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Cellphones Patents The Courts Apple

Apple Sues HTC For 20 Patent Violations In Phones 434

Posted by Soulskill
from the sorry-about-your-luck dept.
eldavojohn writes "Taiwanese HTC is being sued by Apple for 20 patents regarding the many phones HTC manufactures. Steve Jobs was quoted as saying, 'We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We've decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.' Apple has similar patent litigation with Nokia and may be trying to scare the rest of the industry into licensing patents similar to the Microsoft-Novell and Microsoft-Amazon deals regarding patents covering Linux functionality."
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Apple Sues HTC For 20 Patent Violations In Phones

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  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @11:45AM (#31331292) Journal

    Maybe Apple should pay Nokia's patent royalties first before they go bullying others? (you know, the company that spend billions for mobile technology R&D and who's technology it's almost all based on?)

    Apple is just like a little kid trying to yell at the parents here. Too bad the mobile phone industry is a small one, everyone of the existing players cross-license between each one and ass behaving Apple is in serious trouble if the other companies stop licensing their technology.

    • by Orange Crush (934731) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @11:52AM (#31331386)

      Apple didn't invent the smartphone, and I'm sure there are a slew of fundamental patents held by other companies that can take Apple to the cleaners if they keep pulling this crap. HTC's been making smartphones for over a decade, so I hope they're able to fire back. Not to mention Google designed most of Android, so won't it be interesting if they join the fray?

      I'll be interested to hear more about what specific patents Apple is trying to bludgeon HTC with, but I'll hardly be surprised if it's a bunch of trivial crap like basic UI elements.

      Apple looks like a bully right now, and if that's the case, I hope the other kids on the playground gang up on Apple and teach them a lesson.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jeffmeden (135043)

        Ahem.

        "Apple reinvented the mobile phone in 2007 with its revolutionary iPhone®, and did it again in 2008 with its pioneering App Store, which now offers more than 150,000 mobile applications in over 90 countries. Over 40 million iPhones have been sold worldwide.

        You heard them. Not 'invented', reinvented! And then re-reinvented! I think they omitted this, but Steve Jobs was quoted as saying "We would like other companies to compete by re-reinventing their own phones, not stealing ideas like a screen you can touch or a program you can download for local use. These innovations are clearly thanks to us."

        • HP sold a touch screen computer in 1983 and people have been downloading programs for many years.

          Obviously Apple couldn't follow Jobs' advice and re-invent their own phone since they didn't have one of their own.

          • by jeffmeden (135043)

            Whaaa? Next thing you will tell me is that the concept of using gravity to determine the proper up-down orientation of a device was invented a long time ago, or that the act of using more than one finger at a time isn't a novel new idea!

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Marcika (1003625)

          Ahem.

          "Apple reinvented the mobile phone in 2007 with its revolutionary iPhone®, and did it again in 2008 with its pioneering App Store, which now offers more than 150,000 mobile applications in over 90 countries. Over 40 million iPhones have been sold worldwide.

          Steve Jobs was quoted as saying "We would like other companies to compete by re-reinventing their own phones, not stealing ideas like a screen you can touch or a program you can download for local use. These innovations are clearly thanks to us."

          Yes, this phenomenon is known as Reality Distortion Field (or to use technical jargon, "lying scumbag executive").

          A program you can download on your phone for local use? You mean like JavaME JAR files? Like the app store that GetJar [wikipedia.org] started years and years before Apple?

          A screen you can touch? Like the LG Prada, announced before the IPhone, or like hundreds of other touchscreen kiosks in the last three decades?

          Yup. Apple. Re-inventing marketing.

          • Ahem.

            "Apple reinvented the mobile phone in 2007 with its revolutionary iPhone®, and did it again in 2008 with its pioneering App Store, which now offers more than 150,000 mobile applications in over 90 countries. Over 40 million iPhones have been sold worldwide.

            Steve Jobs was quoted as saying "We would like other companies to compete by re-reinventing their own phones, not stealing ideas like a screen you can touch or a program you can download for local use. These innovations are clearly thanks to us."

            Yes, this phenomenon is known as Reality Distortion Field (or to use technical jargon, "lying scumbag executive").

            A program you can download on your phone for local use? You mean like JavaME JAR files? Like the app store that GetJar [wikipedia.org] started years and years before Apple?

            A screen you can touch? Like the LG Prada, announced before the IPhone, or like hundreds of other touchscreen kiosks in the last three decades?

            Yup. Apple. Re-inventing marketing.

            Uh, you realize that Jobs's 'quote' above wasn't real, right?

        • by poetmatt (793785) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @05:11PM (#31336596) Journal

          Going after someone as huge as HTC by trying to use the ITC loophole along with patent saber rattling is a horrible horrible idea.

