Groklaw – The Foreman’s Aha Moment in Apple v. Samsung Was Based on Misunderstanding Prior Art ~pj

Groklaw – The Foreman’s Aha Moment in Apple v. Samsung Was Based on Misunderstanding Prior Art ~pj.

Here is another interesting piece on Groklaw regarding the recent verdict in the Apple vs. Samsung patent suit. Based on Groklaw’s analysis (which I have not yet personally fact-checked), it appears that there is growing evidence that the jury (lead by the jury foreman) may have fundamentally misunderstood the law on the issue of what does and does not constitute “prior art” and how that effects the enforceability of at least one of Apple’s patent claims.

As Lewis Carol’s Alice said, “Curiouser and Curiouser!” It will certainly be interesting to see how the post-trial motions and/or appeals of this verdict play out.

If nothing else, though, this points up the problems introduced by the complexities of our current patent system, particularly when layman juries are involved.

3 reasons juries have no place in the patent system (or do they?) — Tech News and Analysis

3 reasons juries have no place in the patent system — Tech News and Analysis.

In this piece from GigaOm, columnist Jeff Roberts argues, in the wake of the verdict in the Apple vs. Samsung case, that juries should not be involved in the resolution of patent disputes. While Roberts does point out some of the issues that can potentially skew results in jury trials, I am dubious that this is really a valid “fix” to the increasingly clear problems with our current patent system.

His first two points about juries potentially being swayed by brand loyalty and/or “He’s a copy-cat!” are unfortunately just (or at least nearly) as true for judges as they are for juries. While judges are well trained in the law, that does not mean that they do come to cases with certain “biases” in place. (They are human, after all.) Nor are judges immune from falling victim to certain logical fallacies in their analysis of complex matters, including oversimplification of those complex matters to fit them into paradigms with which it is easier to grapple (i.e. “He’s a copy-cat!”). What’s more, both of these issues can cut either or both ways, in any given case. I am not sure that either of these issues necessarily favors plaintiffs vs. defendants in general. In many cases it comes down to the particular facts of that case and how effective the lawyers on each side are at telling a compelling and believable story to ties together the complexity of the case.

With respect to Roberts’ point about jury trials being more expensive than bench trial, this is undeniably true. There are more moving parts to a jury trial, and thus they are more expensive. The larger and more complex a trial is, however, the smaller the gap in complexity and expense between jury and bench trials. This gap can be huge in a small case, with a relatively small number of factual and legal issues to be decided and relatively small amounts of money at stake. The difference. in cases that are already highly complex, dealing with mountains of evidence ,and in which the stakes are very high, is, in terms of percentages of difference, relatively small. It is not the fact that each side in Apple vs. Samsung case might have saved a million dollars by having a non-jury trial that is so ridiculous. It is the fact that each side spend tens of millions of dollars on legal fees in the fight that is ridiculous.

Don’t get me wrong. The lawyers in this case worked hard (many, many late nights, missed children’s birthday parties and soccer games, etc.) and they undeniably fought hard and effectively (some more effectively than others) for their clients. They deserve their compensation for the hard work they did. The problem is a system which incentivizes the creation and hoarding of patents and the use of those patents to create an environment where companies seek to control markets through litigation. This is made worse by the fact that billions of dollars are spent each year in carrying out the strategy of market dominance through litigation, rather than spending that money on fresh R&D, charity, or other productive, positive pursuits.

Ultimately for our Intellectual Property schema to make sense in society as whole, as well as from an economic efficiency standpoint, it must balance a number of goals, including (but by no mean limited to): (1) incentivizing companies and individuals to innovate, (2) providing an avenue to grow and benefit the national economy, and (3) giving predictability and stability to industries so that it is reasonably possible to understand what is and is not protected intellectual property (anybody who tells you we are already there has never actually been involved in IP litigation).

The current system, by most objective analyses, is failing to a greater or lesser extent in each of these goals. Rationalizing out system of defining and protecting intellectual property will be no small task as there remain many fundamental disputes as how to accomplish such a reform (and, indeed, whether such reform is event truly needed.)

In the meantime, the IP landscape remains treacherous. Failing to protect one’s IP can tremendous costs, both actual and “opportunity” in nature. The process of defending that IP (and/re defending ones’ self from someone elses’) is complex, length, and expensive. Making ones way through the complexities of the technology economy is fraught with both great peril and great opportunity. And closely minding one’s IP “Ps and Qs” is a critical part of minimizing the perils and maximizing the opportunities.

