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Summarizing the Apple-Android Patent Battle

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the technolegal-detritus dept.

Businesses 126

FlorianMueller writes "Apple's patent dispute with Motorola is one of the biggest legal battles going on at the moment. Apple, which is also entangled in litigation with Nokia and HTC, recently beefed up its legal team, but it also keeps throwing in ever more patents. Apple made important court filings last Wednesday and Thursday. The bottom line: Apple now asserts 24 patents against Motorola, which uses 18 patents in claims against Apple. 21 of Apple's infringement allegations relate to Android, 3 to Motorola set-top boxes and DVRs. Motorola targets the whole range of Apple products." Mueller followed up the above article with an excellent visualization of how the patents, companies, and courts intersect.

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126 comments

Simple (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470162)

It's all about establishing a nasty, thick web of patents not covered by RAND to raise the barrier to entry impossibly high.

This is why I criticize Apple's walled garden, despite not owning one. They're very, very interested in making impossible for those of us who don't want to buy in to actually have a choice.

Re:Simple (1)

cratermoon (765155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470278)

Pretty much this. The lawyers will make money, the scope of the patents each side holds will be refined by the legal system, and the barriers to entry will be set.

Re:Simple (4, Insightful)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470314)

If I understand the PDF in the article properly, Apple only went after HTC. Motorola then jumped Apple for other reasons and Apple countered. If Apple was initiating all the lawsuits, I'd say this was true, but that does not seem to be the case.

Not *that* simple. Seemed to be pre-emptive. (3, Insightful)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470388)

If I understand the PDF in the article properly, Apple only went after HTC. Motorola then jumped Apple for other reasons and Apple countered. If Apple was initiating all the lawsuits, I'd say this was true, but that does not seem to be the case.

While you are right that Motorola drew first blood against Apple in terms of actually suing, Motorola's Delaware request for declaratory judgment makes the following claim: "Apple has professed rights [...] based on Motorola Mobility's activities related to Motorola Mobility's Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq, Cliq XT, BackFlip, Devour A555, i1 and Charm products" (you can find the details of that case listed on page 22 of my PDF)

I don't know what exactly Motorola means by "Apple has professed rights" and whether that description given by Motorola is true, but it could mean that Motorola launched a pre-emptive strike. The fact that Apple's suits against Motorola were filed only 23 days later (Motorola attacked on 06 October 2010, Apple filed suits against Motorola on 23 October 2010) -- not a whole lot of time to prepare suits of that kind -- also suggests that Apple would have sued at any rate.

But let me make this clear as well: I don't mean to be judgmental about someone who sues. It would be too simplistic a view to say that the one who sues is automatically doing evil. Lawsuits happen if parties can't reach an agreement on something, and one would have to know about the nature and content of all of the previous communication between the parties to know what resulted in the filing of a suit. In many cases one would probably conclude that it's an act of aggression, but in other cases one might have a different or more differentiated perspective if only one knew all of the facts.

Re:Not *that* simple. Seemed to be pre-emptive. (2)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470530)

I don't know which patents Apple counter-sued with, but some are probably the same as the HTC lawsuit. Apple probably would have gone after Motorola in the future, especially if they won the HTC suit. The fact that they've just now tacked on more patents suggests that Motorola may have blindsided them a little.

The most interesting result in all of these disputes is when HTC settled with Microsoft. I don't know the details of the settlement, but it was reported that HTC would pay Microsoft for every phone sold, even the Android phones. Maybe they wanted protection from Apple through licensing similar patents from Microsoft, or at least something to fall back on if Apple won and they couldn't sell Android phones anymore.

Re:Not *that* simple. Seemed to be pre-emptive. (1)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470572)

I don't know which patents Apple counter-sued with, but some are probably the same as the HTC lawsuit.

Actually, that PDF document of mine makes it easy to see overlaps between Apple's disputes with HTC and Motorola :-) What I don't show in that chart is Nokia (will be a separate PDF), but for the two Android device makers it's easy to see the overlaps in the diagram.

When Apple countersued Motorola initially (29 October -- page 9 of the PDF), the 6 patents selected were 5 new ones and 1 that was previously asserted against HTC. But by seeking declaratory judgment concerning 12 patents Apple previously used against HTC, Motorola had already started a dispute over 60% of the patents Apple asserted against HTC. The declaratory judgment move was basically Motorola suing itself over Apple patents in order to prove those patents invalid or non-infringed. It was obvious that Apple wasn't going to let that happen, so last week Apple asserted those patents against Motorola in another suit.

Re:Not *that* simple. Seemed to be pre-emptive. (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470664)

The declaratory judgment move was basically Motorola suing itself over Apple patents in order to prove those patents invalid or non-infringed.

