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Apple Has Spent More Than $100 Million Suing Android Manufacturers 184

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the saved-three-iphone-sales dept.
Diggester writes with an excerpt from an article at Gizmocrazed about the absurd amount of money Apple has spent suing HTC et al: "The never-ending war on Android has cost Apple more than $100 million, according to latest estimates. While a huge chunk of that money was spent (read wasted) in claims against HTC. So far, 84 claims have been filed against different Android manufacturers (HTC, Samsung, etc.) for patent infringements, out of which only 10 were proved to have been infringed and only one ruling has gone in Apple's favor."
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Apple Has Spent More Than $100 Million Suing Android Manufacturers

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  • Does not compute (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:05PM (#38810621)

    So far, 84 claims have been filed against different Android manufacturers (HTC, Samsung, etc.) for patent infringements, out of which only 10 were proved to have been infringed and only one ruling has gone in Apple's favor."

    WTH? What happened in the 9 cases where the patent was proven to be infringed but the ruling didn't go in Apple's favour?

    • by almitydave (2452422) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:10PM (#38810711)

      I don't see it discussed in TFAs, but all 10 could be from the same case, or Apple could have lost the cases for some other reason, such as when filing the paperwork with the court, on the place on the form that says "do not write in this space," they wroke "okay."

    • Re:Does not compute (Score:4, Informative)

      by oxdas (2447598) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:42PM (#38812167)

      I think the reason is these are not full court cases,but injunction hearings. Only one jurisdiction, Germany, is enforcing any sort of an injunction and they are still allowing third parties to market and sell Samsung products, just not Samsung.

    • Re:Does not compute (Score:5, Informative)

      by s.petry (762400) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:52PM (#38812317)

      Groklaw I believe is where I read a brief summary. The judge in at least one of those cases said that while there was infringement there was no possible way that damages were caused because of the nature of the patent. I like smart Judges personally.

      In several other cases (again see if you can find them on Groklaw) the MFR was given time to work around the patent. Again no damages were awarded.

      Which is which case? No idea off the top of my head. I read way to much to know sources this long after reading them.

    • Re:Does not compute (Score:5, Informative)

      by Xeranar (2029624) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:01PM (#38813135)

      9 cases of infringement that involved software that was changed in the next update so that while Apple MAY have won court costs they didn't win any profit from the defendant. Winning infringement cases usually means the end of a product in the physical world but since this is design attacks on software they can simply rectify the issue in the next software push and thus negate the whole issue.

    • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:43PM (#38813591)

      So far, 84 claims have been filed against different Android manufacturers (HTC, Samsung, etc.) for patent infringements, out of which only 10 were proved to have been infringed and only one ruling has gone in Apple's favor."

      WTH? What happened in the 9 cases where the patent was proven to be infringed but the ruling didn't go in Apple's favour?

      They made minor changes to the software as per court orders.

      What you have to remember is that Apple are so afraid of Android that they are suing over anything and everything no matter how petty.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        It's a business expense, the same as having an advertising budget. Sue your competitors continually. Apple can afford that particular war of attrition.

        • by lorenlal (164133)

          Me thinks that Apple should see this... And maybe... MAYBE... spend that money in R&D instead of L&O.

          Maybe they could spend that $100 M on better user trials to avoid situations like that old pesky antenna issue.

  • by psergiu (67614) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:06PM (#38810635)

    Question is - how much money did they won from that one ruling in favor ?

    • by Lambeco (1705140) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:09PM (#38810681)

      Question is - how much money did they won from that one ruling in favor ?

      Any compensation awarded to Apple in these cases is purely icing, and a molecule in the bucket compared to Apple's capital. This is about protecting their brand, trademarks and image. And as we all know, Apple will go to any lengths to do so.

      • I don't think he was asking if suing was a profit center for Apple, but rather asking whether the money recovered via license agreements would cover the costs of all that litigation.

        • by Calos (2281322)

          Right.

          And the OP's point is that it doesn't matter if the money received would only cover 0.1% of the litigation cost or 100.1% of the litigation cost.

          The only thing "Insightful" about the GP's post is to question just how biased the summary and article are. It's not hard to read them as being pro-Android and/or anti-Apple (or just indifferent and making shock claims to drive traffic). It's not a bad thing to question the source - whether there's some merit or whether they're just generating FUD headlines.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ArcherB (796902)

            Right.

            And the OP's point is that it doesn't matter if the money received would only cover 0.1% of the litigation cost or 100.1% of the litigation cost.

