“Google Inc’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, will travel this year to reclusive North Korea, where Internet use is subject to some of the world’s tightest controls, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday. Schmidt, one of the highest-profile leaders of the U.S. technology industry, could visit as early as this month, the AP said. The announcement was made days after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the third member of his family to rule the country since its inception in the Cold War, signalled a willingness to improve relations with South Korea,” Reuters reports. “The AP cited two people familiar with his plans as saying the ex-Google CEO will join a private group led by former United Nations Ambassador and New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, a frequent visitor to North Korea.”

“It was unclear whom Schmidt will meet or what his agenda might be, the AP reported. Internet access is largely restricted to all but the most influential officials of the reclusive state. Media content is also rigidly controlled,” Reuters reports. “Google did not directly respond to a question about whether Schmidt was going to North Korea, although a spokeswoman’s response suggested a visit would not be for company business.”

MacDailyNews Take: Who better to get info out of the DPRK black hole than Eric T. Mole?

Reuters reports, “Schmidt, Google’s main political and government relations representative, has also been a prominent supporter of President Barack Obama.”

MacDailyNews Note: Eric Schmidt serves as an advisor on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). PCAST is an advisory group of scientists and engineers who directly advise the president and the executive office of the president. The current PCAST group was originally established through Executive Order 13226 and restablished by President Barack Obama.

Schmidt is writing, with former U.S. state department official Jared Cohen, a book due in April called ‘The New Digital Age.’ It will address how the Internet and technology can empower people and drive fundamental social, political and economic change. ‘Perhaps the most intriguing part of this trip is simply the idea of it. The restricted control of information lies at the heart of the DPRK state and yet it is about to host one of the West’s greatest facilitators of borderless information flows,’ said Victor Cha, a senior adviser and Korea expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Send in the Mole! He got info out of Steve Jobs’ Apple fortress; the DPRK information bubble doesn’t stand a chance.

“A Seoul court granted a request by Apple Inc. to delay a sales ban imposed on some iPhones and iPads after an August ruling that the U.S. company infringed on Samsung Electronics Co.’s patents,” Jun Yang reports for Bloomberg.

“The Seoul Central District Court last month accepted Apple’s request to stay the South Korea sales ban until after the company’s appeals of the Aug. 24 ruling conclude, Kim Mun Sung, a spokesman for the court, said by phone today,” Yang reports. “The court found in August that Apple and Samsung infringed on each other’s patents, and ordered the companies to stop selling some smartphones and tablet computers in South Korea and pay damages. Apple was ordered to stop selling the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1 and iPad 2.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Samsung’s check must’ve bounced.

“This is in the believe it or not category, but the foreman in the Apple v Samsung trial is *still* talking about the verdict and why the jurors did what they did. And the more he talks, the worse it gets for that verdict,” Groklaw reports.

Gizmodo asked him to sit today for live questions. And believe it or not, he did it,” Groklaw reports. “And when asked if the jury was ever asking whether or not a patent should have issued, he claims that they never did because that wasn’t their role and the judge told them to assume the patents issued properly and not to second guess that determination.”

Groklaw reports, “That is so wrong it’s not even just wrong. The verdict form and the jury instructions specifically asked them to address that very question. The law is that the jurors are supposed to decide whether or not a patent is infringed, which *includes* whether or not the patent is valid, because if it is not valid, it can’t be infringed… One thing is for sure, this is going to be one fascinating appeal.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Regardless, the verdict is correct because Samsung was clearly copying Apple and trading on their work as Apple’s lawyers proved with a mountain of evidence.

As we wrote last month: Apple created the modern day smartphone and taught the world what an iPhone is. This was not trivial, nor was it free.

The reason there are copies – of anything – is to take for free (steal) that which was paid for by the original maker: The R&D, the salary and perks of the world’s preeminent industrial designer [and his team], the education of the public through TV spots and a very expensive network of retail outlets, the hundreds of millions in online, print, television, etc. marketing, everything that goes into a product.

This why a maker of knockoff handbags makes Coach knockoffs, to trade on Coach’s work in order to move their fake wares without investing in the design, marketing, etc. This is why a maker of auto knockoffs makes BMW knockoffs. This is why Samsung knocked off iPhone. Samsung stole Apple’s work and they traded on Apple’s considerable investment. This is why the jury found Samsung guilty.

There is no market for paintings of Campbell’s soup cans without Warhol.

Making knockoffs isn’t flattery, it’s theft. It’s also an expression of companies’ disdain and low opinion of their own customers.

Apple’s products came first, then Samsung’s:

Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Tab Trade Dress Infringement

Here’s what Google’s Android looked like before and after Apple’s iPhone:

Google Android before and after Apple iPhone