The madness of this patent mess never ceases to amaze me.

Re:Not *that* simple. Seemed to be pre-emptive. (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470880)

I'm guessing Microsoft used the patent suit to coerce HTC into making a bigger push with WP7 than they would of otherwise. Microsoft could see the writing on the wall as most of HTC revenue was coming from Android phones which were selling like hotcakes. It was in MS' interest to keep HTC in check. I don't see it being in MS' best interest to antagonize a WP7 launch partner with excessive royalties on HTC core products.

The best defense is a good offense (0)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470408)

I wasn't going to post in this article with Florian's taint on it, but here goes anyway. In the end I expect this will get nasty for a while, and then the companies will come to an understanding about the coexistence of iOS and Android. They'll cross-license some patents and then once united turn and attack... who?

Go on, guess. Guessing is fun.

Re:The best defense is a good offense (3, Informative)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470422)

I wasn't going to reply to someone who describes my hard work on this as leaving "taint", but here goes anyway ;-)

You do raise an important point: cross-licensing. However, cross-license deals come in all shapes and forms. In a few cases the parties will be on an equal footing; in most cases one party will be considerably if not hugely stronger. In the latter case, a "settlement" will also be announced, but in economic and strategic terms, one party will end up losing.

For now I'm rather skeptical of the impact the patent portfolios of the Android camp can have on their competitors. I gave a quick overview of the five strongest areas of Motorola's patent portfolio in this recent blog post [blogspot.com] and I also pointed out that Google makes a weak showing against Oracle [blogspot.com] because Google still hasn't countersued. When I wrote that blog post, Google had already had three months since Oracle sued. Now there's been almost another month and Google still doesn't seem to have found any patents with which it could build a serious counterthreat against Oracle...

Re:The best defense is a good offense (0)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470578)

Florian, your sugar daddy's getting squashed between Apple, Google, HTC, Motorola, a host of others, and a stampeding horde of customers clamoring for the progress that's been held back too long. HP, Acer and Dell will be slow to come along, but their partnership is not a suicide pact. Your flopping about will not slow the outcome in the slightest.

Enjoy your incentives while they still come. Nothing lasts forever. They'll use you up and throw you out one day so you may as well get yours, right?

I'll leave you with a parting thought: "Analysts sell out -- That's their business model." - James Plamondon, Microsoft Evangelist [techrights.org].

Re:The best defense is a good offense (3, Informative)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470598)

symbolset, it's regrettable that after my facts-based reply you just go off-topic here with unclear and unspecified allegations. Instead of a pathetic attempt to smear, you should take a look at the patent portfolios in question. A lot of people believe Google is such a big company that it should own a lot of key patents, but it owns relatively few patents and most of them are related to search engine technologies. Also, even though you mentioned HTC, you won't seriously believe that Apple would lose sleep over HTC's patent portfolio...

Patents, scmatents (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470668)

They give us what we want, so we love them. It's not that hard. Your boss should try that.

Nothing too bad is going to happen in the Great IPocalypse. A bunch of lawyers will get some billable hours to go through the motions. There will be a flutter of competing press releases. Eventually the executives will settle the whole thing over a nice lunch. Some years later some new lawyer will forget to seal the docket in a completely different suit and we'll get to find out who did what to whom and who got paid.

But neither iOS nor Android is going away. This noise will not slow either one. We'll have our stunningly disruptive revolution.

Re:Patents, scmatents (1)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470676)

But neither iOS nor Android is going away.

Sure. Nobody I know ever claimed that one of the two would go away. However, those patent deals can have a significant impact on the competitive landscape. It's a matter of future market share, not a question of life or death.

Re:Patents, scmatents (-1, Flamebait)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470744)

Florian, could you be less useful if you tried? Look, you've got to put in ten more years at this before you can be more reviled or more wrong than Rob Enderle - though I can see you're giving it the old college try.

Re:Patents, scmatents (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471134)

symbolset - arguing on the Internet since 2006.

You do know what that makes you?

Damage done already (2)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471746)

Irrelevant. If companies can hold entire industries for "patently absurd ransoms", then it doesn't matter if it is for "self-defence" or not. The presedence has been set, not just hypothetically, but according to law. This will have a chilling effect on all innovation and economical competitiveness in the US.

Countries that disregard these types of laws will benefit and take over as the intellectual emmigration sets in. Just too bad for the "industrial countries", this is all the resources they've got left.

Politicians, "diplomats", lawyers and huge international megacorporations will take the profits and move to other countries, once this land has been plundered barren.

Re:Damage done already (2)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473110)

Until anyone wins, it has not been proven anyone can hold the entire industry under "patently absurd ransoms".

