Aug 052013

On Saturday, it was widely reported that an impending ITC ban on some Apple products got a presidential stiff-arm. Of course the Samsung South Korean government, feeling the wicked sting one feels when the indefensible hovers just shy of possibility only to be revoked at the last minute by common sense, felt obliged to express their concern. The country’s anxiety is particularly acute because its corporate darlings are facing their own judgment on Friday for some ancient devices such as Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Galaxy Tab 10.1. If you’ve read some of the reporting on South Korea’s reaction, you may think Samsung’s the patent used against Apple with the ITC in some way resembles the patents with which Apple is seeking an import ban against Samsung. Case in point: Min-Jeong Lee’s piece for the Wall Street Journal. Let’s see how the issue is presented, using excerpts from the article:

 The South Korean government’s statement suggests that the legal dispute between the two technology giants could escalate into a political issue depending on the outcome of the ITC’s decision.

“The ITC will likely take a more careful view in the Samsung case in light of the Obama veto,” said a patent lawyer, who declined to be named.

Should the ITC decide to ban the Galaxy products subject to the decision Friday, legal experts say Samsung may opt to lobby for a similar veto.

Lawyers said Samsung has a range of options. The company can try to overturn previous decisions by the ITC relating to patent infringement that were in favor of Apple. Samsung in July filed an appeal to the federal court in the U.S., in a bid to reverse rulings by the ITC that said Apple doesn’t infringe Samsung’s patents.

Some analysts said odds are low for the dispute to result in an ultimate ban of Samsung products in the U.S., particularly given the possibility that it may disrupt the trade relationship between the U.S. and South Korea.

“If the presidential veto appears to be used to give advantage to Apple over Samsung, this would be a dangerous precedent that could upset the current good trade relations between the U.S. and South Korea,” Mark Newman, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein said.

“The White House has presented this as being about consumer choice…if it really is about consumer choice, then it would have to do the same for Samsung as it did for Apple,” Mark Summerfield, a patent attorney for Watermark based in Australia said.

There is a suggestion that there may be a difference between Samsung’s skeet-shot patent and Apple’s. It’s hilariously (and I have to assume unintentionally) couched in a statement from South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy about the impending ITC ruling on Samsung: “We hope to see a fair and reasonable decision on the matter.”

Samsung’s patent was subject to FRAND standards; Apple’s are not. It’s understandable that the South Korean government, which is basically synonymous with Samsung, is spinning this with a tit-for-tat tone, but who the fuck are these quoted idiots who completely ignore the fundamental differences between FRAND and non-FRAND patents?

Interestingly, Mark Newman, according to this Bloomberg clip is “among the top-ranked analysts” of Samsung – probably because he worked for the company for 6 years. Certainly no reason to play stupid there.

Mark Summerfield works for Watermark, which provides “Intellectual Asset Management” for companies. Although they don’t say which ones by name (lest Summerfield be summarily dismissed as an authority worthy of a quote to the Wall Street Journal), there is a cagey entry on Watermark’s site describing one of their clients: “The Major Corporation:”

Watermark has worked closely over a period of years with a major corporation whose technology has been taken up worldwide. We have worked with them to develop a worldwide patenting strategy identifying future market opportunities, scoping and understanding competitor activity, establishing freedom to operate, mapping out future directions and identifying potential licensees. Their international success has been driven by dedicated management of their intellectual assets.

It’s probably not Samsung, but who cares? For companies engaged in “Intellectual Asset Management” like Intellectual Ventures…err…Watermark, one patent is as good as another. They bill by the hour. For context, let’s see how the Australian court system feels about Samsung’s FRAND abuse. From Florian Mueller’s FOSS Patents site:

Let’s go to another continent. Australia, too, is a neutral jurisdiction. Justice Annabelle Bennett called Samsung’s assertions of 3G-essential patents “ridiculous” because this should only be about the terms of a FRAND license.

Contrary to the confusion on display by her clown-shoed, patent ambulance-chasing fellow countryman, it seems like at least one judge in Australia knows what a standard-essential patent is.

And what about the conductor of this symphony of one-sidedness? How is it possible that the Wall Street Journal’s Min-Jeong Lee can construct a story without a single mention of its most material fact? If you search his name on the WSJ’s site, 13 of the top 20 results contain “Samsung” in the title. Lee is apparently the resident Sammy hack.

So there you have it: how to make a story absolutely one-dimensional, brought to you by the Wall Street Journal written by a Samsung corp-hack and backed by a former Samsung employee and a Nathan Myhrvold wanna-be. Wall Street Journal readers aren’t typically stupid, but man does that rag think they are.

 Posted by at 11:31 pm

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