            The only thing "Insightful" about the GP's post is to question just how biased the summary and article are. It's not hard to read them as being pro-Android and/or anti-Apple (or just indifferent and making shock claims to drive traffic). It's not a bad thing to question the source - whether there's some merit or whether they're just generating FUD headlines. But as the OP points out, beyond the source's integrity, it really doesn't matter.

            The summary author could be Pro-Apple-Stockholder and is outrage that the company his retirement depends on has wasted $100,000,000 on frivolous lawsuits.

            • by Calos (2281322)

              Yes, I'm sure that person would be concerned that the company wasted $100 million dollars.

              Assuming it's a waste. That there's no benefit, present or future, at all, whatsoever.

              And completely ignoring the record quarterly profits... of $13 billion. Not even 0.1% of this quarter's profits, much less the year.

              Yes, I'm sure all the Apple shareholders are focusing on this potential waste of money.

              • by ArcherB (796902)

                Yes, I'm sure that person would be concerned that the company wasted $100 million dollars.

                Assuming it's a waste. That there's no benefit, present or future, at all, whatsoever.

                And completely ignoring the record quarterly profits... of $13 billion. Not even 0.1% of this quarter's profits, much less the year.

                Yes, I'm sure all the Apple shareholders are focusing on this potential waste of money.

                Yeah, what's $100 million. That's nothing. Why I remember back when Bill Gates gave $100 million to Apple and it literally saved the company from going under. But those were bad times, right? We're in good times now and the bad times are long behind us. So it's OK to blow $100 million because we all know that the bad times will never return and we will NEVER say, "Gee! That $100 million sure would come in handy today."

      • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:19PM (#38810853) Homepage
        This is about Steve Jobs throwing a tantrum because Google had the audacity to try and compete with the iphone with Android.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          This is about Steve Jobs throwing a tantrum because Google had the audacity to try and compete with the iphone with Android.

          The tantrum was about someone doing to him exactly what he did to Xerox.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by sonicmerlin (1505111)

          Right, when Samsung is coming out with products as unique as this: (http://inspiredbyapple.tumblr.com/tagged/Samsung), why would anyone doubt this is all about Jobs's tantrum?

          Besides, before the iPad tablets looked almost exactly the same as and functioned just like Apple's products: http://www.pcworld.com/article/113375/tablet_pc_turns_one.html [pcworld.com]

          • by psiclops (1011105) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:00PM (#38814239)

            Before the iPhone was first unveiled(January 2007) there was a phone (LG Prada [wikipedia.org]) that actually did look a lot like an iPhone

            LG Electronics has claimed the iPhone's design was copied from the LG Prada. Woo-Young Kwak, head of LG Mobile Handset R&D Center, said at a press conference, “We consider that Apple copied the Prada phone after the design was unveiled when it was presented in the iF Design Award and won the prize in September 2006.”[8]

            Note: While the LG Prada was not released until after the iPhone, the design and concept were released before we saw any of this from Apple.

          • by artor3 (1344997) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:21PM (#38814377)

            So you're saying that Apple should be able to trademark the rounded rectangle? That's stupid. Touchscreen devices, quite obviously, should try to maximize the size of the screen relative to the device. And anything that people must handle regularly shouldn't have sharp corners. The rounded rectangle is simply a case of form following function.

            Also, at least one of those photos has been manipulated to make the Samsung phone look more like the iPhone. The Galaxy S and iPhone 3G have different dimensions, including different aspect ratios, yet they appear identical in the photo comparing them. Whoops! Newsflash... if you have to lie to prove your point, you don't have one.

        • by KuRa_Scvls (932317) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:02PM (#38812477)

          More about Eric Schmidt working as a spy in Steve's eyes.

      • by khallow (566160)
        The point here is that lawsuits just like anything else done by Apply is a business operation. And it's worth asking just as with anything else such as a product line whether they're getting value for that money. It sounds to me like they sunk $100 million without having much to show for it.
      • by Dahamma (304068)

        This is about protecting their brand, trademarks and image.

        No, it's about protecting their patents. Trademark infringement is completely different...

        • by Pieroxy (222434)

          This is about protecting their brand, trademarks and image.

          No, it's about protecting their patents. Trademark infringement is completely different...

          Awwww, come on... It's all the same ip thingy now.

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            No. Trademarks are forever. Corporate copyrights are 95 years. Patents are 20 years. Of the three, the only one that is property is trademark.