Also, unless one of these companies is going after everyone, there really is no actual attempt at holding the industry ransom.

Heck, if anyone is honestly starting to hold a full industry random now it's Rambus. They won a patent and are now going after anyone that used for nearly 10 years what became an industry standard. THAT is holding an industry random through patents.

Point being: at this point you can't tell if the one trying to hold an industry random is Apple for suing HTC, or Motorola by suing Apple. This makes my point far from irrelevant as it's simply a point on WHO is trying to do this.

Also, if you look back at the history of litigation, Apple was sort of forced to get into patenting the hell up after being sued left and right for iPod patent infringements.

Finally: IANAL, nor have I looked at the patents in question, and for the most part do not agree with software patents (software should only be protected by copyright, imo), but I do find hardware patents to be valid. If some one invents a true new technology, and patents it, he is in the right to sue anyone that attempts to profit on their invention without permissions.

The sad truth is these days companies get their hands in competing products, dissect them, find out how they work, and try to steal ideas. In the process very often they miss patent protection, in others they do research and only copy that stuff that the manufacturer did not manage to patent.

When it comes to large corporations as HTC, Motorola, Apple or Microsoft, no one is a poor helpless guy that deserves our pity, They all get themselves into these situations very consciously. These are not Patent Trolls, nor bullies stepping on the small guy. These are giants trying to steal from each-other and fighting back when caught.

Re:Damage done already (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473636)

I was more looking into the bigger picture of software patents. "Irrelevant" was more meant to turn the focus to the bigger picture, rather than commenting on your particular comment, which stands within the scope it was meant I think.

However, if this development continues, it looms over the industry as the innovative small companies may become squashed. As history shows, innovation do not come from big dinosaurs like Microsoft, IBM or Apple, although their merit is having the Big Guns to take unto large projects, and to buy up the small innovative fish.

My concern is not with one company holding the industry ransom, but rather, everybody sinking down into the patent-swamp and destroying the very foundations of creativity.

What is it with these companies, that they cannot stand having to compete on equal terms?

Re:Damage done already (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474960)

What is it with these companies, that they cannot stand having to compete on equal terms?

But what are "equal terms"? We don't live in a communist nation (at least I don't) if I come up with an invention, and I actually go so far as manufacturing, it's not really fair that my competitors can just copy it and market it.

Apple (and any other corporation) either spent a lot of money in research and development to come up with technologies like Multi-Touch capacitive screens (one of the patents being disputed), or they had to pay a lot of money to buy out the companies that did (and trust me, these bought out companies where glad they got bought.) Why should I not protect my created or purchased invention?

Actually, "Equal terms" would mean that they, too, must go through the same process and create all new tech, not that they should just automatically be entitled to compete with my product by duplicating mine.

The original intent of patents was precisely to incentivize inventions in this way, justifying research and development investment with an exclusivity use window. I heavily disagree with software patents, as I (as a programmer) can't see software as inventions but instead as copyrightable content, however I agree with hardware patents as they sort of do their job more than they get in the way. Without patents you would have huge companies just sitting around, monitoring the moves of the small guys, letting the small guys waste their money in R&D and then just steal the ideas and squash the small guy in the market.

Re:Damage done already (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475990)

In my understand "multi touch" is not patentable. However a specific implementation of it could be patentable. At least that is how the patent system is supposed to work, although attempts to pervert it is always attempted, ie. by Amazon's One Click Patent.

I agree with you copyright law should be enough for software. However, the distinction between hardware and software is completely arbitrary and doesn't resolve the issue legally.

Rationale: For whatever you can built in software, you can build the equivalent in hardware and vica versa. So what is "software" anyways. Is it RAM, or ROM, or wires? In reality, the limits are blurred, and the push from companies is to extend further and further into territory of algorithmic, mathematics and ideas, which were never supposed to be patentable.

How I see it, when patents start making broad claims and prevents me from doing my job or inventing new things, it is actually hurting society. Reading gibberish patent claims doesn't help me either, so I see no value in the system, at least for my field which is also IT. I don't want it, but I can understand perfectly well why huge megacorporations with armies of lawyers wants them.

As we're now witnessing, these thousands of patents that are granted each year, is not just for "defense". If you enter a contract, do you not judge wether to agree to it or not before agreeing? Why should we tolerate the destructive potential of the current arsenal of patents that now exists and threaten our society, which are so shamelessly approved by the patent office?

So we need to strike a balance, which works for the best for each industry. It's just that the distinction between hardware and software is impossible, revealing that the whole patent system is being undermined by reality, how things actually are. We should figure it out before it's too late. For the Western world anyways.

