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Apple Counter-Sues Motorola Over Touchscreen Patents

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the round-and-round-we-go dept.

Patents 201

Earlier this month, we discussed news that Motorola had sued Apple, alleging infringement of 18 patents involving the iPhone, iPad, and other Apple devices. In response, Apple has now launched a pair of lawsuits alleging that Motorola is the infringing party, pointing to a number of patents involving touchscreen displays and multi-touch technology, and also methods for interacting with settings and data on a device. Apple wants the court to award them damages and prevent Motorola from continuing to sell the offending devices, which include the Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, BackFlip, Devour i1, Devour A555, Cliq, and Cliq XT.

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Begun, the clone war has (3, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077796)

(n/t)

Re:Begun, the clone war has (2, Funny)

tekgoblin (1675894) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077832)

It was inevitable, everyone will sue everyone.

Re:Begun, the clone war has (4, Funny)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077912)

That's a lie, TekGoblin, if that's your real name. You are hereby summonsed to appear in a lawsuit before Judge T. John Ward [startribune.com] . To be sued for your infringement of our patents on "a method and apparatus for limited truth delivery through use of over-extensive categories".

Re:Begun, the clone war has (2, Funny)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078098)

Now you're just proving his point so you'll lose that one :D

Re:Begun, the clone war has (2, Insightful)

weicco (645927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077952)

That's what I'm hoping, an all out patent war. Maybe some good would come out of it because things can't get bad any more.

Re:Begun, the clone war has (2, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077956)

peace has been patented.

Re:Begun, the clone war has (1)

weicco (645927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077964)

No wonder it leads to stagnation. We need a good, brisk, war to drive development!

Re:Begun, the clone war has (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078016)

Unfortunately many of the major advances in human history have been due to war or due to the preparation thereof.

Re:Begun, the clone war has (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078674)

or, the desire to return to peace.

Re:Begun, the clone war has (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34077966)

Either that or Taco Bell will have them all beat.

Re:Begun, the clone war has (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077992)

...or ground into meat.

Re:Begun, the clone war has (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078144)

No patents.
Economic win for Apple.
Economic loss for Apple.

Sure I don't like patents but I think I have to go with "Economic loss for Apple" simply because I don't like them :D

Re:Begun, the clone war has (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079156)

The real root of the issue here is that the law was not written so that ideas could be patented but
Apple is suing for infringment of an idea that they didnt even invent, but they bought.
You can't patent an idea,
you can patent a product or a process or a body of work but
you cant patent an idea.

Lawyers tend to get all blinded by the money and forget that.

go ahead and mod me down as a troll but it is the truth.

And The Dining Patent Philosophers Starve!! (4, Insightful)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077838)

This whole patent war reminds me of the famous computer science analogy: the dining philosophers [wikipedia.org] .

If each fork represents a patent, all the philosophers have picked up a fork and now are unable to eat because they don't have enough forks to make a smartphone.

Re:And The Dining Patent Philosophers Starve!! (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078160)

forks down !

Re:And The Dining Patent Philosophers Starve!! (2, Funny)

alexhs (877055) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078204)

all the philosophers have picked up a fork and now are unable to eat because they don't have enough forks to make a smartphone.

Well, that's a problem in closed-source land. In FOSS land, forks appear spontaneously !

Re:And The Dining Patent Philosophers Starve!! (2, Funny)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078312)

Ah, but things work out once a bunch of them use the fork they have to stab their neighbors and steal their forks.

Re:And The Dining Patent Philosophers Starve!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078450)

for fork's sake I wish this patent war would fork off. fork!

Re:And The Dining Patent Philosophers Starve!! (1)

Headius (5562) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078496)

This would almost be funny, except that it's not forks, it's chopsticks...and you can eat perfectly well with ONE FUCKING FORK.

Re:And The Dining Patent Philosophers Starve!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079270)

This would almost be funny, except that it's not forks, it's chopsticks...and you can eat perfectly well with ONE FUCKING FORK.

Except that, if you read the wiki article... it actually is forks.

Re:And The Dining Patent Philosophers Starve!! (4, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078522)

If each fork represents a patent, all the philosophers have picked up a fork and now are unable to eat because they don't have enough forks to make a smartphone.

Er.... yeah.