          Really, if HTC buckles down and fights back apple could have their patent portfolio basically invalidated (among other things). HTC is a huge company, so I don't expect them to throw in a towel either. It's one thing if apple tried this on small fry, but this is a case of a jellyfish trying to eat the shark.

          Apple is bigger (financially only) in the US, but HTC has a hand in probably 80% of all the electronics made in the world in terms of components, etc. HTC (as high tech corp) serious manufacturer ownership/control (especially outside the US) and could basically ensure apple won't be able to obtain key parts for any of their products.

      • by FatdogHaiku (978357) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:44PM (#31332238)
        The details are here:
        http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/02/the-complaint-apples-patent-lawsuit-against-htc-is-all-about-android/ [techcrunch.com]
        and yes, “Object-Oriented Graphic System” is one of them along with “Touch Screen Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics”.
      • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:46PM (#31332262)

        HTC's been making smartphones for over a decade, so I hope they're able to fire back.

        I doubt it. They may have been making phones for a long time but it was only in the last 3 years did they actually start trying to push their own user interface. In other words, they just took generic Windows Mobile software and UI and slapped it onto their hardware.

        In the last couple of years we saw them gradually add a plugin to the homescreen and enhance that until eventually they took over the first layer of the UI with TouchFLO in Diamond. By that time the iPhone was already out and you could see several pieces of functionality "inspired" by the iPhone make it's way into later releases.

        (mind you, they never fixed my pet peeve which was adding a sensor to the phone so the screen turned off when you held it to your ear - instead going for ugly software hacks that never really worked properly)

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Kalriath (849904)

          In the last couple of years we saw them gradually add a plugin to the homescreen and enhance that until eventually they took over the first layer of the UI with TouchFLO in Diamond. By that time the iPhone was already out and you could see several pieces of functionality "inspired" by the iPhone make it's way into later releases.

          TouchFLO is much older than the iPhone. The HTC Touch had it for example, and that was long before the Diamond.

      • by sbeckstead (555647) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:51PM (#31332392) Homepage Journal
        Actually Apple did offer to license the patents from Nokia but Nokia tried to get Apple to give them all of the family jewels instead of the reasonable licensing they offered the other smart phone makers. Apple offered to give them access to the patents that Nokia is being sued for violating but that wasn't enough for Nokia. Apple was sitting there taking it for a while but now that they are the target of all the other smart phone makers it's time to take off the gloves and get back in the game!
        • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @01:12PM (#31332772) Homepage
          Actually Apple did offer to license the patents from Nokia but Nokia tried to get Apple to give them all of the family jewels instead of the reasonable licensing they offered the other smart phone makers. Apple offered to give them access to the patents that Nokia is being sued for violating but that wasn't enough for Nokia. Apple was sitting there taking it for a while but now that they are the target of all the other smart phone makers it's time to take off the gloves and get back in the game!

          You're typing that from a coffee shop, from your macbook, aren't you?
        • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @10:47PM (#31340138)

          Actually Apple did offer to license the patents from Nokia but Nokia tried to get Apple to give them all of the family jewels instead of the reasonable licensing they offered the other smart phone makers.

          This is a myth, stop perpetuating it.

          Apple was given the same deal as any other manufacturer, Apple rejected this and demanded a special deal. The standard deal remained on the table until Nokia got sick of Apple's delay tactics and just sued for the value of the standard contract, why else is Nokia only suing for the standard license fees + court costs.

          What Apple is suing HTC in a poor attempt to artificially increase the (perceived) value of Apple's (somewhat dubious) patent portfolio in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage in cross patent licensing. They are going after HTC because Google (the real target) or Motorola is too risky, in other words Apple is hoping to bully HTC to get a favourable outcome. They might be able to out lawyer HTC although I doubt it. Any decent lawyer will tear Apple's complaint to shreds(some blogs already have). Right now HTC is claiming hasn't received any court papers so they have no official position as yet but this may just mean the papers are taking their time (is Apple too cheap to pay for first class mail?).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by idiotnot (302133)

      Maybe Apple should pay Nokia's patent royalties first before they go bullying others?

      Is that still in litigation?

      Too bad the mobile phone industry is a small one, everyone of the existing players cross-license between each one and ass behaving Apple is in serious trouble if the other companies stop licensing their technology.

      This isn't aimed at HTC; it's aimed at Google. Don't kid yourself. To whom, is Google paying license fees?

      • ^Patent litigation seems to operate on principal of "The Devil Take the Hindmost." Go after the soft targets first to get them to cave, which gives you more ammunition when you take on the big guys. If Apple succeeds in bloodying HTC's nose, *then* they'll start going after the bigger boys like Google.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by C_Kode (102755)

        This isn't aimed at HTC; it's aimed at Google. Don't kid yourself. To whom, is Google paying license fees?

