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Patents Iphone Sony The Courts Apple

iPhone Infringes On Sony, Nokia Patents, Says Federal Jury 166

snydeq writes "A federal jury in Delaware has found Apple's iPhone infringes on three patents held by MobileMedia, a patent-holding company formed by Sony, Nokia and MPEG LA, InfoWorld reports. The jury found that the iPhone directly infringed U.S. patent 6,070,068, which was issued to Sony and covers a method for controlling the connecting state of a call, U.S. patent 6,253,075, which covers call rejection, and U.S. patent 6,427,078, which covers a data processing device. MobileMedia has garnered the unflattering descriptor "patent troll" from some observers. The company, which was formed in 2010, holds some 300 patents in all."
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iPhone Infringes On Sony, Nokia Patents, Says Federal Jury

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  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:20PM (#42277703) Homepage

    U.S. patent 6,427,078, which covers a data processing device

    Is so broad as to cover everything like a computer, but smaller.

    From the actual patent:

    The object of the invention is a device for personal communication, data collection and data processing, which is a small-sized, portable and hand-held work station comprising a data processing unit (2); a display (9); a user interface (10, 11); a number of peripheral device interfaces (12, 17); at least one memory unit (13); a power source, preferably a battery (3); and an application software. According to the invention the device also comprises a camera unit (14). The camera unit (14) comprises a camera (14a), preferably a semiconductor camera, and optics (14b) connected thereto, which are placed in the housing (1) of the device. Alternatively, the camera unit (14) is fitted on a PCMCIA card (15) which can be connected to the PCMCIA card slot (16) of the device. An object of the invention is also a PCMCIA card (15) provided with a camera unit (14).

    I'm sorry, but that's Von Neumann architecture with some form of camera attached.

    Since it starts with the definition of work-station and then simply says it is hand held, it basically is one of those "with a computer" (or in this case cell phone) patents.

    I'm not going to go through each of the claims on the patent, but I'm not seeing anything in here that sounds like an invention -- just a description of a small computer with its own display. Which to me, means this patent should have never been granted.

  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:26PM (#42277819)
    Which Sony? They are so schizophrenic they frequently sue themselves. []
  • Re:links to patents (Score:5, Informative)

    by MachDelta ( 704883 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:43PM (#42278119)

    I get the second and third patents (even if they're blindingly obvious), but that first one....

    6,070,068 - In a communication terminal device, the connecting state of a call can certainly and easily be controlled without learning troublesome operating methods which are different depending on the connecting state of a call by providing controller for displaying processing items available to a call a display and controlling the call into the connecting state corresponding to the processing item which is selected and determined by the user's operation of an input unit, the user can control the connecting state of the call by merely selecting the desired processing item.

    ...seriously, what the fuck does that even mean?

  • by jittles ( 1613415 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @03:55PM (#42278341)

    IncomingNumber := GetIncomingCallNumber(); RejectCall := SearchRejectedNumbersList(IncomingNumber); If (RejectCall) RejectIncomingCall(); else AnswerIncomingCall();

    There I just wrote the code to reject incoming calls if the number is in the rejected numbers list. How is this patentable?

    Except that I don't think that is what the patent covers at all. First of all, the iPhone does not let you create a filter list that automatically rejects calls. At least not until iOS 6 (and I doubt the lawsuit was filed since the release of iOS 6 and has a judgement). Instead, I think this is a patent covering the ability to tell the cell tower to stop ringing your phone because you're not going to bother answering. That, at the time it was added to cell phones, was certainly novel as far as I know. I had never seen a POTS phone that let you reject a call instead of just muting the ringer. I didn't bother reading the patent, so I could be wrong. But my guess is the patent actually comes from the Erickson side of the house, and not actually from Sony as it existed at the time of the filing.

  • by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:10PM (#42278613) Journal

    The rounded corners are a design patent, which, despite it's similar name, is something completely different to a patent.

  • Re:links to patents (Score:4, Informative)

    by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:32PM (#42278987)

    I think it means providing a GUI button for hanging up. :P

  • Re:links to patents (Score:5, Informative)

    by floodo1 ( 246910 ) <floodo1 AT garfias DOT org> on Thursday December 13, 2012 @04:51PM (#42279293) Journal
    The patent claims that before this awesome "invention" users had to hit either 1,2, or 3 on the keypad followed by the send button in order to manage the call waiting aspect of your phone. It also claims that you had to press a different number to control a given call waiting function (place on hold, hang up current call, combine calls into a three way call, etc) depending on what you were doing on the phone at the time, so this was confusing and cumbersome for users.

    So this Sony employee "invented" a simple menu system (though the patent seems to cover any sort of system, aka apple's buttons which pop up on screen when you get a call waiting type of call) which lets you (via a scroll wheel and button, in the example) select "Hold" or "Disconnnect" or what have you by scrolling and clicking. In this way the user doesn't have to remember whether they should press 1, 2, or 3 and instead can just click on words to do what they want.

    It's worthwhile to look at the images which contain samples of the menu system (as well as flow charts and block layouts of a typical GSM cell phone).

    TLDR: This extremely generic/broad patent is for a simple system to handle call waiting on a cell phone. A system which is novel because it's easier to use than the old keypad based system in use at the time.

    Consequently it's ridiculous.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle