Friday, August 31, 2012

Apple Samsung & the Lanham Act Trade Dress Trademark Standard as the Epitome of Unrealistic Lawmaking and Unwise Judicial Decisionmaking

"[W]hat appear to be private disputes among hucksters almost invariably touch the public welfare. We shall therefore be concerned to ask, when courts protect trade symbols, whether their decisions further public as well as private goals. -- Ralph Brown Jr.
"The world has changed quite a bit since Ralph brown wrote his 1948 article. Trademark law and trademark economics have both made significant strides in the last fifty years, but unfortunately they don't seem to be marching in lockstep. Rather, the law has broken stride with economic thinking in dangerous ways. I don't think Brown would approve of the ways trademark law has changed in the last fifty years, but perhaps he would recognize them. He wrote:
"In an acquisitive society, the drive for monopoly advantage is a very powerful pressure. Unchecked, it would no doubt patent the wheel, copyright the alphabet, and register the sun and moon as trade-marks."
We seem to be moving down that road. Unless we are careful, we may end up in a world in which every thing, every idea, and every word is owned. And we will all be the poorer for it."

-- Mark. A. Lemley (William H. Neukom Professor of Law, Stanford Law School, Stanford University), The Modern Lanham Act and the Death of Common Sense, Yale Law Journal, Vol. 108, p. 1687, 1999

One of the most perverse, ill-based and -- in our opinion -- perhaps even unconstitutional laws in the field of law is the "trade dress" standard as found in the U.S. Federal Trademark Act of 1946, also known as the Lanham Act.

The Lanham Act by its very nature extends monopolistic product protection beyond the limitations otherwise provided by patent laws and the patent provision of the United States Constitution.

Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act provides as follows via text posted to the Wikipedia:
"Under section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, a product's trade dress can be protected without formal registration with the PTO.[8] In relevant part, section 43(a) states the following:
"Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which
(A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive [...] as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person, or
(B) in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person’s goods, services, or commercial activities,
shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is likely to be damaged by such an act."[9]
This statute allows the owner of a particular trade dress ("container for goods") to sue an infringer (a person or entity who illegally copies that trade dress) for violating section 43(a) without registering that trade dress with any formal agency or system (unlike the registration and application requirements for enforcing other forms of intellectual property, such as patents). It is commonly seen as providing “federal common law” protection for trade dress (and trademarks).[10]"
Such an over-broad blanket provision appears to us to be unconstitutional on its face because it wrongly expands the limited protection given to products by the patent clause of the U.S. Constitution, without which provision there is no "original" basis (that statement is directed to the "originalists" on the U.S. Supreme Court) to grant this kind of special protection to commercial enterprises and their products, i.e. beyond what the Constitution provides.

Indeed, the basics of the Lanham Act provision can be traced back to ancient medieval guilds that were established to gain, maintain and expand the monopoly power of merchants with respect to their products.

Little has changed since then as "merchant" monopolies have gotten worse than ever, which can be seen via the resulting and egregious wealth and income inequality in the USA.

The Lanham Act is generally not used to protect companies or consumers from actually "confusing" brands and products, but rather to further monopolies and conveniently get rid of possible competition.

The Lanham Act wrongly gives protection -- without the requirement of any kind of lawful, controlled and checked registration whatsoever (!) -- to elements of product and packaging design and appearance that otherwise would not be entitled to patent protection since features such as size, color, combinations of color, shape, packaging in general, and even the selling "atmosphere" or "look and feel" of a product would be barred from such protection because they relate to natural physical viz. geometric features not invented or discovered by the seller. Moreover, natural features are foreseen by prior art and are obvious to boot.

The grant of protection to the simple use of natural features of our world thus works as a severely limiting roadblock to innovation and competition.

Just imagine a painter claiming a particular "color" as his "trade dress".
Just imagine hundreds of painters claiming their particular "color" as their proprietary "trade dress".
Just imagine thousand of painters claiming their particular "color" as their proprietary "trade dress".
It would not be long before no new painter could paint anymore because all of the colors had been taken.
It is a terrible scenario, but corresponds well to the modern tech world and to erroneous judicial decisionmaking in the past.

The ill-conceived provisions of the Lanham Act and the unwise judicial interpretations of that act are leading us into a "trademark Armageddon".

