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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.

    • Pretty much this. The lawyers will make money, the scope of the patents each side holds will be refined by the legal system, and the barriers to entry will be set.
    • 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.
      • 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 Motorol

        • by alvinrod (889928)
          I don't know which patents Apple counter-sued with, but some are probably the same as the HTC lawsuit. Apple probably would have gone after Motorola in the future, especially if they won the HTC suit. The fact that they've just now tacked on more patents suggests that Motorola may have blindsided them a little.

          The most interesting result in all of these disputes is when HTC settled with Microsoft. I don't know the details of the settlement, but it was reported that HTC would pay Microsoft for every phone
          • I don't know which patents Apple counter-sued with, but some are probably the same as the HTC lawsuit.

            Actually, that PDF document of mine makes it easy to see overlaps between Apple's disputes with HTC and Motorola :-) What I don't show in that chart is Nokia (will be a separate PDF), but for the two Android device makers it's easy to see the overlaps in the diagram.

            When Apple countersued Motorola initially (29 October -- page 9 of the PDF), the 6 patents selected were 5 new ones and 1 that was previously

            • by alvinrod (889928)

              The declaratory judgment move was basically Motorola suing itself over Apple patents in order to prove those patents invalid or non-infringed.

              The madness of this patent mess never ceases to amaze me.

          • by iserlohn (49556)

            I'm guessing Microsoft used the patent suit to coerce HTC into making a bigger push with WP7 than they would of otherwise. Microsoft could see the writing on the wall as most of HTC revenue was coming from Android phones which were selling like hotcakes. It was in MS' interest to keep HTC in check. I don't see it being in MS' best interest to antagonize a WP7 launch partner with excessive royalties on HTC core products.

      • Irrelevant. If companies can hold entire industries for "patently absurd ransoms", then it doesn't matter if it is for "self-defence" or not. The presedence has been set, not just hypothetically, but according to law. This will have a chilling effect on all innovation and economical competitiveness in the US.

        Countries that disregard these types of laws will benefit and take over as the intellectual emmigration sets in. Just too bad for the "industrial countries", this is all the resources they've got left.

        P

        • by Tharsman (1364603)

          Until anyone wins, it has not been proven anyone can hold the entire industry under "patently absurd ransoms".

          Also, unless one of these companies is going after everyone, there really is no actual attempt at holding the industry ransom.

          Heck, if anyone is honestly starting to hold a full industry random now it's Rambus. They won a patent and are now going after anyone that used for nearly 10 years what became an industry standard. THAT is holding an industry random through patents.

          Point being: at this

          • by Steeltoe (98226)

            I was more looking into the bigger picture of software patents. "Irrelevant" was more meant to turn the focus to the bigger picture, rather than commenting on your particular comment, which stands within the scope it was meant I think.

            However, if this development continues, it looms over the industry as the innovative small companies may become squashed. As history shows, innovation do not come from big dinosaurs like Microsoft, IBM or Apple, although their merit is having the Big Guns to take unto large pr

            • by Tharsman (1364603)

              What is it with these companies, that they cannot stand having to compete on equal terms?

              But what are "equal terms"? We don't live in a communist nation (at least I don't) if I come up with an invention, and I actually go so far as manufacturing, it's not really fair that my competitors can just copy it and market it.

              Apple (and any other corporation) either spent a lot of money in research and development to come up with technologies like Multi-Touch capacitive screens (one of the patents being disputed), or they had to pay a lot of money to buy out the companies that did (and trust me, these

              • by Steeltoe (98226)

                In my understand "multi touch" is not patentable. However a specific implementation of it could be patentable. At least that is how the patent system is supposed to work, although attempts to pervert it is always attempted, ie. by Amazon's One Click Patent.

                I agree with you copyright law should be enough for software. However, the distinction between hardware and software is completely arbitrary and doesn't resolve the issue legally.

                Rationale: For whatever you can built in software, you can build the equival

                • by Tharsman (1364603)

                  Firs off, Apple's multiple-touch patent is very specific to one implementation,

                  As for the other comments, I think the distinction of hardware and software is much more clear than you make it look. Compiled code? Software. Microchip? Hardware.