My stance is that for some industries, especially IT, the patents are not helpful, but harming progress. IT has such a low bar to innovation, even kids can launch something becoming big, and we have many examples of just that. There is thus simply no reason to restrict people in what they can create, and there is very little value to impose the patent system as overhead, since so much knowledge and development is already available in the field. IT is also full of independent research coming to similar results.

I just have no idea how to make the distinction hardware-wise versus software.

I also can't see how anyone can justify business method patents. Success in IT is also dependent on successful business practice, maybe more so than mere technical advances (which are often oblivious to users). Why do we want to shoot ourselves in the foot as society by monopolizing business methods?

Re:Damage done already (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34478006)

Firs off, Apple's multiple-touch patent is very specific to one implementation,

As for the other comments, I think the distinction of hardware and software is much more clear than you make it look. Compiled code? Software. Microchip? Hardware.

Sure, I can make software that technically gives the same results as some hardware, but results are not patentable.

Oh and "business practice" patents are ridiculously absurd, as are ridiculous "method off doing whatever" patents.

Patents should be restricted to physical inventions.

Re:Damage done already (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480122)

Single cases or single threats, law-enforcers and lawmakers can make go away easily.

Yes, it remains to be seen if competitors have simply copied Apple's implementation verbatim, or if they have reinvented the wheel. I wouldn't want to begin to speculate on such a specific case. As before, I'm more concerned about the overall picture, and the real threat a high number of patents pose to society.

I can very much understand why Apple is going down the patent-shaft though: If they've patented all their innovations, Microsoft would never have had the opportunity to become successful while they were small. Apple could've had a stranglehold on most of the booming IT-industry, and we would've probably been several years behind our current developments. The whole industry would've been much more fragmented and non-standard, which would line the pockets of already established corporations like Apple and IBM. Just imagine if IBM could've used patents against clone-makers in the early "PC" era..

Is it really that clear? The way many corporations have gotten away with already having been _granted_ "software patents" in EU is that the claims include texts such as: "an apparatus to operate in so and so manner", while it really is about some embedded program being part of a bigger unit, wether stored in a chip or on a harddrive. The invention itself is typically described as an "apparatus", which could be a microchip, an embedded device or a more generic computer (what's the difference?), interfacing with both hardware and software.

An apparatus is of course hardware and have been patentable since the start. All programs, software, are totally dependent on hardware, so you can never leave hardware out of the equation. Thousands of such patents tying hardware and software have already been granted in EU, but are as of yet, unenforcable since they really are software patents in disguise. There is a big corporate push, especially from USA corporations, to change the laws in EU to make these patents enforcable overnight though. So the minefield has already been prepared for EU. An entry point to this issue can be found here: http://eupat.ffii.org/ [ffii.org]

Software is simply an extension controlling hardware ("apparatus") in an algorithmic manner. Corporations are just pushing the limit of "apparatus" to include more and more generic implementations. Corporate goals however, conflicts in this case with the benefits of society and the mutual contracts we agree on.

As stated, when concerning an "invention", the borders between hardware and software becomes "fuzzy", however if I cannot convince you, then I must assume you are taking a more theoretical approach to understanding this issue. My understanding is concerning real-life decisions: Which patents should be granted and not granted by the Patent Offices, and what are the consequences of the current patents being granted every year, in both USA and Europe.

I'm by no means an expert, but this is the gist of my understanding of it, how "apparatus" have been abused to extend inventions to software. As a starting point, you could check out Bitlaw's history of software patents:

http://www.bitlaw.com/software-patent/history.html [bitlaw.com]

Software patents are as of now fully patentable in the USA and EU, and are also fully enforcable in USA contrary to the ambiguous status in EU.

Where to go from here? If only hardware is restricted by patents, corporations would try to put more control into hardware, which is both wasteful and backwards, contrary to the current trend of minimizing costs by putting more and more logic into software. Here, the patent system is holding back the progress and evolution of our society, and probably in many more ways than I've mentioned here.

Business patents are indeed ridiculous, I agree. But they are very real as well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_method_patent [wikipedia.org]
I don't know enough about them though and they don't concern my work, yet. Unfortunately saying "RIDICULOUS!" out loud, doesn't work as well in real-life, as it does in the Harry Potter-world.

Oh, if only life was so simple! But then we would'nt have much challenge, would we? :)

I've barely scratched the surface of the patent system, but all I can say is: Something so complex and arbitrary CAN'T be healthy for us!

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473154)

Only big bad companies use patents that way.

Re:Simple (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476976)

Speculation is that Motorola knew that Apple was preparing to sue over those patents, and opened the case in Delaware to force Apple to fight the battle in that venue, rather than a venue of Apple's choosing. I believe the case has since been moved to and lumped in with the Wisconsin battles, so Apple has turned a defensive first strike of Motorola's into a weapon against Motorola's major attack in WI.

