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Google Iphone Patents The Courts Apple

Google Seeks US Ban On iPhones, iPads, Macs 404

Posted by timothy
from the ask-big-then-compromise dept.
theodp writes "Following up on an announcement that it would rid itself of 4,000 employees world-wide and renege on a deal with the State of Illinois, Google's Motorola Mobility unit said it has filed a new patent-infringement case against Apple, which seeks a ban on U.S. imports of devices including the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers. 'Apple's unwillingness to work out a license leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers' innovations,' Motorola Mobility said in an e-mailed statement."
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Google Seeks US Ban On iPhones, iPads, Macs

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  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:01AM (#41034859)

    Why not ban the two companies from doing business in the US until they iron out a deal?

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Funny)

      by flyneye (84093) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:04AM (#41034869) Homepage

      Wait, the humility phase of Apples timeline is due to start, I wanna watch!

      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Funny)

        by durrr (1316311) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @09:12AM (#41035491)

        Meanwhile, the patent lawsuit shitstorm have been upgraded to hurricane status.

        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:12PM (#41036799) Journal
          This is only temporary. If Google wins the ban they're seeking, it will resolve itself in a matter of weeks.

          You see, the patent shitstorm in the phone and tablet arena is all centered around Apple. When apple sues someone, everyone else jumps in, knowing that the company's legal team will be busy with Apple, giving them a better chance of winning; plus, if the majority of suits are successful, there's a possibility of one less competitor.

          Of course, when you're being sued for infringing on someone else's obvious and likely invalid patents, you fire back with counter-suits for the obvious and likely invalid patents of yours that they are likely violating. So, every time Apple files suit against someone, all their other competitors jump in; but then, the party being sued doubles the number of lawsuits by counter-suing everyone.

          Of course, had Apple never sued, initially, the smaller competitors wouldn't have had the balls to and, as soon as Apple is done, the smaller competitors will be willing to license, or cross-license, their patents, and all of those suits and counter-suits between everyone else will be done.

          I hope Google wins this one. Not because I wish any harm to Apple, but because Apple will be forced to respond by licensing and, where appropriate, cross-licensing their patents where the currently refuse to do so. They'll be forced, at that point, to quit suing everyone, which will close the door to lawsuits from smaller companies who see an opportunity to strike while the enemy is distracted; those companies would then license and cross-license.

          In short, everyone will stop suing everyone, in the mobile phone and table arena at least, when Apple stops suing everyone. Of course, if someone ever has a valid claim, I'm sure it will still be raised, but the shitstorm will subside when Apple is forced to quit stirring it up.
          • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by RazorSharp (1418697) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @01:11PM (#41037317)

            I hope Google wins this one. Not because I wish any harm to Apple, but because Apple will be forced to respond by licensing and, where appropriate, cross-licensing their patents where the currently refuse to do so.

            I don't like this line of thought. This massive cross-licensing nonsense is what keeps the little guys and potential entrepreneurs from entering markets. Why is the solution to obvious and likely invalid patents to create some mega-consortium of tech giants who all have a patent cross-licence agreement? So unless a company has a huge battlechest of obvious and likely invalid patents they can't even consider competing with these guys. Sounds kind of like an oligarchy to me.

            Personally, I see one benefit of Google winning this case: It might wake people up to the fact that these ridiculous patent spats affect them as consumers as well. It might bring some bureaucrats to the realization that rubber-stamping any patent a tech giant submits is a bad idea. Most importantly, hopefully it becomes a political issue that politicians have to take action on.

            We should be rooting for the outcome that will most likely lead to patent reform. That's probably Google/Motorola, as a ban on Apple products would certainly get a bunch of yuppies' panties in a bunch. But if all their victory would lead to is a cross-license agreement (which it probably would) then I find it hard to care one way or the other. I don't care who sues who - what I have a problem with is the legal system that allows them to do it. It doesn't matter if Company X has too much integrity to file frivolous lawsuits when Companies Y and Z will. Companies Y and Z will just end up more successful. Integrity is something that must be forced upon a corporation by way of the rule of law (can't wait for the Randians to read that one).