                  Sure, I can make software that technically gives the same results as some hardware, but results are not patentable.

                  Oh and "business practice" patents are ridiculously absurd, as are ridiculous "method off doing whatever" patents.

                  Patents should be restricted to p

                  • by Steeltoe (98226)

                    Single cases or single threats, law-enforcers and lawmakers can make go away easily.

                    Yes, it remains to be seen if competitors have simply copied Apple's implementation verbatim, or if they have reinvented the wheel. I wouldn't want to begin to speculate on such a specific case. As before, I'm more concerned about the overall picture, and the real threat a high number of patents pose to society.

                    I can very much understand why Apple is going down the patent-shaft though: If they've patented all their innovatio

                    • I can very much understand why Apple is going down the patent-shaft though: If they've patented all their innovations, Microsoft would never have had the opportunity to become successful while they were small.

                      Except that's not true: I used to think that too, however as CEO of Apple John Sculley [wikipedia.org] licensed parts of the Mac GUI to Microsoft. MS was already working on Windows by then, though it was called Interface Manager [wikipedia.org]. Actually if anyone had patented the GUI it would have been Xerox. Xerox PARC [wikipedia.org] develop

                    • by Steeltoe (98226)

                      Of course it's not true. I was really speaking hypothetically, given the same situation as we're in today regarding patent legislation, but I may have been a bit unclear about that.

                      I was aware there were alot of cooperation between IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Xerox, etc in those early years of immature technology. It only shows how good cooperation and competiveness is for business. I did not mean to say everything GUI and related we have today is thanks to Apple only. Thanks for the history lesson though.

                      As sof

              • if I come up with an invention, and I actually go so far as manufacturing, it's not really fair that my competitors can just copy it and market it.

                And if I come up with the same thing but you beat to the patent office it's not fair to me that you can stop me. Nor is it fair, or good that you can stop me when I make something better.

                Without patents you would have huge companies just sitting around, monitoring the moves of the small guys, letting the small guys waste their money in R&D and then just ste

          • nor have I looked at the patents in question, and for the most part do not agree with software patents (software should only be protected by copyright, imo), but I do find hardware patents to be valid. If some one invents a true new technology, and patents it, he is in the right to sue anyone that attempts to profit on their invention without permissions.

            BS! Neither hardware nor software patents should be granted. All they do is hold back progress. Economists say copyright and patent laws are killing inn [wustl.edu]

      • Speculation is that Motorola knew that Apple was preparing to sue over those patents, and opened the case in Delaware to force Apple to fight the battle in that venue, rather than a venue of Apple's choosing. I believe the case has since been moved to and lumped in with the Wisconsin battles, so Apple has turned a defensive first strike of Motorola's into a weapon against Motorola's major attack in WI.

        Good god, it's all out patent war, right down to moving different weapons to different theaters of the bat

      • Apple only went after HTC. Motorola then jumped Apple for other reasons and Apple countered.

        Which .pdf is that? The article linked to, the Bloomberg article, says Apple's lawsuit against Nokia was a "precursor to Apple patent battles with Motorola Inc. and HTC Corp." The second says "Motorola threw down the gauntlet in what looked to me like a pre-emptive strike at a point when Motorola probably knew that Apple was already preparing suits against it."

        If Apple was initiating all the lawsuits, I'd say this

      • by Phoghat (1288088)
        Can't we all just get along?
    • Yeah, who are they to think that just because they invest literally billions of dollars in making the technologies work they should expect any kind of return?

    • 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.

      Wow. Apple is the reason there isn't a tidal wave of smart phones smashing on us, and a wall of tablets bearing down in the distance? Or Apple IS the reason? Good luck weaseling out of that one.

      • by Microlith (54737)

        Weaseling out of what?

        It's not Apple alone doing it, it's everyone in the industry who is participating in this patent clusterfuck. And you'll notice that these mass waves of smartphones are all from a handful of companies, the only ones not being used are big enough to actually be a threat. But you probably won't see any new arrivals in the marketplace, for fear of being sued into the ground.

