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Cellphones Patents The Courts Apple

Apple Sues HTC Again Over Patents 263

Posted by samzenpus
from the litigation-pie dept.
recoiledsnake writes "Apple is suing HTC again over patent infringement. Apple is adding two new patents to the 20 included in the earlier case while adding additional details to two patents included previously. Although Android is not mentioned in any of the court documents, many of the patent infringement complaints refer to the software rather than the hardware that HTC manufactures, leading to speculation that Google is the real target, especially considering that Android sales are surpassing the iPhone's. With HTC countersuing Apple, Microsoft siding with HTC over Android, and Apple trying to stop import of Nokia phones, it seems like Apple has set off a patent Armageddon in the mobile space."
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Apple Sues HTC Again Over Patents

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  • in re Bilski (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Well, we can hope that when the Supreme Court hands down its in re Bilski decision, it renders software patents invalid...

    • Re:in re Bilski (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jonbryce (703250) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:03AM (#32674580) Homepage

      Bilski is a computerised business method / mathematical algorithm patent. Invalidating that is a step in the right direction, but I don't think it will help HTC.

      • Re:in re Bilski (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Fallen Kell (165468) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:15AM (#32674638)
        It depends on how the court rules. If indeed it does uphold the fact that math can't be patented and concludes that ultimately, all software is math, then all software patents go poof. This might not help for any hardware based patents (and I am sure there are a few in this case), but a lot of the ammo disappears.
      • Bilski is a computerised business method / mathematical algorithm patent. Invalidating that is a step in the right direction, but I don't think it will help HTC.

        Not even computerized. Bilski's claims are strictly to hedge fund risk management, and say nothing about a computer. That's part of why the CAFC invalidated them under their "tied to a specific machine" test.

  • I hope they win (Score:5, Interesting)

    by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:00AM (#32674562) Journal

    I hope every single fucking patent lawsuit for smartphones in the US succeeds. So HTC, Nokia, Apple, Motorola, all the Android phones and pretty much everyone will be prohibited from selling smartphones in the US.

    Maybe it would be the time that you fix your stupid patent laws that allows software to be patented (most of the patents involved in this shit, especially to most wide-reaching ones and more difficult to avoid, are software patents).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zorkon (121860)

      Yeah, I gotta agree with this. Of course they're all suing each other - the only people to make money from this are their lawyers and why *wouldn't* they take advantage of the patent system?

      Also: Apple didn't "set off a patent Armageddon in the mobile space", as the original poster suggests. Nokia started it in October 2009 - prior to that, Apple was a sleeping patent-giant.

      http://www.engadget.com/2009/10/22/nokia-sues-apple-says-iphone-infringes-ten-patents/

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sznupi (719324)

        Though what supposedly "set off a patent Armageddon in the mobile space" isn't about software / concept patents. And generally seems a bit like something done on behalf of most companies behind cellular technology - it's just that Nokia has not only one of the larger contributions, but also probably the least to loose by any turmoil in the US market.

      • Re:I hope they win (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:39AM (#32674770)

        "Nokia started it in October 2009 - prior to that, Apple was a sleeping patent-giant."

        At least Nokia's patents were proper *hardware* patents related to GSM technologies *they developed* (and everyone in the industry licenses them). Nokia really did *invent* that stuff (first on market with those, ever). So hardly the same as Apple suing ppl around with lame software patents.

        • Re:I hope they win (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Lars T. (470328) <Lars.Traeger@ g o o g l e m a i l.com> on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:48AM (#32676422) Journal

          At least Nokia's patents were proper *hardware* patents related to GSM technologies *they developed*

          Ohh, so they changed their suit to not include all the "Method to" patents? Which were about half of them? Not to mention the fluffyness of the rest of the patents:

          Data transmission in a radio telephone network

          Abstract

          For bidirectional transmission of packet data, a packet data service unit (Agent) is disposed in a digital cellular system connected to be in association with a Mobile Switching Center, and connecting the cellular network to the date network. As a mobile station is connected to the packet data service unit, signalling related to connection formation characteristics of the network is first accomplished. As a result thereof, the mobile station and the data service unit are provided with a number of stored parameters relating to each other. This situation creates or is called a virtual channel. When a mobile station wants to transmit or receive data packets between the mobile station and the data service unit a packet data transfer channel is established making use of the parameters of the virtual channel and thereby using substantially less signalling than the channel establishment signalling characteristic of the network, one part thereof being a radio channel and the other part a time slot in a digital trunk line. On termination of data packet transfer, at least said radio channel is disassembled but the virtual channel is maintained until the disconnection of the mobile station from the data service.

          Translation: when a device connects to a network, both sides keep the connection open - over RADIO. Wow.

          • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

            by Dragonslicer (991472)
            Abstract != Claims
          • Re:I hope they win (Score:5, Informative)

            by Cornelius the Great (555189) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @10:47AM (#32677874)
            Lesson #1 on deciphering patents: Ignore the title and abstract- read the claims. Claims are far more specific, and are the only enforceable part of the patent.

            Here is the patent [freepatentsonline.com] you're referring to.

            Here are the claims:

            Claims:

            1-59. (canceled)

            60. In a mobile communication system, a method comprising:adopting a robust header compression (ROHC) scheme;configuring uplink parameter information and downlink parameter information based on the ROHC scheme, wherein the downlink parameter information and the uplink parameter information are asymmetric with respect to each other, and wherein the downlink parameter information includes Reverse_Decompression_Depth parameter information.

            61. The method of claim 60, wherein the uplink parameter information includes at least one of uplink MAX_CID parameter information and Packet Sized Allowed parameter information.

            62. The method of claim 60, wherein the downlink parameter information further includes downlink MAX_CID parameter information.

            63. The method of claim 60 further comprising:receiving mobile terminal capacity information associated with the ROHC scheme from a mobile terminal.

            64. The method of claim 60 further comprising:transmitting mobile terminal capacity information associated with the ROHC scheme to a network.

            65. In a mobile communication system, and apparatus comprising:an entity in a PDCP (Packet Data Convergence Protocol) layer adapted to perform header compression and/or decompression; andan entity in an RRC (Radio Resource Control) layer adapted to configure uplink parameter information and downlink parameter information for the entity in the PDCP layer, wherein the uplink parameter information and the downlink parameter information are asymmetric with respect to each other, and wherein the asymmetric parameter information comprises at least one of MAX_CID parameter information and Reverse_Decompression_Depth parameter information.

            66. The apparatus of claim 65, wherein the uplink parameter information includes at least one of uplink MAX_CID parameter information and Packet Sized Allowed parameter information.

            67. The apparatus of claim 65, wherein the downlink parameter information further includes downlink MAX_CID parameter information.

            68. The apparatus of claim 65, wherein the header compression involves a robust header compression scheme.

            69. The apparatus of claim 65, wherein the entity in the RRC layer is further adapted to transfer the asymmetric parameter information to the PDCP layer.

            70. In a mobile communication system, an entity in a PDCP (Packet Data Convergence Protocol) layer comprising:a compressor performing header compression based on uplink parameter information transferred from an RRC (Radio Resource Control) layer;a decompressor performing header decompression based on downlink parameter information transferred from the RRC layer, wherein the uplink parameter information and the downlink parameter information are asymmetric with respect to each other, and wherein the downlink parameter information includes Reverse_Decompression_Depth parameter information.

            71. The entity in the PDCP layer of claim 70, wherein the uplink parameter information includes at least one of uplink MAX_CID parameter information and Packet Sized Allowed parameter information.

            72. The entity in the PDCP layer of claim 70, wherein the downlink parameter information further includes downlink MAX_CID parameter information.

            73. The method of claim 70, wherein the header compression involves a robust header compression scheme.

            In summary: this is a little less obvious than your analysis of the abstract. Unless there is prior art, this patent has teeth.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Lars T. (470328)

              Lesson #1 on deciphering patents: Ignore the title and abstract- read the claims. Claims are far more specific, and are the only enforceable part of the patent. Here is the patent [freepatentsonline.com] you're referring to. Here are the claims:

              Claims: 1-59. (canceled)

              Obvious stuff found in lots of wire-full networks cut. IOW nothing left.

      • Re:I hope they win (Score:5, Informative)

        by JAlexoi (1085785) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @04:15AM (#32674936) Homepage
        Nokia did start the battle, but contrary to what Apple did they originally only asked the court to set the price for their patents(read the damn complaint, but this is ./ ...). Apple, however, went for the throat with plain patent violation lawsuit.
        • by Lars T. (470328)

          Nokia did start the battle, but contrary to what Apple did they originally only asked the court to set the price for their patents(read the damn complaint, but this is ./ ...). Apple, however, went for the throat with plain patent violation lawsuit.

          Citation desperately needed. But not actually expected.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387)
      It's happened before, Qualcomm had a huge patent fight with Broadcomm, which actually did result in an injunction. Qualcomm managed to find a way to work around the patent technologically, thus allowing phones to come into the US still (in case you are unaware, most phones on Sprint and Verizon networks have Qualcomm parts inside). The workaround happened really quickly.

