Google, Facebook, and others support Samsung in its patent battle against Apple

apple samsung patent brief support supreme court building1
Apple and Samsung may have amicably ended all patent litigation abroad, but the battle between the two behemoths still rages on in America. The outcome of the companies’ most public spat hasn’t been decided yet — Samsung’s awaiting judgement from the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals on the multi-million dollar settlement it was ordered to pay Apple two years ago — but it just got a boost in the form of a supportive brief filed on behalf of Facebook, Google, eBay, Dell, HP, and a coalition of smaller tech firms.

A court in 2012 determined that Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones infringed on key Apple design and utility patents, most notably the iPhone’s rounded corners and on-screen icons, the elastic “bounce-back effect” in its settings menus, and tap to zoom finger gestures, but the undersigners of Tuesday’s brief argue that decision sets a dangerous precedent. “If allowed to stand, [it] will lead to absurd results and have a devastating impact on companies who spend billions of dollars annually on research and development for complex technologies and their components,” the brief states.

Google and others take issue with the court’s interpretation of “infringement,” arguing that smartphone and the operating systems which underlie them incorporate a vast number of hardware and software components that constitute only tiny parts of the user experience. If companies like Apple are allowed to target these individual pieces, the petitioners say, innovation would inevitably grind to a halt.

“The [infringing] feature[s] — a result of a few lines out of millions of code — may appear only during a particular use of the product, on one screen display among hundreds,” said the companies in the brief. “But the panel’s decision could allow the owner of the design patent to receive all profits generated by the product or platform, even if the infringing element was largely insignificant to the user.”

Samsung was ordered to pay damages of more than $1 billion in 2012 and the total profit of infringing devices. That total has since been reduced — first to $930 million and then in May by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to $548 million after the court found no evidence of trade dress — but Samsung’s seeking a review of the original decision.

Apple has requested the court ignore the support of other companies in the patent dispute.

Whatever the current case before the court’s outcome, it won’t be the last courtroom skirmish between Apple and Samsung. In March of last year, Apple launched a renewed intellectual property volley, alleging that Samsung smartphones and tablets sold in the US between 2010 and 2012 infringed on its patents for tap-from-search technology, autocorrection, “slide to unlock,” and voice assistance.  It’s seeking a $2 billion judgement.

Computing

Beam up the videos: AirPlay support is coming to VLC player

At CES 2019, the developers of VLC player announced they are adding support for Apple's Airplay feature, allowing consumers to beam video and other content from their iPhone and Android devices to an Apple TV. 
Mobile

Having trouble logging in? Here’s how to reset your Apple ID password

To use any of Apple's services, you need to have an Apple ID and know your password. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with forgotten passwords and regain access to your account. Here's how to reset your Apple ID password.
Mobile

Has Apple’s AirPower charging mat finally entered production?

Apple's AirPower wireless charging mat, initially expected to be released in early 2018, has reportedly finally entered production. Two different Apple suppliers are said to be involved in the manufacturing of the device.
Deals

You can get a refurbished Apple Watch for under $200 at Walmart right now

The Apple Watch reigns at top in the smartwatches market, but with its costly price tag attached, it’s often hard to afford this great wearable device. Walmart is offering steep discounts for refurbished Apple Watch Series 3, Series 2…
Mobile

Android Q: Everything we know so far about Google’s next mobile OS

Android Pie recently rolled out, but it's already time to look ahead to Android Q, the next version of Google's mobile OS. We've seen a number of rumors and leaks come out about the operating system -- here's everything we know so far.
Mobile

Turn to these apps to help you in your next hunt for a job

Looking for a job can be a stressful experience, but these days, a simple mobile app can help you to find and apply for jobs all over the country -- here are some of the best job search apps for iOS and Android.
Mobile

Want more power, but faster? This new charging tech claims it can deliver

Chunky power bricks and slow charging could be a thing of the past with GaNFast technology from Navitas Semiconductors. By using an alternative to silicon, GaNFast reduces power consumption and boosts output.
Wearables

Swatch and Mastercard team up for on-the-wrist, on-the-go mobile payments

Swatch has announced its Swatchpay technology is now available in Switzerland, enabling mobile payments from your Swatch watch. It works in a similar way to Apple Pay and Google Pay. Here's everything about it.
Mobile

Sony is showing something off at MWC -- will it be the Xperia XZ4?

Sony may have released the Xperia XZ3 in the past few months, but already it's preparing to release a follow-up, the Xperia XZ4. We're learning plenty about the phone now some details have started to leak out, and it's getting exciting.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Mobile

Is this the first image of a Galaxy S10 being used in real life?

It won't be long now; With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Mobile

Do these Geekbench results accurately represent the Moto G7?

The Moto G6 range is still relatively new to the market, but rumors have already started about the Moto G7, which is expected some time in 2019. Apparently, a G7 Power version will be joining the G7, G7 Play, and G7 Plus.
Wearables

Omron HeartGuide brings blood pressure monitoring to your wrist

High blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, and many other health problems, so it's important to keep an eye on. Omron's HeartGuide is a fitness tracking watch that can also monitor your blood pressure from your wrist.
Business

Google is buying mysterious smartwatch tech from The Fossil Group for $40 million

Google is about to step up its smartwatch game. The company has agreed to buy an unnamed smartwatch technology from The Fossil Group for a hefty $40 million. Considering the acquisition, it's clear Google is serious about smartwatches.