Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Patents Cellphones Apple

Apple Transfers Patents Through Shell Company To Sue All Phone Makers 422

New submitter dell623 writes "A patent lawsuit (PDF) by patent licensing firm Digitude Innovations curiously targeted all mobile manufacturers except Apple. A TechCrunch story has revealed that the patents used were transferred from Apple via a shell company to DI, and appear to cover features found in virtually all smartphones. The lawsuit even extends to companies that don't make Android phones, like Nokia and RIM, and to Android OEMs that Apple have not directly sued yet, like Sony. The business model of DI clearly implies that Apple would benefit financially from the lawsuit as a company that contributed patents to DI's portfolio."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple Transfers Patents Through Shell Company To Sue All Phone Makers

Comments Filter:
  • by webanish ( 1045264 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:07PM (#38328964) Journal
    FWIW, "This American Life #441: When Patents Attack" [] lays out the problem with patents very clearly. Apple is just ONE company.
  • by teg ( 97890 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:20PM (#38329102) Homepage

    With business practices like these I can only wonder how long it will take for the us government to bring on charges of monopolistic practices and force a breakup of Apple's business portfolio. One can only hope.

    IPhone is pretty far away from being a monopoly... of the more than 1 billion cell phones sold in 2010, Apple sold less than 50 million.

  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:26PM (#38329134) Journal

    After Job's died I said Apple is gonna start to slip cause without job's apple wouldn't be here and without him its only a matter of time.

    Not sure what your point is. This strategy of using a patent troll to harass competitors was planned and started under Jobs. Jobs must have signed off on the idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:28PM (#38329160)

    Are you on crack? Apple is growing revenues at 60% year over year. If that's "on the way out", I'll take some of that kind of failure. Have you been by an Apple Store lately? They're packed, so packed that it's hard to find a sales rep to take your money. The iPhone 4S is the fastest selling electronic device ever. They're selling 100K of them every day. That's $650,000,000 in revenue per day. At this rate, Apple will have more than 5x Google's annual revenues and almost 3x Microsoft's revenues. In fact, within 6 months Apple will have more revenue (they already have far more profit) than Samsung, GE, and VW (that includes Porsche & Audi).

  • Re:OMA (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:49PM (#38329314)

    Umm, because unlike Apple, Google (as a brand) doesn't *manufacture* any phones?

    Really though, that point is moot. Google owns Motorola Mobility. Motorola Mobility is a member of the alliance. Ergo, Google has "a seat at the table"

  • by speckman ( 2511208 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:52PM (#38329868)
    Except that the woman who spilled hot coffee on herself and sued, which everyone has loved to ridicule and hate, was being pretty reasonable.'s_Restaurants []
  • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:24PM (#38330156) Journal
    650,000,000 / 100,000 = 6,500 per unit. That seams to be a little off.
  • RTFA Anyone? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ninetyninebottles ( 2174630 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:38PM (#38330296)

    I read the whole list of comments and did not see a single person mention the fairly important part of the article that seems left out by he summary and headline:

    The alternative is that Apple has given some of its patents to Digitude because the patent troll came after it first. The dozen patents Apple has handed over may have been part of a settlement with the firm, along with the license agreement (which would presumably give Apple the rights to its patents, and additional Digitude patents). This seems more likely.

    How is it with over a hundred comments no one seems to have RTFA and seen the analysis by Kincaid that says this is most probably a case where Apple was sued by the patent troll and transferred patents as part of a settlement for the lawsuit? Mind you Apple probably could have and should have fought back and demanded a cash only settlement in order to prevent the patent trolling form propagating, but then I can understand not doing so. Microsoft has certainly transferred its patents with trolls several times so paying hard cash to protect competitors seems like a losing strategy in our very, very broken market.

  • Re:Why now? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:01PM (#38330518)

    Carbon was from the OS 9 days - it needed to die, and it was deprecated really early in OS X's life. Apple said "it's still in here, but work away from it because eventually it will be removed".

    They gave everyone *years* to move away from Carbon. It's not like they just whisked it out of the OS overnight with the release of Lion.

    Same thing with the switch from 68k to PPC and then again to x86. They bent over backwards to keep the backwards compatibility to smooth the transition in each case but said to developers "eventually this stuff is going away".