        • by MrDoh! (71235)

          As we're seeing though,those patents aren't that strong. Can of worms opening up is that the stuff they have isn't that noteworthy, and the people they're attacking appear to have just as many, perhaps more actual meaningful patents.

      • by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:06PM (#38812539)

        This is about protecting their brand, trademarks and image.

        Not really. It's about obstructing its competitors from bringing their phones to market. Apple figured out a year ago that its competitors have better phones than it does.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Question is - how much money did they won from that one ruling in favor ?

        Any compensation awarded to Apple in these cases is purely icing, and a molecule in the bucket compared to Apple's capital. This is about

        stopping competition because Apple cant compete.

        And as we all know, Apple will go to any lengths to do so.

      • by Creepy (93888)

        This is about protecting their brand, trademarks and image. And as we all know, Apple will go to any lengths to do so.

        And what company wouldn't? $100 million is a drop in the bucket for Apple - about 1/140th of last quarter's profit (much less for how much they've spent total), and in the process they've disrupted Android phone releases with lawsuits, called them an inferior copy, patented simple things like swipe to unlock, etc, so they have plenty of fodder for more lawsuits. Capitalism is all about winn

    • Doesn't matter that much. In 2010, $100 million would have been about one tenth of one percent of Apple's income.

    • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:13PM (#38810753)

      Question is - how much money did they won from that one ruling in favor ?

      As the case wasn't tried in South Korea, I think the award was probably in dollars.

    • by Qzukk (229616) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:22PM (#38810877) Journal

      The real question is: how much money did all the lawsuits (winning or not) cost the competitors?

      • by Calos (2281322)

        Yes.

        And don't forget - the monetary cost to the defendants is only part of the cost to the platform as a whole.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Question is - how much money did they won from that one ruling in favor ?

      Zero. HTC just removed the feature and the court where Apple brought the suit can't issue money damages.

      .
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/21/BU5H1MFCVG.DTL

  • by sethstorm (512897) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:06PM (#38810637) Homepage

    They could have gotten higher ones investing in manufacturing in the US for US markets versus this unproductive litigation.

    • by psergiu (67614) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:09PM (#38810695)

      They did - Samsung will open a new factory in Texas for producing the A? CPUs. Too bad that they will be shipped to China for final assembly as there are no suitable factories in US :)

      • by LordKronos (470910) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:49AM (#38815377) Homepage

        They did - Samsung will open a new factory in Texas for producing the A? CPUs. Too bad that they will be shipped to China for final assembly as there are no suitable factories in US :)

        Yep. As far as I know, there isn't a single US factory that houses 8000 "workers" on-site, ready to wake up in the middle of the night without warning and work a 12 hour shift with a biscuit and tea as their reward.

        Oh, or did you mean that none of the factories are suitable because they all lack the necessary suicide nets?

    • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:10PM (#38810701)

      Microsoft's mobile business essentially IS extorting money from Android manufacturers to indemnify themselves against litigation, I'm not sure why Apple wouldn't try their hand at it too.

      • by Gribflex (177733)

        I think Microsoft's strategy is to generate revenue by accepting licensing payments from android manufacturers. This is good for their bottom line as they are making steady income from other people.

        Apple's strategy, I think, is to damage their competitors. By keeping android in court, they are hurting sales numbers directly (samsung products being banned for sale, even for just a few months), or indirectly (third party developers question whether android is the right platform; manufacturers reducing their f

        • by j-beda (85386) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:18PM (#38814797) Homepage

          The iPhone still has a hefty market share - which is important for Apple because they make the bulk of their iPhone related money on the iTunes store commissions.

          I don't think it invalidates any of your other points, but it looks like iTunes (apps, music, and video) brought in about 1/10 the money as did sales of iPhones in the last quarter, about 1/3 of the amount brought in from iPad sales, about 1/3 of the amount brought in from CPU sales and about the same amount as brought in by iPod sales. My rough estimates from the following graph give about 2.5 billion for iTunes, 2.5 for iPod, 7.5 for CPU, 7.5 for iPad, 25 billion for iPhone.

          http://www.macrumors.com/2012/01/24/apple-reports-best-quarter-ever-in-q1-2012-13-06-billion-profit-on-46-33-billion-in-revenue/ [macrumors.com]

          They seem to have had a total of 46 billion of total revenue, and 13 billion in net profit. Even if all of the 2.5 billion of iTunes was 100% profit (ie no costs associated with it), that is still only about 1/5th of their total net income. The iPhone would need to have profit rates of less than 10% to get its net profit to be about equal to this. That doesn't sound like "they make the bulk of their iPhone related money on the iTunes store commissions".

