Samsung buys two patents to compete in its patent war with Apple

The Verge:

After weeks of playing defense against five Apple patents, Samsung this week went after Apple with two of its own patents: one it says is infringed when people make FaceTime calls, and another that covers the photo gallery feature found on iPhones, iPads, and some iPods.

Trouble is, the five Apple patents are actually Apple patents. Samsung’s two patents are both purchased patents, not Samsung innovations.

According to Apple’s attorneys, Samsung bought the pair of patents specifically for the case, instead of inventing them in-house. The original inventors on the video patent, for instance, originated in Oklahoma, and the gallery patent originally belonged to Hitachi. In the case of the video patent, Samsung disclosed that it paid $2.39 million to acquire it in 2010, the same year FaceTime debuted alongside the iPhone 4. Apple hopes that will stand in stark contrast with its five patents, two of which were filed the day the company introduced the iPhone, and all developed within the company.

Legal is legal, I get that. Samsung owns the two patents fair and square. But something about this just strikes me as skunky.

  • Sigivald

    Legal is legal, I get that. Samsung owns the two patents fair and square. But something about this just strikes me as skunky.


    But assuming the patents are reasonably legit (ie, they’re not just repackaged prior art bullshit or “obvious to a skilled practitioner” stuff that should be thrown out), they’re doing notionally good work for IP.

    Joe Random can invent some neat way of doing things, and patent it.

    Even if he can’t get the capital to use it usefully (or he’s Bad At Marketing and goes out of business), he can sell the patent to someone else, thus getting paid for coming up with that awesome idea. Again, assuming it really was an awesome, novel idea.

    (And Samsung’s still better than a patent troll, since they’re just doing a patent fight, and both make a real product and are fighting with someone who makes a real competing product.)

  • John

    I certainly do think Apple is on the right side of their current litigation with Samsung. And their patents are being used to fight blatant copying.

    Apple has gone off the rails with the Rockstar lawsuits. I know they are not the only ones in Nortel purchase but the whole thing stinks. In essence, no different than what Samsung is doing here.

    • BongBong

      Rockstar has it’s own agenda. Even though they are owned by Apple and a number of other companies, they operate free of Apple guidance.

      • John

        Rockstar is a major league patent troll, period. And Apple has a big stake in it. You can’t spin your way out of that one.

        • Yep.

          Apple may not run the day-to-day but rest assured their agenda is being pushed through Rockstar. You’ll never see an Apple friend sued by Rockstar but every competitor Apple has beef with? Yep.

        • BongBong

          Sure I can. “Patent troll” is a loaded term to describe an NPE (non-practicing entity), which is a perfectly legal way to leverage IP to make money. “Patent troll” arguments are always irrational.

  • BongBong

    Samsung will probably have all of their lawyers sent to the bottom of the ocean after this trial ends (I have no specific knowledge that supports this theory). 😀

  • S p

    Slimy BASTARD chings.

  • lucascott

    Two things here. I don’t feel like Samsung should be able to roll defending their patents to this case (same if Samsung was suing apple). The two sets aren’t really connected. You don’t become less guilty before the other folks are also.

    Second I won’t be shocked if Apple had already been sued and cleared on these patents from the original parties.

  • They are at least using the technology they have patents for so it was a legit purchase, kind of like Apple buying Siri and everything else and gaining patents from it. It’s odd you think it’s “skunky”.

    • Don’t be daft — the difference between this and Siri is quite obvious. with Siri Apple bought a product, and the patents that may have come with that product, with the intention of putting it into a consumer good. here Samsung bought patents just to use as ammo in the courtroom.