Representing the extreme of this "trademark" example we find a greedy monopolist such as the commercial Apple firm arguing in court via "trade dress" rationales that it ALONE should be the ONLY company permitted to sell black-colored rectangular tablets viz. mobile phones with rounded corners and having a frame (bezel) holding the framed electronic display.

You think we are joking? Not at all. 
Take a look at all the Apple claims in the Samsung trial via The Verge.

Apple calls its phone or tablet designs (or non-designs) "minimalist" art because they are essentially purely geometric in form and have few unique identifying man-made features. Rather there is more or less an ABSENCE of specific designs of any kind. One "steals" primarily God-made geometry.

The upshot of the ridiculousness of the Lanham Act provisions is that a detailed and uniquely well-identifiable design by its uniqueness marks off very little IP trademark viz. "trade dress" territory, whereby an alleged "minimalist" design, due to the very fact that it is hopelessly generic, is amply found in prior art and is usually patently obvious, tries to mark off great swaths of IP territory as proprietary to one company.

This shows that the Lanham Act "trade dress" provision is extremely bad legislation, accompanied, as it has been, by really terrible judicial opinions. See the cases in George D. Royster, Halloran & Sage LLP, Protecting Business Assets Under the Lanham Act. Cynthia Clarke Weber, Trade Dress Basics. Robert J. Yarbrough, Protection of Trade Dress.

Mark A. Lemley had it right in his title
in The Modern Lanham Act and the Death of Common Sense.
That is where the law currently finds itself.  Make sure you read that article.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Big Apple Silicon Alley Tech Firms in New York City Pressing Outward to Better Priced Real Estate in Midtown Manhattan

The "Big Apple" (New York City) as opposed to the "wee little apple" (somewhere near a place called Cupertino) still sets the trends of the times.

C.J. Hughes has the story for the New York Times in Tech Firms in Manhattan Trade Trendy Lofts for Midtown Bargains.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jury in Apple v. Samsung "Skipped" Prior Art Because It Was Bogging Them Down

The court decision in the Apple v. Samsung case recently decided is a bizarre combination of errors, misjudgments and apparent incompetence at all levels.

The jury foreman in a recent interview confessed that he had a "light bulb moment" after the first day of jury deliberations and was thereafter able to convince the rest of the jury members that the most controversial Apple patents in the case were valid -- because he, the foreman could defend them and could argue to his fellow jury members that there was no prior art.

The impact of that on the jury was described as follows by jury member Manuel Ilagan, who is quoted by Greg Sandoval at in Exclusive: Apple-Samsung juror speaks out:
"The decision was very one-sided, but Ilagan said it wasn't clear the jurors were largely in agreement until after the first day of deliberations. "It didn't dawn on us [that we agreed that Samsung had infringed] on the first day," Ilagan said. "We were debating heavily, especially about the patents on bounce-back and pinch-to-zoom. Apple said they owned patents, but we were debating about the prior art [about similar technology that Samsung said existed before the iPhone debuted]. [Velvin] Hogan was jury foreman. He had experience. He owned patents he took us through his experience. After that it was easier. After we debated that first patent -- what was prior art -- because we had a hard time believing there was no prior art."
"In fact we skipped that one," Ilagan continued, "so we could go on faster. It was bogging us down.""
[block emphasis added by LawPundit]
Prior art has a tendency to do that, to bog down patent claims.

The person who served as jury foreman of the just decided Apple vs. Samsung litigation is himself a patent holder, which has raised questions about that patent and about his potential bias in favor comrade-in-arms neighboring patent holder Apple.

His patent is United States Patent: 7352953.

At best, just read the materials yourself and check out the links:

United States Patent: 7352953:
Method and apparatus for recording and storing video information

A personal video recording/storage apparatus for downloading streaming video and data contents from a number of sources and storing the video files to an internal storage device, such as a disk drive. The apparatus further has the ability to offload the video files (e.g., originally stored in the fixed storage device) to an internal removable media storage device. The video files stored in the internal storage devices may thereafter be retrieved, processed, and provided for viewing on demand at a later time (e.g., on a standard television set, a high-definition television set, flat panel display, computer monitor, or an equivalent output device). One embodiment of the invention includes an apparatus equipped with a wireless keyboard and software that enables a user to access the Web and email services, edit recorded material, download new coder/decoder (Codec) software, order a movie on demand, and/or perform other functions.
. . .