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JackieBrown (987087) <dbroome@gmail.com> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:26AM (#41034957)

      It's possible that the goal of this is to force patent reform.

      Now we will see how well MAD works when someone stops bluffing

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Right...

        When Apple does it - evil.

        When Google does the same thing it's okay, because Google has only goodness and altruism in its heart.

        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by erroneus (253617) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:47AM (#41035019) Homepage

          I wouldn't go that far, but Google's personality is one where it doesn't agressively go out to destroy the other party. I forget the exact words Steve Jobs used when talking about destroying Android, but if Google were equal with Apple in that respect, they would have done this LONG ago. Most often, Google is the party being sued, not the party filing suit.

          I do not see Google as white hat and Apple as black. I see Google as a marketng company which depends on its own image being briight and shiny. Apple is a product making company and depends on its prodicts image as being bright and shiny. Their motives are quite different.

          • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo @ w orld3.net> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:27AM (#41035181) Homepage

            It's simpler than that. Apple was Steve Jobs and he loved suing the competition.

          • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

            by jbolden (176878) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @09:19AM (#41035525) Homepage

            No there are two issues.

            One is a bunch of look and feel patents and functionality patents and mostly Apple is doing the suing.

            The other are a bunch of older patents about communication. And there Apple is supposed to be paying 2.5% if it is not under a co-licensing but thinks that's too high because their phones aren't $40... and in that one I have a tough time seeing how Apple is going to win.

            Apple picked a fist fight. Motorola/Google had a knife and told Apple to back off. Apple instead charged and now got stabbed

            • Hopefully it was in the gut. I really want to see them suffer for their arrogant thuggery. It's only right. For Apple to just accept a meager dose of humility with a cross-license at this point would be very disappointing.
          • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by BadgerRush (2648589) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @09:59AM (#41035777)

            In your argument you anthropomorphize a company (Google) and that is a very misleading and dangerous thing to do. Companies are not persons, they don't have long lasting morals and personality guiding its actions. A company's actions are result of an emergent behaviour [wikipedia.org] arising from (and infinitely more complex then) its leadership decisions. Because the emergence is so complex, the “personality” of a company can change inexplicably and it is even possible for a company with good people to do evil things.

            TL;DR: companies are not people and their past good actions are not evidence of future good actions.

            • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

              by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @11:57AM (#41036659)

              The same can be said about real, actual people, though. I have lived my life largely as a good person, but there is nothing stopping me from going out tomorrow, shooting a bunch of people, and robbing a bank(other than my rather large detest of jail).

              Corporations are given the same provisions as people in the eyes of the government, and generally you can use psychology to determine future actions of a company just as easily as you can that of a person.

              TL;DR: Companies ARE seen as people, and it IS possible to determine their future actions from their past actions(or those of their leadership).

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          No. If I punch you in the face = Evil

          You punch me back = Self defense.

        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Truedat (2545458) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:18AM (#41035913)
          Yup, it's called the morality distortion field. Slashdot seems particularly susceptible.
        • Re:Well... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte@nOsPAM.gmail.com> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @11:23AM (#41036397)

          Except it's totally not the same situation. Apple has been attacking every single android manufacturer plus google itself for a very long time. This is retaliation. Somebody HAS to deal with apple. I'm not an idiot, I don't fantasize about how good and altruistic google is. It's a corporation, and it defends its interests, sure. But this move can't be considered a cold-blooded attack, it's self-defense against a patent troll who openly stated their intentions to use their every resource to destroy android.

      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by guises (2423402) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:34AM (#41035247)

        Now we will see how well MAD works when someone stops bluffing

        You can't use future tense here - companies are already suing each other like crazy. Apple / Samsung; Microsoft / Android phone makers; patent trolls / everybody. We know exactly how well MAD works: poorly.

        • It hasn't escalated to Mutually Assured Destruction tactics yet. Most of the people Apple is suing just say "No, it's not infringing, here's why, leave us alone." MAD would imply that they were aggressively striking back instead of defending and dismissing the attacks by a floundering former-leader in their market.

