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Apple and Samsung Must Both Pay for Patent Infringement

May 14, 2014

Earlier this month a jury in California awarded Apple $119 million, ending the patent battle with Samsung over cell phone features. The damages awarded were much less than what was originally claimed ($2.2 billion); the jury also ordered Apple to pay $158,400 for illegally using one of Samsung’s patents in the iPhone 4 and 5.

An Apple spokeswoman said that “Samsung willfully stole [their] ideas and copied [their] products,” however, a law professor from Santa Clara University thought that although “this verdict is large by normal standards, it is hard to view this outcome as much of a victory for Apple… This amount is less than 10 percent of the amount Apple requested and probably doesn’t surpass by too much the amount Apple spent litigating this case.”

The case started on March 31 and a verdict was reached on May 2, 2014; however Judge Koh “recalled the jury May 5 to recalculate one of the damages figures.” The issue was that Apple did not receive damages for a version of the Samsung Galaxy S2 that they believed should have been awarded based on Samsung’s infringement of the ‘172 patent. The jury granted around $4 and $5 million for other Galaxy 2 versions.  After reconvening the jury “shuffled around damages awarded to each of the Galaxy S2 models but did not change the total”, stating it was a clerical error.

Samsung said this after the jury gave their final verdict:

We agree with the jury’s decision to reject Apple’s grossly exaggerated damages claim. Although we are disappointed by the finding of infringement, we are vindicated that for the second time in the US, Apple has been found to infringe Samsung’s patents. It is our long history of innovation and commitment to consumer choice, that has driven us to become the leader in the mobile industry today.

General Mills Retracts Policy, But is This Just the Beginning?

April 29, 2014

Earlier this month General Mills updated its privacy policy to include what is known as “forced arbitration”. The company, who owns Nature Valley, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Progresso and countless other well-known treats, notified consumers of this change with a two-sentence alert at the top of these brands’ webpages. The new policy stated that if you are a United States citizen that participates in a General Mills contest, signs up for one of their many e-newsletters, “likes” the company on Facebook, interacts with the company on any of its social media platforms, downloads or prints a coupon, or redeems any promotion or offering, you forfeit your right to sue the company.

The following is an excerpt from the company’s now-retracted policy:

Of course, your decision to do any of these things (i.e., to use or join our site or online community, to subscribe to our emails, to download or print a digital coupon, to enter a sweepstakes or contest, to take advantage of a promotional offer, or otherwise participate in any other General Mills offering) is entirely voluntary. But if you choose to do any of these things, then you agree to be bound by this Agreement.

 

The uproar and backlash that General Mills received when it announced their new policy forced them to retract it a few days later. In addition they issued an apology (to read the full apology, click here):

Those terms – and our intentions – were widely misread, causing concern among consumers. So we’ve listened – and we’re changing them back to what they were before.

On behalf of our company and our brands, we would also like to apologize. We’re sorry we even started down this path. And we do hope you’ll accept our apology. We also hope that you’ll continue to download product coupons, talk to us on social media, or look for recipes on our websites.

Although it is great that General Mills took responsibility and listened to its customers it seems like it is a battle the consumers are not going to win. “In two recent cases, AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion and American Express Company v. Italian Colors Restaurant, the Supreme Court held that mandatory-arbitration clauses- of the same substance as the mandatory-arbitration clause in General Mills’ change of terms- should be enforced against plaintiffs, even though doing so would make pursuing a legal claim so economically irrational that, in all likelihood, no cases would ever get brought.”

 

Source: The Atlantic and The New Yorker

Apple v. Samsung: Expert Witnesses Weigh In

April 17, 2014

Multiple expert witnesses testified this week that Samsung did not infringe on Apple’s patents for “quick links, universal search, slide-to-unlock, and auto-correct. Kevin Jeffay, computer science professor, argued that Apple’s “647 quick-links patent is more limited than the company claims.” Quick-links allows data that can be clicked to be automatically detected. Mr. Jeffay said he does not believe Samsung has infringed that patent after pointing out that Apple’s patent uses an “analyzer server” and Samsung devices do not; this process (on Samsung devices) is performed by the application itself.

Another computer science professor, Martin Rinard, testified that after careful analysis he concluded that Samsung did not infringe Apple’s universal search patent. Furthermore, Saul Greenberg, a professor at the University of Calgary, “testified that slides are common in most user interfaces and Samsung did not copy Apple’s slide-to-unlock technology.”

Not only did the experts testify that Samsung did not infringe on Apple’s patents, they went further and testified that there was no evident commercial success that resulted from those supposed infringements. The experts said there is lack of proof that people bought iPhones because of the slide-to-unlock feature. In addition the experts believe that Apple’s patents are not valid, Martin Rinard said “the patent office didn’t have the information in front of it to make the right decision [when it granted Apple a patent for universal search].”

