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Android Google The Courts Apple

Google, Motorola Ordered To Provide Android Info To Apple 240

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-put-some-mustard-on-it dept.
snydeq writes "A U.S. judge has ordered Motorola Mobility and Google to turn over information to Apple on Google's acquisition in 2005 of Android, its development of the Android OS and the proposed acquisition of Motorola. According to Motorola, the information Apple seeks regarding Google's acquisition of Motorola and Android is not relevant to any damages asserted in the case." This comes alongside news that Apple has offered licensing deals to Motorola and Samsung that would resolve some of the patent litigation. Apple is reportedly asking for $5-$15 per device sold.
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Google, Motorola Ordered To Provide Android Info To Apple

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  • by Lennie (16154) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @08:31PM (#39268791) Homepage

    So some manufacturers will end up paying Apple and Microsoft per device sold ? That's crazy.

    • by macshit (157376) <miles@NOspaM.gnu.org> on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @08:41PM (#39268887) Homepage

      Yes, our broken patent system is crazy. It stifles innovation and harms society. That's why it should be significantly reformed (i.e., gutted).

      That won't happen, of course, because companies like MS and Apple can afford to make it not happen. What's actually good for society is pretty much irrelevant.

      • Yes, our broken patent system is crazy. It stifles innovation and harms society. That's why it should be significantly reformed (i.e., gutted).

        I think patents should be eradicated outright, screw reform. Geniuses aren't special. There were two telephones in the PTO within hours of each other. Edison's 1880 Light-bulb patent came after Swan's 1878 UK patent for an improved incandescent lamp in a vacuum tube... Some of my teenage hobby source code is prior art that would invalidate many software patents held today (eg: VMware's saving & restoring VM state -- my Lisp VM did just that). Granting a monopoly over an idea because you made it to the patent office first is not valuable in today's society. The patent system has never worked as intended, it has always favoured the rich and established, not the basement genius.

        I say we eradicate the patent system. The "no more innovation argumenteers" can argue all they want, but without testing the hypothesis it's all just untested conjecture. I say let's do the experiment. It's not like we can't re-instate whatever BS laws we want.

        What if we sold the devices BLANK! Then you could by the Android OS firmware you want, or install your own separately installed via SD card. You know, like in the good old days, when you paid for hardware without being forced to pay for software too.

        I've read lots of software patents and they all use a loophole: "Method and Apparatus for _____"
        You see, the software is merely a binary description of the method, it's not an apparatus unless you consider the mind an apparatus... Neither can the blank general purpose computer AKA Apparatus by itself infringe a software patent.

        So, the patent would only apply once the end user installs the software on the device and boots it, and eventually executes the patented instructions that implement the Method on the Apparatus -- if they ever do. Good luck suing all the end users, esp. when it's not clear that their machines executed the infringing code.

        A patent application has a description of the patented process in it. That can be translated into Spanish, HTML, PDF, pseudo-code, etc. and it's not an infringement. OK, so what If It's translated into C? Still not an infringement, right? What if the C code is translated to machine code, or what if I actually manually translate the patent application into machine code (as I do occasionally, when I debug the compilers I make). I can execute those machine instructions on graph paper with a pencil, my mind is the Apparatus. So, this shouldn't be an infringement either.

        You could sell the devices blank with only a PDF on them that actually describes the patented processes... right? I mean, downloading a PDF of a patent doesn't magically make my PC infringe the patent described therein. So, you could just as easily have placed the pseudo-code translation of said software patent claims on the otherwise blank device, still not an infringement, eh? What about C? Here's a device with a C code description of a patent in it. Is that an infringement? Nope. I'm having a hard time following the logical leap whereby the machine code translation of the patent claims creates an infringing use... eg: what if the device has the wrong firmware -- OR no power source -- That non-function device can't infringe a patent on a store shelf...

        Well, let's say said device has a compiler present? If the C code isn't an infringement -- It's equivalent to a French or Pseudo-code translation of the patent -- then, you could simply compile the offending code yourself the first time the device is used. Wouldn't that "route-around" the distributor's infringing of said patents?

        Seriously... this software patent crap has to stop.

        • by Capt. Skinny (969540) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @10:20PM (#39270007)

          I think patents should be eradicated outright, screw reform. Geniuses aren't special.

          Innovation requires more effort than genius. There are few "Ah-ha!" developments that come to people in the middle of the night in a dream. Patents are intended to create a profit incentive for people to put in the requisite effort, thereby encouraging innovation for the public good.

          Without a profit incentive, why should I spend years in my lab building a better solar panel, or heart valve, or internal combustion engine? As soon as my years of hard work pay off and I put my product on the market, countless other companies would be able to offer the same thing for only the cost of reverse engineering my product. I endured all the up-front development costs, yet I make the same profit as everyone else who starts selling it because I have to compete with everyone else. I'm a nice guy, but I'm not self-sacrificing.

          Seriously... this software patent crap has to stop.

          The crap, yes. Patents themselves, no.

          • Innovation requires more effort than genius. There are few "Ah-ha!" developments that come to people in the middle of the night in a dream. Patents are intended to create a profit incentive for people to put in the requisite effort, thereby encouraging innovation for the public good.

            This is the key argument for why software patents need to be destroyed but other patents can sometimes be useful. Because with software, 2/3rds of the expense is testing the code and removing the bugs. Which means that if you aren't engaged in copyright infringement, all that testing has to be duplicated. On top of the cost of actually reimplementing whatever allegedly patentable ideas were put forth, which is larger in software than in other industries because reverse engineering is plodding work -- in man

            • by Rob Y. (110975) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:11PM (#39275495)

              Just because something's useful or was hard to come up with, doesn't mean it's an invention worthy of patent protection. I'm sure fashion designers work very hard and are quite brilliant at what they do. But they're not inventors.

              Most of the cellphone UI patents that are gumming up the works are patents on metaphors used in a touch screen UI. 'Slide to unlock' is a metaphor for a slider switch implemented on a touch screen. It is not an invention - it's 'inventiveness' has nothing to do with how it's implemented. It's a simulation of a real-world device on a touch screen. The same could be said for scroll 'bounce'. It's a simulation of what happens when a display on a physical device is scrolled past it's physical end. It's clever to use this metaphor to enhance the UI experience, but it's not an invention.

              And don't get me started on FAT32 long filenames. A bugfix masquerading as an invention, which is only even useful because a certain monopoly desktop OS requires it for plug-in devices to work. Inventive? Maybe. But mostly an 'inventive' way to extract monopoly tolls on every device designed to plug into a computer. Whether this is patentable or not, charging royalties for the ability to work with a Windows PC shouldn't be allowed under antitrust law.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by LordLucless (582312)

            Without a profit incentive, why should I spend years in my lab building a better solar panel, or heart valve, or internal combustion engine?

            Why would you now? Your innovation was probably pre-empted by someone who just described the general process anyway, and never spent any time or money actually getting it working in practice. The USPTO hasn't required working prototypes for quite a while now. That's why you can find patents on perpetual motion machines that managed to circumlocute their way past the USPTO watchdogs.

          • I think patents should be eradicated outright, screw reform. Geniuses aren't special

            Innovation requires more effort than genius. There are few "Ah-ha!" developments that come to people in the middle of the night in a dream

            I can only speak for myself - none of my 3 patents came from the "Ah-ha!" moment in the middle of the night, nor did they come in my dream (day or night)

            Enlightenment just do not pop-up in the middle of the night, not for me, at least

          • Innovation requires more effort than genius. There are few "Ah-ha!" developments that come to people in the middle of the night in a dream. Patents are intended to create a profit incentive for people to put in the requisite effort, thereby encouraging innovation for the public good.

            At the moment, I have 30 issued US patents (sole inventor in some, joint inventor with my wife and/or other collaborators in others), and a few applications pending. They all involve physical apparatus, rather than pure method/process stuff. My own experience bears out your first point: that invention requires effort rather than genius. However, I'm not at all sure of your second point, below.

            As soon as my years of hard work pay off and I put my product on the market, countless other companies would be able to offer the same thing for only the cost of reverse engineering my product.

            The cost of reverse engineering a product is often just as high as the cost of inventing in the first place. More

        • by Skapare (16644)

          If you would just f---ing quit referring to the issue as "software patent" (as in "software patents are bad"), and focus on the real issue of patents ... that they are ALL all bad (except those that meet the original patent justification of innovation that would never have happened were it not for the possibility of a patent), regardless of whether software, hardware, or anything else, then maybe we can actually start to get some traction on the issue. Instead, with people merely claiming "software patents

        • Wouldn't that "route-around" the distributor's infringing of said patents?

          In short, no. You can try to get cute working around the logical edges of the law, but legal code isn't the same as source code. The judge can still decide you are infringing in spirit, even if you manage to find a legal loophole that looks good on paper.

      • That's why it should be significantly reformed (i.e., gutted).

        But to prevent them from screwing it up worse than it was before, we would first need to have the industry lobbyists and executives themselves reformed (i.e., gutted).

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      So some manufacturers will end up paying Apple and Microsoft per device sold ? That's crazy.

      That's pretty much the way it goes, everyone licenses patents from everyone else, for example Microsoft licenses a lot of patents from OpenWave and Apple licenses patents from Lodsys.

    • by zill (1690130) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @08:50PM (#39268975)
      I used to think the patent licensing system was like racketeering. But I was wrong.