    People got pissy because they had software that relied on Carbon, or was PPC only etc and whined that the support was going away after the very long period they had to update it. This is what happens when you rely on transitional elements and *already marked deprecated* libraries that were there to make moving to the more modern libraries and architectures more fluid.

    They've certainly had some foolish moves (like removing backwards compatibility in Final Cut X, while simultaneously withdrawing Final Cut Studio from sale) and various other things, but it's not like they're just yanking things left and right and saying "surprise! too bad!"

    Also, how are we quantifying "do better" in the phrase "Apple would do better if... [insert opinion]". They aren't short of cash, their products are selling as fast as they can make them (with some notable exceptions), their customer satisfaction results consistently poll very high, they're growing marketshare in the PC arena (bucking the general trend of PC makers), they're growing in the mobile space (despite very healthy competition from multiple Android vendors). How else can they "do better"?

    The only thing they seem to be missing is the slashdot geek vote, but I'm not sure that's terribly troubling to them.

  • by JAlexoi ( 1085785 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:32PM (#38331182) Homepage
    A) You numbers are wrong.
    B) You must be an economist, since you think that there is no limit to growth.
    C) If we apply the same projections to Android's explosive growth - then in 1 year everyone on this planet will have at least one Android device.
  • Re:Why now? (Score:3, Informative)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:53PM (#38331610)

    Come on, you're arguing that ten years is too short of a time span?

    So far Apple has not deprecated Cocoa, so going by their past history with Carbon I'd say you have approximately a decade to make some changes to your code if they say it's deprecated tomorrow.

    You say there's no reason to have to rewrite your code, except that it's been ordained by Apple. So, your argument is that once you've done it once that it should be forever supported?

    I'll let Microsoft know it's cool to bring back ActiveX, or that ALL code written on Linux systems 10 years ago should run perfectly *especially* between kernel versions. Nothing is ever allowed to be replaced with a different way of doing things.

    So, out of interest, what "more stable" (I assume you mean it turns over its APIs less frequently than every decade) platform have you moved to?

    Seriously, you're arguing like Apple just rocked up one day and told you Carbon was now gone and your defence is "wah wah! I shouldn't have to rewrite this code! I wrote it fine 10 years ago!".

    Call on line 2 for you, it's the whaaaaaaaaaaambulance.

  • Re:Why now? (Score:2, Informative)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @10:26PM (#38331778)

    Right, I understand that backwards compatibility matters, and that you're arguing that Apple *doesn't* care about that, despite the clar evidence to the contrary - ten years of support for a deprecated API, extensive support for Classic (OS 9 apps) long into the life of OS X, strong support and tools to facilitate the changes in architecture (68k > PPC, PPC > x86), running with Universal binaries for a long time.

    You're trying to argue a position that simply isn't supported by the evidence.

    So, Apple occasionally phases out APIs that were originally introduced in OS 9, and gives a decade of warning while keeping them in OS X - I'm failing to see how this demonstrates that they don't believe backwards compatibility matters. At some point you have to get rid of the outdated code. Just look at the mess Windows was left in because they *didn't* do that.

    DISCLAIMER: I'm not arguing that all old code is outdated and needs to be replaced, but some pieces of it do.

    This is not just related to Apple (although feel free to just dismiss me out of hand by calling me a fanboy if you think it makes your argument stronger), this applies to any non-static codebase. Some things stay the same, some things get improved over time.

    Do you think that OS X should have kept OS 9's memory model? I mean, you shouldn't have to change your code, right?

  • Thermonuclear War (Score:4, Informative)

    by pavon ( 30274 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @11:48PM (#38332154)

    Not to mention that Jobs was very vocal [] about his intentions to sue Android into the ground before he died. Hell, the day he announced the iPhone in 2007 he announced that Apple had applied for over 200 patents on the phone and was ready to enforce them. He tried to do the same thing with the Macintosh look-and-feel lawsuits back in the day but failed. It's clear that he went through great effort make sure Apple had a stronger legal position this time around.

    This is absolutely his idea. Anyone trying to pin it the transition to Cook is delusional.

  • Re:Why now? (Score:3, Informative)

    by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @07:04AM (#38333678)

    On the other hand Motorola just got an injunction against Apple for basic GPRS tech in Germany. Apple will sooner or later learn that getting into a patent war with cellphone manufacturers that have been making the things for decades is not a good idea.

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel