samsung is to use Apples. If everyone shares then it's still fair. The fact is, if anyone can take the idea and do it better or put it to better use, then I think it's only fair that they receive the profits. If I invent or innovate something and somebody else comes along and does it better than I did, then I better find a way to do it better or they get the business. It's called "competition". It actually drives the free market and is great for consumers. Some companies don't like it so much because it means they have to keep inventing and innovating or they can't stay ahead.
What Apple is trying to do is essentially monopolize through patents. While the stated purpose of patents is to protect innovation, their current function actually hinders it.
61. Hemlocke (unregistered)
You made the argument for the ruling NOT stifling innovation. By telling them they could not just use what Apple developed, it forces them to either license, if they are lazy, or create a better way of doing it.
2. MeoCao (unregistered)
If the rulings stand Android users will have to pay for multitouch functionalities unjustly.
3. wendygarett (unregistered)
this decision will make more innovation in order to kick apple away. Consumer will soon be a winner
4. TheLibertine (Posts: 484; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)
It will help, as it may (!) help companies worthy of being top Android manufacturers as HTC and Sony to raise their market shares thanks to the Samsung image loss.
Now, Apple and Samsung monopolize the market. Apple turned the whole mobile device market around with its innovations, now they are only refining existing products. I did not see much innovation here in the last year... Okay, there was the retina iPad. End of it, as the iPhone 4S was disappointing for Apple innovation fans as me, despite selling like crazy. Lets see, what the next keynote brings - is Apple gonna start degrading or is Apple gonna keep evolving.
And there is Samsung. Samsung makes decent hardware, but with the exception of the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3 their products, especially regarding software, design and build quality, were kinda fails. Samsung i a mass-market assembler, but i do not see much innovation from them other than making devices larger. They tried to make some useful software gimmicks on the Galaxy S3 and Note 10.1, but judging by the reviews of experts like The Verge, they failed hard to do so.
Now there is HTC. A company that specialises in smartphones only, that can make beautiful and refined products - trough the newest Sense performance kinda meh. Same goes for Sony that also has a big base of content (Playstation, multimedia) for their devices and refined design philisophy. Let us give them a chance too. Im tired of alike-looking Samsungs.
And not to forget Asus that, in my opinion, rivals Apple both in design and hardware. I would be happy to see them enter the smartphone market and continue their rise to a tablet top manufacturer behind Apple. Transformer series >>>>> Galaxy Tab.
24. JMeyerSA (Posts: 9; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
I work in a cellphone store in Cape Town, South Africa, and in one week more than 200 people came to exchange their iPhone for the Samsung Galaxy S3 and other top Android devices. And we have a question we ask all our customers when they return phones, "what did you think of it", and 95% of them replied Apple dont give enough support and iOS is lacking behind Android and even Windows Phone.
Now to my point: Apple is unfairly trying to dominate the mobile phone market by taking Samsung to court over the stupidest patents. And that is going to slow down innovation. Apple is scared that the smart consumers see that Samsung products are better then their own stuff.
Apple's biggest products are the iPhone and iPad, And Google and Motorola are busy with legal action against Apple about those two products, and if Apple loses that they can do nothing but close their doors. Nokia is also thinking about taking Apple to court aver some infringement. So the biggest names in mobile technology is now going after Apple.
I feel sorry for American consumers now being bullied into buying the stupid iPhone.
Apple South Africa asked us why so many people are giving back their iPhones and iPads, and my obvious reply was "Apple is stupid and Android is the way forward".
25. whysoserious (Posts: 316; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)
I was so close in being convinced about everything you just stated, until I read your last statement in the last paragraph. Except that, I agree about everything else you said.
29. andro. (Posts: 1956; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
We've seen a massive changes in customers in store switch from iPhone to android. Boredom and the lack of freedom in iOS is a crucial factor. Certainly outside the. US apple is falling well behind
49. gallitoking (Posts: 4690; Member since: 17 May 2011)
I hear that Apple consumers bring back their phone all the time. hey is normal it happens in Android too.. besides the sales still back up Apple as being successful, unless sales start declining I will start believing that people don't like the iphone
27. hung2900 (Posts: 794; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
Transformer series always get the good reviews but still having a insignificant tablet sale (though it's better now with the cheap quadcore tf300 and Nexus7). Do you know why? I bought three Asus's tablets, and here are reasons
- Bad build quality, even worse than Galaxy Tab series. My Prime is the worst decision I ever made.