The present invention relates generally to video systems, and more particularly, to a method and an apparatus for recording and storing video information.

Personal video recording and storage systems are known in the art. Such systems typically download streaming video to an internal fixed disk drive, which may thereafter be retrieved for viewing on demand. However, such systems typically have a small and limited storage capacity and can therefore only store a limited number of movies along with data contents. As can be seen, techniques that allow for recording, storage, and replay of a large number of video files are highly desirable.


Preferred embodiments of the invention provide a personal video recording/storage apparatus for downloading streaming video and data contents from a number of sources and storing video files to an internal fixed storage device, such as a disk drive. Furthermore, one preferred embodiment of the invention offers the ability to offload these video files (e.g., originally stored in a fixed storage device) to an internal removable media storage device. The video files stored in the fixed and/or removable storage devices may thereafter be retrieved, processed, and provided for viewing on demand at a later time (e.g., on a standard television set, a high-definition television set, flat panel display, computer monitor, or equivalent). "
You can read that description 20 times and you will still never have a clue as to what "non-obvious" invention or discovery it allegedly involves that was not preceded by significant prior art. Recall, the legal standard is that an invention or discovery to be patentable must be non-obvious to a person versed in the art and can not be anticipated by prior art.

As far as we can tell, US Patent 7352953 is no more valid than the Apple patents that were erroneously found valid in the instant Apple v. Samsung case.

The jury foreman in his jury capacity was perhaps subconsciously arguing in favor of HIS OWN patent, which apparently took seven years to be granted.

See also

Sean Barrett @nothings
Jury foreman convinced Apple/Samsung jury Apple patents were valid. He filed "TiVo+editing" patent 3 years after TiVo.

Apple v. Samsung: Meet the foreman of the jury - updated at Fortune, CNN

Rick Merritt, EE Times, Jury foreman in Apple vs. Samsung had 'light bulb moment'.

It is really all quite bizarre.

The jury foreman was supposed to be paying attention to the specific instructions of the judge to the jury rather than focusing on his own inventor-like "light bulb moment".

The only actual EUREKA moment that we see in this case is the clear and dominant "Aha!" recognition that the patent system is broken and that jury trials like these on major patent questions are silly jokes beyond reason.

How to Reform the Patent System by Enforcing a Strict Concept of Obviousness as the Normal Development of the State of the Art

What is "non-obvious" about a normal development of the state of the art?

Here is an interesting question. Please name TEN "non-obvious" inventions in the last 10 years that were NOT anticipated by the state of the art. Only 10. You know, things out of nowhere that somebody discovered. Uh....

We have not found anyone able to do that.

Although the legal standard is that "obvious" inventions are not patentable and that only "non-obvious" inventions and discoveries deserve the protection of patentability, the reality of patent practice in the legal system has nothing to do with that legal standard.

Rather, to believe USPTO stats, 500,000 "NON-OBVIOUS" inventions and discoveries are made every year by patent applicants and HALF of those are granted as "bolts from the blue", things no one could have anticipated. Of course, that is nonsense.

In fact, if there were even 2,500 bona fide "non-obvious" inventions or discoveries among those 250,000 -- as judged by the normal development of the state of the art -- that would already be a miracle.

The problem is that modern patent practice seeks to patent many normal "obvious" developments of the state of the art...

and that is the principle reason that the patent system is broken.

If only "non-obvious" inventions or discoveries were actually patented and if every patent application to the USPTO had to contain a short paragraph specifically declaring what is "non-obvious" -- and why it is non-obvious, given the state of the art --  in the patent application, then the number of patent applications per year would drop dramatically.

We could care less about the theoretical "teachings" that the confused Federal Circuit throws out as a standard. Few inventors pay attention to "teachings". Rather, they are guided in their work by the state of the art. We want to know e.g. whether an invention is dependent upon the materials and tools that are made available by the state of the art. A good example here are thinner handsets enabled by thinner manufacture of solid state electronics. Sorry, but a "thinner" handset in such a case is "obvious" and should not be patentable for that feature. This applies across the board to ANY invention.

To what degree is it enabled by the state of the art and what has the alleged inventor actually ADDED that is "non-obvious" to the state of the art and how significant is that addition, or is it just a normal development of the state of the art. If the state of the art is at 9, and then we go to 10. That is obvious.

The patent applicant in EVERY case should have to explain WHY his or her allegedly non-obvious invention was not made 10, 20, 50, 100 or 200 years ago -- for the legal presumption should be that inventions or discoveries, as they in fact are, are usually normal developments of the state of the art at any given time, relying on the technological state of things in their era.

What has happened over the last 50 years is that the granting of patents for obvious state of the art developments has led to "a patent culture" and that culture finds more and more patent applications being made and more and more patents being issued, thus creating a massive roadblock to innovation.

 Number crunching Patents, Population and Demographics in the USA
  • More than 500,000 patent applications per year at the USPTO
  • ca. 250,000 patent grants per year at the USPTO
In recent years the USPTO has been inundated by an average of about half-a-million utility and design patent applications per year, of which an average of somewhat less than 50% have been granted.

As one can see at U.S. Patent Statistics Chart Calendar Years 1963 - 2011, ca. 50 years ago there were only 90,982 utility and design patent applications in 1963, as compared to 535,188 such applications in 2011.  That is nearly a six-fold increase (535188/90982=5.9). Total patent grants in 1963 were 48,971 but in 2011 there were 247,713 patents granted, a five-fold increase (247713/48971=5.0).

In that same period, the population of the United States increased from 179,323,175 in 1960 to 308,745,538 in 2010, a 1.7-fold increase, meaning that patent applications and grants have increased 3 or more times the rate of population growth -- and much of that population growth in the USA has been in demographic working sectors that make few or no patent filings.

For purposes of better comparison of the data, even if we restrict the data to U.S.-origin patent application filings only (and filter out the foreign patent applications), then we find 66,715 U.S.-origin patent applications in 1963 as compared to 247,750 U.S.-origin patent applications in 2011, a 3.7 fold increase (247750/66715=3.7), more than twice the rate of population growth.

Accordingly, an unhealthy "patent culture" has developed, which is contributing to the breaks in the patent system that we see.

Patent Wars Postings by Tim Worstall at Forbes are Worth a Read

Tim Worstall has some recent postings at Forbes on the patent wars and his writings are definitely worth a read, especially in term of gauging the actual effect of the bizarre Apple vs. Samsung court case in Cupertino, California.

Worstall's contributions are:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

PONG ! About that Ridiculously Granted Bounce-Back Scrolling Patent US 7469381 Which Is Anticipated by the Prior Art and Obviousness of the Old Atari Game of PONG

You can read about the ridiculously granted Apple patent 7469381 at via Hacker News at Can someone explain to me (like I'm 5) exactly what, besides the general concept of list scrolling with bounce-back to indicate end of list reached, it was that Samsung copied from the 7,469,381 patent?

Well, the idea contained in the Apple patent is so simply demonstrated that you can go back to the initial days of PCs for a good demonstration of the principle used, revealing the prior art and obviousness of the invention.

The essential principle of bounce-back scrolling becomes obvious if you play the famed Atari game PONG which was virtually "the first game" in the early days of the computer and you can still play it online here.

Whenever the ball hits the paddle, that is a "bounce-back" and if it does not hit the paddle, there is no "bounce-back". Apple has essentially stolen this PONG bounce-back invention for the basics of its scrolling patent 7469381, as we see from the court decision in Cupertino, to the tune of $1 Billion.

Now, THAT is professional theft.


In both cases you are simply defining "pointers" that initiate changes when any pointer reaches a predefined mathematical position on a display. There is no "invention" or "discovery" involved here.

The fact that in Pong the defining position is the near edge of the display and in Apple the defining position can be some other reference point in the visible or non-visible display is of no consequence to the prior art and obviousness of the invention.

Whenever a pre-defined "point" under predefined conditions is reached, a bounce-back occurs. In that sense, there is no difference at all in the basics between a PONG bounce-back and the method of bounce-back scrolling.

Indeed, a similar bounce-back "invention" is still found on keyboards for word processing use. If you press Control + End keys on your keyboard when working on a text program like Microsoft Word, the cursor (viz. pointer) will spring to the end of the document from any location in the text, while if you press Control + Home at any location the cursor will spring to the beginning of the document. I.e. the text can be made to "bounce-back" forwards or backwards, and the same is true for getting the cursor to the beginning (use the Home key) or the end of the line (use the End key).