      I am not about to investigate all the patents in question, but if they are of the calibre of typical software patents, it won't be hard
    • by nukem996 (624036)
      Thats been happening for years. The courts view all patents legal but both parties know they are using another companies patents so they cross patent. That way both of them can keep going on like normal. The real downside to that is if your trying to start a new smart phone company and have little if any patents the big boys use your screwed. The current system keeps lawyers rich and startups impossible.
    • Not necessiarly (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @07:13AM (#32675846)

      The federal government doesn't have to wise up and fix the patent problem overall, they can just take away the patents in question. Since patents are a power specifically granted to the government, it also means they are theirs to do with as they wish. The government can revoke patents for various reasons.

      Well, if smart phones were going to get banned, that would have national security implications. The government relies heavily on mobile phones for communications. National security is a reason they are allowed to revoke patents for.

      This sort of thing was threatened in the RIM lawsuit, and is one of the reasons it settled. The federal government told the court that if an injunction was issued against RIM stopping their operations, it could have national security implications. They asked the court not to grant it, and it was strongly implied if it was they might just take the patent away. The court then strongly suggested to the parties that they might want to settle this shit.

      Not saying that's what would happen, just saying it is a possibility. The government could basically say "Ok all the patents in question are gone now, anyone can use the tech. Problem solved, let's all go get drunk," and ignore the underlying problem with the system.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday June 24, 2010 @09:38AM (#32676956)
      I hope the judge makes them Thunderdome for it. I'm willing to bet that, in a life-or-death situation, Steve Jobs sheds his fake human skin and shows his true alien form.
  • by freddled (544384) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:18AM (#32674656) Journal
    I fondly remember the days when products lived and died on their fitness for purpose, not in the courts. So much for free market economics. What shall we call this? SHAckled Market Economics
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by randomsearch (1207102)

      "I fondly remember the days when products lived and died on their fitness for purpose, not in the courts. So much for free market economics. What shall we call this? SHAckled Market Economics"

      You do? When was that? Some time prior to capitalism?

      • by Pharmboy (216950)

        I was about to say, go research Tesla's life, and that alone is filled with patent issues, from Edison, to Marconi to Westinghouse getting hosed, then hosing Tesla. (although they were friends) Patents were how they made money.

        The problem now is most software patents are obsolete before they expire, which completely denies the payoff that the public is supposed to get by allowing a limited time monopoly on the invention. It used to be that inventions belonged to the public, but the inventor was allowed a

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
      I don't think you need that E for the acronym to work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Theaetetus (590071)

      I fondly remember the days when products lived and died on their fitness for purpose, not in the courts. So much for free market economics. What shall we call this? SHAckled Market Economics

      Really? 'Cause the first Patent Act in the US was in 1790, only three years after the Constitution was written. And prior to that, individual states had their own Patent Acts under the Articles of Confederation. So, are you sure you're remembering "something", rather than "nothing"?

      • And before *that* the colonies were regulated by British Patent Law. According to Wikipedia the earliest patent laws appeared in England in 1623 and were formalized in the early 1700's.

  • I never understood how companies can get patents for "natural" progression in technology. I bet 99 out of a 100 technology "patents" are based on previous works and given the same situation I would have thought of the same idea in about.. mmm... 5 seconds. Patents should only be awarded for truly excellent and NEW ideas. ...as determined by me, of course...
  • YAWN (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paimin (656338) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:42AM (#32674784)
    The iPhone vs. Android flamebait stories are getting real fucking boring, guys.
    • Re:YAWN (Score:4, Funny)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @05:16AM (#32675244)
      So spice them up a bit!

      "Apple iPhone used to bludgeon pensioner, HTC handset used as shield by rescuer!"
      "iPhone used as canoe by 14 year old stranded after typhoon!"
      "Beowulf Cluster of HTC phones used to cure cancer!"

      See? It's like working for a News Corp company!
  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:45AM (#32674798) Homepage Journal

    One issue is the corporate use of questionably valid patents to attack their competitors. This does nothing to advance science or technology and is a clear abuse of the patent system. I'm not talking about legitimate patents covering real inventions - I'm talking about all of those patents that cover pre-existing technology or obvious ideas. There's far too many of those and they're taking a toll on our economy.

    The other issue is the free riders - those corporations that choose to copy other's inventions and profit from someone else's ideas. This is what the patent system was intended to address and it's not doing very well at that either.

    Rather than point fingers and toss accusations, I'd like to offer this thought to my fellow Slashdot readers: think back to what cell phones were like before the iPhone came out - and what they're like now. Say what you will about Apple but they did cause a revolution in cell phone design. They provided the "inspiration" for all of the touch-screen Iphone wanna-be phones that are now being produced by numerous companies - including HTC. Who will win in this latest exchange of legal briefs? One thing is for sure: it won't be the consumer.