          What's that? Over 60% market share for Android? How interesting! We'd better sue to make sure our choice-preventing closed-everything handset with major design issues on both software and hardware

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by I_am_Jack (1116205)
        I doubt it will force patent reform, as there is quite a bit of money in patent trolling these days, but if Google can use this to get Apple to BTFO in its desire to sue every thing that moves, then Google's performing a badly-needed service.

        If only Apple would look at the Wright Brothers as an example of what happens to you when you attempt to restrain competition by enforcing patents [wikipedia.org].
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:01AM (#41035085)

      Nothing in the linked article supports the claim in the summary that they "renege[d] on a deal with the State of Illinois". All the article says is that their workforce will drop below 2500 and that consequently they will no longer be eligible for tax breaks. Nowhere does it suggest that they made any deal requiring them to retain a workforce above that level. If there is a link supporting the claim that they reneged on a deal in this matter then can someone provide it?

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      That would happen in a sane world. My guess is that Google is doing exactly what they bought Motorola for : escalate all this to defcon 1 to see how crazy the whole system is right now.
  • by just another AC (2679463) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:04AM (#41034871)

    here we go again...

    when will someone get the balls to hit the destruct button on the broken patent industry. I'm tired of reading about it, yet alone trying to keep abreast of it.

    PS haven't RTFA but I am assuming this is another trivial software patent (although with MM there is a chance it is a valid hardware patent)

    • by Antarius (542615)

      The complaint at the U.S. International Trade Commission claims infringement of seven Motorola Mobility patents on features including location reminders, e-mail notification and phone/video players, Motorola Mobility said today.

      Reading a 1 page article isn't really that hard...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:13AM (#41034907)

    If this were to succeed, just imagine the economic impact.

    First, the Web 2.0 would collapse. Without Apple devices to participate in all sorts of useless "social media", the entire hipster culture would implode. This means Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, reddit and all of the other big names would be no more. (As a side-effect, there'd also be no further need for Ruby on Rails "developers" and NoSQL "experts" to build these kind of sites.)

    If these hipsters aren't wasting time on web sites like those, or on trying to build the "next big startup", then they won't need to be sitting in Starbucks all day. Starbucks and its ilk could very well become the next victims!

    Now you've got roving bands of hipsters on the loose, suffering severe withdrawal symptoms due to not having Apple devices in their possession, AND not having had any choco-latte-mochachinos lately. In uncontrolled outbursts, they lash out at their trust fund administrators. Stricken with fear after dealing with numerous crazed hipsters, these administrators flee their jobs, causing the financial sector to collapse into ruin.

    The financial sector collapse causes economic ruin across the nation. There is no employment, imports eventually trail off, and people starve to death. Entire communities disappear, and their infrastructure crumbles. The country is destroyed.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:32AM (#41034965)

      did you go to the *AA school of economics? ;)

      This is on par with the MPAAs report that claimed piracy harmed US corn farmers by way of reduced popcorn sales in cinemas.

      • by Idbar (1034346)
        With this Google vs Apple case... For sure corn farmers (and the MPAA) have nothing to worry about. I'm stacking up on pop corn at this very moment. Welcome to the entertainment of the future!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:11AM (#41035123)

      They would all just move to Google+ It's kinda like Facebook, but newer and hipper. You've probably never heard of it, but it's the next big thing. Hey, wanna come check out my roommates band?

  • by tsa (15680) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:15AM (#41034909) Homepage

    I have some beer and chips left from the Samsung vs Apple case. But I'll buy a new couch for this one!

  • ...the headline is all that anyone is going to read (here and elsewhere). And it's not good PR for Google.

  • So this is just a retaliatory action by Google. Some great court showdown is gonna happen soon, Apple is likely to unite with Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle against their arch enemy Google. So this is gonna be fun to watch.
    • by Targon (17348) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:25AM (#41034951)

      I can see Microsoft and others going with Google as well in this case, since hurting Apple would help EVERYONE. Apple is like the Chinese government in trying to control all the people within its sphere of control and force them to do things the way it wants. The "you MUST go through the iTunes store and pay us 30 percent" crap should really be investigated by the various government departments for violations of the law.