- Really bad firmware. They update frequently but a lot of issues.are still unsolved.
- Bad warranty. The bootloader is tricky because it will void your warranty.
47. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)
Newest Sense performance is great. Unless the newest Sense that you're talking about is 4.0. I'm using Sense 4.1, battery is better than ever and performance is rockin. Looking forward to JB now.
Other than that, completely agree with you on ASUS. Padfone is a great idea, but not an idea that I could afford.
5. BreakingNews (Posts: 5; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)
Latest: J. Robert Oppenheimer is suing Apple for going thermonuclear on Samsung. Apple are currently trawling through Nazi documents in an attempt to show prior art.
6. wassup (Posts: 565; Member since: 23 Jun 2011)
Stopping innovation is all apple is doing because they're scared that people are starting to see that Samsung's products are better.
23. Veigald (Posts: 238; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)
Wow, you really hit the nail on the head!
And btw, happy 13th birthday!
28. andro. (Posts: 1956; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
Exactly!! It will only really have a small effect on in the US,fortunately for the rest of the world apple has very less influence or domineering control as seen recently in Italy and in the UK for instance!
34. LionStone (Posts: 447; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)
Wassup, wassup? Yep pretty much why the whole court thing is going on. You see apple likes to do things on their own time line as they have in the past couple years. Except now they are realizing that they are getting passed up and not as innovative as they once were...and they do NOT like that. Its about their ego and when they stomp their foot down, they make themselves look bad and petty. If they had said, "Oh yes, imitation is the best form of flattery" and gone on with their lives so everyone can too, they would have garnered so much respect and retained more of their fans and customers.
50. gallitoking (Posts: 4690; Member since: 17 May 2011)
Apple is number 1 in U.S sales (biggest cellphone market of the world.. craig) Apple is the most profitable company and not to mention has a fanbase loyalty of 95% trust me Apple is anything but scare.
56. remixfa (Posts: 13913; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
Samsung is #1 in sales.
Gotta update your fanboy bulletpoints.
60. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)
He's right, Apple is number 1 only in the US... I won't be surprised if that changes soon.
59. hengnarath (Posts: 14; Member since: 26 Aug 2012)
Yes the most profitable company. Look at the iPhone price. I'm so scare.
7. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4027; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
No, Apple needs to be kicked off of their high horse and sent back to the drawing boards. They can't patent the basic necessities in order for a smartphone to be practical. Just once, Apple needs to be shot down, and hopefully that will make them realize that they can't do whatever they want, and they will actually start making top-notch products again. Once Apple gets back in the game technologically, and not just legally, we'll see a rush of innovation from everyone.
9. aggregor (Posts: 2; Member since: 28 Aug 2012)
apple is just jealous of samsung. apple himself doesn't makes smartphones for common people but only for high end people. samsung takes care of all classes, thats why its growing popular and successsfuland apple could not digest this. such a loser!!!!
no one can patent how to peel a banana!!!!
11. Trollonka_KeKe_Jackson (Posts: 14; Member since: 16 Aug 2012)
i dont know man. you can patent shapes now days.
10. mercorp (Posts: 969; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)
Those who chose the second option are likely apple lovets.
13. Veigald (Posts: 238; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)
Obviously the impact of not being allowed to copy other patents will lead to more innovation (and more cross-licensing as well). If companies like Samsung are unable to innovate around these obstacles, they probably don't deserve to be in the business in the first place.
Saying that the blatant copying that was proven here stifles innovation is ridiculous, it's lack of innovation in the first place that led to these carbon-copy phones from Samsung. Android itself does not need to look just like iOS, and the hardware doesn't have to look like an iPhone.
That said, US patent laws are completely out of control and something needs to change.
37. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1460; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
So innovation at gunpoint then. Yeah, that would make me real creative. Basically what they've done is lock up the most sensible ways to operate a phone. Now they have to "innovate". The only problem is they've patented the end result and action to accomplish it, not how it was implemented. So how do you come up with a work around? Answer, you can't. So now rather than a pinch to zoom, you'll need some other action to zoom in and out, and one that'll leave people saying that's stupid, why wouldn't you pinch or expand your fingers? Yeah, really looking forward tothe future. Maybe time to go back to my laptop & a flip phone. Unless Apple patented them while I was using my smartphone.