          Apple is making some pretty big bucks in their content sales businesses, but they still seem to be making the lion's share of their money in the hardware sales business.

  • by DickBreath (207180) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:10PM (#38810709) Homepage
    A patent troll might consider that money a wise investment, even if it results in a court loss. It still creates Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD).

    Also, going to court is always a risk. There is some chance that no matter how ridiculous its claims, Apple might win on some minor points, or even some major ones.

    Consider this: Apple's Dutch Galaxy Tab ban shot down by The Hague [channelregister.co.uk]

    From that article:

    After presiding over wrangles regarding the exact appearance of the two tablets and a thorough discussion of features such as dotted lines, screen icons and thickness of the device, the Dutch judge concluded that the Samsung Tablet gave a different overall impression to Apple's iPad.

    Yes folks. Money spent to argue over dotted lines and thickness of the device.

    Yes. Thickness of the device. A reasonable design goal to anyone.

    That's like arguing infringement of a sports car design based on "goes fast".

    • by Skarecrow77 (1714214) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:31PM (#38811035)

      at least they looked at the devices. If I recall, Germany provided an initial injunction based on a heavily photoshopped picture, provided by apple, showing the ipad vs galaxy tab that had the tab's dimensions grossly distorted and a non-standard home screen manipulated to appear as close to the ipad as possible.

      The car equivilent wouldn't be "goes fast" it would be ferrari showing a simple photo of an F40 next to a lamborghini where the lambo's body has been completely removed and replaced with an F40 look-alike, painted with a ferrari factory color, and had ferrari-esque badges slapped on... except the whole lambo conversion was done by ferrari themselves in order to misrepresent the true appearance of the original car.

      • by Forbman (794277)

        No, not a lamborghini, but a Pontiac Fiero, with a really bad body kit on it.

        Or even better, a Geo Metro with a red rattle can paint job (or Maaco), you know, with overspray still on the tires, Ferrari F-40-lookalike wheel covers (maybe they're even spinners, too!), two Lee Press-on NACA Scoops on the hood, and some Firrari (yes, the misspelling is intentional) badges stuck on in various places with double-sided tape. And they even forgot to 'shop the "K&N Filter" & "Michael Jordan" stickers from th

    • by Idbar (1034346)
      Also, making 46b revenue in the last quarter with 16b. profit, I guess 0.1b is just pocket change.
  • From original TFA [realdanlyons.com]:

    Eventually everyone is going to settle. (Steve Jobs may have wanted to drive Android out of existence, but that’s probably not going to happen.) The question is what kind of terms will everyone get in these settlements. The court fights are really just a way of jockeying for position and trying to gain leverage for the great settlement that is yet to come.

    In that sense, whatever Apple is spending on legal fees is probably money well spent.

  • by Barny (103770)

    Where the hell did they get that number from?

    I really hope they are not including the costs of their lawyers, lawyers that will be on retainer and paid regardless if they were fighting a court case or not.

    The source gives no justification to the number, it quite literally, as we Aussies would put it, 'pulled it out their arse'.

    • by nomadic (141991)
      That's not how it works; you pay a little down to put a lawyer on retainer so when you have to litigate they are available and ready to start right away. Once they start litigating they'll bill you for the time worked and that will typically dwarf the original retainer by several orders of magnitude.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Very true indeed. Large companies have lawyers on staff looking for work to do. It's more like the lawyers that they have on staff are just looking to make themselves look relevant. If the lawyers don't have anything to do, you can cut back on the number of lawyers you have on retainer.
  • by 787style (816008) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:15PM (#38810777)
    "I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong" - Steve Jobs

    $100 million down, $39.9 billion to go.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Steve was never one to let the facts get in the way of his view of the universe.

    • by ignavus (213578)

      "I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong" - Steve Jobs

      $100 million down, $39.9 billion to go.

      Um, Steve is no longer around to spend ANY more pennies from Apple's banked billions ... so I'd say he's missed the target.

  • True Evil - Apple (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Spiked_Three (626260)
    This article caught me at a good (or bad depending on how you look at it) time. I am so sick of Apple fanatics and how they are willing destroying the personal computer industry. They hold their limp wrists high (no intent to offend gays, but it is such a fitting description) in celebration of their superior operating system, with no clue as to how they are being brainwashed into supporting abandonment of all personal rights.

