Apple, Samsung to face off at another patent damages trial


Apple and Samsung will be heading back to court for another damages retrial. 


Get ready for Apple v. Samsung round number… oh, forget it, we don’t remember, either. 

Apple and Samsung will head back to district court for yet another design patent infringement trial. Judge Lucy Koh, in an order signed Sunday, has ordered the two tech giants to meet again in a courtroom to determine how much Samsung owes Apple for infringing three patents. 

The decision follows a Supreme Court ruling a year ago that said damages could be determined differently than they typically had been in the past, with the infringing “article of manufacture” potentially being a part of a product instead of the entire product.

“The Court finds that the jury instructions given at trial did not accurately reflect the law and that the instructions prejudiced Samsung by precluding the jury from considering whether the relevant article of manufacture… was something other than the entire phone,” Koh wrote in the order, handing Samsung a victory in its quest for a retrial. 

Apple and Samsung didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Apple and Samsung have been battling over patents since 2012, and a question about how much money could be owed for infringing design patents made it all the way to the Supreme Court in late 2016. In December, the Supreme Court said in a unanimous opinion that damages for design patent infringement can be based only on the part of the device that infringed the patents, not necessarily on the entire product.

That ruling reshapes the value of designs, and how much one company has to pay for copying the look of a competitor’s product. Before the ruling, the law said an award could be collected on the entire profits of an infringing device. In this case, that’s the $399 million Samsung paid Apple last last year. 

The Supreme Court didn’t give guidance on how damages should be decided, though, and in February, an appeals court punted the case back to district court for the Northern District of California.

Apple had asked for the appeals court to uphold the earlier damages ruling because Samsung never showed an “article of manufacture” to be anything other than an entire phone. Samsung, meanwhile, wanted the case sent back to district court for a new damages trial. 

Koh, in her order on Sunday, detailed how to define an “article of manufacture” at question in a case. Previously, Apple had argued the article of manufacture was an entire phone. Koh said the test for determining what item has been infringed will be based on four factors:

  • “The scope of the design claimed in the plaintiff’s patent, including the drawing and written description;
  • The relative prominence of the design within the product as a whole;  
  • Whether the design is conceptually distinct from the product as a whole; and 
  • The physical relationship between the patented design and the rest of the product, including whether the design pertains to a component that a user or seller can physically separate from the product as a whole, and whether the design is embodied in a component that is manufactured separately from the rest of the product, or if the component can be sold separately.”

Koh said the plaintiff, Apple, “shall bear the burden of persuasion on identifying the relevant article of manufacture and proving the amount of total profit on the sale of that article.” 

Koh said in a separate ruling that a case management meeting set for Oct. 25 will still be held and that both Apple and Samsung must file plans “advancing the case schedule and trial date” by that point. 

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Stephen Hawking makes his doctoral thesis available online

Needless to say, it’s not light reading. Hawking used the expansion of the universe to challenge an existing gravitational theory (there’s no way galaxies could form as a result of early perturbations, he argued) and provide a model of gravitational radiation and expansion that shows space-time singularities are “inevitable.”

Whether or not you take a look, there was plenty of pent-up demand. Cambridge University said the paper was the “most-requested” work for its open repository, receiving “hundreds” of requests. It’ll also help open the floodgates. All Cambridge graduates will have to offer digital copies of their theses from now on, and they’re being encouraged to make them public. Hawking’s move might give them the confidence boost they need — they’ll know there’s nothing to fear by disclosing their work.

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The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Mini Series

For today’s Throwback Thursday, we’re gonna kick it (semi) old school with Amanda Visell’s Scaredy Labbit. …

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Samsung phone reportedly emits smoke on flight

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.

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The Galaxy J7. 


Phones do sometimes explode. Often the cause seems to be the battery.

However, on Friday, passengers on a Jet Airways flight from Delhi to Indore in India endured a scare when they say smoke began to billow from a woman’s purse. 

As the Hindustan Times reports, the plane was already in the air when one of its passengers, Arpita Dhal, noticed her purse — which she’d placed under a seat — emitting smoke.

She told the Times that there were actually three phones in her purse, but it was a Samsung Galaxy J7 that was the culprit. 