Unfortunately, you're likely to get sued because BadAnalogyGuy [slashdot.org] owns the patent on making very bad analogies on Slashdot. :-)

Re:And The Dining Patent Philosophers Starve!! (2, Funny)

Software Geek (1097883) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079250)

Unfortunately, you're likely to get sued because BadAnalogyGuy owns the patent on making very bad analogies on Slashdot. :-)

Hey! Your not allowed to just add "on Slashdot" to some widely used technique and then patent it!

Re:And The Dining Patent Philosophers Starve!! (4, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079258)

If each fork represents a patent, all the philosophers have picked up a fork and now are unable to eat because they don't have enough forks to make a smartphone.

Fortunately they've learned they can stab each other with the forks, which doesn't make a smartphone but does provide entertainment value.

Poor lawyers (5, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077844)

Clearly someone thought of the poor struggling lawyers. They needed some love too. There can only be one winner here, and it won't be companies who are suing each other.

Re:Poor lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34077916)

Clearly someone thought of the poor struggling lawyers. They needed some love too. There can only be one winner here, and it won't be companies who are suing each other.

Huh? If Apple can make multitouch on non-Apple products illegal for just one year (until a replacement is developed), of course Apple will profit.

The problem is not the lawsuits, it's the fact that patents were awarded. Lawsuits are needed to clarify their validity. The rest of the patents are probably invalid, but there is a hardware patent on multitouch screen as well. That patent could be disastrous if it's valid and Apple refuses to license it.

Re:Poor lawyers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34077942)

It'll never happen since Apple, as usual, didn't invent shit but rather lifted technologies from other sources and tried to take credit for them. Multitouch has been around for decades. Microsoft might also have something to say about it with regards to Surface.

Re:Poor lawyers (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078004)

Microsoft since years has been patenting 'ideas' (not always their own) that they have never (thought to) put into production, just because they can. Apple has been guilty of the same crime in the past, but they have a much better patent/real product ratio. Why else do you think that Mac fanboys are always looking to the patent registry for clues about the next product Apple will make? One would be completely lost if he tried this with MS's patent applications.

Re:Poor lawyers (1, Interesting)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078054)

Hmm? Apple's products are refined, but technologically innovative? No.

As for why Apple fanboys love patents ... if you had any experience with fanboys you would know all hardware fanboys love patents. If you look at consoles or graphic card fanboys it works exactly the same. Microsoft in general (with exception for their consoles) does not have fanboys in quite the same way as Apple because it wasn't a vertically integrated software/hardware company for the most part ... and software patents are boring.

Before Apple got into mobile devices their fanboys didn't care much about patents either.

Re:Poor lawyers (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078170)

In particular, all their multi-touch technology was from a company they bought up a few years ago...

Re:Poor lawyers (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078606)

Apple's products are refined, but technologically innovative? No.

Sounds like you care more for hardware, so check these examples out:

Unibody laptop case. These are much stiffer for their weight than any other manufacturer's laptop.
Magsafe power connector. Eliminates the number one cause of laptop damage/PSU damage. No one else has it.
Mac Mini - When launched by far the smallest desktop computer on the market. Now copied by others, but most copies still aren't as small.

There are many many more hardware innovations, and of course many software ones too.

Clearly you don't like Apple, and that's your prerogative. But the claim that they aren't innovative is demonstrably pure bullshit.

Re:Poor lawyers (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078158)

It'll never happen since Apple, as usual, didn't invent shit

Sure Apple invented shit and people are buying it!

Re:Poor lawyers (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078662)

apparently you never used Windows ME. MSFT has imaginary shit you can buy. Apple at least polishes the turds they sell, because shiny shit sells better than a cow pie.

Re:Poor lawyers (4, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077932)

The companies are doing fine. Now you know why iPads are 500 dollars. The only loser is the customer.

Re:Poor lawyers (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078064)

I thought that the iPad was $500 because there is no competition that is worthy enough to drive the price down!

Re:Poor lawyers (0, Troll)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078094)

It's $500 because silicon valley snobs are willing to pay that much. I should know.... I live in the same town as Wozniak and we have an apple store.

No iPads are $500 because they are Apple (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078176)

Apple has long over charged for their hardware. Notice their massive profits? Reason is they have massive margins. They charge much higher margins than other electronics makers. They get away with it because their products are trendy, fashionable, and fashion is one area where consumers' normal price sensitivity doesn't apply. You'll notice that the iPod was not the first MP3 player, nor the first portable music device. What it was was a fashion accessory, you had to own one to be cool. The white earbuds were very much a status symbol, to the point that high end earbud makers suddenly had requests for white earbuds, something they'd not had before (black is less visible, more understated). People wanted better quality IEMs, but wanted the status symbol of white/iPod earbuds.