        The lawsuit is currently directed at HTC, so you would be quite wrong in this case. Though, I'm more than sure the plan is to stop Google's phone by attacking it from the ground up. I can understand why they are doing it because IMO (I have a Nexus One and my wife as an iPhone) the Nexus One is far superior to Apple's iPhone. Thats even with the few quarks that need to be worked out.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          > Thats even with the few quarks that need to be worked out.

          You might want to keep the charming quarks.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by recoiledsnake (879048)

        This isn't aimed at HTC; it's aimed at Google. Don't kid yourself. To whom, is Google paying license fees?

        Wrong, it targets WinMo phones too.

        From Engadget:

        In addition, the ITC complaint lists a number of specific HTC handsets as exhibits, including the Nexus One, Touch Pro, Touch Diamond, Touch Pro2, Tilt II, Pure, Imagio, Dream / G1, myTouch 3G, Hero, HD2, and Droid Eris. That's really a full range of HTC phones, running both Android and Windows Mobile, with and without Sense / TouchFLO.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:06PM (#31331620)

      Maybe Apple should pay Nokia's patent royalties first

      I think Apple would be happy to do so. The only problem is, unlike with every other company Nokia will not except ONLY money in the case of Apple - they also demand cross-licencing of patents (presumably similar to the ones in question).

      Why do you think it's fair that Nokia can demand different terms from licensers of a technology, when Nokia supposedly set forth the licenses under the RAND construct? That stands for "reasonable and non-discriminatory". How is demanding specific patents from Apple non-discriminatory?

      Apple has a lawsuit going there, demanding they be able to pay Nokia as per normal terms.

      • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:16PM (#31331774) Journal

        Because that's how everyone works in the mobile phone industry - they cross-license their patents. If the companies would stop licensing their patents to each other, no one could work in that industry as the technology is completely patented to different companies. If Apple wants to enter the market, they have to go by the rules.

        By far they just ignored every patent and released their product anyway. And that doesn't call for a lawsuit?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          From what I understand (having spoken to a patent lawyer about this) Nokia and Apple were both "infringing" each others' patents in a "turning a blind eye" way for a while. Behind the scenes, things will have been getting a little tense (obviously in this kind of situation both parties have a lot to lose if it comes to blows), before erupting in the public spat that we all saw.
        • Because that's how everyone works in the mobile phone industry - they cross-license their patents.

          Not in the case of the Nokia patents in question. They whole reason GSM is a standard across the industry is because the patent holders involved all agreed to license the patents under RAND - that is to say, that everyone gets to license them under the same terms. Oh wait, except for Apple, who must ALSO allow Nokia unlimited use of whatever patents they demand, otherwise you can't be a GSM phone. That's a s

          • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:51PM (#31332378)

            RAND only applied to the companies that helped develop GSM. There are about a dozen companies with patents that helped create it, so they set up RAND to come to a mutually beneficial cross-licensing agreement. Apple had nothing to do with the development of GSM; they contributed nothing for which they should receive a favorable licensing agreement.

            Now, in order to get a piece of the pie, Apple needs to bring something to the table, which they have been unwilling to do. Nokia has said "not good enough", and it's well within their rights to do so. They don't think Apple's patents are worth what their patents are worth, so they want Apple to share more. It's like trading a $20 dollar item for a $10 item, you wouldn't think it's fair either and wouldn't make the trade. For some reason, Apple seems to believe their $10 item is worth $200, and so we have a problem. I think some companies did give Apple favorable licensing, but by no means did they have to. They likely did not have the same level of investment in the GSM technology that Nokia has either.

            In any case, what Apple can NOT do is just ignore the patents and make the phone anyway, that's called patent infringement and it's a whole lot worse if you do it on purpose than if you did it by accident.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jpmorgan (517966)

        And given Apple's lawsuit against HTC, I'd say Nokia's decision to demand a license to Apple's patents is pretty damn prescient, don't you think?

        Seriously, who is worse off if the two can't use each other's patents: Nokia, which has to avoid a few multitouch gestures, or Apple who has to avoid using basically any radio device at all?

        Apple are giant cocks. That is all.

  • by gambit3 (463693) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @11:49AM (#31331350) Homepage Journal

    Apparently, it seems to think so. From the complaint:

    "The '381 Patent, entitled "List Scrolling And Document Translation, Scaling, And
    Rotation On A Touch-Screen Display," was duly and legally issued on December 23, 2008 by
    the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the '381 Patent is attached hereto as
    Exhibit D.
    40. Apple is the exclusive and current owner of all rights, title, and interest in the
    '381 Patent, including the right to bring this suit for injunctive relief and damages."