Good god, it's all out patent war, right down to moving different weapons to different theaters of the battle. Who would have thought playing real time strategy games would come in handy as a patent lawyer.

Re:Simple (2)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470358)

Yeah, who are they to think that just because they invest literally billions of dollars in making the technologies work they should expect any kind of return?

Re:Simple (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470390)

Because without their innovation and leadership no one would have come up with the idea of synchronizing a calendar wirelessly. Ideas are worth shit next to implementation. Patents are how parasites steal from the innovators.

Re:Simple (2)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470370)

It's all about establishing a nasty, thick web of patents not covered by RAND to raise the barrier to entry impossibly high.

This is why I criticize Apple's walled garden, despite not owning one. They're very, very interested in making impossible for those of us who don't want to buy in to actually have a choice.

Wow. Apple is the reason there isn't a tidal wave of smart phones smashing on us, and a wall of tablets bearing down in the distance? Or Apple IS the reason? Good luck weaseling out of that one.

Re:Simple (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470438)

Weaseling out of what?

It's not Apple alone doing it, it's everyone in the industry who is participating in this patent clusterfuck. And you'll notice that these mass waves of smartphones are all from a handful of companies, the only ones not being used are big enough to actually be a threat. But you probably won't see any new arrivals in the marketplace, for fear of being sued into the ground.

Summary: (3, Insightful)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470168)

Apple wants to own the next computer/consumer space. Google wants to own it, too. Rather than letting consumers make the decision, Apple will try to get the courts to decide for them. Easier to sway a single judge - or, at most, 12 jurors - than the entire consuming public.

Apple is a Jew, and Android is a Nigger (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470416)

Apple is white and rich. It sits upon its perch growing increasingly fat and lazy. Apple has an army of slaves to feed its empire, and doesn't feel the need to give its consumers anything more original than a locked down anal dildo.

Android is a nigger. He sees Apple resting in it's McMansion with the infiniti pool and harem ofe boys. Android is jealouse. Unlike Apple, Android doesn't yet have an army of slaves. It's up to Android to steal Apple's intellectual property.

As we speak, Android is sitting by Apple's door with a crowbar and a short temper.

It's nice to be rich and white, but never bet against an angry nigger.

Re:Summary: (3, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470574)

That would totally explain why Motorola sued Apple first. No, wait, it wouldn't at all. Nokia also took the first swing in that scuffle as well. The only large recent suit where Apple instigated matters was against HTC. I don't think things are quite the way you paint them to be. This is all likely to end in one big cross-licensing deal where the established players carve out there own share of the market pie and keep anyone else from joining the party.

Re:Summary: (4, Insightful)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470866)

Motorola knew apple were suing already, how do you think apple counter-sued so quickly, and then amended it with more complaints later in reaction to the suit motorola put forth.

Nokia tried for years to work with apple in regards to patents (the iphone uses many many of nokias patents mainly to do with 3g and other wireless business), apple went fuck you to nokia thus the patent battle.

Apple is the one playing hardball here, they are doing what any profit driven company does, tries to force the competition out, by any means possible.

Re:Summary: (3, Informative)

tyrione (134248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471020)

Motorola knew apple were suing already, how do you think apple counter-sued so quickly, and then amended it with more complaints later in reaction to the suit motorola put forth.

Nokia tried for years to work with apple in regards to patents (the iphone uses many many of nokias patents mainly to do with 3g and other wireless business), apple went fuck you to nokia thus the patent battle.

Apple is the one playing hardball here, they are doing what any profit driven company does, tries to force the competition out, by any means possible.

What alternative reality do you live in? NOKIA didn't believe the usual licensing fees were going to be enough from Apple and demanded a percentage of each device profits. Apple told them to take a long walk off a short pier and NOKIA about two years later realized they were screwed and went on the offensive. Apple counter sued. You can't counter sue if you in fact were the originator of the suing.

Re:Summary: (4, Informative)

stiggle (649614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471254)

Apple refused to share with Nokia and the other members of the GSM Alliance, so Nokia told them what the terms were to license those patents if you don't want to share. Apple protested these terms as being unfair and anti-competitive as Apple wanted the same terms as those who were willing to share without offering anything in return.

Apple wants to use everyones technology without having to pay for it while refusing to share their own technology with those they are taking from.

Re:Summary: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34472750)

Apple wants to use everyones technology without having to pay for it while refusing to share their own technology with those they are taking from.

