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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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  • by just another AC (2679463) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:04AM (#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)

  • Re:Do some evil! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:12AM (#41034903)

    Self defense isn't evil. If someone hits you, you are allowed to hit them back.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:20AM (#41034937) Homepage Journal
    Either:
    A: they are desperately trying to do anything to help make their purchase of Motorola Mobile not look like the giant steaming turd that it is or
    B: they purchased Motorola Mobile solely for this purpose...
  • by Targon (17348) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:21AM (#41034941)

    This is all in response to Apple trying to kill the Android phone market by preventing their devices from being imported, and nothing more. Apple started all this lawsuit garbage, and deserves to be slapped down hard for the MANY cases of THEIR copying of ideas from others.

  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:21AM (#41034943) Homepage Journal

    Google is good and would never sue anyone. I guess they are just looking for some more FRAND abuse smackdown.

    Defensive (or even retaliatory) litigation is not looked at as unkindly as patent trolling (or other common abuses of the patent system)

    Google will learn this is the worst 12.5b anyone ever spent.

    Uh-huh. Google's a pretty smart company, I recollect the number of slashdot armchair analysts who say they'd regret the price they paid for youtube. I think the MM buy is going to work out just as well for them.

  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@Nos ... t-retrograde.com> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:26AM (#41034955)

    "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Appleâ(TM)s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. Iâ(TM)m going to destroy Android, because itâ(TM)s a stolen product. Iâ(TM)m willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

    "I don't want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won't want it. I've got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, thatâ(TM)s all I want."
    - Steve Jobs

    Looks like Google's taken them up on the offer for war since the new Dictator is carrying out the same stupid plan. Hopefully this mutually assured destruction will get Apple to pull it's head out of it's ass. You don't stay rich giving all your money to lawyers. Would you simply acquiescing to the asshole's irrational demands? I wouldn't either.

  • Re:Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:43AM (#41035005)

    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 @06:47AM (#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.

  • by Holmwood (899130) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:49AM (#41035025)

    Their purchase of Motorola was indeed primarily for this. They needed to be able to defend Android, and Google itself didn't have sufficient mobile patents to have a decent chance at prevailing in a court against Apple. Google + Moto on the other hand, very much the reverse.

    Google's choices were - buy Nokia, RIM, Motorola, or the Nortel patents. Of that lot, Motorola made by far the most strategic sense since they had an enormous trove of on point patents, were affordable, and were already an Android partner. At the time, their losing the Nortel patent auction looked bad, but when they snapped up Motorola shortly thereafter, it all made sense.

    Would they have been better off winning Nortel patents for (say) $5bn than spending $13.5+ for Motorola? [I'm counting anticipated restructuring costs in with the purchase price] Maybe. But it's entirely possible that Apple, Microsoft, RIM, etc. would have pushed the bidding on Nortel patents well above $5bn. Also, a lot of the Nortel patents would have been neither applicable nor remotely useful to Google. For a patent defense, Motorola is a much better fit.

    Does it suck that companies have to spend billions in this fashion to create a legal defense? Yes. If you're an ardent Apple fan, it sucks that Google gets to attack Apple just because they bought a bunch of patents; if you're an ardent Google fan, it sucks that Apple is attacking Android manufacturers in the first place. For the rest of us, firing engineers and hiring lawyers does not seem a winning plan for engineers or the economy-at-large. Nice for lawyers though.

  • Re:Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:51AM (#41035045)

    No. If I punch you in the face = Evil

    You punch me back = Self defense.

  • by SilenceBE (1439827) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:55AM (#41035063)
    If I remember correctly the whole Motorola vs Apple ordeal or war predicates that of any other cases regarding patents. I personally think it had a lot to do with the fact that Microsoft threaded Motorola with a lawsuit which ended in Motorola taken a license on those patents. Not long after that Motorola sued Apple.

    So I have a bit of sour taste in my mouth when I see people telling that this is a "defensive" stance or "only because Apple has lawsuits". Or maybe Motorola also develops crystal balls that they can predict the future.

    I'm of the opinion that cheerleading for Motorola is a bit hypocritical. You are against "software" patents (which I am) or you are not, software patents aren't suddenly good things because it is used against a company that you hate.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:58AM (#41035077)

    Look, Motorola/Google is suing apple because they taught apple how to actually communicate over those GSM radio waves (in the sense that they developed it and patented it).

    Apple is suing everyone claiming they invented round corners, and patented it.

    That either of these is possible ... sucks. BUT one of these sucks a whole lot more than the other, doesn't it ?