  • 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:Summary: (Score:4, Interesting)

      by alvinrod (889928) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @02:50AM (#34470574)
      That would totally explain why Motorola sued Apple first. No, wait, it wouldn't at all. Nokia also took the first swing in that scuffle as well. The only large recent suit where Apple instigated matters was against HTC. I don't think things are quite the way you paint them to be. This is all likely to end in one big cross-licensing deal where the established players carve out there own share of the market pie and keep anyone else from joining the party.
      • 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, Informative)

          by tyrione (134248) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @04:41AM (#34471020) Homepage

          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.

          What alternative reality do you live in? NOKIA didn't believe the usual licensing fees were going to be enough from Apple and demanded a percentage of each device profits. Apple told them to take a long walk off a short pier and NOKIA about two years later realized they were screwed and went on the offensive. Apple counter sued. You can't counter sue if you in fact were the originator of the suing.

          • Re:Summary: (Score:5, Informative)

            by stiggle (649614) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @05:52AM (#34471254)

            Apple refused to share with Nokia and the other members of the GSM Alliance, so Nokia told them what the terms were to license those patents if you don't want to share. Apple protested these terms as being unfair and anti-competitive as Apple wanted the same terms as those who were willing to share without offering anything in return.

            Apple wants to use everyones technology without having to pay for it while refusing to share their own technology with those they are taking from.

            • 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 iP

              • by chrb (1083577)

                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.

                Not true. There are two different patent cases going on between Apple and Nokia. Only one relates to essential wireless patents (Delaware case). The other case (Wisconsin) is for patents that cover many modern technologies that Nokia is not obligated to offer to all comers, e.g. camera phone technology, internal antennas etc.. Camera phones and internal antenna cell phones hadn't been invented when the GSM wireless specs were standardised. Neither had multi-touch phone interfaces. If Apple insists that Noki

      • 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.

      • Pre-emptive lawsuits in US patent disputes are common. If you think someone is going to sue you over some patent they supposedly have, and you hold a patent on the same concept, then you sue first - it forces the other party to wait on that area until your patent case is decided (they cannot counter-sue over the same idea). It's called a smart legal move, akin to the general who moves his troops to the area where there is increasing enemy activity. Pre-emptive suits are used all the time, and are a commo
      • That would totally explain why Motorola sued Apple first. No, wait, it wouldn't at all. Nokia also took the first swing in that scuffle as well. The only large recent suit where Apple instigated matters was against HTC.

        Yes Motorola filed first but they knew Apple was filing a lawsuit themselves. Now if you know someone's going to sue you can wait or you can sue them first. Motorola decided to sue first.

        This is all likely to end in one big cross-licensing deal where the established players carve out there

  • by icebike (68054) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @01:37AM (#34470244)

    Apple lost just about their entire claim against Nokia, when half the patents they were seeking to enforce were declared invalid by the FTC, and the rest dismissed as not being infringed.

    It would be interesting to see Apple now try to enforce those patents declared invalid against Motorola et al.

    This all started when Apple refused to pay consortium of GSM patent holders fees that all other GSM manufacturers subscribe to, some how feeling the were above the law.

    • Wrong (Score:1, Troll)

      by SuperKendall (25149)

      Apple wanted to pay the fees. It's just that Nokia would not accept the without ALSO being given a variety of patents that Apple owned as well. Which was not at all Non-Discriminatory, as Nokia has done no such thing with any other phone provider.

      Nice try at revisionism, Apple Hater.

    • by FlorianMueller (801981) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @01:57AM (#34470352) Homepage

      There was some confusion out there about the ITC staff (Office of Unfair Import Investigations, OOUI) report, and this quote from your post reflects them:

      Apple lost just about their entire claim against Nokia, when half the patents they were seeking to enforce were declared invalid by the FTC, and the rest dismissed as not being infringed.

      No.

      1. As I explained in this recent blog post [blogspot.com], Apple's ITC assertions against Nokia were split into two parts. The staff report that the press reported on in early December related to only 4 of the 10 patents Apple originally asserted against Nokia.

