iPhone 5 or Galaxy S III

By Debby Winters

I am by no means an authority of phone specs and I certainly can’t recommend which new phone you should get, but since I’ve been following the patent wars between these companies I was interested in what experts in the field thought about the phones. I though you might be interested too. So, here’s PC Magazine’s comparison of the 2 phones.


You decide…


America Invents Act turns one!

By Debby Winters

President Obama signed the America Invents Act (AIA) into law one year ago. This action was intended  to bring the patent system into the 21st century.  The real effects are yet to be seen but there are seven provisions of the Act that go into effect today:

  • Inventor’s oath or declaration
  • Preissuance submissions
  • Supplemental examination
  • Citation of patent owner claim scope statements
  • Post grant review
  • Inter partes review
  • Covered business method review

You filed your provisional patent application- What’s next?

By Debby Winters

So you filed your provisional patent application on your new idea. What happens next? The sad truth is that nothing really important happens next. The patent office will electronically record your submission and give you an electronic filing receipt that basically confirms they received your files and your filing fee. A few weeks after that someone at the patent office will look at your submission to make sure all the required pieces are there, including:

  1. A specification (description of your invention)
  2. A cover sheet or transmittal letter that lists the invention title, inventor names, and city/state.
  3. A proper filing fee (currently $125) was paid and received

If you have all of these items, you will get an Official Filing Receipt from the USPTO. In some cases you may get a notice of missing parts if you forget to include something with your filing.

You will need to rely on your provisional patent application to set your patent filing priority date. If your provisional patent application was done properly, this means that when you file your non-provisional patent application or your international patent application, those new applications get to use the filing date of your provisional patent application. So after you file your provisional patent application you have several options to keep your idea protected:

  1. File a non-provisional patent application or an international patent application that claims the benefit of your provisional patent application (the most common strategy).
  2. Re-file a new provisional patent application. In doing so, you set a new filing date but it gives you the same advantages the first provisional application did but with a new date.

Apple v. Samsung- Apple won the recent battle but who will win the WAR?

By Debby Winters

A California Court recently found Samsung, the Korean electronics giant, guilty of infringing Apple’s patents and ordered it to pay $1.05 billion in damages. If this huge damage award holds up on appeal, it will stand as the largest patent verdict of all time. But, more important than the amount of money awarded, it gives Apple a huge leg-up in the corporate patent wars, and it immeasurably strengthens the company’s negotiating position with regard to the Android phones it is struggling against.

Although, according to the jury verdict, Apple is the inventor of most of the technology in these smartphones, Samsung has been the number one seller of them in the U.S. in the past few years. This verdict will surely alter the balance of power.

Another twist in the story is that Samsung claims that Apple stole the technology from it and others, such as Motorola, and HTC, in the first place. Samsung claims that technology similar to Apple’s pinch-to-zoom function already existed when Apple was granted its patent, the company is arguing that Prior Art should render Apple’s patent invalid. Samsung has won verdicts against Apple in lawsuits it file against the mobile device giant in Japan. This verdict also follows closely after a South Korean court decided that both companies infringed each others’ patents, a ruling seen to favor Samsung. However, the US battle is the centerpiece of the worldwide legal battle between the two smartphone companies, and is by far the most significant.

It is a fact that Apple is known for suing other companies voraciously over “stolen” property, and currently has lawsuits going with just about every company that has entered the mobile device market. Want to make it even more complicated? Currently, the Android platform is under attack from a number of other companies in addition to Apple. These companies have been forced into licensing agreements due to alleged patent infringements. So, who really invented this technology? And what’s the big deal, anyway?

For starters, Apple’s ultimate target is not Samsung, but Google, because Google created the Android operating system (OS) that runs on Samsung smartphones. Steve Jobs thought Android was a rip-off of Apple products, and vowed to declare “thermonuclear war” on the competing OS. It will be interesting to see what the results of Jobs’ promised nuclear attack will be.

There’s a danger that Samsung products could be kicked off the market following this huge verdict. Apple has portrayed Samsung as an enthusiastic copycat that took a shortcut to profits, engaging in a three-month copying spree that piggybacked on the years of hard work it took Apple to create the iPhone. Samsung, meanwhile, denied those copying allegations, and accused Apple of being a courtroom bully that refused to compete in the marketplace. Negotiating a license agreement between th
e two companies from the beginning could have resolved all of these problems, and may be what it will take in the end, if the infringement verdict is upheld.

How the jury made its decision is another interesting facet in the complicated twist. Each member of the jury was given access to one of each of the accused phones, which could be turned on and used, but did not have Internet access. Based on their own usage, they found infringement of Apple’s patents that cover features like double-tapping to zoom, the “bounce back” technology that snaps images back into place, as well as the contours and shape of the iPhone. Traditionally, jurors are not allowed to bring “model’s” into the deliberation room but as we all know, times are changing!