    • First there's a patent that prevents the USPTO from rotating applications 180 [swpat.org], and now they can't even turn their screen to read stuff?

      Life in the thing-rotation space is getting pretty tight.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Theaetetus (590071)

        First there's a patent that prevents the USPTO from rotating applications 180 [swpat.org], and now they can't even turn their screen to read stuff?

        Off-topic, but the reason the USPTO sends stuff back is because it's the job of the client-paid $600/hour patent attorney to file his or papers properly, not the job of a government-paid worker to dot their i's and cross their t's for them, and verify that every page out of several hundred pages is properly filed.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @11:55AM (#31331444)

      As much as I hate Apple, have never used or intend to ever use an Apple device. The blame on this should fall squarely on the patent office for handing out completely ridiculous patents.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by recoiledsnake (879048)

        As much as I hate Apple, have never used or intend to ever use an Apple device. The blame on this should fall squarely on the patent office for handing out completely ridiculous patents.

        No, Apple deserves blame as well, they could've used the patents defensively like many companies out there, but went out and sued HTC which meant no patent threat to them. It's basically a dick move by Apple.

    • There have been touch screen displays long before 2008. How much did Apply pay to get this patent?

      This patent sound like rewording of showing stuff on a touch screen display. Which would have been thrown out. Besides displays do not translate anything. They show or display things. The patent office needs to higher people who know what technology is and can read through the 'fancy words' to see what is really being described.

      • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:11PM (#31331686)

        Besides displays do not translate anything. They show or display things

        Oh brother. Translation, rotation, and scale are terms used to describe movement of an element in space. And yes, the iPhone display does this. All three are used to reorient the display when the phone's relation to 'down' is changed. So, yes, Apple's display 'translates' things.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SuperKendall (25149)

        There have been touch screen displays long before 2008. How much did Apply pay to get this patent?

        This patent sound like rewording of showing stuff on a touch screen display.

        There have been touch screens but how many of them automatically changed based on rotation?

        I don't think the invalidness of the patent is as clear as you make it out to be...

        That said, there HAVE been rotating displays in the past and it seems to me that the combination of a touchscreen (just another kind of display) with rotation is no

        • by metamatic (202216) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:22PM (#31331874) Homepage Journal

          There have been touch screens but how many of them automatically changed based on rotation?

          Back in the early 90s, the Radius Pivot display [gifford.co.uk] automatically changed based on rotation.

          Existing product from the 80s plus touch screen (and possible change of sensor technology *) should not equal patentable innovation, in my view.

          [ (*) I don't know if the Radius display used a mercury switch or a mechanical switch on the pivot mechanism; either way, using a mercury switch to implement a pivoting display is obvious, given the idea of a pivoting display.]

          • Back in the early 90s, the Radius Pivot display automatically changed based on rotation.

            Right, but that wasn't a touchscreen.

            I already noted earlier displays like the Pivot in my original post (in fact that was the one I had in mind, I'm actually not sure if there were others).

            I also agreed that the mere combination of touch screen and rotation seemed like not enough of a leap to be patent worthy, but there were other things going on in that patent too...

            • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @01:00PM (#31332568)

              The primary piece of the patent, however, is rotating the touch screen. A touch-screen is nothing more than a screen with a pressure sensitive layer, so when you have a rotating screen already, and you have touch technology, a rotating touch-screen is obvious.

              Putting all the pieces together in a new configuration is just engineering, it isn't necessarily innovation and it isn't patent worthy.

              Besides, there had been messaging phones that flipped the screen when you went into sms mode. Basing that on an accelerometer instead of a keyboard slide out is trivial, it's just using a different kind of switch.

              I think the whole reason Apple didn't go after Nokia is because their patents were on shaky ground to begin with. I think they are trying to scare HTC, who is quite a bit smaller than Nokia, and I hope HTC doesn't fall for it. The Hero is way better than the iPhone. :P

              Not that I'm trying to bash Apple, I appreciate what they did bringing smartphones to the consumer market, but I think they have a comeuppance coming for all the dirty tricks they like to pull (you should see what they do to their own employees!).

      • by mreed911 (794582)

        Fancy words like 'hire,' and grammatical structures like "Which would have been thrown out." expressed as a sentence rather than a question?

        I'm not defending patents for broad swaths of technology - not in the least. At the same time, requiring very specific patent applications requires the use of very detailed, technical language as part of the description. The patent suit problem is that patent approvals hinge on interpretation of descriptive language. It's the classic elephant problem - you and I desc

    • by timster (32400)

      As I'm sure you're aware, the patent's title doesn't really tell us what it covers.