Samsung also questioned another expert witness, Daniel Wigdor, on the “validity of Apple’s ‘172 patent for predictive text.” Mr. Wigdor told the court that other companies had developed that auto-correct feature before Apple filed a patent for it.

Both Samsung and Apple are back at the same courthouse less than two years later fighting over patent infringements. Although millions are at stake, it seems that the more important feat is dominance over the smartphone market.

Stay tuned for what happens next, court resumes tomorrow.

 

Source: cnet

Google Glass: Technology in the Legal Industry

April 10, 2014

The legal industry and technology have found many ways to grow together; platforms such as Courtroom Insight were founded for that reason alone and again we see another instance of how technology can aid firms in their success. A pilot program, started in January, by two personal injury lawyers in Phoenix gives Google Glass devices to clients, businesses, jurors and expert witnesses.

One of the clients in the pilot program is a man who lost his arm and leg in a forklift accident. He has used Google Glass to text lawyers using voice-to-text, video conference and document his hardships as a result of the accident. Normally videos are taken by a third party but Google Glass allows others to live it through this man’s eyes. They get a first person perspective of the everyday challenges that come with such a disability.

Even more telling are the ways that this pilot program has used Google Glass in mock trials. Usually attorneys ask jurors for their opinions and feedback on the trial; however, now they can see what the jurors see. Google Glass allows attorneys to see whether the juror was “looking at the witness, the lawyers, or even the ceiling.”

This technology has even proved effective for expert witnesses who can use Google Glass to recreate an accident scene; showing the drivers perspective.

 

Source: ABA Journal

North Carolina Adopts Daubert Standards

April 2, 2014

Earlier this year, the Court of Appeals in North Carolina decided that the courts should apply the Daubert standards to expert testimony. State v. McGrady addresses the implications of the 2011 amendments to Rule 702 and confirmed that North Carolina State Courts must apply those standards.

McGrady was convicted of killing his cousin and on appeal “he argued that his expert’s testimony regarding the doctrine of ‘use of force’ was wrongfully excluded. The expert who testified for McGrady had no medical degree or education but claimed that the sources he used are regularly “relied on by people in the field of use of force, but he did not know its ‘potential rate of error’.”

The trial court found that the expert’s opinions “were based on medical knowledge that he was not qualified to discuss; his testimony was not helpful to the jury; he was not competent to testify about reaction times; his testimony was not based on sufficient facts or data; his testimony was not product of reliable principles or methods; his methods had not been subject to peer review; and his opinions were based on speculation.” The Court of Appeals affirmed the exclusion and confirmed that the amendment replaces standards set by Howerton v. Arai Helmet with Daubert. Furthermore, the court addressed that the judge will serve as gatekeeper in applying the Daubert standards.

After ten years it seems North Carolina has caught up with Rule 702 but the question remains… will this ruling last? North Carolina has been clear that it wants jury trials “as long as the expert testimony satisfies the requirements of relevance and reliability.”

Dr. Christopher Brigham Joins Courtroom Insight as Strategic Adviser

March 20, 2014

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I am excited to announce that Dr. Christopher Brigham has joined Courtroom Insight as our newest Strategic Adviser. Dr. Brigham is an internationally recognized consultant, author and speaker on medical and disability issues. He also has over 30 years experience as a board-certified occupational medicine physician.Courtroom Insight’s knowledge management solution will directly benefit from Dr. Brigham’s experience and insights. I am pleased to have him on board and look forward to his contributions.

To read the full press release, please click here.

Sincerely,

Mark Torchiana

Featured Mediator

March 17, 2014

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Name: Gregg Bertram

Location: Seattle, WA

Specialty: Mediation and Arbitration in business and commercial, personal injury, death and torts, and real estate and property.

Website: http://www.bertramadr.com/

Mediator profile description provided by Mr. Bertram:

Gregg Bertram has resolved thousands of cases in 22 years as one of Pacific Northwest’s most recognized mediators and arbitrators.

Gregg was a practicing attorney who co-founded Bennett, Bigelow and Leedom, PS, where he was focused on complex commercial litigation. He also served as corporate counsel to a very large Seattle commercial real estate developer. In addition, from 2000 to 2008, Gregg was a principal at JAMS and prior to that was affiliated with Washington Arbitration and Mediation services, where he earned the “Master Mediator” designation.

Gregg is chair of the Federal Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, and an American Arbitration Association mediator and arbitrator. He is also an accredited neutral of the World Intellectual Property Organization and International Center of Dispute Resolution.

Be sure to check out Mr. Bertram’s mediator profile for more information:

Mediator Profile for Mr. Gregg Bertram

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