... but Steve Jobs is such a nice guy! :)

Re:Summary: (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474068)

Sorry, black turtlenecks and the Dieter look [wikipedia.org] are reserved for those living North of Cologne, East of Oslo, and West of Tallinn. Anyone else is just a wannabe and deserves the wrath of the stoic Scandinavians.

As has been discussed many many times (1, Insightful)

Brannon (221550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476486)

The patents in question were related to implementing a global standard for wireless communication (GSM) which Nokia has an obligation to offer on RAND terms to all comers. Nokia insisted that, in order for Apple to implement this global standard, that Nokia get full access to Apple's patents on things that had nothing to do with standards for anything--like the entire UI for the iPhone. Does that sound fair to you? If you want to build a phone then we are literally allowed to make identical clones to the iPhone and sell it with a Nokia brand.

Re:As has been discussed many many times (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 3 years ago | (#34478810)

The patents in question were related to implementing a global standard for wireless communication (GSM) which Nokia has an obligation to offer on RAND terms to all comers.

Not true. There are two different patent cases going on between Apple and Nokia. Only one relates to essential wireless patents (Delaware case). The other case (Wisconsin) is for patents that cover many modern technologies that Nokia is not obligated to offer to all comers, e.g. camera phone technology, internal antennas etc.. Camera phones and internal antenna cell phones hadn't been invented when the GSM wireless specs were standardised. Neither had multi-touch phone interfaces. If Apple insists that Nokia can't use multi-touch, then Nokia is going to insist that Apple can't put a camera or internal antenna in the phone. All are obvious technologies, and Star Trek predates them, but that's the stupidity of patents for you.

If you want to build a phone then we are literally allowed to make identical clones to the iPhone and sell it with a Nokia brand.

A literal, identical clone? You think that Nokia wants to create pirate iPhones like some kind of cheap HK knockoff? Or do they just want to use obvious advances like multi-touch in their own phones? Apple's position is that the user interface - which we've had several decades of various designs, layouts, haptics etc. - is unique and ought to be protected, and yet every other patented technology in the phone ought to be licensed on RAND terms. Apple knows that it's share of the smartphone market will be eroded by cheaper Android products as surely as the PC won over the world. It's just another instance of Apple using the courts to try and stop competing products. [wikipedia.org] Instead of "look and feel" and copyright law, now they're trying "look and feel" and patent law. Motorola has over 9,000 patents. Nokia has over 10,000. How many do you think cover non-RAND licensed technology? Thousands. Even if Apple manage to win some, they are going to lose eventually. It's worth pointing out that many of Apple's patents in these cases are pretty generic: [blogspot.com]

  • 5,379,431 [google.com] "invent a boot loader"
  • 5,379,430 [google.com] "invent a CORBA-like directory service"
  • 5,455,599 [google.com] "invent a computer with a video card"
  • 6,424,354 [google.com] "invent event handlers"
  • 5,920,726 [google.com] "invent suspend and resume for power events"

All of this is obvious stuff and I wouldn't be surprised if there's prior art.

Re:Summary: (3, Insightful)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470888)

Motorola was pre-emptively countering as the Apple v. HTC suit is actually Apple v. Android.

Re:Summary: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34474568)

Then where's the Apple v. Google suit?

Re:Summary: (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474004)

Pre-emptive lawsuits in US patent disputes are common. If you think someone is going to sue you over some patent they supposedly have, and you hold a patent on the same concept, then you sue first - it forces the other party to wait on that area until your patent case is decided (they cannot counter-sue over the same idea). It's called a smart legal move, akin to the general who moves his troops to the area where there is increasing enemy activity. Pre-emptive suits are used all the time, and are a common strategy. Fanboism notwithstanding.

Seriously. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470182)

My Android phone? I hid that uncomfortable piece of metal up my ass for two years.

Re:Seriously. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470356)

Only goes to show that Apple fanbois are flamboyantly gay

TORA !! TORA !! TORA !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470198)

No, wait,

TOGA !! TOGA !! TOGA !!

Who's with me ?? Otis, my man, Otis !!

Guess what I am ??

I'm a zit !! Get it !!

Not mentioned Patent losses (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470244)

Apple lost just about their entire claim against Nokia, when half the patents they were seeking to enforce were declared invalid by the FTC, and the rest dismissed as not being infringed.

It would be interesting to see Apple now try to enforce those patents declared invalid against Motorola et al.

This all started when Apple refused to pay consortium of GSM patent holders fees that all other GSM manufacturers subscribe to, some how feeling the were above the law.