      With racketeering you only have to pay one gang. With the patent system you have to pay multiple gangs.
    • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:13PM (#39269179)

      Apparently, Apple and Microsoft are both counting on Linux to secure their retirement income.

      • by slew (2918)

        FWIW: Android != Linux

        In a nutshell Android is a Linux based kernel w/ some power saving improvements (e.g, wakelocks for drivers) and that's pretty much where the similarities end.

        Android ships w/o most of the standard libraries (e.g., Xlib), and includes lots of Android specific middleware and support Apache Harmony (java compatible libraries). Although most applications are often written in Java, instead of being compiled to java bytecode and run on a standard JVM, Android uses it's own Dalvik byte code

        • by ArsonSmith (13997)

          Android != Unix user space clone
          Android == Linux

  • Dear Apple... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fatalGlory (1060870)
    People buy your products because they are original, innovative and useful. Litigation for profit is not original. Litigation for profit is not innovative. Litigation for profit is not useful. Please, oh please, just get back to doing what people love you for.
    • Whoosh! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jamrock (863246) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @01:32AM (#39271555)

      People buy your products because they are original, innovative and useful. Litigation for profit is not original. Litigation for profit is not innovative. Litigation for profit is not useful.

      You and so many others here just don't get it. Apple isn't interested in making money off Android. They want to kill it. The revenues from potential patent licenses, while nice, would be a rounding error on their P and L. Microsoft's motive may be partly for the profit (it's likely that their revenue from licensing patents to Android manufacturers exceeds their revenues from Windows Phone), but Apple is most assuredly not interested. Apple's motive is to chill Android's ascent, or preferably, kill the platform outright. There is apparently genuine anger inside Apple that is directed at Google because of Android; Apple feels that Google blatantly capitalized on Apple's hard work in birthing the iPhone and they're prepared to go to the mattresses to right the perceived wrong.

      By making Android handsets more expensive to produce, Apple and Microsoft are adding friction to the adoption of Android, and both companies have large war chests they can use to open more fronts in their war against Google, the true enemy of both. Companies contemplating using Android will think twice before facing the two titans.

  • Why does Apple need to do this so badly? I understand that U$ 5 for every Motorola/Samsung Android phone/tablet is a hefty sum of money, but this hurts their image. specially for their customers, as it *could* be interpreted as having a difficult competing with Android. I'm very disappointed that they are going the same way as other patent trolls :(
    • by Trolan (42526) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:04PM (#39269093) Homepage

      A patent troll is usually called that because they didn't produce anything using the patent in question aside from a lawsuit. Apple here is using patents they are actively using, and believe that are being infringed by Android. Considering Motorola is going for 2.5% of sale price of iPhones for use of standards patents covered by FRAND, this is at least a more reasonable figure. It's also quite possibly a means of leveraging a cross-licensing deal so neither side winds up paying the other a dime.

      Ultimately, they're doing what most sane businesses would do. If you had a design you felt was innovative enough to patent and you spent a ton of R&D on, and you saw a company producing something that you believe is infringing on your ideas, would you just sit back and let them run with it? Or do you like doing free R&D for your competition?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by andydread (758754)
        So you endorse suing over software-patents then right? You are happy with Apple and Microsoft suing YOU for writing code right? Code that they did not write and have NOTHING to do with? So if one operating system has a menu bar can we patent that and sue every one to hell and back for implementing a menu bar in software with completely different code? Suing people for swipe to unlock and displaying text before an image in a browser is ok with you? So now you can't sit down at your computer and write cod
      • Apple: If it walks, talks, growls and stinks like a troll, it's a troll.

      • by Dhalka226 (559740)

        If you had a design you felt was innovative enough to patent and you spent a ton of R&D on, and you saw a company producing something that you believe is infringing on your ideas, would you just sit back and let them run with it?

        See, that is the flaw in your argument. You're supposing that any appreciable portion of patent law relates to something "innovative enough to patent" that somebody "spent a ton of R&D on." Especially as it pertains to companies the size of Apple or Microsoft.

        There are

    • by exomondo (1725132) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @09:10PM (#39269147)

      Why does Apple need to do this so badly? I understand that U$ 5 for every Motorola/Samsung Android phone/tablet is a hefty sum of money, but this hurts their image. specially for their customers, as it *could* be interpreted as having a difficult competing with Android. I'm very disappointed that they are going the same way as other patent trolls :(

      Well a 'patent troll' is an entity that just holds patents and sues people that actually use the without licensing them but doesn't actually use them themselves, just suing over use of patents isn't 'patent trolling', so Apple isn't a patent troll. And wrt hurting their image for their customers, if the conditions and incidents at the factories that build their products don't turn off their customers i hardly think suing their competitors for using their innovations (which is of course how they'll spin it regardless of your point of view) is going to.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        [blather]... so Apple isn't a patent troll

        Only according to Apple apologists, fanbois, and spin doctors. For the rest of us, Apple is burning karma at an alarming rate and has already declined significantly in terms of respect for the corporate brand. Apple is doing its best to establish a reputation for rapaciousness over engineering excellence.