That's the reason the iPad is as much as it is. Not patents, Apple's business plan. So long as people continue to buy their stuff to be trendy, they can keep doing it.

Re:No iPads are $500 because they are Apple (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078302)

Agreed. iPads and iPhones aren't pricey because of patents, they're pricey because Apple knows that people will pay for them. If they could get $1000 or $1500 and still get a similar volume you can bet on them pricing their products accordingly...

Re:No iPads are $500 because they are Apple (2, Informative)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078368)

There is a funny thing about this argument, or better, about the response usually given to this argument. The responses usually are that Apple is in fact good value for money because you get this and that and the cheaper competition doesn't, etc. etc. Even Apple PR itself will say this when trolled.

Now cue to Apple, corporate site, where they don't talk customer language but investor language. Why should I buy AAPL, according to Apple? According to Apple, because of their profit maximization. Funny, that.

Re:No iPads are $500 because they are Apple (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078472)

Yep, investors love Apple. Part of this is just because Apple is heavily hyped and a media darling and people are influenced by that, even though they might pretend to be 100% objective. However another part is they are immensely profitable compared to the volume of sales they have and the fact that they are in consumer electronics. Normally CE companies don't make a ton of profit margin. They can still have good profits, but it is in volume, not margin. Consumers are highly price sensitive, so you have to keep margins low. However Apple is able to command a large profit margin on their devices. That means even with much lower sales than some other companies, they rake in the profits. Good reason to own the stock.

However as a buyer it does mean you are kinda getting taken to the cleaners. Now that's fine, you want what you want and the whole point of having money is to get yourself the things you need and want. However it is disingenuous to try and pretend that Apple HAS to charge the higher prices, that they put things in to their devices that demand prices be that high. That isn't the case. They charge those prices because they can, because they sell fashion as much as electronics. People will pay the premium because it is an Apple. The premium is a higher profit margin, not a higher cost.

That translates to a high profit margin, massive profit numbers, and a high stock price. So long as Apple remains cool, it'll continue to be that way.

Re:No iPads are $500 because they are Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079268)

This is not only funny it is required. All for-profit public corporations have a fiduciary and I would argue a moral responsibility to maximize the financial returns to their owners: the shareholders (the proverbial widows and orphans). Of course there is a certain amount of wiggle room here. Do we maximize short term or long term profits? How much should we retain profits versus dividend disbursements? etc.

Re:No iPads are $500 because they are Apple (1, Troll)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079290)

The responses usually are that Apple is in fact good value for money because you get this and that and the cheaper competition doesn't, etc. etc. Even Apple PR itself will say this when trolled.

Now cue to Apple, corporate site, where they don't talk customer language but investor language. Why should I buy AAPL, according to Apple? According to Apple, because of their profit maximization. Funny, that.

What makes you think they are contradictory? Apple can provide good value for money AND make great profits. They aren't selling commodities, identical with those of their competitors aside from price.

Re:No iPads are $500 because they are Apple (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078460)

Well, yesterday I saw an article [techcrunch.com] on how Apple now has a higher total revenue than Microsoft, but much smaller profits. I guess that's the big con of being a hardware-selling company...

Re:No iPads are $500 because they are Apple (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078652)

MS has stellar profit margins because they are in software. Software has the advantage of having nearly zero unit cost. Even if you aren't just selling licenses, as MS often is, the cost of making and distributing a box is a buck or less. The unit cost of software is nothing. Means all you have are your fixed costs, your R&D, support, that kind of shit.

With hardware, you have that too, but then you have a unit cost. This is actually higher than the raw parts you put in it because you have to deal with failures. As such software has the potential for much higher margins.

More or less the only problem with software is if you don't sell enough copies, if your fixed costs in making it can't be made back. For MS, this is not a problem. Windows is THE OS for computers and Office is THE Office suite. While new versions don't always fly off the shelves, they get steady sales. People want new computers and 90+% of them want them with Windows. Even Macs are usually a win for MS because so many Mac users buy Windows and either use an emulator or bootcamp.

Re:No iPads are $500 because they are Apple (1)

Karlt1 (231423) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079190)

Well, yesterday I saw an article on how Apple now has a higher total revenue than Microsoft, but much smaller profits. I guess that's the big con of being a hardware-selling company...

