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Summarizing the Apple-Android Patent Battle 126

Posted by Soulskill
from the technolegal-detritus dept.
FlorianMueller writes "Apple's patent dispute with Motorola is one of the biggest legal battles going on at the moment. Apple, which is also entangled in litigation with Nokia and HTC, recently beefed up its legal team, but it also keeps throwing in ever more patents. Apple made important court filings last Wednesday and Thursday. The bottom line: Apple now asserts 24 patents against Motorola, which uses 18 patents in claims against Apple. 21 of Apple's infringement allegations relate to Android, 3 to Motorola set-top boxes and DVRs. Motorola targets the whole range of Apple products." Mueller followed up the above article with an excellent visualization of how the patents, companies, and courts intersect.
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Summarizing the Apple-Android Patent Battle

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  • Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @01:17AM (#34470162)

    It's all about establishing a nasty, thick web of patents not covered by RAND to raise the barrier to entry impossibly high.

    This is why I criticize Apple's walled garden, despite not owning one. They're very, very interested in making impossible for those of us who don't want to buy in to actually have a choice.

  • Summary: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @01:18AM (#34470168) Journal
    Apple wants to own the next computer/consumer space. Google wants to own it, too. Rather than letting consumers make the decision, Apple will try to get the courts to decide for them. Easier to sway a single judge - or, at most, 12 jurors - than the entire consuming public.
  • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tharsman (1364603) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @01:49AM (#34470314)
    If I understand the PDF in the article properly, Apple only went after HTC. Motorola then jumped Apple for other reasons and Apple countered. If Apple was initiating all the lawsuits, I'd say this was true, but that does not seem to be the case.
  • by FlorianMueller (801981) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @02:05AM (#34470388) Homepage

    If I understand the PDF in the article properly, Apple only went after HTC. Motorola then jumped Apple for other reasons and Apple countered. If Apple was initiating all the lawsuits, I'd say this was true, but that does not seem to be the case.

    While you are right that Motorola drew first blood against Apple in terms of actually suing, Motorola's Delaware request for declaratory judgment makes the following claim: "Apple has professed rights [...] based on Motorola Mobility's activities related to Motorola Mobility's Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq, Cliq XT, BackFlip, Devour A555, i1 and Charm products" (you can find the details of that case listed on page 22 of my PDF)

    I don't know what exactly Motorola means by "Apple has professed rights" and whether that description given by Motorola is true, but it could mean that Motorola launched a pre-emptive strike. The fact that Apple's suits against Motorola were filed only 23 days later (Motorola attacked on 06 October 2010, Apple filed suits against Motorola on 23 October 2010) -- not a whole lot of time to prepare suits of that kind -- also suggests that Apple would have sued at any rate.

    But let me make this clear as well: I don't mean to be judgmental about someone who sues. It would be too simplistic a view to say that the one who sues is automatically doing evil. Lawsuits happen if parties can't reach an agreement on something, and one would have to know about the nature and content of all of the previous communication between the parties to know what resulted in the filing of a suit. In many cases one would probably conclude that it's an act of aggression, but in other cases one might have a different or more differentiated perspective if only one knew all of the facts.

  • by FlorianMueller (801981) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @02:30AM (#34470480) Homepage

    Your sarcasm is outstanding, but since only a limited number of people have spent more time talking to politicians (not to members of US Congress, however) about software patents, here's something to consider.

    The patent system -- for better or worse -- exists the way it does. Any proposal to depart from it would be a fundamental paradigm shift in the realm of intellectual property rights, and the burden of proof is on those demanding such radical change.

    If the opponents of software patentability had a strong case that software patents really do a lot of harm and cause a lot of economic suffering (companies going out of business, having to lay off large numbers of people etc.), politicians would certainly act. But since the IT industry -- I mean companies of all sizes -- with only a few exceptions doesn't take action against those patents, it's impossible for a non-programmer politician to conclude that there's a need for abolition.

    You can't win a political debate over a matter of economic policy unless you have business arguments. In this case, for abolition to succeed there has to be irrefutable evidence of harm. If there were harm (other than people shaking their heads at the things that often get patented), company CEOs (from companies of all sizes) would take political action. Since that isn't the case, it looks to the average politician like there are just some people who have ideological/philosophical objections to software patents, and no one cares whether those objections are right or wrong. All that matters is what the economy wants and needs.

  • Re:Summary: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by walshy007 (906710) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @04:01AM (#34470866)

    Motorola knew apple were suing already, how do you think apple counter-sued so quickly, and then amended it with more complaints later in reaction to the suit motorola put forth.

    Nokia tried for years to work with apple in regards to patents (the iphone uses many many of nokias patents mainly to do with 3g and other wireless business), apple went fuck you to nokia thus the patent battle.

    Apple is the one playing hardball here, they are doing what any profit driven company does, tries to force the competition out, by any means possible.

  • Re:Summary: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iserlohn (49556) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @04:05AM (#34470888) Homepage

    Motorola was pre-emptively countering as the Apple v. HTC suit is actually Apple v. Android.

  • by Brannon (221550) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @02:04PM (#34476486)

    The patents in question were related to implementing a global standard for wireless communication (GSM) which Nokia has an obligation to offer on RAND terms to all comers. Nokia insisted that, in order for Apple to implement this global standard, that Nokia get full access to Apple's patents on things that had nothing to do with standards for anything--like the entire UI for the iPhone. Does that sound fair to you? If you want to build a phone then we are literally allowed to make identical clones to the iPhone and sell it with a Nokia brand.

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