    • by Snowhare (263311) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:30AM (#41034959) Homepage

      Yep. This is Google explaining to Apple that they aren't the only one with patents. The monster patent portfolios of all the big players have exist in part to deter other large players from launching patent wars. It is a form of 'Mutually Assured Destruction'. Apple went nuclear starting a couple of years ago. Google (and other large players) are now launching their counter-strikes to demonstrate to Apple why it is a bad idea.

      If Apple has any sense (more likely now that Steve Jobs is gone) they will begin quietly trying to wind down the patent wars.

  • Isn't it about time that the patent trolls, legitimite patent holders, and the whole litigation industry built up around them were pimp-slapped into realizing that patents are not business models.

  • Just get rid of software patents. Get rid of them entirely. Invalidate all the current ones and stop issuing new software patents. They are essentially patents on math and certain long numbers, which is absurd.

    • There'd still be design patents and "trade dress", which Apple has used to harm Samsung recently. Not to mention that the patents Samsung (and now Motorola) are retaliating with are hardware patents.

  • I read the linked article. I don't see anywhere in it where it talks about a deal being reneged on. I only saw they they were going to loose some of their tax breaks.

    • That tax break was probably the deal. They likely had to negotiate for it, and now they're saying nevermind.
  • by dell623 (2021586) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:36AM (#41034979)

    "seven Motorola Mobility patents on features including location reminders, e-mail notification and phone/video players" -- doesn't sound very standards essential to me.

    Maybe the thought of not being able to buy iPads and iPhones will wake up the U.S. to how badly screwed up the patent system is? Or maybe that thought will stop ITC from treating the case the same way it has treated cases against MotoGoogle.

    The gloves are really off, the floodgates are open, the fat is on the fire etc. Although Google inherited cases from Motorola, this is the first time Google has directly sued Apple. Google has been reticent to take on Apple directly but they don't have much choice left now.

    Interestingly, probably the sole patent victory for any Android manufacturer has been the ban on push e-mail from iCloud on Apple devices won by MotoGoogle, which still exists: http://www.tuaw.com/2012/04/13/apple-still-blocked-from-using-push-email-in-germany/ [tuaw.com]

    It is possible that a similar patent is among those involved here. Maybe the Motorola purchase wasn't as useless as Florian Muller makes it out to be...

    • by jimicus (737525)

      Although Google inherited cases from Motorola, this is the first time Google has directly sued Apple. Google has been reticent to take on Apple directly but they don't have much choice left now.

      I suspect Google wanted to take Apple on directly. After all, if Android develops a reputation of being a great smartphone platform provided you don't mind Apple keeping you in court until shortly after the heat death of the universe, it becomes substantially less attractive.

      The problem is, as Google previously didn't manufacture any mobile phones - and were I to hazard a guess, probably didn't hold very many patents relevant to the industry - they didn't have grounds to go on the offensive.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:11AM (#41035125) Homepage

    The article says that if they retain 2500 then they get the tax breaks: if they don't, they don't. They've clearly decided that the extra payroll isn't worth the breaks so they have chosen to give them up. That's the deal. Nothing is being "reneged" on. They are complying with the agreement.

    IMHO such deals should not exist, but that's a seperate issue.

  • by AbrasiveCat (999190) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:23PM (#41036899)
    Let us see,
    • Apple makes LOTS of money on iphone
    • Google produces the Android
    • Apple Steve Jobs says stop stealing Apple's ideas
    • Google buys Motorola
    • ...
    • (Apple sues lots of people)
    • Apple sues Google
    • Apple releases their own mapping software for their iphones.
    • Google announces voice recognition for Android
    • Google sues Apple, no iphone , ipad, etc in United States

    Looks like a shoving match to me. (How many steps did I leave out?

  • It's about time. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:39PM (#41037041)
    Apple has repeatedly refused to license the patents and instead continues to just use them without paying. Was anyone actually surprised to see this happen? The word inevitable comes to mind. Not that I am particularly in love with the patent system, but Apple enjoys suing everyone else for patent violations and then they turn around and blatantly do it themselves. Someone at apple has been taking their stupid pills on the reg.

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