  • Re:Do some evil! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:16AM (#41035137)

    Only the bits that allow them to be judgmental of others.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:17AM (#41035143)

    I dunno, I think it is Apple who will ultimately regret their strategy.

    Even if you think Apple have brought a lot to the mobile phone space you have to acknowledge they are depending on an awful lot of other peoples IP. Pre Apple (and still between other companies) IP issues in the mobile space seem to have been handled fairly amicably. Companies competed with their products, not lawsuits. Then Apple walks in, uses everybody else's IP but is incredibly unfriendly with their own.

    I think this is a mistake for two reasons.

    1) Outside identified FRAND patents all these other companies with years of mobile experience will inevitably have patents on things Apple does in iPhones and IPads.
    2) Apple grows it's business by entering and disrupting existing markets. The existing mobile phone companies were perhaps asleep at the wheel in allowing Apple to get a foot in the door. They just viewed them as another competitor and thought they'd continue to do business the old way. No other market will make that mistake now. If Apple try to expand into a new market now then existing players will surely note their litigious nature and preemptively use whatever legal means are available to stop them getting a foot in the door.

    Apple went "nuclear" without realizing what that means. You can use them if no one else also has nuclear capability or you can sit on them as a deterrent if other people do. By deploying their weapons Apple has ensured that every other company will feel it necessary to use theirs too (and in future, perhaps first).

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:21AM (#41035151) Homepage

    Steve Jobs: ...stop using our ideas in Android...

    Patents protect inventions, not ideas. Inventions and ideas are not the same thing.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <{ten.3dlrow} {ta} {ojom}> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:27AM (#41035181) Homepage

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

  • Re:Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by andydread (758754) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:30AM (#41035207)

    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.

    So someone walks up and punches you in the face and you stand there and take it? really?

  • by jbolden (176878) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:29AM (#41035591) Homepage

    I'm of the opinion that cheerleading for Motorola is a bit hypocritical. You are against "software" patents (which I am) or you are not, software patents aren't suddenly good things because it is used against a company that you hate.

    There is nothing hypocritical about taking multiple factors into account in your moral judgements. You may generally be opposed to shooting strangers but think that such things are acceptable in war or in defense of your home. I'm normally against locking people in cages, but totally in favor of it when it comes to most murderers.

    Life is a series of situations and what is acceptable in some situations is not in others. In this case one of the main reasons people hate Apple is because of their use of software patents. Having a policy where a company that attempts to use software patents finds itself suffering a PR hit and paying out much more heavily than they collect is not a bad outcome.

  • by jbolden (176878) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:30AM (#41035599) Homepage

    Yes but prior to Apple's involvement the tradition was a lot of cross licensing agreements. I like Apple, but they started this war.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadgerRush (2648589) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:59AM (#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:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @09:10AM (#41035867)

    It's a little harder than that. Steve Jobs is dead, and Tim Cook loves suing the competition too.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Truedat (2545458) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @09:18AM (#41035913)
    Yup, it's called the morality distortion field. Slashdot seems particularly susceptible.
  • by X.25 (255792) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @09:36AM (#41036043)

    Either:
    A: they are desperately trying to do anything to help make their purchase of Motorola Mobile not look like the giant steaming turd that it is or
    B: they purchased Motorola Mobile solely for this purpose...

    C: You don't understand what long-term planning is

    I don't blame you, seems like 99% of population (aka 'instant gratification' crowd) doesn't understand it either.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:03AM (#41036275) Journal

    You seriously do NOT know what a FRAND patent is, and that it can NOT be used to sue someone.

    You absolutely can sue over a FRAND patent. FRAND means Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory. The patent holder must offer to license the patent to all comers under these terms. If someone decides not to take the offered license and still infringes the patent then the patent holder can still sue.

  • by poopdeville (841677) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:20AM (#41036383)

    You evidently don't understand how business development works.

    Demanding 100% ROI in six years is not realistic. At a nominal 8% return, it will take about 9 years to recover their money. And that's nominal (i.e., assuming a "normal" rate of return based on the empirical average). Youtube just became profitable. So it will nominally pay for itself in 9 years.

    On the other hand, acquiring Youtube turned Google into a media company. Have you noticed how Google is using resources to combat copyright infringement of movies recently? Why do you think that is? To drive users to legitimately licensed Google owned media distribution channels, which will increase the rate of return of the investment.

    They also control a massive content distribution infrastructure, putting pressure on other distribution networks. Cable television companies are finding that they must lower their prices for all of their services in order to compete with the internet -- the largest legitimate chunks of which are represented by Youtube, Netflix, and Hulu. Eventually, the cable companies will be nothing but ISPs with perhaps some "premium" content for subscribers. But even that is doubtful -- the media companies are much better off selling licenses to anybody who wants them. Including Google. The only thing keeping the cable companies at all relevant is their valuable networking infrastructure.