40. Veigald (Posts: 238; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)
So you're saying people have pinched to zoom since the dark ages? I would assume pinch to zoom is something Apple came up with since they have the patent, which also means that since you and probably a lot of people find that intuitive, they did a good job. And if they did a good job, they have been smart to protect it through a patent to make sure they get value from their good job.
Sure there are other ways to zoom or do whatever on a phone, but that's not the point. The point is that either you come up with something new yourself or you make sure you abide by patent laws and pay someone else for the good job they did.
Samsung copied with these products, they didn't innovate and they didn't license Apple patents. Products like SGS3 however show innovation and thus aren't as liable for patent suits.
And innovation at gunpoint... give me a break. In business you need something to differentiate your product, otherwise no one will buy it. That differentiation is innovation, be it in form or functionality. If a company is incapable of differentiation, it will go bust. So yeah, I suppose that kind of is innovation at gunpoint, just not for the reason you think.
41. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1460; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
Well considering they already showed that Apple had already seen it when they viewed the touch top table, Apple didn't invent it either, they simply adapted the concept for their product. My point was that given the patent they were awarded, it leaves no way for anyone to implement anything similar. By that I mean if the USPTO had made them patent the actual code that makes pinch to zoom work, rather than the action and result, other companies could come up with something similar while not infringing on apple's version. The problem is apple is more interested in banning their competition rather than being compensated for their patents.
And my innovation at gunpoint is not far from the truth. Every step these companies make will now be over scrutinized to make sure they don't risk a court outcome similar to the apple/samsung verdict. How much more will that add to the cost of r&d to make sure they don't remotely come close to infringing on other's work. And those costs don't get written off, they get passed onto the consumer.
42. shuaibhere (Posts: 1453; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)
So what about tap to enter....if someone patented it then we got to have only one touch screen phone provider.....if pinch to zoom is patentable than why not tap to enter.....
44. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1460; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)
Exactly. What they have basically done is patent a gesture, which isn't patentable. They could patent the software code that allows that gesture to accomplish the end result, but not the gesture itself.
Also, that whole thing Tim Cook said about this not being about money but about values is BS. If that truly was the case, they should be going after anyone who may be infringing on their patents. Why haven't they gone after the Chinese companies who basically make an iphone and stick their name on it? That's worse than anything Samsung has done. But they didn't go after HTC until they were the top android oem. After that role fell to Samsung, they went after them. Apparently they don't mind if someone infringes until they become a threat to their sales. So until Apple goes after EVERYONE, not just android & not just their closest competition, values has nothing to do with it.
45. tedkord (Posts: 4827; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
And, you would be wrong. They showed evidence of pinch to zoom from long before the iPhone in the trial.
Apple did not create pinch to zoom, not did they invent multi-touch (though Steve Jobs did claim they invent it when he introduced the first iPhone). Both existed well before the iPhone.
53. Myrith (Posts: 55; Member since: 17 Feb 2012)
Even if patents help with innovation, one downside is that the inconsistency in different user interfaces hurts usability.
These days, it's not uncommon for someone to have multiple devices, such as a phone and a tablet. If the devices had different ways to zoom, it'd increase the chances of the user making a mistake, especially if there's muscle memory involved. Or, for people who are less technologically minded, it can be difficult to learn multiple ways of performing the same action on different devices.
16. Aeires (unregistered)
I'd be willing to bet a paycheck that Apple has a room full of people who do nothing but think of new ways to utilize zoom other than pinch to zoom. Next they'll patent the idea so when another OEM comes up with the same idea, they'll be banned because Apple has the patent.
If anyone thinks the Apple vs. Samsung trial was just about trade dress, I have a bridge I'd like to sell to you.
20. TheRetroReplay (Posts: 245; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)
In all out honesty, this lawsuit was because of early TouchWiz. When I played with the Samsung Fascinate I was surprised how iPhone like it was.