AAPL Net Income last quarter $4.308 billion
MSFT Net Income last quarter $5.4 Billion

A 20% difference is not what I would call "much smaller".

Re:No iPads are $500 because they are Apple (2, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078630)

The problem with claiming that Apple overcharge for the iPad is that in the days before the iPad launch, blogs had pretty much guessed the form factor and specification, but they were estimating the price point to be $999.

$499 isn't overpriced. It's just that some people will say Apple products are overpriced whatever the actual price is.

Re:No iPads are $500 because they are Apple (0, Flamebait)

gtall (79522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078650)

Bullshit, software and a tight integration with hardware costs more money. On the MS side, you don't give a flying rat's ass about software, the evidence is the crap MS produces. FOSS only feeds into the feeling that software costs nothing or has little value. Apple's "flash" is because they spend the time to actually produce something people want to buy. Your problem is with peoples' wants, not what Apple is producing.

Re:No iPads are $500 because they are Apple (1, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078690)

if the ipad is over priced why isn't their a single competitor with a similarly priced device? Every single device that matches specs is $700 plus. now don't go find a resistive touch screen, I said match specs.

You can't I have tried they don't exist yet. Acer CEO stated that they were expecting the ipad to be $999 HP stated they were expecting a $999 ipad. The $499 price made every single tablet vendor CEO shit their pants. The only thing close when the ipad was released was the crunchpad, which can't match features. The only superior product in the works is the current vaporware notion ink adam. (the one I am personally waiting for)

If the ipad is overpriced, then why hasn't anybody been able to duplicate it in less than a years time? Just try to find a capacitance touch screen with an OS designed for touch screen use(windows 7 isn't a touch screen OS, it has touch elements but still needs a mouse to work right, and is way over priced) For $500 find one you can buy right now.

Apple has been competitively priced for the last decade. You get less processor options, but overpriced they are not, stop trying to compare them to dell, but instead to thinkpads.

Re:No iPads are $500 because they are Apple (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078814)

Every single device that matches specs is $700 plus. now don't go find a resistive touch screen, I said match specs.

If you really need the exact, precise combination of features on some Apple product - with nothing you can do without and nothing you need that it doesn't offer - your options are obviously going to be limited, but the main people who seem to need that are Apple fanboys.

What's more, that argument works the other way too. For example, I was considering buying the Acer Timeline 1810T. Try matching the specs of that in an Apple device - and I mean with the full 4GB of RAM and plenty of storage, not the meagre 2GB RAM the bottom-end Macbook Air has. You end up paying over twice as much for something that's still lacking certain features (such as Ethernet and video out without expensive and cumbersome dongles), has less storage, and has a worse battery life.

Re:No iPads are $500 because they are Apple (3, Insightful)

PastaLover (704500) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078876)

Apple doesn't overcharge for their hardware. They charge what the market can bear (i.e. what people are willing to pay). To do anything else would be ridiculous for any company.

Re:Poor lawyers (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078266)

Clearly someone thought of the poor struggling lawyers. They needed some love too.

I thought lawyers just used high-priced hookers.

Re:Poor lawyers (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078960)

Clearly someone thought of the poor struggling lawyers. They needed some love too.

I thought lawyers just used high-priced hookers.

You're confusing Lawyers with Charlie Sheen. Charlie Sheen uses lots of lawyers and high-priced hookers. Interesting ...

Best defence is a good offence? (2, Informative)

sosaited (1925622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077880)

You scratch my back, I scratch yours.

No wait, that's not it...

Got it! (5, Funny)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077930)

1. Do something. Or perhaps nothing.
2. Sue!
3. Profit!!! [1]

[1] Profit only available to lawyers and other assorted douchebags.

Progress (5, Insightful)

steveha (103154) | more than 3 years ago | (#34077958)

I'm just glad to see another example of patents promoting the Progress of Science and useful Arts [wikipedia.org] .

Because we all know that without these patents, Apple would never have bothered to produce devices with multitouch, nor would Motorola, nor would anybody. And really, the whole idea of using compound gestures like pinching is completely non-obvious. And we wouldn't want little startup companies to make multitouch products; we only want big companies with lawyers to be able to do it.

Can't you just feel the Progress?

