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Taiwan University Sues Apple Over Siri Patents 138

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-good-for-the-goose dept.
Rambo Tribble writes "Reuters is reporting that Taiwan's National Cheng Kung University has filed a suit against Apple claiming patent infringement by the Siri voice-recognition software. At issue are two patents dating to 2007 and 2010. From the article: 'The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, on Friday, it said. "We filed that lawsuit in the Texas court because it processes faster and its rulings are usually in favor of patent owners and the compensations are usually higher," said Yama Chen, legal manager of National Cheng Kung, in the southern Taiwan city of Tainan.'"
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Taiwan University Sues Apple Over Siri Patents

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  • Goose, Meet Gander (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2012 @11:05AM (#40818191)
    I wonder how much Apple likes being on the receiving end?

    IP lawsuits are great! ... until you get slapped by one.
  • by azop (935907) on Monday July 30, 2012 @11:06AM (#40818199)
    ....and in other news...
  • by macbeth66 (204889) on Monday July 30, 2012 @11:08AM (#40818227)

    It is nice when ugly corporations get hoisted by their own sack.

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday July 30, 2012 @11:12AM (#40818265)

    Keep in mind that this is a US company being sued in a US court by a company from Taiwan. Apple recently had the fact that their iPhone design was 'borrowed' from Sony suppressed in their Samsung lawsuit; I'm sure they're not very worried about this.

  • by IrrepressibleMonkey (1045046) on Monday July 30, 2012 @11:21AM (#40818333)

    Apple recently had the fact that their iPhone design was 'borrowed' from Sony suppressed in their Samsung lawsuit

    Nothing like half a story, eh? Or maybe you're genuinely not aware, but the accusation of 'borrowing' now seems well wide of the mark. Google "iPhone Purple prototype" if you haven't seen the designs that pre-date the Sony-inspired images.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2012 @11:22AM (#40818341)

    If you're anything like me, it get a little stiffy

    I see, your Apple purchases are a sort of "compensation"?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2012 @11:34AM (#40818481)

    Apple recently had the fact that their iPhone design was 'borrowed' from Sony suppressed in their Samsung lawsuit

    Nothing like half a story, eh? Or maybe you're genuinely not aware, but the accusation of 'borrowing' now seems well wide of the mark. Google "iPhone Purple prototype" if you haven't seen the designs that pre-date the Sony-inspired images.

    Well, it's a good damn thing Sony doesn't prototype their products prior to releasing them then isn't it!

  • Applicable sayings (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dskoll (99328) on Monday July 30, 2012 @11:53AM (#40818703)

    "What goes around comes around"

    "Karma's a bitch"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2012 @12:01PM (#40818775)

    No point based on design patents ever stands. The concept itself is broken, even if it didn't have the worldwide chiilling effect that it does.

    Adoption of ever-better human interfaces should be encouraged, not dissuaded. Treating them as proprietary is the biggest conceptual idiocy in the history of Man.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2012 @12:01PM (#40818781)

    If, due to its notoriety, East Texas attracts more iffy cases, than the win rate being the same as the national average would be a big win for the plaintiff. Now that's an unsubstantiated "if", but the point is that the win rate by itself is insufficient to show that it is not plaintiff friendly due to potential selection bias.

  • by Warhawke (1312723) on Monday July 30, 2012 @12:25PM (#40819077)

    Actually, and essentially in support of your conclusion although contrary to your opening, the Eastern District of Texas - while the margin is narrowing - is still much friendlier to patent plaintiffs than a strong majority of other districts. Or, specifically, it would be more fair to say the E.D.Tex. is not horrendously biased to favor the defendant, like several other districts. Most of it boils down to the Local Patent Rules. For example, E.D.Tex. allows for very liberal amendments of initial infringement contentions. In layman's terms this means that a patent-holder can sue an alleged infringer with "well-formed" suspicion that the defendant's product is allegedly infringing, go into discovery, and then determine the details as to whether or not the product is actually infringing based on evidence. In districts like the Northern District of California, the local patent rules expressly prohibit this behavior, requiring that the plaintiff have essentially absolute proof that the defendant's product is infringing before being able to move to the discovery phase.

    While N.D.Cal's strict rules cut down on troll litigation, it does become a problem for plaintiffs when the details of how a defendant's product works is only available to the defendant: for example, closed-source software or secret formulas or recipes not available to the public. While software patents aren't treated well here on Slashdot, what this would allow someone to do is to copy line for line someone else's code, resell it, and then have total immunity in the Northern District of California from patent infringement (and good luck proving copyright infringement when you don't have access to the source code...). The Eastern District of Texas (specifically Judge Ward of said district) realized the potential problem for abuse and thus created a standing order to modify the Local Patent Rules and allow for more liberal discovery. Good for plaintiffs (troll and honest) who are attempting to prove infringement, bad for defendants (honest and infringing) who now lose shelter and have to deal with costly discovery.

    The problem is two-fold. First, the dichotomy between local patent rules across federal districts completely destroys the concept of "one body of federal law." It encourages forum shopping, which is exactly what we're seeing here where a plaintiff chooses where to file suit in a place most favorable to him (thus theoretically unbalancing the concept of a fair and impartial trial). Second, it encourages patent trolls to flock to a district and abuse the system. In a perfect world, discovery would be allowed and initial infringement contentions could be modified, but anyone found to be patent trolling would be liable for attorney's fees and damages if discovery proved senseless litigation or the patent was invalidated (or hell, I'd just make a rule where you have to actually manufacture the patented product to have a claim for damages... none of this treating IP like physical property where you have an arbitrary right to exclude). In reality, it causes people to see the ratking of patent trolls form in E.D.Tex, and everyone blames the system there for supporting patent trolls and praises draconian districts like N.D.Cal for arbitrarily (and contrary to federal mandate) favoring defendants.

    As more patent trolls flood in, the win-margin is narrowing, because even the Eastern District of Texas tires of senseless lawsuits. But the rules are still much more favorable to plaintiffs in those districts, and any patent lawyer worth his salt is going to find a way to establish personal jurisdiction in that district.

  • by JustNiz (692889) on Monday July 30, 2012 @03:37PM (#40821253)

    The normal defence for companies being sued for patent infringement is to find a breach of their own patent portfolio by the suer's products, then settle out of court.

    It kindof assumes that the entity bringing the case makes commercial products themselves. Entities that don't are basically untouchable, which is why patent trolls avoid selling actual products.

    Its going to be very hard for apple to find a quid-pro-quo breach by a university.

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