      2. That staff opinion is just an opinion, not a definitive dismissal. My Apple vs. Android chart does mention that some patents were dropped from the ITC cases between Apple and HTC: on pages 8 ("Move #7 - Apple drops 4 patents from ITC complaint against HTC") and 10 ("Move #9 -- HTC drops 1 patent from ITC complaint against Apple"). But the instances I mention in my chart were definitive partial terminations of those cases. The ITC staff opinion published a month ago on one Apple v. Nokia case is not definitive. It's an opinion and the ITC's Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) can agree or disagree with it. There have been many cases already in which the ALJ judge took decisions that were very different from the staff reports. I've seen a long list of cases in which the staff then actually appealed the ALJ's decision, which is clear evidence that decisions deviate from those staff reports quite often. The staff report is an opinion, and I don't mean to downplay the importance of the staff and its reports, but that is just not a dismissal of claims (let alone the invalidation of patents).

      3. Even if some patents lost before the ITC, they might (as my blog post mentioned under item 1 explains) still be enforced in a US federal district court. My chart makes that distinction in connection with the patents dropped from ITC cases. HTC's '183 patent is grayed-out from Move #9 on because it was only asserted in the ITC so far and they withdrew it. By contrast, Apple's '867, '131, '852 and RE'486 patents were only dropped from an ITC complaint but Apple does enforce them against Motorola now in a federal district court, so the patents are still alive.

      4. The chart this article refers to is purely about Apple vs. Motorola and Apple v. HTC. I'm going to do the same visualization for the Apple-Nokia conflict as well but it will be a separate document because otherwise things would become too complex to fit in a single chart. In fact, I already have that one in place for the most part, so it will become available pretty soon. (Also for Microsoft vs. Motorola and Oracle vs. Google, by the way.)

    • by DinDaddy (1168147)

      Apple lost just about their entire claim against Nokia, when half the patents they were seeking to enforce were declared invalid by the FTC, and the rest dismissed as not being infringed.

      Cite? The only google result I can find for that is your post.

    • by tyrione (134248) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @04:50AM (#34471056) Homepage

      Apple lost just about their entire claim against Nokia, when half the patents they were seeking to enforce were declared invalid by the FTC, and the rest dismissed as not being infringed.

      It would be interesting to see Apple now try to enforce those patents declared invalid against Motorola et al.

      This all started when Apple refused to pay consortium of GSM patent holders fees that all other GSM manufacturers subscribe to, some how feeling the were above the law.

      You're delusional. Firstly, it's not the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) involved in the Nokia suing Apple and Apple counter suing case. It's the United States International Trade Commission [USITC).

      Source: USITC (pdf)

      http://www.usitc.gov/secretary/fed_reg_notices/337/337_701_notice04222010sgl.pdf [usitc.gov]

      READ THE DOCUMENT. The update gives the status moved between May 31, 2011 -- August 1, 2011.

      Research seems to be a difficult commodity to come by these days.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @01:43AM (#34470272) Homepage Journal

    I'm sure that each of Apple, HTC, Nokia and Motorola each independently invented the same things, that they wouldn't have invested effort in inventing if they couldn't protect forever with an exclusive monopoly, so now tech progress is protected by these patents instead of being completely logjammed. I'm sure the money spent on lawyers instead of development is promoting tech progress, not scaring away other innovators.

    And if you believe that, I'm sure that you're either a lawyer or, worse yet, a congressmember.

    • And if you believe that, I'm sure that you're either a lawyer or, worse yet, a congressmember.

      ... or even worse still, a patent examiner.

    • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

      I'm sure the money spent on lawyers instead of development is promoting tech progress, not scaring away other innovators.

      Much like what happened with Wall Street, legal issues like protection of intellectual properties and patents is where big money innovation is happening. Consumer electronics is a game of razor-thin margins where everything is built in Asia. Apple is like the economic geniuses that came up with derivatives trading, etc., so as to make a high margin game out of something that would otherwi

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      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 stron

      • 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.

        Like the economists [wustl.edu] who have studied [jstor.org] the economics of patents and concluded they do not help?