Go, Apple! Cry havoc and let slip the lawyers of litigation!

steveha

Armchair "Expert" Progress (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078048)

What's your point? Your particular "winner" didn't get picked? Patents have always been about a particular winner. The whole "advancing society" comes with the expiration of the patent much like with copyright. During the patent any benefit we gain comes from how well the patent holder executes their idea. That's the way it has always been. As for the obviousness of it, are you by any chance an expert in the particular field the patents are in? Seems that's one of the requirements, not "armchair expert" who slept at a Howard Johnson's.

Re:Progress (0, Flamebait)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078088)

I think you meant iProgress. It's shipping with every new copy of iLife '11.

Re:Progress (3, Insightful)

devent (1627873) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078280)

And do you know why we see now the multi-touch technology used everywhere and every company is so aggressive to push it? Because the multi-touch technology was developed in the 1980/1990 years and now all the patents on the basic technologies are expiring. What all the companies are now doing is to improve on the expired patents and get their own patents to sue the competition.

It's like why the price for pills and medicine is dropping significant after the patents expired and you start to see only slightly different pills and medicine in the pharmacy to buy instead of the generics. That's also the reason why the pharmacy industry put so much money into advertising the new pills, so the people think that the slightly different pills are so much better instead of the now really cheap generics. For more information visit Wikipedia on Generic Drugs [wikipedia.org]

What patents basically did was to make the multi-touch technology so expensive that the devices were on hold for about 20 years.

Re:Progress (1)

PastaLover (704500) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078900)

I'm not entirely sure that's right. I very much doubt you could bring out a multitouch device in the 90s that had a battery life of more than an hour. There was also not really much of a point. The reason we like these touch screens now is that we need lots of screen space for our browsers and games, something else you wouldn't really be running on something of this form factor in the 90s.

I think patents do hamper progress a lot, but a lot of technology takes a while to make the jump from the lab to real world apps, because it depends on so many factors to really be useful and successful.

Re:Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079278)

Batteries have nothing to do with it. Multi-touch screens were available in the early 90s on synths and samplers, they were GUI front end to control the machines and edit sounds, recordings, and sequencing. Pretty comprehensive in fact. Multi-touch + pocket size is still the same thing as multi-touch + different device. They're all computers performing particular functions when you break them down into logical blocks.

Re:Progress (1)

blarkon (1712194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078432)

Patents and IP law are the only thing stopping companies in other parts of the world making duplicate products and dumping them on the US market. If I could simply copy and profit from any smart idea that someone else came up with then all we'd end up with was people refusing to invest in research. Why invest in research if, in the fantastical world of no intellectual property, you can just copy everyone else's ideas. Without intellectual property, it just becomes a race to see who can most cheaply manufacture. That's not a race that anyone in the US can win. The founding fathers understood that if you don't protect ideas for a reasonable amount of time, when you don't allow people to profit from the fruits of their intellectual labor, progress stagnates. How many amazing technological innovations did the Soviets develop under their system where individuals or small groups were able to retain control of their IP? You can say that people will do it to scratch their own itch - but history repeatedly shows that without tangible reward based incentives, societies stagnate.

Re:Progress (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078702)

Yeah, because every product produced in the US market is 100% totally unique and no one ever copies anything from anyone.

Seriously. Every invention ever was copied, and it didn't stop innovation from coming. Quite the opposite - because if you're re-building something anyway, you might as well improve the issues you're seeing.
Did Sony crumble because other companies produced portable cassette players?
Did Ford go down because other companies started manufacturing cars?
Was Xerox ended by other photocopier producers?

Being copied might dent revenue a bit, but it doesn't kill innovation, and, if anything, it encourages research, to put yourself a step ahead of the copycats, and still get the market.

Re:Progress (1)

BlackBloq (702158) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078994)

When I was little watching GI Joe I thought America was awesome! Like a huge forest where you could find a free bush and make it a toilet and shit with impunity! Now the corporations own the keys to all the bathrooms and are keeping the 'executive' toilet a secret for their 'friends'. Now you can't shit in the woods without a permit, because the patent for shitting is owned by Sony and the wiping patent is Microsoft's BTW: Apple has the patent on flushing so good luck taking a shit!

Yawn (3, Insightful)

Macman408 (1308925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078008)

A sues B
B countersues A
A and B settle
A and B issue press releases that they have cross-licensed their technology

Is there a reason this still makes the news every time?

When was the last time some major company was sued to stop production of a product, and they were actually stopped? Never, of course; patent holders just want money. Sometimes the price might be too high, of course. But there's always a price.

