Thursday, August 16, 2012

Important IP Case

For those of you not following the Apple-Samsung case going on right now, it's fascinating.  Since I do expert witness work, it's interesting to me from that perspective, but just in terms of the technology and issues involved, there seems to be a lot involved in the case.  FOSS patents has detailed coverage, although it's also getting plenty of detailed coverage from business and tech news sites.

In particular, the latest things that really interested me:

Harvard's own Woody Yang (Electrical Engineering) was a witness for Samsung
(It's been several years since it happened, but when I started at Harvard, I ran into many uninformed people who didn't seem to know that Harvard had computer science and engineering.  So when a Harvard prof shows up in such a high-profile context, it still makes me smile.) 

Andries van Dam used Mitsubishi Electric Research Lab's Diamondtouch as prior art for the snap-back patent.  (See here, here, here.)  I spent a good deal of time at MERL around that time period, and remember they were (rightly) very excited about it as a technology, so it's interesting to see it come back as a piece of prior art in this case.


Anonymous said...

As an outsider, I find it confusing that so many things related to computers are patentable. They generally seem pretty trivial. More importantly, the implementation seems to require much more hard work and thought than the invention.

In this case, if Samsung stole anything, it seems to be more what Apple learned/help create about consumer preferences, than about any crucial technology.

Commenting anonymously to preserve my ability to be called as an expert witness for $1000/hour. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm the same anonymous as a minute ago.

Just to followup, I may be missing something, but I have the impression that there are no questions about confusability, just about lack of originality. But in fields like architecture and fashion, we have plenty of design innovation without any lawsuits, which seems to prove that it is possible.

Anonymous said...

FYI: FOSS has admitted to being a paid consultant for Microsoft and Oracle, and tends to have a very anti-android bias.