        Falcon

        • I've had many discussions with politicians and participated in a number of parliamentary and governmental roundtables. There are some great economic studies that are critical of the patent system -- but there's no shortage of studies supporting it (and of companies funding such studies). So the only way that politicians would act is that businesses themselves exercise effective pressure against the patent system.
          • there are some great economic studies that are critical of the patent system -- but there's no shortage of studies supporting it (and of companies funding such studies). So the only way that politicians would act is that businesses themselves exercise effective pressure against the patent system.

            Yea there isn't a shortage of studies, and a bunch of companies support them, however how many are not biased to begin with? Yes there are studies that conclude patents are not good that start with a bias too. And

    • I'm sure that each of Apple, HTC, Nokia and Motorola each independently invented the same things, that they wouldn't have invested effort in inventing if they couldn't protect forever with an exclusive monopoly, so now tech progress is protected by these patents instead of being completely logjammed. I'm sure the money spent on lawyers instead of development is promoting tech progress, not scaring away other innovators.

      I know the system seems biased, but these companies probably can and do afford more research dollars than most others in the industry, so it's not unreasonable for them to have the larger patent portfolios. What you really have to look at is if these companies had absolutely no incentive to let any innovation in the open for fear of it being jacked. That is a whole lot of research effort being locked up. Money spent defending/attacking patents would be spent reverse engineering, and duplicating research.

      • Your point might have some merit if it were common for engineers to study other peoples' patents to see how to implement various features.

        However, that never happens, as a rule. Engineers who are faced with similar problems tend to arrive at the same more-or-less obvious solutions. When it becomes apparent that a given solution infringes upon a patent filed by another party who happened to have the same problem first, it invariably comes as a surprise to the "infringing" party.

        In fact, engineers tend to b

  • by SilenceBE (1439827) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @02:27AM (#34470470)
    - Motorola started the patent case agains apple, motorola is the patent troll in this case - Nokia requests patent and licenses which it doesnt require from other companies so discriminating Apple
    And 90 procent of the posts will go about how apple is in fault here.... Yeah but they have patents so they are (more) evil then others. If they wouldnt have a patent portfolio they would be sitting ducks...
    • Try reading the actual article [blogspot.com] rather than making up whatever you feel like.

      Apple sued HTC first. HTC responded, Motorola responded. Apple shot first, they were the belligerent party and now we are all paying for a futile patent war.

      One of the reasons I chose Android in the first place so I didn't have to overpay for a phone.

    • by fermion (181285)
      To me this is simply aobut displacement of the established phone OEM. This, combined with the prevailing mobile phone model in the US, meant that the US market was stagnant. For instance, most of the cool stuff that Nokia was doing was unavailable and Motorola not doing that many cool things. The Mobile operators were not going to let cool things happen unless it was outlandishly profitable.

      The reaction to this displacement was, of course, an attempt to stop the firms causing the displacement. Therefo

    • Motorola knew Apple was going to sue, so they sued first.

      And 90 procent of the posts will go about how apple is in fault here....

      Whereas Apple fanbois will say Apple is not at fault.

      Falcon

  • Just stop coding iAnything for them and their stupid world. Just stop and they will play nice again. It sure didn't take them long to turn into Microsoft.

    • Yeah motorola filles patent claims agains apple and so it is apple fault! How did you wrap your head against that one ?
      • by bunhed (208100)

        Actually I meant Apple sux. That's all.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Yeah motorola filles patent claims agains apple

        But they didn't file first. [blogspot.com]

        Apple sued HTC first, Motorola sued Apple some time later as a proactive defence. Apple was the belligerent party whether you like it or not.

      • Yeah motorola filles patent claims agains apple and so it is apple fault! How did you wrap your head against that one ?

        How did you miss "Apple is squaring off this week against Nokia Oyj, the world’s largest mobile-phone maker, before the International Trade Commission. The dispute, in which each side alleges intellectual property violations, is also a precursor to Apple patent battles with Motorola Inc. and HTC Corp"? I know, you're an Apple fanbois who doesn't like the truth.

        Falcon

  • Whether you choose Apple or Motorola, you will have to pay a lawyer tax.