    Either way, Google gets more eye balls on their pages and more licensing deals for Youtube distribution.

    They bought a lot more than 1.65B worth of market power.

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:35AM (#41036485)

    And, did we miss the part where the Google/Motorola Mobility deal was finalized?

    The last holdout of red tape was China, and they gave it up in late May [androidpolice.com]. The deal was finalized a couple days later and a Googler was made CEO [thegadgetgurus.net]. It's been fairly quiet since then--not a whole lot of headline-busting changes to Motorolla Mobility--so I'm not surprised you haven't noticed the transition. There have been some, though, especially lately.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Insanity Defense (1232008) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:36AM (#41036495)

    Retaliating is defensive.

  • Re:Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:40AM (#41036529)

    Companies are not persons, ....

    Tell that to the Supreme Court.

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:57AM (#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:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BronsCon (927697) <social@bronstrup.com> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @11:12AM (#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.
  • by jo_ham (604554) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .999mahoj.> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @11:32AM (#41036993)

    Wait, is Google really an underdog?

    I thought Android was doing much better than iOS? Higher marketshare, more advanced, on better phones etc?

    They can't simultaneously be beating Apple (as we are told on slashdot all the time) and be the underdog. You can't have your cake and eat it.

    From my perspective neither one is really an underdog in this fight.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RazorSharp (1418697) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:11PM (#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, Insightful)

    by meehawl (73285) <meehawl,spam&gmail,com> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:19PM (#41037391) Homepage Journal

    No, he doesnt. He really hates litigation.

    This is what he says. It's the same way Bezos at Amazon says he hates patents, including his own 1-Click.

    Actions speak louder than words.

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:34PM (#41037499)

    I think that every day. Becoming an engineer, making a career from a hobby, what the biggest dumbshit mistake I ever made.

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by king neckbeard (1801738) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @01:24PM (#41037941)
    They can patent new inventions, but those new inventions are almost always going to be dependent upon old, patented inventions. The graduates didn't enter the market, nor was it reasonable for them to do so in this legal environment. Thus, the market is deprived of true competition.
  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ATMAvatar (648864) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @01:43PM (#41038113) Journal
    Your example is a counterpoint to your argument. In the case where an entrepreneur patents something new, the big boys simply buy the patent or buy out the entrepreneur. The big companies get it cheap because entrepreneurs lack the patent war chest to enter the market with their patents, so it is absolutely worthless to them unless they sell it off... to a big company. The end result is the same - only big boys can play in the market.
  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:04PM (#41038291) Journal
    If you consider enforcing your FRAND requirements "attacking" then yes. It started when Apple REFUSED to pay the same FRAND terms that EVERY OTHER PHONE MAKER pays to Motorola, for their FRAND patents required to make a cell phone.
  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Concern (819622) * on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:21PM (#41038439) Journal

    You must be joking. Apple is ripping off Motorola! Motorola has been making phones for years before the iPhone. Apple just waltzed in and stole dozens of their patented ideas about how to make phones. They could never have made the iPhone without stealing Motorola's patented ideas.

    Same paradigm, also so says the lawsuits.

    Notice how you can tell a crazy idea (i.e. a software patent) by how it goes to nonsense (no one can make a phone in the US) when led to its logical conclusion?

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:41PM (#41041241) Homepage

    Ah yes, that's it. Too bad he never saw his delusion become reality...or actually, too bad he never saw reality crush his delusion. He might be remembered for a lot of great and wonderful things by lots of people. I can't get past his delusional desire to heal himself "different" which resulted in his slow and painful death. He had a curable cancer and refused mainstream medicine. I can't get beyond that kind of thinking because it, no doubt, was also connected to his business and marketing manner.

    And anything he [Apple] stole was acceptable and even honorable. Meanwhile, turnabout is not fair play and punishable by death. Personalities like that are disturbing. I know, there's lots of them... our presidents, politicians and most all bankers, CEOs and the like.

    Anyway, Android is not a stolen product. It may be mimmickry... but then, are there really so many good options for a touch interface? PalmOS was okay. WindowsCE was okay but painful. Apple got it right and that's wonderful. Apple got upset when Microsoft copied the good stuff but in the end Microsoft won and Apple should have learned its lesson. But that's the thing with delusional leadership. They don't acknowledge being wrong and so they don't learn from their mistakes.

    The world is holding it wrong.

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