I'll admit that I was angry at Apple for all these lawsuits and I still refuse to own an Apple product because of their litigious behavior. But when I saw the list of phones that Apple want banned, I didn't care, those are phones that are at their end-of-life cycles.
Still, Apple should not of been awarded such silly and broad patents that already existed as prior art that Apple stole and the fact that the jury skipped over it proves that the jury system is flawed.
I think that this will bring about more innovation as OEMs will work around Apple's patents. If Sony can make an Android device that Apple won't sue over, and it's been proven that they'll sue anyone as they sued a no name company in Europe over a tablet (and they lost), that proves that an OEM can work around Apple's broad patents.
And if Apple isn't suing Google directly, then there has to be something going on in the background that we're just not seeing.
21. whysoserious (Posts: 316; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)
I don't believe Apple sued Samsung to protect their intellectual property in the first place. There are so many iPhone clones which are made in China out there and Apple doesn't give a damn about it. Apple just want to destroy Samsung because they're scared of them. They're realizing the fact that Samsung is getting better and better each day and it's just a matter of time before they get overtaken.
22. redsox420 (Posts: 90; Member since: 27 Aug 2012)
This verdict is wrong and will be thrown out on appeals. So apple can make a shape and someone infringes on that? If apples claims are true, then anyone making a tv nowadays must pay a royalty to someone else for using a 42inch tv frame, and we all know they look alike. Apple didn't invent the wheel, nor did they innovate after the 4 came out. They are stuck in the 1980s, along with the GOP.
THis verdict is a massive blow to innovation. Apple wants to stifle innovation through the courts rather than on the merits of a quality product and competition. Sammy is going to overtake apple with the Note 2. The iphoney 5 should have a 10+ mp camera on back and 3+ on the front. Removable memory & battery, a screen larger than 4 inches, a stylus if it wants to compete in the smartphone market. A 4 inch screen just wont cut in the real world.
Now lets get to the icrap mini. Sammy is watching close. Remember they came with the smallest tab a 7 incher first. So if its close to 7 inches, Sammy better pounce to seek and destroy and blockade the icrap mini.
I'm waiting for the Note 2. 5.5 inches, a stylus. Unbreakable glass. expandable memory & replaceable battery. Jellybean installed is the rumor. Can apple compete with that? The new LG? NO.. Its a resounding NO!
26. JMeyerSA (Posts: 9; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
Apple already tried to ban the Samsung 7-inch tablet because it is going to be competition for their icrap mini.
I cannot describe my hate for companies like Apple.
51. gallitoking (Posts: 4690; Member since: 17 May 2011)
I am sure you can describe it if you calm down
30. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
"Is that apple-proof ?" LOL
36. kabukijoe (Posts: 67; Member since: 06 Mar 2010)
There will still be innovation as well as competition for those innovating ideas... Every company makes "their verision" of something that's already out, Apple included. For example Apple decided to add an Android notification shade to iOS, and decided to add BBM to their system and call it "iMessage"... They may not be EXACT copies but they are stolen ideas if you look at it the same way that Apple seems to be viewing these scenarios. Apple is just as guitly of "stealing" as everyone else. They are just crybabies when others do it to them.
39. tedkord (Posts: 4827; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
Of course the rulings will stifle innovation. That was the objective all along, to slow innovation to the point that Apple could keep up, while discouraging manufacturers from even entering the market.
Apple are very good at simple designs that work. This lawsuit was s prime example of that.
43. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)
It wouldn't help the consumer at all. Come on, a patent for rectangular device??? for a shape that we often see and use in our daily lives. The patents that Apple hold aren't innovations, just bunch of existing stuff already. Now they're getting paid for manufacturers using these existing stuff? It's pathetic, a tech company that doesn't actually invent any thing new, but trying to stop everyone else from trying make something better. How does that help the consumers?
57. snowgator (Posts: 3210; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
In the minority, as I see to be a lot.
I think innovation explodes. It is too big of a market, to much money involved to not react to this ruling with extreme urgency. If Android wants to continue to dominate and really put some distance between them and Apple in the future, the have to ensure Apple can't hurt them In court. They will respond. Google will change up the software side and manufacturers will adjust hardware. I think Apple has peaked, and believe that about their products, sales, and litigation. Their competition will respond, and with extreme malice.