  • Does anybody else see the parallels between Apple's litigation and World War II? You have Apple (Axis Powers) filing lawsuits (declaring war) against Motorola, Nokia, and HTC (Allied Powers). Honestly, with the business practices Apple has, such as no outside apps (propaganda) without Apple authorization, no tethering (isolation from other countries), carrier lock-ins (you have the limited choices only Apple says you can have), and proprietary software (you live in Apple Land, and cannot leave), they bear a
    • by Gnitset (1204106)

      Sorry, Godwin's law, you loose.

    • by Dynedain (141758)

      Well, if you take away your childish attempt to portray Steve Jobs as Hitler, you'd find that a better comparison is World War I, where a complex spagetti mess of treaties lead all of Europe into war triggered by assassination of a single person.

    • by Steeltoe (98226)

      Nice! But where do grammar nazi's fit in?

      Maybe a car analogy will be better?

  • Hardware v. Software (Score:4, Informative)

    by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @07:30AM (#34471644)
    Apple decided to move into mobile phones and required hardware to do so. Lacking any actual know how on making phones, like many companies they borrowed the hardware from other companies - Motorola. Motorola is used to licensing out their hardware patents. Motorola makes money on just about every phone sale through their hardware licensing. So Apple asked Motorola to license their technology, but not like everyone else. Apple asked Motorola to trade software patents for hardware patents. Motorola told them to piss into the wind. The only way they were getting Motorola patens, Motorola said, was to trade for other hardware patents or pay a licensing fee like everyone else. Apple took choice C - to use the hardware patents even without license so they could make their iPhone - which would not exist without the Motorola technology.

    The issue here boils down to this question: Are software patents in general worth the same as hardware patents. And of course the answer to anyone who knows anything about the subject is a resounding no. Hardware patents take billions of dollars to develop and millions of man hours in testing physical objects in a physical world. A software patent is an often unimplemented idea most often without a single line of code - vapor. Software patents often sound like this: "A system where a user can use a icon based interface to lookup information about his/her pet in real time with an image and a video of the pet in the same interface as the typing interface where the pet can see the user type". No - really - they are that dumb and ambiguous.

    So Motorola makes an antenna design that will work within solid concrete tunnels without requiring frequency modulation or signal attenuation at the cost of billions of dollars and millions of man hours, testing – certification – more testing, IC engineering, fabrication and design, so much time and effort that to even list what needs to be done would be exhausting - and Apple thinks a fair trade would be the patent that consists of the words: "A system where the user can click and drag through a list of music and select which songs to buy with a button that allows a user to listen to a preview of the song." - Seriously?

    Software patents should never exist. Apple should lose their ass for stealing Motorola technology even after Motorola said they could not use it. If you don’t like the terms of the deal –that means no deal! Not I just use their hardware patents anyway. Who the fuck acts like that? Is Apple a 5 year old? Then after stealing Motorola’s hardware they have the audacity to claim patent infringement? Justice would be well served if Motorola got a big chunk of every iPhone or other Apple device using their hardware without permission. A punitive amount too, not a happy negotiated amount. If the normal is %1 they should pay %10. If it’s %10 they should pay %50. Theft should not at the end of the day, be profitable for stealing technology!

    You cannot take without paying for it.
    You cannot trade software patents for hardware patents.
    You cannot make up your own rules if you don't want to play nice with your hardware vendor


    yes, the patent descriptions in my examples are fabricated, but they are still indicative of hardware patent vs. software patent. Don’t complain unless you also include the actual patents in question I’m just trying to illustrate the difference between software and hardware patents.
    • by dfghjk (711126)

      "yes, the patent descriptions in my examples are fabricated, but they are still indicative of hardware patent vs. software patent. Don’t complain unless you also include the actual patents in question I’m just trying to illustrate the difference between software and hardware patents."

      I'd say a lot more than just your examples are fabricated. Billions of dollars and millions of man-hours? Hehe.

      And yes, of course, it's only fair that you can fabricate your argument but everyone else had better p

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Billions of dollars and millions of man-hours? Hehe.

        Here's a little math.