    • So AMD, Intel, Microsoft and the whole open source community are just stealing from apple?
      • The '453 Patent, entitled "Conserving Power By Reducing Voltage Supplied To An Instruction-Processing Portion Of A Processor," was duly and legally issued on June 3, 2008 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the '453 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit H.
      • The '599 Patent, entitled "Object-Oriented Graphic System," was duly and legally issued on October 3, 1995 by the United States Patent and
  • The lawsuit is not "similar to Microsoft's" patents over Linux functionality. They're over a competitor using patented technology. The post immediately denigrates the validity of the litigation by linking it to something that it is not. Why editorialize? Why can't the lawsuit just be about patent infringement instead of "scaring the industry"??
    • Re:Post is BS (Score:4, Insightful)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:13PM (#31331712) Journal

      The lawsuit is not "similar to Microsoft's" patents over Linux functionality.

      Well, the Apple patents are basically software patents [engadget.com] in relation to phones.

      So, as the submitter, I saw a lot of similarities here. Basically when Microsoft entered the operating system market, they borrowed a lot of ideas and they innovated some as well. Then they patented as much software "methods" as they could. Now you see them demanding everyone to pay protection money who is using Linux.

      Now, you have Apple entering the mobile phone market and borrowing ideas from around the industry and innovating some. Then they patent their software "methods" on these phones and wait for everyone to adopt them. How many tens of millions of units have they let HTC ship? And now they're basically suing Nokia (of all companies [slashdot.org]) and HTC.

      The post immediately denigrates the validity of the litigation by linking it to something that it is not.

      Considering the above, I'm not sure which case is more degenerative ... but they're both pretty despicable in my opinion.

      I am interested in your view of how these two cases are different. I don't think pointing out that someone may just be flexing their software patent portfolio against the industry is "editorializing" or "BS" when it appears this is exactly what both companies are doing with different results.

      • Basically when Microsoft entered the operating system market, they borrowed a lot of ideas and they innovated some as well. Then they patented as much software "methods" as they could. Now you see them demanding everyone to pay protection money who is using Linux.

        In the submission you compared Microsoft patents to Apple lawsuits. It seems that the difference there is the actual step of litigation. Has Microsoft done this? Wikipedia's article on Microsoft Litigation only shows suits against MS and countersuits where someone accuses MS of patent infringement and MS responding with, "no, you did it!"

        I'd be interested in a list of patent infringement lawsuits filed by MS. A friend of mine has argued that MS generally patents software for defensive purposes because t

        • I'd be interested in a list of patent infringement lawsuits filed by MS. A friend of mine has argued that MS generally patents software for defensive purposes because they get sued over software patents so much, but that sounds naive. Show me some facts.

          There's one famous one and that's about it: TomTom [slashdot.org]. You'll note I didn't say they went after people. They don't have a reason to. Instead people have started paying them for reasons I don't know (and it's more widespread than you think [slashdot.org]). Maybe they're scared? Closed door negotiations don't leave me much but my imagination. It doesn't help when they say "we have so many patents Linux infringes on we don't have time to count them [slashdot.org]."

          Apple and Microsoft are having different results. I assume both App

  • by H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @11:50AM (#31331368) Homepage Journal

    Here's the software patent info I've gathered on these topics so far:

    swpat.org is a publicly editable wiki, help welcome.

  • At first I wanted to laugh at this coming from Steve Jobs. Then I realized, I think that not drinking soda-pop is healthy *looks at all the cans of pop on his desk, including the opened and half drunk Coke*

    OK. Yeah, we don't always do the healthy thing, even if we know what it is. I guess I can't criticize jobs here.

    • Yeah you can. The way he said it implies that they believe in competition, which Apple clearly doesn't (hell, they've done stuff that would make Microsoft blush). That statement, coming from Steve Jobs, is the joke of the decade. Shame we had to reach that point so early, now there won't be any anticipation as we wonder what the decade's biggest joke will be!
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @11:52AM (#31331384) Journal
    Engadget just released more details [engadget.com] with a statement from HTC:

    We only learned of Apple's actions based on your stories and Apple's press release. We have not been served yet so we are in no position to comment on the claims. We respect and value patent rights but we are committed to defending our own innovations. We have been innovating and patenting our own technology for 13 years.

    Apparently some 700 pages were just filed and they aren't all in the court's record system yet. In addition some of the patents are pretty questionable. Crazy.

    • by vijayiyer (728590)

      So you agree that we don't know anything about this yet, but yet make a statement that the unknown disputed patents are questionable?