Re:Not mentioned Patent losses (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470308)

It started when Nokia thought "reasonable and non discriminatory" meant "sign over your entire patent portfolio"

Re:Not mentioned Patent losses (-1, Offtopic)

ullinxopay (1953866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470568)

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Wrong (0, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470332)

Apple wanted to pay the fees. It's just that Nokia would not accept the without ALSO being given a variety of patents that Apple owned as well. Which was not at all Non-Discriminatory, as Nokia has done no such thing with any other phone provider.

Nice try at revisionism, Apple Hater.

Re:Wrong (4, Interesting)

_merlin (160982) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470364)

The RAND thing only applies to GSM forum members. Apple has refused to join the GSM forum. Nokia can add any conditions they like.

Re:Wrong (0)

SilenceBE (1439827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470478)

oh dont be such a hypocrite. Microsoft can also add any conditions they like, lets see how the outcry then would be

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Only *definitive* patent losses *are* mentioned (4, Informative)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470352)

There was some confusion out there about the ITC staff (Office of Unfair Import Investigations, OOUI) report, and this quote from your post reflects them:

Apple lost just about their entire claim against Nokia, when half the patents they were seeking to enforce were declared invalid by the FTC, and the rest dismissed as not being infringed.

No.

1. As I explained in this recent blog post [blogspot.com], Apple's ITC assertions against Nokia were split into two parts. The staff report that the press reported on in early December related to only 4 of the 10 patents Apple originally asserted against Nokia.

2. That staff opinion is just an opinion, not a definitive dismissal. My Apple vs. Android chart does mention that some patents were dropped from the ITC cases between Apple and HTC: on pages 8 ("Move #7 - Apple drops 4 patents from ITC complaint against HTC") and 10 ("Move #9 -- HTC drops 1 patent from ITC complaint against Apple"). But the instances I mention in my chart were definitive partial terminations of those cases. The ITC staff opinion published a month ago on one Apple v. Nokia case is not definitive. It's an opinion and the ITC's Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) can agree or disagree with it. There have been many cases already in which the ALJ judge took decisions that were very different from the staff reports. I've seen a long list of cases in which the staff then actually appealed the ALJ's decision, which is clear evidence that decisions deviate from those staff reports quite often. The staff report is an opinion, and I don't mean to downplay the importance of the staff and its reports, but that is just not a dismissal of claims (let alone the invalidation of patents).

3. Even if some patents lost before the ITC, they might (as my blog post mentioned under item 1 explains) still be enforced in a US federal district court. My chart makes that distinction in connection with the patents dropped from ITC cases. HTC's '183 patent is grayed-out from Move #9 on because it was only asserted in the ITC so far and they withdrew it. By contrast, Apple's '867, '131, '852 and RE'486 patents were only dropped from an ITC complaint but Apple does enforce them against Motorola now in a federal district court, so the patents are still alive.

4. The chart this article refers to is purely about Apple vs. Motorola and Apple v. HTC. I'm going to do the same visualization for the Apple-Nokia conflict as well but it will be a separate document because otherwise things would become too complex to fit in a single chart. In fact, I already have that one in place for the most part, so it will become available pretty soon. (Also for Microsoft vs. Motorola and Oracle vs. Google, by the way.)

Re:Not mentioned Patent losses (1)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470392)

Apple lost just about their entire claim against Nokia, when half the patents they were seeking to enforce were declared invalid by the FTC, and the rest dismissed as not being infringed.

Cite? The only google result I can find for that is your post.

There were some misleading media reports (1)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470450)

icebike just stated what some of the media reports appeared to suggest a month ago. Right here as part of this Slashdot thread I've posted this explanation [slashdot.org].

Re:Not mentioned Patent losses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470412)

Apple lost just about their entire claim against Nokia, when half the patents they were seeking to enforce were declared invalid by the FTC, and the rest dismissed as not being infringed.

It would be interesting to see Apple now try to enforce those patents declared invalid against Motorola et al.

This all started when Apple refused to pay consortium of GSM patent holders fees that all other GSM manufacturers subscribe to, some how feeling the were above the law.

s/law/market/g

Patent wars always go two ways. Pretty silly to say one party's patents are more valid only because other people licensed them. This will probably end in a cross licensing deal. Apparently both sides think they can get a better deal through the legal system than private negotiations.

Re:Not mentioned Patent losses (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470608)

Apparently both sides think they can get a better deal through the legal system than private negotiations.

Alternatively, it may be possible that Nokia/GMS consortium has the stronger hand but Apple thinks that it's a worthwhile trade-off to tie things up in court for a few years so that they can keep their lucrative monopoly a little longer - i.e. scare Nokia enough to not put out a smartphone that will compete with the iPhone. Also put out legal FUD to throw uncertainty on other competing devices. They may be getting more blowback than they anticipated though.