        1,000,000 hours / 40 hours per week / 52 weeks per year means to get 1,000,000 man hours you would need: <gasp>
        (1000000/40/52=481).

        480 employees!! OMFG!! How could they employ that massive number of people!!

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola [wikipedia.org]

        Employees: 60,000
        Total Assets: 25.603 billion

        (60,000*40*52=1,248,000,000) Total man hours per year: 124,800,000.

    • by Idbar (1034346)
      Shut up! I was about to get a brand new hybrid traded for this line of code I made. Now you blew my deal! Now I will have to add a GUI to the code to make it look like at least it's pretty!

      In all seriousness, where do you draw the line between software and hardware? Some instructions can be embedded into hardware (such as done in FPGA or video/audio coders/decoders, image/signal processing mechanisms). Algorithms are normally one main subject of research that can be simply expressed as software and can be
    • Hardware patent example: A standard plastic zipper on a coat, except it's bigger than usual, so you can zip it while wearing gloves.

      Software patent example: An algorithm for accurately locating and identifying the faces of individuals in photographs, in mixed-light conditions, with compensation for noise and motion-blur.

      The descriptions in my examples are NOT fabricated.
      The basis for your argument is garbage.

      • You've made a great case for copyright, not patent. With copyright, you cannot copy the algorithm outright, and others can implement your 'idea' in another way, maybe with a different language and different hardware, and it lasts a lot longer than a patent. To claim patent on software is crazy because there are so many different ways to do that. In your example of hardware patent it sounds to me like the only way to zip a zipper with gloves on is with a larger zipper that could fit in a gloved hand - the
      • An algorithm for accurately locating and identifying the faces of individuals in photographs, in mixed-light conditions, with compensation for noise and motion-blur.

        What is being patented, a general idea or a specific method? General ideas should not be patentable. And is that specific method based on math? Math shouldn't be patentable either.

        Falcon

    • A punitive amount too, not a happy negotiated amount. If the normal is %1 they should pay %10. If it's %10 they should pay %50. Theft should not at the end of the day, be profitable for stealing technology!

      If I recall correctly the patent system already has a punitive damage multiplier of 3x for willful patent infringement. By that standard 1% becomes 3%, 10% becomes 30%.

      Good enough for ya? B-)

    • by adumonit (1946436)
      insightful. I had been totally clueless of hardware patents. If they are as you describe them and Apple did steal Motorola's technology, then this battle is definitely epic. How many iPhones are there? and... lol... how big is Motorola?!!!
  • I think the govenrnment should step in against these IP infringers, fine them each $500 Billion (that's not much more than 1k/device/patent, which seems low based on other recent IP judgements for copyright infringement), and call it good.

    None of this annoying individual corps sue another corp - let the government be the police and the fine recipient. That way we can piss of everyone and make up for the unfunded tax cut extension. (For those thinking this is for international companies, I think each govern

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @08:38AM (#34471988) Homepage

    My own fear about all these court cases is that when the dust settles we'll have half a dozen companies who've paid dearly for nothing (other than the right to distribute their software) and this companies won't take too kindly to new developers.

    We'll be left with a cartel. If you want to write software for phones, you better pay the expensive cross-licences or get into the protection of someone who has.

    http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Cost_barrier_to_market_entry [swpat.org]
    http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Phone_patent_litigation [swpat.org]

  • Seriously. Why does anyone use them?

  • 12.04.10
    Apple is Bullying Competitors — Including Linux — Using Software Patents
    > Apple is suing to embargo Linux-based phones/phone makers, using software patents to generally remove competition or remove features from competitors’ products.

    http://techrights.org/2010/12/04/apple-swpats-vs-android/

    • Apple is Bullying Competitors -- Including Linux -- Using Software Patents
      > Apple is suing to embargo Linux-based phones/phone makers, using software patents to generally remove competition or remove features from competitors' products.

      Apple has a long history of using legal "Intellectual Property" attacks against competitors.

      Two shining examples were the "Look and Feel" suits they filed against Digital Research's GEM in 1985 and Microsoft's early Windows product in 1988.