    • by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:24PM (#31331900)

      Apple put out a statement before HTC was actually served, then. Suggests this is more of a PR war than anything else, that they want to reassert the iPhone OS's primacy in the public eye before this year's big Android, WinMo and Symbian handsets get going. Nothing says "their product is a knock-off" like a patent infringement suit.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fuck you Steve Jobs.

  • They have a copy of the filing with patent numbers and short descriptions

    http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20100302/apples-suits-against-htc-both-documents/ [allthingsd.com]

    Not a huge fan of patents especially on software.

    Apple did spend years and years getting the keyboardless touchscreen phone developed. It was not a sure hit, especially without the keyboard. Now the iphone form factor is ubiquitous and as Apple also noted when it was released that they had a ton of patents on the device, so to maximize profits

  • Apple vs. Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kylant (527449) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:07PM (#31331634)
    Actually this might be the first salvo in Apple vs. Google.

    Google does not build devices and is therefore harder to attack than a manufacturer/importer, who builds android devices. Google on the other hand might feel compelled to help HTC, if this is actually about Android.

    Might be interesting to see how this plays out.

  • Multi-touch (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vijayiyer (728590)

    I was at a ski resort the other week, and I heard two people talking about iPhone vs. other smartphones. One person had an iPhone. The iPhone owner said something to the effect of "Does Android have pinch to zoom? If so, I will go check it out". The UI of the iPhone is Apple's invention and gives it a competitive advantage. Why is it wrong for them to defend that?

    • Re:Multi-touch (Score:5, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:16PM (#31331768)

      Because they did not invent pinch to zoom, it had been used before. Furthermore it is obvious, and therefore should be unpatentable.

      • Because they did not invent pinch to zoom, it had been used before. [citation needed]

        • Re:Multi-touch (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:55PM (#31332468)

          Because they did not invent pinch to zoom, it had been used before. [citation needed]

          http://www.billbuxton.com/multitouchOverview.html

          In particular, look at the part about the digitial desk in *1991*. Yet another Xerox PARC technology Apple claims for themselves.

      • Re:Multi-touch (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tgd (2822) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:53PM (#31332440)

        Thankfully patent examiners understand there is a difference between obvious after the fact and obvious before the fact.

        When no one was doing it, then suddenly everyone wants to be doing it, that's a pretty good example of something that was clearly not obvious before the fact and was after.

        That's true of any patent. To anyone mechanically inclined, a huge percentage of mechanical patents (say, as an example, rack-and-pinion steering) are totally obvious once you've been shown there was a problem and have seen someone'e solution. It doesn't mean, a hundred years ago, that rack and pinion steering wasn't patentable -- because the examiners know if it was obvious and there were a hundred inventors looking at the problem, they'd be sitting on a hundred patent filings.

        Multi-touch is an obvious solution to how you provide more complex gestural indications to a touch device ... now. But five years ago when there were gobs of touch applications in industry, and gobs of touchpads on laptops there were gobs of people looking at how to provide better gestures, and not one of them came up with that *even though the hardware supported it in many cases*.

        That tells you something about the patentability of multi-touch. Apple released it and suddenly everyone was wanting to duplicate it on phones, touchpads and touchscreen computers.

        Patents are made to cover exactly that situation -- where someone finds a solution to a problem that no one else has *especially* where its obvious after the fact (since the obviousness makes it easy to copy).

        • Re:Multi-touch (Score:4, Interesting)

          by ianare (1132971) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @02:07PM (#31333616)

          You would have a valid point IF Apple had in fact been the first to do pinch on multi touch. They were not. There has been experimental systems since the 90s, and MS came out with the Surface the same year Apple came out with the iphone.

          Here, look at this from 2006 : http://cs.nyu.edu/~jhan/ftirtouch/ [nyu.edu]

          The reason there was no multitouch devices before the iphone was the enormous cost of making them. Remember that the iphone initially cost nearly $600 with contract. After Apple showed there was a market for this type of tech, others followed suit. But to say that Apple invented multi-touch, or pinch to zoom, is a complete fallacy.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by UnknowingFool (672806)

            I believe that Apple acquired the specific multi-touch technology from Fingerworks [wikipedia.org] which started in 1998 and Apple purchased in 2005. While there might have been multitouch that predates this, how Fingerwork's technology is different from others is important. For example, the Surface technology MS employs relies on cameras. The second thing to remember is patents normally are awarded on first to file the paperwork (and have a working product in some cases) not first to experiment. Some of the experimen

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > Why is it wrong for them to defend that?

      They can't help but to violate patents of EVERY one of their competitors. That's why.

  • by mamer-retrogamer (556651) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:12PM (#31331702)

    I guess Steve Jobs has had a change of heart on one his most used phrases? (See Steve Jobs "artists steal" quote) [google.com]

  • Some of these things they claim to 'invent' I have seen long before they got patents on them.
    Considering Apple is a new player on the field they should really keep their mouth shut... they are fooling with companies that have 10,15 and 20 years on the playing field.

    Now I have to hear the apple drones tell me that I am holding a 'stolen' invention (my Nexus one)
    I did wonder why Google enabled the multi-touch thing (I don't use it)
    Is it because they know the patent is bunk and were hoping to get sued?

  • Not similiar (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cstdenis (1118589) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:19PM (#31331810)

    "similar to the Microsoft-Novell and Microsoft-Amazon deals regarding patents covering Linux functionality."

    MS: You might be infringing on one or more unspecified patents.
    Apple: You are infringing on these specific patents listed in the suit.

    Not really all that similar. One is an empty threat, the other is serious legal action.

  • by kylant (527449) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:20PM (#31331842)
    What I particularly don't like about this is that it appears that most of Apple's patents are about the user interface (pinch-zoom, ...), not about actual hardware inventions.

    The difference is, that hardware patents can usually be worked around, as long as you can keep the user interface stable. Changing the user interface on the other hand means that the enduser must adapt, which he usually is reluctant to do. It is a form of monopoly.

    Imagine, for comparison, that Alfred Vacheron had patented the steering wheel in 1894 and had been unwilling to license it to competitors. The outcome could have been that dozens of different ways to steer a car would have been invented and users would have troubles switching between manufactures. A serious hindrance to a competitive market.

    • by snowwrestler (896305) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @03:28PM (#31334930)

      Any patent is a form of a monopoly, granted for a limited time. Many user interfaces have been patented, including one of the most enduring, the QWERTY keyboard. It gives the inventor a chance to make money from their idea, but ultimately releases it for broad public re-use. I have no problem with UI patents; UI matters a great deal to the functioning and success of a device.

  • Let's see you pick on RIM or Palm, Apple.

    Go ahead. Then watch your ass being handed to you, afterward.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kamokazi (1080091)
      HTC(8.13B) is considerably larger than Palm (1.05B), but are both dwarfed by RIM (39.42B). Apple's market cap is 190.34B.
  • by Entropius (188861) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:32PM (#31332016)

    There's a patent for screen rotation and scaling? That's nuts.

    Patented inventions are supposed to be novel and require some genuine inspiration, not something that's obvious. The idea that you can use orientation sensors and linear transforms to make a picture that's always right-side-up and that's different sizes is laughable -- as soon as you decide you want to do it, the way to do it is obvious. Just because someone hasn't done it before doesn't mean that it required any patent-worthy cleverness to do it.

    Patents are supposed to encourage invention and innovation by giving people who invent clever novel things a way to profit from them, not a way for some business to lock out competition. The screen-pinch-to-scale thing? Again, pretty obvious. (My eeepc has that on the touchpad, actually.)

    As an example, suppose you wanted to make a mouse that could sense rotation/twist as well as translation. Any idiot would realize that an easy way to do this is to put two optical sensors (or balls) on it, one on each side, and do some simple math. Something like this shouldn't be patentable.

    One rather ridiculous example is the Four Thirds imaging system. Olympus decided they'd like to use a different size CCD than other camera makers to make a digital SLR, and they actually patented it! They decided what size sensor, what size lens mount, what register distance, etc. to use, and then patented these engineering choices. There's nothing inherently different about the Four Thirds SLR's than any other digital SLR -- they work in the ordinary bog-standard way. (Patent absurdity aside, mine does take nice pictures.)

    Patents need to be restricted to real inventions, not simple choices that anybody with a bachelor's degree could have come up with when faced by a problem. Fix this and you fix a lot of the problems with patent trolling.

    • Thank you. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jwietelmann (1220240)

      If I had mod points, I'd give you all of them.

      So many people fall into the same old predictable argument of "well clearly it wasn't obvious if no one else did it yet," and "sure it seems obvious after the fact." But you've illustrated exactly the problem with that line of thinking. These companies aren't patenting novel solutions to old problems; they're patenting the most obvious solutions to new problems. In our current patent system, the first person to encounter a new problem gets a patent. So if I'

  • by jackspenn (682188)
    Steve Jobs is a dick and the people who hang onto him are nuts.

    This patent BS is a joke. Did HTC hack, steal or corrupt Apple's trade secrets? Not at all and nobody believes that. It is one thing if a company steals your stuff, it is completely different if they come up with a similar idea/process independent of you.

    The part that makes this so laughable is that Apple is using the iPad name when two other companies already have claims to it. It is amazing to me that a company that bullies and takes
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jambarama (784670)

      This patent BS is a joke. Did HTC hack, steal or corrupt Apple's trade secrets? Not at all and nobody believes that. It is one thing if a company steals your stuff, it is completely different if they come up with a similar idea/process independent of you.

      I agree that these patent suits are a waste of everyone's time and money, and we need a serious tightening of our novelty & nonobviousness standards. But I think you're mistaken as to how patent law works.

      In copyright law, if you independently come

  • by grimmy (75458) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:37PM (#31332104) Homepage

    The OP should have RTFA lol It's in the update with the complaint.

    [quote]
    certain mobile communication devices including cellular phones and smart phones, including at least phones incorporating the
    Android Operating System (collectively, “the Accused Products”)
    [/quote]

  • by recharged95 (782975) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @12:41PM (#31332182) Journal
    Look, HTC builds H/W, they stick anything Linux or WinMo underneath and then slap a modular UI ontop (SenseUI)-- the UI is very portable and can mimic a lot. It's a great design-concept IMHO.

    It's also becoming the best UI out there and seriously threatening Apple's bread-n-butter: its heavily advertised, "innovative" UI design (for the ipXXX's).

    For one, this is a great marketing ploy by Apple to put a stick in the ground that they practically invented the mobile device UI (which it's "mainstream" customers like as it's branding and makes them 'feel' good buying an Apple product). And two, as SenseUI evolves, its design and Android's dev model allow it to evolve much faster than the iPhone UI. And we all know 2 independent dev teams will likely converge/create similar features overtime (think Gnome vs. KDE), since the user cases are the same! Hence, one can conclude HTC/SenseUI can claim [similar] newer UI features since they can release faster. Basically, Apple can't keep up. Hence suing will slow HTC down so Apple can release UI features before HTC does and claim it's a Apple "innovation".

    Let's face it, patents aren't for protection anymore, they're tools for marketing strategy and engineering time-to-market, i.e. in other words, market control.
  • by GuyFawkes (729054) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @01:15PM (#31332840) Homepage Journal

    ... and by that I mean the high street, not certain high streets in US towns and cities, not certain self selecting demographics (/. readership), but actual high streets in other countries in the world...

    I live in a city with 2,000+ years of history (Exeter, UK)

    I live in a city with 50 mbit cable for approx 50 bucks a month.

    I live in a city which is a big university town, and which also is home to the UK Met Office (I mention that because it is basically a tech institution)

    You know how many iphones I have seen in the flesh?

    NONE

    NOT ONE

    ZIP

    ZERO

    Nope, not a single one.

    Flipside, I am one of the few people I know who does not own a fully featured smartphone less than 12 months old, I own a very old and very basic samsung phone.

    iphone is available here, and competitive price wise, plus we have the ability here to just stick a sim card in and use any carrier you like, and the iphone was marketed harder than any other smartphone, so there really aren't ANY barriers to entry here for users.

    except one.

    they choose / prefer to buy a different make / model phone.

    Apple (iphone) suing HTC over phone tech patents is like Apple (ipod) suing Sony over walkman tech patents.

    The analogy is as the ipod is insignificant in the field of hi-fi hardware, the iphone is insignificant in the field of comms hardware.

    Apple is a busted flush, suing instead of innovating.

    No news here unless you are an Apple shareholder, if you are then this is news, a heads up to sell Apple stock asap and get into something else.

  • by Stuntmonkey (557875) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:01PM (#31337428)

    The N1 has clearly touched a nerve at Apple. And for good reason: Objectively it's just a better device: Thinner, much better display, much faster, better camera, gps navigation, faster browser, not locked, not tied to AT&T's network, and so on. (Disclosure: I own both.) The Apple execs feel the threat, even though I'm sure Android isn't yet making much of a dent in their sales. It's about wanting to be perceived as the innovator. When you don't have the best product in the marketplace, you try to maintain the high ground by accusing the other guys of stealing from you.

    Yawn. Haven't we all seen this before? These patent fights never work. Remember when Apple sued Microsoft over their Mac GUI patents? How did that turn out?

    In principle patents offer protection and exclusivity, but in practice they do not for these large companies. The USPTO has been granting excessively broad patents for decades, the result being that every major company with a portfolio of (excessively broad) patents can legitimately sue any other for patent infringement. So all of the big companies decide to in effect declare a truce, and cross-license their patent portfolios so that someone can actually release a product. The real loser is the innovative small company, which can't foot the $xxM legal cost of counter-suing, etc. when a big company decides to go after them, or hasn't yet accumulated a portfolio of (excessively broad) patents with which to credibly counter-sue. I don't believe this is the outcome the authors of the Constitution had in mind for the US patent system.

    Apple of course understands this reality. This is just marketing and PR.

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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