Why the Apple v. Samsung Ruling May Not Hold Up

Why the Apple v. Samsung Ruling May Not Hold Up.

Gizmodo (via Pamela Jones from Groklaw) has run an interesting summary piece on some of the apparent bases that may exist for Samsung to appeal is recent $1B+ pasting by Apple for patent infringement.

Concerns first began to arise from how quickly the jury came back with a verdict. This was compounded when it turns out that the jury made a clear error in calculations in the initial verdict and had to go back in and reform the verdict to correct its error. Then, post-trial some of the jurors began to give information about the deliberation process and more questions began to arise.

The Groklaw article cited by Gizmodo gives a fairly detailed account of some of the issues which could give Samsung an avenue to have the verdict overturned. It will be interesting to see what other potential issues arise and whether Samsung grabs on to them to avoid Apple’s hefty judgment.

VC Transparency is the New Black | TechCrunch

This is a well written article on the desirability of transparency on the part of VCs in their investments. Fortunately this seems to be an imperative that is being embraced by and increasing number of private equity firms in the tech sector.

TechCrunch

When Instagram was bought by Facebook earlier this spring for $1 billion, one question lingering on everyone’s minds was how much VC firm Andreessen Horowitz made on the deal. The firm had made an early investment in the photo sharing startup but then bet against it after Instagram’s pivot by later by supporting a rival.

A few days after the Facebook-Instagram acquisition was announced, the firm’s partner Ben Horowitz took to his blog to not only reveal the back story of the investment in Instagram, but also how much the firm had made off the deal under the terms of the acquisition—$78 million off of a $250,000 investment

Transparency in the VC world is the new black. From the outside, investing terms look like a black box — in goes the company and out comes a cap table. Dialogue that was previously reserved for closed-door, back-office meetings is now taking…

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Apple Awarded $1.049 Billion In Damages As Jury Finds Samsung Infringed On Design And Software Patents | TechCrunch

Apple Awarded $1.049 Billion In Damages As Jury Finds Samsung Infringed On Design And Software Patents | TechCrunch.

Well, perhaps the biggest surprise here was just how quickly the jury came back with the verdict (and perhaps the dollar amount granted). The long and the short of it is, Apple has secured a judgement of over $1B for infringement of Apple’s design and software patents surrounding the iPhone.

One interesting tidbit from the verdict is that the jury denies all of Samsung’s counterclaims for infringement of its patents.

Unsurprisingly, Samsung is vowing an appeal of the verdict. This battle is far from over, it appears. It will take a while (perhaps through the conclusion of any appeals on the case) to make any firm decisions as to the effect this case will have on the patent landscape. In the short term, however, the verdict is undeniably good fro Apple’s stock and bad for Samsung’s.

Small-Business Finance Platform On Deck Raises $100 Million – Arik Hesseldahl – Enterprise – AllThingsD

via Small-Business Finance Platform On Deck Raises $100 Million – Arik Hesseldahl – Enterprise – AllThingsD.

On Deck Capital is a startup which has created a technology platform aimed at making it easier for lending banks to gather the data they need to properly vet a loan candidate, and for helping that business make payments.

AllThingsD is reporting that On Deck has announced nearly $100 million in new funding.  The capital was raised to give On Deck more capacity to make loans, and demand has been healthy. According to AllThingsD, the company delivered more than $100 million in loan volume over the last 10 months.

This is an interesting project that, hopefully, in conjunction with the crowd-source movement will help need much needed capital to the small business finance sector.

California state legislature approves Location Privacy Act | Ars Technica

via California state legislature approves Location Privacy Act | Ars Technica.

According to an article on Ars Technica, California’s state legislature passed the Location Privacy Act of 2012 (SB-1434) on Wednesday, which would make it mandatory for law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before gathering any GPS or other location-tracking data that a suspect’s cell phone might be sending back to its carrier.

This is a different tack than the federal appeals court took last week in a different case. In that case the appeals court ruled that police were allowed to track a GPS coming from a suspect’s prepaid phone without a warrant.
It is clear that there remains a significant divide between courts and jurisdictions on the issue of expectation of privacy and Fourth Amendment search and seizure issues in the electronic age. It may be quite some time before these issues are decided with clarity. In the meantime the privacy debate rages on.