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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."
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Apple Transfers Patents Through Shell Company To Sue All Phone Makers

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  • Why now? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NabisOne ( 2426710 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @03:56PM (#38328836)
    If this is true why did they wait until now to do this?
  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:07PM (#38328956) Homepage Journal

    ... or at least that's how I read it.

    When they spend this kind of money and go through this sort of effort to essentially go Nuclear then it is quite clear that iOS/iPhone/iPad is on the way out -- or at least is so severely threatened and Apple has no clue as to what to do for a competitive recourse.

    Seem to me that this money could have ben much better spent on R&D in increasing their product line and innovating -- but maybe the innovation at Apple died with the Steveness.

  • Apple (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:13PM (#38329014)

    Apple what a shit company, worse than even the worst Microsoft.
    Bill Gates should have given the finger to Jobs instead of rescueing Apple. The biggest mistake ever in the history of computing.

  • OMA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fizzl ( 209397 ) <(fizzl) (at) (> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:13PM (#38329016) Homepage Journal

    Fucking apple. Why can't they just join Open Mobile Alliance [] like everyone else and share the patents. In return they would get access to the whole pool of patents from the other companies [].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:17PM (#38329062)

    It's not about winning arguments; it's about gaining and exercising power. The yap flapping is just there to give it apparent legitimacy.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:29PM (#38329168)

    They probably got the idea from Google [].

    The difference of course being that Google gave patents to HTC to help mount a counter-offense against the already pending lawsuit from Apple. Whereas Apple gave the patents to a patent troll to start entirely new lawsuits against Apple competitors.

    Otherwise, yeah, exactly the same.

  • Re:OMA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:34PM (#38329202)

    Because the OMA is a confederation of the losers? Because its a cartel devised to give network operators a veto on applications and platform innovation? Google isn't a member, either.

  • Re:well done apple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:37PM (#38329224) Journal
    So what happens if they lose? Spin off another company, "sell" them the patents, and sue again? Is this a lather, rinse, repeat situation - or is it one where, if the case is defeated, the patent is nullified?
  • MS and Immersion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:23PM (#38329612)

    It didn't involve giving patents, but when Immersion sued Sony and MS over controller rumble, MS settled with Immersion, giving them money to fund their lawsuit against Sony on the condition that Immersion pay MS from the profits from that lawsuit and took part ownership. It was to remain confidential.

    Later MS sued Immersion for not paying MS their money from the lawsuit. No honor among thieves I guess. []

  • by rtfa-troll ( 1340807 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:45PM (#38329800)

    Apple could easily continue 60% growth rates year after year just from the growth the phone ALONE

    Lovely; This is exactly the logic which used to predict that the dot coms would soon be larger than the entire world economy. With your prediction Apple's revenue will be larger than the entire world GDP today in less than a decade and a half. I'm assuming that by then the aliens will have made themselves known and put in some extremely large inter-galactic orders?

  • Re:well done apple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Trekologer ( 86619 ) <adb@trekologer.G ... minus herbivore> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:49PM (#38329836) Homepage

    It might be a bit more sinister than that. Typically, when Large Company A sues Large Company B over a patent claim, Large Company B pulls something out of their patent portfolio that Large Company A might infringe upon. Ultimately after many strongly worded press releases, the result is a cross-licencing agreement and both parties go on their merry way. A patent toll shell company has no products and therefore none of those pesky counter claims that stand in the way of a pay day.

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

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:56PM (#38329910)
    "It's nice to see them copying Microsoft's innovation for a change."

    Where have you been?

    Microsoft is the new IBM.
    Apple is the new Microsoft.
    Google is the new Apple.

    (Oracle and Facebook are the new SCO)
  • Re:OMA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:37PM (#38330780)

    Google also isn't a hardware manufacturer. They've released 2 handsets under their own name which were both built by other companies (HTC and Samsung), both which are apparently "losers" according to you being members of the Open Mobile Alliance, which given the size of their market share makes your comment seem a bit silly. The OMA is a confederation made up of mainly hardware manufacturers and carriers.

    On the other hand Google is a software company and there is an alliance for the software side of the mobile world where Google is one of the founding members. The Open Handset Alliance. You may have heard of their product, Android.

  • Re:At some point... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by a_nonamiss ( 743253 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:58PM (#38330914)
    I once had a corporate accountant tell me "In the business world, there is no 'right' and 'wrong,' there is only 'legal' and 'illegal.'"
  • Re:Why now? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @09:37PM (#38331532) Journal

    If you can't manage to alter your code to transition to Cocoa in the TEN YEARS that OS X has been around

    Why should I have to? There's no reason, except Apple ordained it.

    Carbon was the state of the art, so to speak, in OS 8.6 (and released before then). It was finally killed off in Lion (and strongly limited during the push into 64 bit with Snow Leopard).

    OK, fine, and now Cocoa is the 'state of the art.' When will Apple decide to deprecate that? What do I do if I can't get a version of my software for Cocoa? It doesn't matter to me because they've already lost me. I'm switching to a platform that is more stable.

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

    by mldi ( 1598123 ) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @01:23AM (#38332598)

    Apple has always been about proprietary and high-priced consumer items. I don't know where you're getting this, "Google is the new Apple," schtick from.

    Apple used to include schematics for the computers they sold. So no, they didn't always used to be about proprietary, and they weren't always complete dicks.

  • Re:Why now? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Basehart ( 633304 ) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @01:54AM (#38332786)

    * - Yep, you develop for them, notice how your hard work resulted in their successful ad campaign "There's an app for that"

    Oh please, give me a break. Most developers I know do it to make money (and have fun at the same time in many cases). It's like the old "I gave this country thirty years of service, and what did it give to me." line. How about a paycheck every two weeks, free or heavily subsidized health care and a pension for the rest of your life!

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

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @03:28AM (#38333036) Journal

    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.

    I'm arguing their support for backwards compatibility isn't sufficient for me. If you like rewriting your code all the time, or having to buy new software because your vendor had to rewrite their code, then do what you like. I'm switching to a platform where I don't have to do that. Apple has demonstrated that they are perfectly ok getting rid of an API after five years (not a decade, like you claim). Furthermore, they have made no provisions for those people who wish to continue using that API. If you want to live under those constraints, go ahead. I'm moving to the open world.

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

    by puto ( 533470 ) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @07:54PM (#38338614) Homepage
    Really, The Apple 2 c had a faulty UART that would not let a modem pass 300 bps. So when you brought you Apple to the store in 1983-84 and asked what was going on the Apple store told you they needed to see the modem you owned. Be it a Hayes or USR instead of an apple modem they told you it was the modem, not the machine. Then you had to buy an apple modem. They took your machine in the back, and replaced the uart, and then hooked up an Apple modem with everything magically working. So fortunately someone figured it out, and we all took our machines in and lied and said we had Apple Modems. So I say complete dicks and proprietary since day one.

I've got a bad feeling about this.