Bounce-back scrolling is most certainly no innovation that should entitle any manufacturer to exclusive rights as to its use because it is merely a modern implementation of a tried-and-true method employed in software programming long beforehand.

Apple Samsung Jury Foreman Video Interview: A Legal and Patent System in Chaos

At the Washington Post video the Jury foreman discusses Apple-Samsung trial, verdict.

"Look and feel" and "feel and function"
are now the legal standards for patents?

So now laymen jurors like this determine international handset markets,
what can be produced and what can be bought by consumers worldwide,
and not the experts or the markets, right?

It is a legal and patent system in chaos.


See also at droid-life with a hat tip to

Video: Jury Foreman in Apple vs. Samsung Opens Up About Reaching Verdict and the text there....

"Quick Justice" Jury Verdict in Apple v. Samsung Cupertino Case Is Very Unlikely to Withstand Judicial Challenge on Appeal Due to Errors by the Judge and Jury

The jury verdict in this case was issued so quickly that it is virtually impossible that the jury read their instructions completely and carefully, which they must do, and they must obey those instructions. All the evidence points to the jury NOT reading all the instructions fully and being led astray by their possibly not unbiased patent-holding foreman.

Groklaw has the story at Jury in Apple v. Samsung Goofed, Damages Reduced -- Uh Oh. What's Wrong With this Picture? ~pj Updated 4Xs writing inter alia in Update 2 (excerpted here) as follows:
"Update 2: Dan Levine of Reuters has some words from the foreman:
"We wanted to make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist," Hogan said. "We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable." ...
[Groklaw] ... Had they read the full jury instructions, all 109 pages [as PDF], they would have read that damages are not supposed to punish, merely to compensate for losses. Here's what they would have found in Final Jury Instruction No. 35, in part:
The amount of those damages must be adequate to compensate the patent holder for the infringement. A damages award should put the patent holder in approximately the financial position it would have been in had the infringement not occurred, but in no event may the damages award be less than a reasonable royalty. You should keep in mind that the damages you award are meant to compensate the patent holder and not to punish an infringer.
The same instruction is repeated in Final Jury Instruction No. 53, in case they missed it the first time. Did they obey those instructions? Nay, did they even read them? The evidence, judging by the foreman's reported words, point the wrong way."
Yup. Trial over.

Press the Restart (Reset) Button.

Read the whole article at Groklaw here.

Patent War Litigation by Apple vs. Samsung and Other Competitors Bound to be a Long Legal Battle With Patent Trolls as the Likely Winners

Apple v. Samsung: The legal aftershocks is the title of an article at ZDNet by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols for Linux and Open Source with the summary:
"What do lawyers make of Apple's victory? They think among other things that, besides showing a broken patent system, Apple may yet regret its “victory.”"
Read the whole thing here.

European Union Website: Index Newsroom Blogs

In the past, the European Union website was in need of reform, so that we are now pleased to see that the index and newsroom pages have indeed been improved.

Some members of the European Commission and some senior EU official have blogs.

The blog of Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, has crowd-sourced blog posts.

Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner of Development, speaks five languages.

Take a look.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Import Ban of iPhones, iPads and Macs Possible in the USA via New Lawsuit re Patent Infringements not having FRAND Shelter for Apple as Google Armed with Motorola Patents Strikes Back at Monopolist Company

Stephen J. Vaughan-Nichols has the story
at Mutually Assured Destruction: Google/Motorola vs. Apple
writing that:
"Motorola Mobility is asking the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban the import of iPhones, iPads, and Macs."
The suit is based on patent infringements that have no FRAND protection, i.e. they involve patents that are not so-called "standard essential", where courts can not force companies to license such patents.  Without such licenses, iPhones and iPads and Macs are alleged to infringe those Google/Motorola patents and thus can not be imported to the USA, based on the standards set by the ITC in favor of Apple against Samsung or HTC.

You live by the sword. You die by the sword.
Tough for Apple? No sympathy here.

We think that Apple products deserve to be banned from import. Apple started the patent thermonuclear war against the competition in a bitter battle that tries to bypass the capitalist market system rather than to compete for consumers in shops and stores, and as human wars of history have proven, whoever starts a war like that must end up -- deservedly -- in the dust, to keep mankind from being enslaved by monopolists and similar tyrants.