Re:Yawn (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078062)

That happens all the time.Not to the Apples and Motorolas of course, but for small to medium size companies a patent lawsuit can be a huge deal: It's not just license, it's also the legal costs. The price can easily be large enough that the only sane option is to abandon that technology..

In a lot of cases the patents seem to only function as barriers to market entry.

Re:Yawn (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078226)

Under the current formulation patents in this space are a definite loss. As long as patents are allowed to be used in this fashion you're going to see stifled innovation. Certain categories of patents ought to be discarded completely, such as patents there solely to reserve areas of research and ones based upon vague ideas which may or may not mean anything.

Re:Yawn (1)

vague disclaimer (861154) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078694)

The US patent system does, indeed, appear to be fucked up beyond belief. But the fact remains that the ultimate sanction is there and has been used (didn't RIM come close to having its US email system shut down?). To assume that it will all end in a cross-licensing deal is very dangerous.

Re:Yawn (2, Insightful)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078260)

When was the last time some major company was sued to stop production of a product, and they were actually stopped? Never, of course; patent holders just want money.

Large companies often have to pay penalties and modify their products. Small companies, however, go out of business when this happens. The patent system basically creates an oligopoly where only companies with lots of lawyers and resources (=tons of money) manage to survive the inevitable patent lawsuits.

Re:Yawn (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078310)

RIM? Microsoft (MS Office) for a short while?

Re:Yawn (2, Insightful)

vague disclaimer (861154) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078654)

When was the last time some major company was sued to stop production of a product, and they were actually stopped? Never, of course;

Kodak by Polaroid over instant film.

Re:Yawn (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079022)

That's now completely wrong; Cross-licensing is the old way. The new way goes

A develops something; hives half the patents to a holding company (C)
B develops something;
A sues B
B countersues A
A and B settle
A and B issue press releases that they have cross-licensed their technology
C sues B anyway.
B goes bankrupt,.

Cross licensing deals are no longer trustworthy with companies like Microsoft. The only way is a true deathmatch and even that isn't certain. Hive off your patents into a NPE and sue baby sue.

Fight to the Finnish? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078024)

We represent Nokia and we're going to sue Apple too.

Oops, we already are.

Fine, we're going to sue Motorola

Re:Fight to the Finnish? (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078116)

Finnish? Are they going to sue Linus Torvalds?

Re:Fight to the Finnish? (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078898)

We represent Nokia and we're going to sue Apple too.

Oops, we already are.

Fine, we're going to sue Motorola

I think they already did? Or was it the other way around? Anyway, point is, it's not time, not yet. Give it half a decade or so, and if both companies are still afloat, it may be time for another round...

Oooh! (3, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078044)

Will this add a Hamilton cycle to the who-sues-whom graph of smartphone makers?

Fight fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078082)

with fire

Patent games ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078090)

Reminds me of a card game. Motorola has opened, then Apple puts their cards on the table and now the patent lawyers are debating, who has the better cards and how much one of them has to pay for an of court settlement. Same old shit.

Don't buy from Apple, it only feeds the trolls... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078114)

Snobby, petulant b'stards.

Apple has clearly innovated here (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078234)

People used to file lots of patents on "doing X on a computer", then "doing X over the Internet", and "doing X in Java".

Apple has contributed a great innovation to the world by patenting "doing X using a heuristic". Thousands of companies and lawyers desperate for more patents now have a rich patent field to mine.

Too bad that Apple didn't patent "patenting doing X using a heuristic".

Re:Apple has clearly innovated here (1)

havokca (1864454) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078382)

The sad thing is... patenting patent-trolling would be an absolute gold mine. I wonder if the USPTO would let it fly?

Re:Apple has clearly innovated here (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079058)

People used to file lots of patents on "doing X on a computer", then "doing X over the Internet", and "doing X in Java".

Yes, and in every case, "X" was patentable. They add dependent claims of "The method of claim 1, wherein the network used is the internet." Claim 1 was patentable on its own, and this claim just adds a further limitation. Primarily, it's done for a doctrine called claim differentiation - if claim 5, for example, says that the network is the internet and it depends on claim 1, then claim 1 must be broader and include every network that isn't the internet, including home networks and private networks.

In other words, you're outraged over something you don't understand and haven't actually investigated. You're like the classic "old man shouts at cloud."

get rid of multitouch already (4, Interesting)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078298)

Multitouch is a gimmick, something Apple can use to distinguish themselves from the rest. It's like their menu bar and their Finder.