The J7 is a cheaper Samsung phone targeted principally at emerging markets.

For Dhal, the situation was exacerbated when, she said, the plane’s fire extinguishers didn’t work. “It was a mid-air panic,” she told the Times.

Indeed, her husband said that the crew was forced to put the phone into a tray of water in order to get the fire under control.

Neither Samsung nor Jet Airways immediately responded to a request for comment. 

The airline did tell the Times: “Jet Airways crew immediately took charge of the situation, as also all necessary steps as precautionary measure, and as per the prescribed guidelines.”

This isn’t the first time that a J7 explosion has been reported. This doesn’t mean, however, that the phone has the sort of problem experienced by the Galaxy Note 7, which was ultimately withdrawn.

Sometimes, phone manufacturers examine phones that have caught fire and discover that non-approved batteries or chargers have been the cause. 

Earlier this month, for example, Samsung insisted that an explosion in one of its Grand Duo phones was caused by the owner inserting a non-authorized battery. 

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Dive the Great Barrier Reef with Netflix and Google


Never been to the Great Barrier Reef? Interactive and immersive experiences are available so you can see it from your couch.

William West / AFP/Getty Images

You don’t have to visit Australia to experience the wonder of the Great Barrier Reef.

Google, Netflix and Twitter, as well as the BBC and Australian nonprofit New Horizons, have produced digital experiences that make the reef accessible from your couch. Swim in the pristine waters of Australia’s Coral Sea, spy on the reef’s bountiful marine life and soak up the grandeur of a UNESCO World Heritage Site without putting on a swimsuit.

Some of the projects use virtual reality to immerse you in a world that is both beautiful and alien. Big names, including David Attenborough and Google, are behind some of the efforts, ensuring they’re as entertaining as they are educational.

This is part of our series “Rebooting the Reef” on efforts to save one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. 

The efforts to document the Great Barrier Reef come as global warming pushes sea temperatures higher, endangering the reef’s coral. Bleachings in 2016 and 2017 killed huge swaths of the tiny marine animals, which expel the algae that live with and nourish them when exposed to heat. An estimated 29 percent of the shallow-water coral was killed last year alone, according to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the government body responsible for monitoring its health.

The documentarians hope making the reef’s beauty available to everyone will inspire us to change our behavior.  If we curb global warming, the reef will get a chance to recover. If we don’t, VR experiences might become the only way future generations can see it.

Begin your dive with David Attenborough

The BBC’s “Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough” is a good place to start your virtual tour of the reef. The three-part series, released in 2015, introduces viewers to the reef’s inhabitants and is hosted with the characteristic charm of the beloved naturalist.  You can stream the documentary on Netflix.


See more from Rebooting the Reef.

If you happen to be in Canberra, Australia, or Trondheim, Norway, stop by the National Museum Australia or the Trondheim Science Centre to see a condensed VR version called “David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef Dive.” You’ll spend the 19-minute experience in the Triton submersible with Attenborough as he glides through the Great Barrier Reef. Further information is supplied by Justin Marshall, a professor and reef expert, as they slowly descend and come up close to corals, an assortment of fishes and reef sharks.

The creators of “Dive,” Atlantic Productions and Alchemy VR, also produced an interactive site with five chapters, each set at a different location on the Great Barrier Reef. Each chapter is accompanied by a short video and slides that explore the reef and its inhabitants.  

One of the most moving elements is an interactive depiction of the reef’s deteriorating health. It lets you pan a 360-degree camera and change the amount of pollution hitting the reef, driving home the ways human activity affects the reef over time. The site won the Best Interactive award at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival last month.

Chase corals on Netflix

Attenborough’s film may leave you exhilarated, like a child discovering the treasures of nature. But the makers of “Chasing Coral,” a Netflix documentary, want to provoke more than wonder. The film is a no-holds-barred presentation of the Great Barrier Reef’s dire health, designed to make us act.