Prior Art Stolen: Apple iPad Design is Nothing New According to ZDNET's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols - It's a Tablet - And Tablets Are As Old as the Hills

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes at ZDNET about Apple iPad design - it's been done before (images).

Pinterest Apps for Android & iPad Launched

The Next Web (TNW) has the story by Josh Ong at Pinterest Launches iPad and Android Apps.

On the Way App Finds Interesting Things for Professionals, Travelers, Vacationers, Walkers or Drivers, whether in Europe or around the World

European travel or a journey to other parts of the world?

Find interesting things on your route, whether it is a walk or a drive.

Rachel Lee Harris has the story at the New York Times at:

Mapping Your Drive And the Odd Stops on It -
"Ever get to the end of a road trip and realize you were just a few miles away from the shoe of the world’s tallest man but you missed it? Maybe not, but On the Way, a new online travel site for road trippers, was designed to help find such unusual attractions. When you enter your start and destination, the program will populate a map of your route with restaurants, museums and less traditional tourist sites using programming interfaces like Google Places, Foursquare, Yelp and Lonely Planet’s Points of Interest. It can help you find a Starbucks between New York and Washington, but it’s better for local alternatives like Miss Shirley’s Cafe in Baltimore."
Read the whole thing here

Saturday, August 18, 2012

EU Patents: Prior Art Finder for European Patent Office EPO is a New Patentability Assessment Tool from Google Continuing Patent Search Tradition Started for USPTO Patents

The newest patentability assessment tool from Google is referenced at, which refers to Google's new EPO Prior Art Finder for the European Union, as described by Jon Orwant, Google engineering manager.

The new tool continues a patent finding tradition at Google that started with Google Patent Search in 2006 for USPTO patents.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Twitter Founders New Medium (Examples): Personalized BBS as a Trend? Will "Medium" Be a Hit?

Will "Medium" at be the new Pinterest?
by the founders of Twitter - at Welcome to Medium

examples --

When I was a kid, Evan Williams etc. - nostaligic photos and "clever" texts
This Happened to Me, Evan Williams etc. - "not so clever" texts
The Obvious Collection, Biz Stone - improving the world
The Writer's Room, Steven Johnson - memory and procrastination

This is essentially a new twist on information "bulletin "boards" -- BBS in the old days (there is really nothing new under the sun) -- but you just never know what people are going to find interesting or useful.

Is personalized BBS in the trend?

Williams has a stellar track record as founder of Blogger and Twitter.
He tends to come up with things that people ultimately find useful, even if not used the way originally intended, so that one is curious to see what this will lead to.

Still in development and by invitation only.

See other reports at:

Christina Warren, Mashable, Twitter Founders Want to Reinvent Digital Publishing – Again

Will Dalton,, Twitter founders launch Pinterest-like site 'Medium'

Seth Flegerman,, Twitter Cofounders Unveil Their Newest Project, An Online Publishing Platform Called Medium

Saturday, August 04, 2012

First Standardized License Plate 1957 in Massachusetts USA as Nearly Identical Prior Art for the Apple Phone in Information Display on a Rectangular Surface with Rounded Corners

Who invented the iPhone image display form? -- definitely not Apple.

The ubiquitous and generic US license plate is absolute prior art for rectangular display of text and image graphics with rounded edges in a bezel prior to more modern information apparatus. Let us look at the website

Massachusetts RMV - History of the License Plate

for a good example.

The first standardized motor vehicle license plate in Massachusetts out of the year 1957 -- more than 3 decades prior to the iPhone -- is shown below (original graphic found at

It is virtually identical to the over-hyped "prize-winning" design of the Apple iPhone (image thumb in actual dimensions below),

and shows how the masses, legislatures, courts and judges can be duped and still are being duped -- just look at currently ongoing litigation in California and elsewhere.

An Apple iPhone is a banal license plate copy, at least in terms of design.

The point here is that the design display to which Apple claims proprietary rights is not their invention or design whatsoever. Ubiquitous generic license plates already used that very same design to display information long before the iPhone, and that phone does nothing else than to use this same format to display its information digitally - that difference does not justify special IP rights.

There is NO INVENTIVE STEP and nothing unique has been created.