Anybody who thinks that multitouch helps usability hasn't tried explaining it to their mother. And even for experienced users, it's an exercise in frustration: it works in some apps and not in others, it does different things, and you need to cover up even more of the screen with your hand. Furthermore, it doesn't carry over to pen-based input, and as the number of handwriting and drawing apps on App Store shows, people want pens.

Let Jobs pursue his insane obsessions. Google should focus on usability, do everybody a favor, and eliminate multitouch from Android.

Re:get rid of multitouch already (0, Troll)

killmofasta (460565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078412)

MOD PARENT +1
Comon... you know he is right!

Re:get rid of multitouch already (1)

Skeptic Ace (1274870) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078548)

He already gets a plus one for posting his name correctly.

Re:get rid of multitouch already (2, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078524)

You're kidding, right? If multitouch is eliminated from Android, there's very little reason for me to keep using Android. The problem isn't with the apps that support it, it's with the apps that don't support it. Multitouch adds a lot of power to the UI for those apps that can make use of that power.

Re:get rid of multitouch already (0, Troll)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079162)

If multitouch is eliminated from Android, there's very little reason for me to keep using Android.

Don't let the door hit you in the behind on the way out.

Multitouch adds a lot of power to the UI for those apps that can make use of that power.

Doesn't seem to help improve all those crappy iPad and iPhone apps.

Re:get rid of multitouch already (2, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078740)

The point of a multitouch screen is to create UIs which can more accurately draw on extablished metaphors. Were it not for the multi-touch screen, you'd need multiple buttons for the same purpose. So for a touchscreen device:

How in your single-touch technology do you implement music apps, which need keyboard say on-screen keyboard, guitar or drum kit representations?

You can't do a worthwhile DJ mixing UI without multi-touch.

Most arcade games won't work - for example where you need to be able to move and shoot at the same time. Given that games are the biggest selling category of apps, this is vitally important.

Even the humble on-screen QWERTY keyboard is far superior with multi-touch. Think! People naturally want to do shift for capitals, and that requires two touches. Single touch screens require the user to use a caps-lock style interface or some other hack.

Most of the time, in most apps, multi-touch isn't needed. But when it *is* needed, it's important. It makes the natural UI for an application possible. And in some cases it makes apps possible that wouldn't be possible otherwise.

This isn't an insane Jobs obsession. He's just thought it through, and you haven't.

you're totally missing the point (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079212)

Were it not for the multi-touch screen, you'd need multiple buttons for the same purpose. So for a touchscreen device:

Stop responding to some imaginary, made-up point. We're not talking about screens that can register multiple or complex touch patterns--of course, those are good for all sorts of things. Apple contributed exactly zilch to those. We are talking about what's in the patent: using specific multi-touch gestures as part of the regular UI, for zooming, scrolling, etc.

This isn't an insane Jobs obsession. He's just thought it through, and you haven't.

It's you who hasn't thought this through: you're confusing multi-touch capable hardware with what Apple is actually claiming in their patent.

Since you seem a little daft, let me be explicit: Android should drop the crap that Apple is suing Motorola over. It's a useless gimmick. Of course, Android should keep multi-touch capable hardware, and apps like keyboard and music apps should continue to use it.

Er, WHAT?? (2, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078912)

Every tried gaming on a non-multitouch phone? Since the screen can not report two locations at once, you can't hold down two virtual buttons at once - making the whole thing useless.

Don't even get me started on pinch to zoom.

Re:Er, WHAT?? (0, Troll)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079222)

What about you RTFA before responding? I'm not saying that one should get rid of multi-touch capable hardware, I'm saying that one should get rid the stuff Apple is putting into their UI using it. You know, crappy features like pinch-to-zoom and two-finger-scrolling. They are unintuitive and don't work consistently.

Patents. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078392)

a simple thing as touching something to activate something, can be 'owned' by some private party. a very basic act since stone age.

describe me how this is not feudalism. but dont use self-fooling believer talk as ayn rand while doing it.

Re:Patents. (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078620)

Funny you should bring up Ayn Rand. There's plenty of things wrong with her world view, but it seems to me Rand was a champion of anyone who labored to produce honest value. Patent trolls, people who compete not by offering a better value but by screwing the competition with bullshit patents or insane IP laws (Disney anyone?), those are the people Rand would class as the "moochers", leeches living off the work of others.

Re:Patents. (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079040)

a simple thing as touching something to activate something, can be 'owned' by some private party. a very basic act since stone age.