    I gave in a year ago after a stroke and bought an iPad. I loved it, supported it f
    • ...destroying the personal computer industry ...brainwashed into supporting abandonment of all personal rights ...plot to hold the education system at gunpoint

      Hyperbole much? For someone complaining about fanaticism, you sound completely crazed. All that because you couldn't figure out how to use an iPad? Yeesh.

      • by sqldr (838964)

        I'm still trying to find the option for "please don't lock my property". Until I find an easy way to stop a 3rd party interfering with my device, I call it difficult to use.

    • Uh... you'd rather Apple not introduce their iBooks product at all? Schools can still use *textbooks* you know. It's not as if Apple is taking away all alternatives which have worked for the thousands of years schools have existed.

    • Have you tried iforgot.apple.com [apple.com]?

      First hit on Google from iPad "locked for security reasons"...

    • by gmhowell (26755)

      Let go of your nerdrage and hatred. Might lower your BP enough to avoid a second stroke.

  • by Lugor (628175) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:20PM (#38810857)
    What the articles don't point out is this could be all grandstanding and positioning by all parties in a future patent settlement. Current patent laws and process allows too much overlap; they all virtually infringe on each others patent. They will all have to settle at some point, so look at the $100 million not as court costs but investment in future patent royalties or down-payment on future royalty payout.
  • Could they have just manufactured the iPhone in the USA?

    Is that crazy?

    • by teg (97890)

      Could they have just manufactured the iPhone in the USA?

      Is that crazy?

      1. No [nytimes.com]. The cost difference is much, much higher. 65 USD/phone has been mentioned - about 2.5 billion USD just last quarter.
      2. More importantly, the skills needed don't exist and you have a manufacturing ecosystem in the area - almost all the things in the iPhone are made there too, making logistics[1] much easier. Also, using iSlaves adds tremendous flexibility
      3. Apple transformed the mobile market with the iPhone - just look at phones before and after. Protecting as much as possible of this - while taking advant
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @05:25PM (#38810925)

    So, they don't manufacture iStuff thingies in the US. But look how they are helping to build up the strategic American lawsuit industry! The US will be the world's leader and #1 in the lawsuit business!

    No need to invade Third World countries any more . . . sue the pants of them!

  • beyond wall street expectations [foxbusiness.com]. Do you think that $100 million really matters to them?
  • by laughingcoyote (762272) <{moc.eticxe} {ta} {lwohtsehgrab}> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:09PM (#38811641) Journal

    Doesn't this show one more reason we need to get rid of software patents?

    There are a limited number of ways to make a usable smartphone interface, especially when competing with an already-established method. Of course they're going to be similar. There are a limited number of ways to make a handheld device that comfortably fits in the hand and pocket. Of course they're going to look similar.

    Didn't we used to require "non-obviousness" as a requirement for a patent? Aren't these things obvious?

  • Abolish copyrights and patents - government regulations at work,
    and that's all I have to say on this topic. [slashdot.org]

  • . . . to bring clarity to the market no matter what the cost to them or their competitors. ($100 million for apple . . . how much did this force their competition to spend on legal fees, research etc.).

    Clearly a company that has ideals and values, and is willing to stand up for them.

  • With patented rounded corners cost a lot........gotta make up for it somewhere, right?

  • by Trogre (513942) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:29PM (#38812749) Homepage

    Can the rest of you now please stop giving these clowns money to further abuse our legal system?

  • by nurb432 (527695)

    Business sue other business they think are infringing on their products/ip/etc.. Apple is a big company, so it will be big numbers.

    *yawn*

  • 100 million is chicken feed if it stops or slows sales of rival products. This sort of money is spent by every major company in courts around the world.

  • There doesn't seem to be a real source for the claim. TFA refers to a blog where a "rumour" is discussed about Apple having spent $100 million on patent litigation. When TFA is quoted, the rumour suddenly turns into fact.

    • by metacell (523607)

      P.S. Tracing back to Dan Lyons' blog [realdanlyons.com], we read:

      But a person close to the situation tells me there’s a rumor going around among the lawyers that Apple spent $100 million just on its first set of claims against HTC.

      Who knows if it’s true, but if so, Apple didn’t get a lot for its money.

      So Slashdot is reporting on an article that reports on a blogger who claims someone told him there was a rumour going around about something (but he has no idea if it's true). Even if we use Dan Lyons' blog as the source, we're at least three steps away from someone who potentially knows anything.

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