Old California Speed Limit Sign Virtually Identical in Design to Apple iPad: No Inventive Step in Information Display of Digital Material

We studied law in California and at that time had a convertible to drive to boot, which brings back fond memories of driving in the Bay area.

As a special treat for patent-savvy car drivers
and also as CLE for judges judging patent and design matters,

we have looked at old California speed limit signs in the same grand State that is now hosting the Apple and Samsung design infringement case

and have found that the iPad is a virtual rectangular design replica of the old California speed limit sign (also having rounded corners and a border), photographic examples of which we found at (photo of speed limit sign by Bonhams) and at the AARoads Blog, which we used as the basis for our illustration below

(the outline of the "acclaimed" minimalist iPad "design" is at the left and the old California speed limit sign is at the right, by which we have changed the original sizes of the two but have retained the relative actual height and width dimensions of each)

We see then that the iPad rectangular design is a direct rip-off of the old California speed limit sign. A conscious or subconscious causal design influence is in fact not excludable.

The iPad is essentially a familiar old California speed limit sign as far as its design is concerned.

Again, as in our previous posting, the point here is that the design display to which Apple claims proprietary rights is not their invention or design whatsoever. A ubiquitous generic speed limit sign IN CALIFORNIA already used that very same design to display information long before the iPad, and that pad or tablet does nothing else than to use this same format to display its information digitally - that difference does not justify special IP rights.

There is NO INVENTIVE STEP and nothing unique has been created.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Keynesians Winning in Explaining Economies in Deleveraging Shock: Krugman has the Story in Money for Nothing at the New York Times

We read Paul Krugman not because he is always right,
and indeed he admittedly does not always claim to be,

but Krugman stands out in the ranks of the world's top economists in rejecting voodoo economics, gullible wishful thinking and unproven politically-colored economic dogmas and pet theories, preferring to subject his own ideas to the actual empirical evidence. Krugman prefers an economics that is "evidence-based" rather than one based on some economic "school".

Read how the Keynesians are winning in explaining economies in "deleveraging shock", as Krugman has the story in Money for Nothing at the New York Times. One need not be a Keynesian. One needs to look at the facts to see that Keynes was right in major essentials, while others were wrong.

Compare the sensible things that Krugman writes to the abysmal theoretical economics written at Krugman-in Wonderland by a proponent of the largely reality-removed Austrian School of Economics, a theoretical school of economics somewhat comparable in its inflexible dogmatism to modern American "voodoo economics" of the American extreme right wing.

As noted at the Wikipedia about the theories of "Austrian School" classicist Friedrich Hayek:
"Jeffrey Sachs argues that among developed countries, those with high rates of taxation and high social welfare spending perform better on most measures of economic performance compared to countries with low rates of taxation and low social outlays. He concludes that Friedrich Hayek was wrong to argue that high levels of government spending harms an economy, and "a generous social-welfare state is not a road to serfdom but rather to fairness, economic equality and international competitiveness."
It is in fact rather astounding that such muddled economic thinking as can be found in the Austrian School is "made in Europe", a Europe whose modern astounding progress since WWII can be thanked to exactly the opposite kinds of economics as proposed by Hayek or compatriot Ludwig von Mises, who wrote dreamfully and in error that:
"The captain is the consumer…the consumers determine precisely what should be produced, in what quality, and in what quantities…They are merciless egoistic bosses, full of whims and fancies, changeable and unpredictable. For them nothing counts other than their own satisfaction…In their capacity as buyers and consumers they are hard-hearted and callous, without consideration for other people…Capitalists…can only preserve and increase their wealth by filling best the orders of the consumers… In the conduct of their business affairs they must be unfeeling and stony-hearted because the consumers, their bosses, are themselves unfeeling and stony-hearted."
In contrast, Steve Jobs, who made Apple the most profitable high-tech product-selling company in the United States is famously quoted as saying that "It isn't the consumers' job to know what they want."

Jobs was apparently very right and von Mises very wrong. Consumers are the suckers in the system, not "the captains".

Similarly and currently in the patent wars, what can be bought or not in retail shops is being decided by the patent laws and how these are being interpreted by the courts and the legal system. The consumers are not the ones deciding what they will be able to buy in the future.

So much for the so-called "Austrian School of Economics".
There is a good German saying for that school and it is "weltfremd".

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