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

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:

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



1. Ohrules

Posts: 327; Member since: Jun 11, 2012

LMAO at the pic!!

2. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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.

3. Evil_SaNz

Posts: 259; Member since: Oct 20, 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.

4. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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.

8. Evil_SaNz

Posts: 259; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

kk got it ;)

7. speckledapple

Posts: 902; Member since: Sep 29, 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.

10. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 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.

14. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 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.

5. phitch

Posts: 214; Member since: Mar 06, 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.

6. Beholder88

Posts: 86; Member since: Mar 30, 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?

9. DigitalMD

Posts: 226; Member since: Feb 17, 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.

11. whysoserious

Posts: 318; Member since: Jul 20, 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.

15. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

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

16. Tekkasonic

Posts: 11; Member since: Jul 31, 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

17. Zorin

Posts: 152; Member since: Jul 26, 2010

Wish you guys didn't cut Michael Vick out of the image.

18. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

That is so funny. LMAO

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