"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Patent Windfall Profits Games and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 15-777 in U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument

At the New York Times, Adam Liptak in Supreme Court to Hear Samsung Appeal on Apple Patent Award already wrote in March describing the case of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 15-777, U.S. Supreme Court.

This past week the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the case -- see transcript and audio. SCOTUSblog has a page on the progress of the case.

The core legal issue in the case is the question of how judicial damage awards for the infringement of design patents should be calculated.

The present and totally absurd judicial practice is to award damages based on all profits realized from sale of an infringing product, even if the design of the product, as in the case of a smartphone, has nothing to do with the actual inside workings of the product.

(Aside: Indeed, for the above and other reasons, we oppose ALL design patents. NOTHING has been "discovered" by such designs and therefore they should not be patentable. Just imagine what would happen to clothing and fashion industry if such similar design patent absurdities prevailed!!)

Moreover, all electronics manufactured in our modern world today are subject to an octopus-like patent law mess created by incompetent judges in courts such as the Federal Circuit and by equally incompetent legislators in places such as the "McClunker and Ghastly" Congress, where selfish partisan politics is the only thing that counts and where law and country are distant secondary matters.

Any electronics product sold today is generally subject to literally thousands of patents. See e.g. Mike Masnick at TechDirt in Meet The Patent Thicket: Who's Suing Who For Smartphone Patents, and that was in 2010! How much worse have things become in the interim while the "do nothings" in Congress and elsewhere in places such as idling federal agencies collect their paychecks.

In any case, awarding ALL profits as "damages" to some patent windfall-seeking complainant under such circumstances is just legal and judicial idiocy.

As Chief Justice Roberts stated during oral argument:

"It seems to me that the design is applied to the exterior case of the phone. It's not applied to ... all the chips and wires ... So there ... shouldn't be profits awarded based on the entire ... price of the phone."

Exactly right Chief Justice!

All the rest of the argumentation is just a bunch of handwaving by people seeking to rake in windfall profits based on the "deplorable" state of the patent law.

A small thin, flat smartphone screen in rectangular form and with rounded edges is, at best, only "minimalist" design, if that, and is even so marketed -- which does not exclude its greedy producers from asking for "maximalist" damages, laughing all the way to the bank and smirking behind the scenes at the gullibles who swallow such vapid patenting nonsense in an era when people should be doing something sensible, rather than becoming rich through erroneous and absurd law-created windfall profits via patent damage suits.