#RoamReport – Coral reefs are among the most diverse and important ecosystems on the planet—and they are dying before our very eyes. To uncover why, @ChasingCoral director @JeffOrlowski and a team of scientists and divers embarked on a three-year adventure to capture 500+ hours of underwater footage from reefs around the globe. In timelapses, the team documented how rising ocean temperatures cause mass bleaching of coral. Watch the results seen in the powerful new documentary @ChasingCoral available on @netflix. Healthy coral reefs support a quarter of all marine life, feed a billion people, generate $36 billion in revenue and millions of tourism jobs, and protect our coastlines from tsunamis, hurricanes, and floods. “We live at a unique moment in time where we can change history,” says Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, who brought his expertise in climate change and coral reefs to the film. “It’s not too late for coral reefs.” Learn what you can do to help at . Footage courtesy of @ExposureLabs @ChasingCoral @Netflix – Report by @roam.

A post shared by Chasing Coral (@chasingcoral) on Aug 3, 2017 at 9:49am PDT

Richard Vevers, who heads marine advocacy The Ocean Agency and stewarded the project, said he was devastated to see stretches of dead coral after having seen them healthy a year earlier.

The producers re-create the visual beauty of the reef, but Vevers says they can’t replicate other sensory experiences that may capture the plight of the Great Barrier Reef better than any image.

“You come out of the water and that’s when it hits you because you smell it,” says Vevers. “It’s the dying flesh of all the animals.”

The movie premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the US Documentary Audience Award. Netflix made it available online in July. “Chasing Coral” won Best Impact Film at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival last month. 

Embark on an expedition with Google

“Chasing Coral” might not have happened if Vevers hadn’t begun his quest to capture the devastation of the Great Barrier Reef on Google Street View.

Using images collected by XL Caitlin Seaview Survey, a marine study Vevers runs,  Google pulled together 360-degree underwater photos in the Google Street View format. The photos, taken in different years, are a record of the reef’s health.

You might find the experience more immersive using Google Earth VR for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. If you’re like me, you’ll likely find yourself intrigued by the shape of the corals. Some resemble brains, others wishbones. They’re all mesmerising.

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Visit Lady Elliot Island on Google Expeditions.

Screengrab by Zoey Chong/CNET

Street View and Earth VR are great for getting a sense of the scope of the reef and its problems. If you want to get a more complete understanding of what you’re seeing, take a dive with Google Expeditions.

Designed for classrooms, Google Expeditions is useful for solo travellers and has an “Explore on your own” option. The app has two Great Barrier Reef adventures. One explains the ecosystem and science of the reef, and the other serves as a virtual travel guide, showing you famous spots, such as Lady Elliot Island and Heron Island.

Australia brings the parks to you in VR

New Horizons, an Australian nonprofit, is part of the team behind the Parallel Parks initiative, a project to capture the Great Barrier Reef and three other national parks in VR. New Horizons wants to bring the wonder of the parks to people who can’t get to them, particularly people with disabilities.

In September, Parallel Parks held an event in Sydney, where it showed a two-minute video of its reef experience. In the first minute you’re flying across the sea at Vlasoff Cay, marvelling at the expanse of the reef. Then you’re taken beneath the waters where you dive among a multicoloured expanse of corals, which are sometimes called “the rainforests of the sea.”

Join a dive on Periscope

In July, Twitter collaborated with travel personality Mitchell Oates to livestream a dive at the Great Barrier Reef. More than 100,000 viewers watched at least part of Oates’ dive, which you can replay from his Periscope channel.

Unlike the documentaries, the quality isn’t pristine. But that enhances the realistic feel of the unedited recording.

Oates’ raw excitement is plainly visible as he dives the reef for the first time, ticking an item off his bucket list. Nearby fish occasionally videobomb him as he explores the earth-coloured coral.

Real-time viewers were engaged too. Oates panned the camera wherever he was asked, and he answered viewer questions during the broadcast.

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.

iHate: CNET looks at how intolerance is taking over the internet.

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After Math: The fix is in

It was a difficult week for the truth — and not just how the president coerced a four-star general to lie about the sentiments he made to a grieving war widow. More than half of tech experts now doubt we can fix the “fake news” problem, Congress rolled out a new bill to make online political ads more transparent, Google served “fake ads” to fact-checking news sites, and the NFL teamed up with TicketMaster to take down scalpers. Numbers, because how else will you measure what little integrity you have left?

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