samsung

Is Stoli Vodka Boycott Misguided? Obama Admin Vetoes Apple Ban

Is Stoli Vodka Boycott Misguided?

They’ve been pouring bottles of Stoli Vodka down drains and into streets all weekend in cities all over America. I saw them do this at a local gay bar in Philadelphia on local TV news. But according to this article, Stoli Vodka is distilled in Latvia and owned by a company in Luxembourg. Where this gets complicated is that it is controlled by a Russian billionaire living in exile because he’s allegedly opposed to the way gays are being treated in Russia. And, according to this article, Latvia is not part of Russia and it belongs the European Union.

Latvia’s leading gay rights group, Mozaika, has been leading the campaign to get well-intentioned Western comrades to cease boycotting Stolichnaya, arguing that it will only hurt Latvians who are committed to diversity and tolerance.

I was informed of this a while ago, and I think I posted about it. I despise what Russia is doing to gays right now, but I haven’t poured any Stoli down the drain yet because I’ve been so unsure about the facts. 

Maybe we should check the facts out a little better with this one? Unless, of course, I missed something.

Obama Admin Vetoes Apple Ban

The most significant thing about this is that it’s the first time since 1987 that a presidential administration has done anything like this.

I’m sure Samsung is not too thrilled right now, because the ITC issued the ban on older Apple devices (iPhone 3, iPad 2) in a finding the said Apple had infringed on a Samsung patent. Then this happened today:

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman made the decision to veto the ban on the Apple devices, citing concerns about patent holders gaining “undue leverage.” He said Samsung could continue to pursue its patent rights through the courts.
 
It’s all very complicated, and not worth getting into in depth. I just found the historical significance interesting.
 
 
 
 

Federal Judge Cuts Damage Award to Apple

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh lowered the damages awarded to Apple Inc. by $450.5 million for 14 Samsung products including some products in its hot-selling Galaxy lineup, saying jurors had not properly followed her instruction in calculating some of the damages.

This is significant for many reasons, one of which is Samsung had been expected to pay 1 billion dollars in damages to Apple.

Judge Koh also found errors that pertain to how and when Apple notified Samsung about allegedly violating patents with iPhone and iPad. And she ordered a new trial.

Samsung is thrilled.

No comment from the royal palace of Apple.

The more I read this article the more I liked Judge Koh. And I’m by no means an expert.

In December, Koh refused to order a sales ban on the products the jury found infringed Apple’s patents. She said Apple failed to prove the purloined technology is what drove consumers to buy a Samsung product instead of an Apple iPhone or iPad. Samsung says that it is continues to sell only three of the two dozen products found to have infringed Apple’s patents.

What drives customers to buy a Samsung product over Apple is a little more complicated than what Apple allegedly claims. I stay away from Apple products because I don’t like the general concept of control Apple has always wanted to promote and maintain with its products and how it views the Internet as a whole.

You can read more here.

What really bothers me about all this is the jury’s original verdict. Things have changed in the past ten or fifteen years. People aren’t the same as they used to be. I know people who would die for Apple and they don’t even know why. If you ask them they draw a blank…and these are people who most of the time can’t even afford an Apple product. They’re all so political, but yet when you ask them a specific political question that goes deeper than what they read on facebook or twitter they either don’t know or get the answer dead wrong. And to trust something as complicated as this to a jury that I would bet didn’t understand half of what happened during the trial truly makes me wonder about how the legal systems works.

On a much smaller scale, I’ve seen a few other cases that ended in ways no one would ever have predicted. And it’s going to be interesting to see how this all unfolds.

Apple Awarded 1.051 Billion by Jury

It seems Apple is involved in a legal battle almost everywhere I look these days. I’ve only been following this one from a distance, but I have to admit I’m a little surprised…knowing how Apple tends to do business from reading about their past records. Steve Jobs himself made comments about stealing ideas and concepts and laughed them off with a quote from someone I can’t name now. I read that in his bio and it was one of the things that stuck with me…along with how peculiar he was when it come to food, how poorly he treated people, and how he regarded his own daughter.

The jury in the landmark Apple-Samsung trial ruled mostly in favor of Apple, including awarding Apple $1,051,855,000 in damages. Samsung, on the other hand, was granted a total of $0 in damages.

Here’s a quick rundown of how the jury came down on both of the companies. Remember, there are plenty of devices at play here — on Samsung’s side alone, there’s the Captivate, Continuum, Droid Charge, Epic 4G, Fascinate, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S, Exhibit, Infuse 4G, Mesmerize, Nexus S 4G, Gem, Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Replenish, Vibrant, plus every carrier’s version of the Galaxy S II.

■The jury found no infringement by Apple on any of Samsung’s utility patents.
■The jury found that Samsung infringed on patents for ’381 “bounce back” scrolling functionality on all devices.

You can read more here.

Frankly, when I read things like this it worries me about how jury members think and process information. I was stunned recently by more than a few high profile murder cases, and I can’t help wondering if jury members are different now than they were twenty or thirty years ago.

This part scares me the most, especially the part about them not coming from technical backgrounds:

The verdict came in shockingly quickly, as the jury was only in deliberation for three days. The jury worked one hour late yesterday and reached a decision at 2:35 PT today. Over 700 individual decisions had to be made by members of the jury, which does not come from particularly technical backgrounds, on their complex worksheets.