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          Only according to Apple apologists, fanbois, and spin doctors.

          Well given that i am none of those that disproves your theory, too bad for you. It also demonstrates that you ignorantly think that anyone that sues over patents is a 'patent troll', so you fail again.

        • by rjames13 (1178191)

          [blather]... so Apple isn't a patent troll

          Only according to Apple apologists, fanbois, and spin doctors. For the rest of us, Apple is burning karma at an alarming rate and has already declined significantly in terms of respect for the corporate brand. Apple is doing its best to establish a reputation for rapaciousness over engineering excellence.

          People only use the term "patent troll" in this context because they don't know what it means. They saw it used elsewhere and are so emotionally invested in what they are saying they don't check if it means what they think it does. Then other people misuse it as well and the cycle goes on.

          Wikipedia has an ok definition of it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll [wikipedia.org]

          • People only use the term "patent troll" in this context because they don't know what it means.

            And you think you do? Here [talkandroid.com] is a well reasoned discussion of the term. Apple would certainly qualify, even without stooping to this [arstechnica.com].

        • [blather]... so Apple isn't a patent troll

          Only according to Apple apologists, fanbois, and spin doctors. For the rest of us, Apple is burning karma at an alarming rate and has already declined significantly in terms of respect for the corporate brand. Apple is doing its best to establish a reputation for rapaciousness over engineering excellence.

          Wow, it seems the usual pack of Apple astroturfers with mod points is around tonight.

    • by kermidge (2221646)

      Apple, except perhaps in earliest days, has never seemed to really give a shit about their "image". They _buy_ their image. The lawyers, of course, don't give a damn, looking for any advantage and anyone with pockets, to harm, in service to their masters.

      As for all this kind of crap, and the same crap from yesterday, and from tomorrow, a pox upon them and their offspring unto the tenth generation. Sorry, there's just not enough popcorn.

  • by BulletMagnet (600525) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @08:57PM (#39269039)
    The more I wish Gates would have pissed on Jobs back in 1997........
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @12:00AM (#39270885)

    I will be glad to go first.

    Apple may have some nice products, but there is nothing I can't live without. Unlike MS, few people are locked-in to Apple.

    I suppose Apple will still make a small amount off it's junk patents. But, that only until Apple gets sued back in some serious way. Really, how much of Apple's bullshit do you think other companies are going to take, before they take some action back?

    • by Truedat (2545458) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @04:51AM (#39272567)
      Just wondering which honest and venerable businesses you will be supporting as an alternative.
    • Really, how much of Apple's bullshit do you think other companies are going to take, before they take some action back?

      This comes _AFTER_ companies like Motorola demanded 2.25% for industry essential FRAND patents from Apple. Did you call for a boycott of Motorola for blatant and disgusting abuse of the patent system? Did you ask "how much of Motorola's bullshit are companies going to take before they take some action back?" No. Of course not.

      Seriously, pull your head out of the sand. Look around and see things as they really are.

    • by MrMickS (568778)

      I will be glad to go first.

      Apple may have some nice products, but there is nothing I can't live without. Unlike MS, few people are locked-in to Apple.

      I suppose Apple will still make a small amount off it's junk patents. But, that only until Apple gets sued back in some serious way. Really, how much of Apple's bullshit do you think other companies are going to take, before they take some action back?

      How is this insightful? Its full of the same misguided claptrap that permiates slashdot and pretty much every tech forum. The discussion, if you can call it that, has descended to the level of an early Hollywoodland black and white movie. There is no attempt to actually look into the issues, in fact there is no need. Apple and Microsoft are the good guys, Google and any Android manufacturer are the good guys. The merits of any individual measure are immaterial. /rant

      If its so much bullshit can you please ex

  • by oxdas (2447598) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @02:10AM (#39271859)

    The big loser here seems to be standards. If Apple and Microsoft can extort large amounts of money for essentially fringe patents, what incentives do companies like Motorola and Samsung have to join their core technology patents to standards? This wasn't a big deal when it was just a few patent trolls, but the game has changed. The reason companies like standards and patent pools is to mitigate risk, especially legal risk. If standards no longer encourage everyone to play nice, then I fear for a more fragmented system, where tech moves slowly because everyone is developing against each other instead of with each other. But we now live in a world where a bouncing screen effect is worth billions, but the hardware implementations it runs on are worth much less.

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