      If I understand it correctly: Th

  • On the one hand, I really hope that Apple gets what they deserve: for three decades, they have been copying, cloning, and stealing other people's ideas and not giving anything significant back. The should finally be held accountable, publicly and openly.

    On the other hand, I think the best for the market would be if all these patents ended up being unenforceable on all sides. Then the market will take care of the problem by itself: Apple will settle at its usual 3-5% market share and the rest of us can go

    • they have been copying, cloning, and stealing other people's ideas

      Pray tell us, whom they where copying from? Microsoft perhaps?

      • by t2t10 (1909766)

        Xerox, IBM, Bell Labs, Palm, Nokia, Psion, Danger, Handspring, Diamond, Creative, Adobe, lots of academic research labs, lots of startups.

        Pray tell us, what original ideas has Apple ever actually had? What original contributions have they made to computer science or even the market?

    • Apple's marketshare is more than that. It's several months old but AppleInsider has the article Apple sells estimated 1.4M Macs in US to capture 8% market share [appleinsider.com]. That 8% puts Apple's marketshare in 5th place, behind HP, Dell, Acer, and Toshiba. More recently, October, Gartner and IDC [arstechnica.com] say Apple marketshare broke 10%. That puts Apple's marketshare in 3rd, ahead of Acer and Toshiba and behind "Others". The only named companies with higher shares are HP and Dell.

      the rest of us can go back to ignoring them,

      • by t2t10 (1909766)

        Apple sells estimated 1.4M Macs in US to capture 8% market share

        Even if true, probably much of that is the result of Apple's exposure through iPhone and iPod. Historically, Apple market share is 3-5%, and that's what they're likely going to go back to in a competitive market.

        Not only did I have my PC hardware fail a number of tymes, I also had to reinstall Windows a number of tymes which each PC.

        And that has to do with Apple's bad software engineering... what?

        • Even if true, probably much of that is the result of Apple's exposure through iPhone and iPod. Historically, Apple market share is 3-5%, and that's what they're likely going to go back to in a competitive market.

          As if there's not a competitive market now. Gee, with all the stores and websites selling PCs I'd never know there was no competition, it certainly looks like there is competition.

          Not only did I have my PC hardware fail a number of tymes, I also had to reinstall Windows a number of tymes which each

          • by t2t10 (1909766)

            As if there's not a competitive market now.

            Not for iPhone, iPod, and iPad. Apple has managed to get a temporary (legal) monopoly by attracting developers to its app store early. Eventually that will change.

            How stupid can you get?

            Yeah, how stupid can you get?

            I never said Apple's engineering was bad

            No, but I said that, and you responded with something totally irrelevant about reinstalling Windows. Hence my question: what does reinstalling Windows have to do with Apple's bad software engineering?

            • As if there's not a competitive market now.

              Not for iPhone, iPod, and iPad

              So this is a lie: The iPhone 4 faces stiff competition [usatoday.com]? As is The Year of the Tablet: The iPad's Competition [ipadnewsdaily.com] and Ipod Vs Competitors [ditttos.com]? And there are no businesses looking for Android developers [elance.com]?

              I never said Apple's engineering was bad

              No, but I said that, and you responded with something totally irrelevant about reinstalling Windows. Hence my question: what does reinstalling Windows have to do with Apple's bad software engineering?

              I g

              • by t2t10 (1909766)

                So this is a lie:

                No, it's not a lie. The competitors are out there and they are good and inexpensive, but it's going to take a while for Apple's temporary monopoly to erode because the market hasn't reached equillibrium again.

                I asked if it is so bad then why have I had problems with Apple's competitors' product but not Apple's products?

                Well, since you evidently can't figure it out: (1) bad software engineering doesn't necessarily translate into more crashes or reinstalls, and (2) maybe the competitors are

                • No, it's not a lie.

                  If it's not a lie then you lied when you said there was no competition. Is there is is there not competition for iPhones, iPods, and iPads?

                  Well, since you evidently can't figure it out: (1) bad software engineering doesn't necessarily translate into more crashes or reinstalls, and (2) maybe the competitors are using bad software engineering practices too.

                  Weaseling out, or trolling.

                  Falcon

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