Tuesday, December 06, 2011

"Redacted" version of Apple/Samsung PI decision in ND Ca viewable

In a decision on Friday, December 2, 2011, District Court Judge Lucy Koh (of ND Ca) denied Apple's request for a preliminary injunction [PI] against Samsung in the "smart phone" patent case. Within the decision was information about Apple business strategy that was intended to be redacted from the publicly available copy of the decision. Superficially, this text WAS redacted. BUT, as Reuters reported,

Koh attempted to redact nearly two dozen sentences or short fragments. But because of a formatting characteristic in the prior electronic version, the redacted material can be viewed by copying text from the PDF and pasting it into another document.

ZDNet, in discussing some of the redacted text, may have gotten some concepts (legal vs. factual) conflated. Thus, ZDNet wrote:

Included in the unredacted reports:

Apple claimed that Samsung is no threat to its business. Many had wondered that the global patent conflict was Apple signifying at least a half-worry that Samsung’s partnership with Android could dominate the market — which it subsequently has.

Apple also believed that its current customers would be unlikely to switch to a Samsung smartphone. In fact, its studies showed that Samsung would take marketshare away from other manufacturers

In a request for a PI against Samsung, Apple would be claiming that Samsung IS a threat to Apple's business and that Apple's customers WOULD be likely to switch. The problem, highlighted in Koh's decision, was that Apple's data did not support the legal argument. As Reuters put it:

According to the redacted portions, Apple's own studies show that existing customers are unlikely to switch from iPhones to Samsung devices. Instead, the evidence suggests an increase in sales of Samsung smartphones is likely to come at the expense of other smartphones with Android operating systems, Koh wrote.

**One blogger wrote of Judge Koh: This judge really needs to quit rubber-stamping redaction requests and start considering the needs of tech bloggers.

**Forbes wrote of the general battle:

The real battle is to try and knock the opponent out of the market with injunctions, not to try and win anything at all at trial. Oh, yes, I agree, that isn’t what anyone at either company is actually going to say, they’ll stoutly insist that it’s all about those **!”**s who have stolen our technology and we want justice.

But I think we all realise that what’s really going on is an attempt to keep the other player off the market. It’s almost, but not quite, irrelevant who wins at trial. If Apple can keep Samsung from launching until a full trial sometime next year then that’s an entire year in which the only large scale and true competitor to the iPad (Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the Nook aren’t really in quite the same market) cannot be sold. And at the speed that technology moves these days that’s an entire generation of the product. Similarly, if Samsung can get the iPhone or iPad off the market then that’s their only competitor at the top end of the market knocked out.

It’s this I think that is the real reason the fight is going on so long. Most technology patent fights are over by this stage, one side paying the other something and then a general cross-licencing of all other patents. But here, through injunctions alone, each side has a chance of knocking their only serious competitor out of the market completely, for long enough that they might never be able to catch up. Which means that I don’t think we’re going to see an end to this anytime soon. The possible (even if unlikely) prize for either side is simply too large to not continue the fight


From Duff Johnson's Blog on May 13, 2010:

First, do not repeat the same mistake so many others have made! NEVER cover or color or "hide" content in Word (or elsewhere) and expect it to be redacted in the PDF. Government agencies, businesses, law firms and even the military have learned the hard way that redacting PDF files means using a proper redaction tool such as Redax, our industry-leading plugin for Adobe Acrobat, or the redaction capabilities in Adobe Acrobat itself.

from April 18, 2006:

Use Gmail To Copy Text From Restricted PDF Documents

Some PDF documents have restrictions: you can't copy them or you can't print them. If you have such a PDF and you have to copy a fragment from the text, just send it to yourself in Gmail. When you receive the message, just click "View as HTML" next to the attachment link.

How to copy text from PDF to Word?

**UPDATE. Apple has appealed Judge Koh's ruling.
See http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2011/12/apple-keeps-fighting-for-us-preliminary.html


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