[Citation needed].

Please provide a link to a patent that says: "1. A method of activating something comprising touching the something."

Doesn't exist. You're outraged over something you made up.

What if both parties violate the others patents (1)

Okind (556066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078408)

Just wondering... given the load on the USPTO, how likely would it be that both Apple and Motorola are violating each others patents on technology they themselves hold the patent to? Really: this lawyer frenzy just shows how big a mess it is.

Re:What if both parties violate the others patents (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34079028)

Just wondering... given the load on the USPTO, how likely would it be that both Apple and Motorola are violating each others patents on technology they themselves hold the patent to? Really: this lawyer frenzy just shows how big a mess it is.

Very likely, and it has no bearing on the load at the USPTO or whether it's a "mess" - say you and I run car companies. I get a patent on headlights that turn with the steering wheel to follow curves in the road. You get a patent on a constant load automatic transmission. I can infringe your patent and you can infringe my patent, even though they're not at all related and the USPTO would never have found one while searching for the other. Machines are complicated, and there's a lot of technology there.

Furthermore, a patent isn't a license to make the invention. Let's go super low-tech... Say I invent a stool, or rather "a sitting device, comprising a flat portion oriented to support the buttocks of a sitting person; and at least three legs connected to the flat portion and supporting the flat portion at a sitting level." Say you decide that that's pretty cool, but it would be even better with back support, and get a patent on "a sitting device, comprising a flat portion oriented to support the buttocks of a sitting person; at least three legs connected to the flat portion and supporting the flat portion at a sitting level; and a vertical portion connected to the flat portion oriented to support the back of the sitting person." Assuming for the moment that the very first chair wasn't obvious, my patented stool doesn't anticipate your patented chair, because I don't have a back rest. But you can't build your chair without infringing each and every element of my stool patent.

So, say you go ahead and make chairs. You violated my patent. And say I, with my stool patent, see how great your chairs are and start adding back rests to my stools. I've violated your patent. And it's not the USPTO being overloaded - it's that I had a good idea, you had a good improvement, and rather than cross-licensing, we both were jerks.

China's advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078542)

China currently disregards any system (including world patents) EXCEPT for their own. Ok. Not surprised. HOWEVER, they have few patents compared to America's or International Patent systems. As such, they have less possibility of infringing. In addition, method patents only work in USA, and we can now see what a total disaster they have been.

Time for the consumers to sue the corps (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34078584)

It's time we the consumers start suing the companies.

wait, the lawyers will win again, damn.

this reality is starting to suck.

STOP ALREADY (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078928)

JUST ****ING STOP ALREADY you ****ing patent trolls!

OK, If Apple wants to talk copyrights... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34078946)

How about Motorola sue Apple for every use of a motorola processor in their hardware?
How about Apple answer to Motorolla for inventing a cell phone device which Motorola innovated in the Vietnam era?
How about Apple quit suing people for stuff they didnt invent but profit from with litigation.
I kinda knew this was coming when they started suing HTC and it is rather rediculous!
Apple would never have existed if it had not been for Motorola so Steve Jobs and Co. have gone off the deep end here.

I would say Steve Jobs has lost it, but I would be forgetting who I was talking about, he has always been insane!

I can say this as a person who waited to buy a smart phone, I will never buy an apple product or a microsoft product because neither company is about innovation, they are about profit. for me its Linux and Android all the way.
Screw IOS4 and Windows7mobile, they are aparently clusterF**ks of operating systems that would make blackberry look intelligent.

SO bring on the Android Tablets!

Re:OK, If Apple wants to talk copyrights... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079094)

JESUS CHRIST MONKEYBALLS!

Everything in the parent is true and insightful! IF Chewbacca is a wookie you must mod parent up as insightful!

Good god whats this world coming to???? TROLL what drugs are you smoking?

Apple is going to lose here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34079248)

The real root of the issue here is that the law was not written so that ideas could be patented but
Apple is suing for infringment of an idea that they didnt even invent, but they bought.
You can't patent an idea,
you can patent a product or a process or a body of work but
you cant patent an idea.

As a matter of recent history, this concept is why Microsoft lost so many of those "We invented the GUI idea" when they didnt legal profit mongering. The argument is rediculous as it is here.
Lawyers tend to get all blinded by the money and forget that.
So expect this to be the begining of a long slow slide for Apple back to where they were in 1995 before Jobs took over again.

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