    One thing you can depend on is that patent suits take time and money - huge amounts of money for both the winner and the loser. And these expenses will be passed on to you in the cost of your new cell phone and the price of the cell service - the corporations aren't in business to do anyone a favor and they'll always make a profit no matter how much it costs you.

    Situations like this one clearly show that the US patent system is badly broken - it's not promoting science and the arts and it's not protecting those who invent useful technology. It's become nothing but a weapon that corporations use to beat up on their competitors legally. This needs to change, and change soon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In a truly free market, why shouldn't you be allowed to "copy other's inventions and profit from someone else's ideas.". Think it through.

      That's what grates me, these people harp on about how they're love a free market, yet everything they DO says otherwise.

      It's an odd sort of freedom where a clearly winning strategy is to be aritificially restricted.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        In a truly free market, why shouldn't you be allowed to "copy other's inventions and profit from someone else's ideas.". Think it through.

        There is no "truly free market". In the presence of any regulation, the market is not "truly free", and in the absence of it there is no market, since people can simply take what they want by force.

        "Free market" is an abstract economic concept which some people have elevated to the status of divinity - or would that honor go to the "Invisible Hand"?

        That's what grates me,

    • by JAlexoi (1085785)
      I don't believe that inspiration is patentable, or even copyrightable... Yes, they did cause a revolution in phone design, but they did not invent a lot with the iPhone(if they invented anything at all). Bringing existing technologies to the market is also not patentable.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Vapula (14703)

      Palm smartphones did exist BEFORE the iPhone...

      iPhone, Android phones, ... are *NOT* Phones, they are "Smartphones" which are a mix between PDA and phone... And that did exists before... Palm had several of them which already had big touch screen

      Keep in mind that most progress are improvements over something that already exists... And Apple marketting make you think they "invented" the technology...

      Blueberry/Palm --- iPhone
      Creative/Sony/... --- iPod
      Xerox --- Macintosh GUI
      Arm --- A4 processor (it's noth

      • by GORby_ (101822)

        No, apple made the market boom...
        Palm had a relative success with the Palm Centro, aimed at the younger non-business crowd.
        Too bad they screwed up so badly. WebOS should have been there a few years earlier.

    • by Psaakyrn (838406)

      I thought it's the implementation that patentable, and not the idea itself, or am I mistaken?

      • by Whuffo (1043790)
        Nope, you're not mistaken. The idea drives the implementation but patents (should, used to) only deal with actual physical things. Ideas aren't protected because there's no way to determine what's in your head.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        You are; the whole concept of a patent is to prevent reimplementation of an idea for a limited period in return for documentation of that idea.
        • the whole concept of a patent is to prevent reimplementation of an idea for a limited period in return for documentation of that idea.

          If we're talking about how the law is written, you're wrong.

          If you're talking about how it's currently interpreted, you're right.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sznupi (719324)

      ...think back to what cell phones were like before the iPhone came out...

      Hm, yeah; I can think of Ericsson R380 [gsmarena.com], from 2000 (not a "true" touchscreen smartphone since one can't install apps; but by that measure iPhone wasn't one either, in 2007). Or similar one [wikipedia.org] from...1993. But if necessarily "true" touchscreen smartphone - SE P800 [gsmarena.com] does fine. Did in 2002, actually. Five years of difference (sort of six, if looking at apps)

      Oh, I get it, you're talking about waiting until absolutelly every piece of "tech surroundings" is firmly in place for some time? Plus nice marketing in a visi

    • by Cyberax (705495)

      "Rather than point fingers and toss accusations, I'd like to offer this thought to my fellow Slashdot readers: think back to what cell phones were like before the iPhone came out - and what they're like now."

      There were prototypes of touch-driven phones back in 2002. I saw one at CeBIT in 2003, it even looked like iPhone and if I'm not mistaken it was finger-driven. Unfortunately, it was waaaaaaay outside of my salary at that time.

      Then there was Palm Treo, they had grafitty-driven Phone-PDAs back in 2003.

      So

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by LKM (227954)

      The other issue is the free riders - those corporations that choose to copy other's inventions and profit from someone else's ideas. This is what the patent system was intended to address

      Wait, is there general agreement that his "issue" should be adressed? Because I disagree. Profiting from someone else's idea is not a problem for society, it's how society progresses. Every book written in the history of mankind has profited from the idea of other people. Every movie made in the history of mankind has don

      • by sznupi (719324)

        There's a problem when free riders want their ideas to be protected, of course...

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Say what you will about Apple but they did cause a revolution in cell phone design.

      There were windows mobile phones with touch-only interfaces (okay, most of them have a D-pad, but I'm talking about not having a key pad) before the iPhone. Say what you will about Apple, but please try to restrict yourself to facts.

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