Re:Not mentioned Patent losses (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470626)

P.S. don't forget, for instance, that most of Apple's patents will be software patents (and therefore limited to the US), whereas most of the Nokia/GSM/Motorola patents will be hardware patents, and therefore valid in many places outside of NA.

Re:Not mentioned Patent losses (3, Informative)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470698)

P.S. don't forget, for instance, that most of Apple's patents will be software patents (and therefore limited to the US)

That's a misconception. Just look at these examples (including some of the patents Apple asserts against Android) [blogspot.com]. Also, consider that Apple sued Nokia in the UK as well (a couple of months ago) over 9 European software patents.

whereas most of the Nokia/GSM/Motorola patents will be hardware patents,

When I publish my PDF diagrams and analysis of the Apple-Nokia dispute, you'll see that the share of software patents among Nokia's patents is far greater than you believe at this stage.

Re:Not mentioned Patent losses (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471422)

Also, consider that Apple sued Nokia in the UK as well (a couple of months ago) over 9 European software patents.

Which is an interesting tactic. Technically, software patents like those are valid EU patents in the sense that they're issued by the EPO - except that it's incredibly legally questionable as to whether they have any legal right to do so!

Re:Not mentioned Patent losses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471444)

Right now I want to get a new phone but can't decide. I want an android phone with a decent camera (no iPhone has a decent camera) to replace my Sony Ericsson. Closest thing is a Nokia N8 (12Mpixel Carl Zeiss lens) but that is not android. I guess I will have to wait for the lawyers to finish...

Re:Not mentioned Patent losses (3, Informative)

tyrione (134248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471056)

Apple lost just about their entire claim against Nokia, when half the patents they were seeking to enforce were declared invalid by the FTC, and the rest dismissed as not being infringed.

It would be interesting to see Apple now try to enforce those patents declared invalid against Motorola et al.

This all started when Apple refused to pay consortium of GSM patent holders fees that all other GSM manufacturers subscribe to, some how feeling the were above the law.

You're delusional. Firstly, it's not the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) involved in the Nokia suing Apple and Apple counter suing case. It's the United States International Trade Commission [USITC).

Source: USITC (pdf)

http://www.usitc.gov/secretary/fed_reg_notices/337/337_701_notice04222010sgl.pdf [usitc.gov]

READ THE DOCUMENT. The update gives the status moved between May 31, 2011 -- August 1, 2011.

Research seems to be a difficult commodity to come by these days.

The System Is Working (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470272)

I'm sure that each of Apple, HTC, Nokia and Motorola each independently invented the same things, that they wouldn't have invested effort in inventing if they couldn't protect forever with an exclusive monopoly, so now tech progress is protected by these patents instead of being completely logjammed. I'm sure the money spent on lawyers instead of development is promoting tech progress, not scaring away other innovators.

And if you believe that, I'm sure that you're either a lawyer or, worse yet, a congressmember.

Re:The System Is Working (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470328)

And if you believe that, I'm sure that you're either a lawyer or, worse yet, a congressmember.

... or even worse still, a patent examiner.

Re:The System Is Working (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470376)

I'm sure the money spent on lawyers instead of development is promoting tech progress, not scaring away other innovators.

Much like what happened with Wall Street, legal issues like protection of intellectual properties and patents is where big money innovation is happening. Consumer electronics is a game of razor-thin margins where everything is built in Asia. Apple is like the economic geniuses that came up with derivatives trading, etc., so as to make a high margin game out of something that would otherwise be low margin. This is why Apple sells things it designs AS high margin, in a boutique space, out of the same commodity parts that everyone else uses. They Martha Stewart shit into shinola with a pretty (and pretty restrictive) UI, force you to buy from the company store, and call it freedom. Profit!

Steve Jobs is basically a Ferengi in disguise.

I'm pretty sure Ballmer is one of those goblins from Harry Potter. :)

Re:The System Is Working (2, Insightful)

FlorianMueller (801981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470480)

Your sarcasm is outstanding, but since only a limited number of people have spent more time talking to politicians (not to members of US Congress, however) about software patents, here's something to consider.

The patent system -- for better or worse -- exists the way it does. Any proposal to depart from it would be a fundamental paradigm shift in the realm of intellectual property rights, and the burden of proof is on those demanding such radical change.

If the opponents of software patentability had a strong case that software patents really do a lot of harm and cause a lot of economic suffering (companies going out of business, having to lay off large numbers of people etc.), politicians would certainly act. But since the IT industry -- I mean companies of all sizes -- with only a few exceptions doesn't take action against those patents, it's impossible for a non-programmer politician to conclude that there's a need for abolition.

You can't win a political debate over a matter of economic policy unless you have business arguments. In this case, for abolition to succeed there has to be irrefutable evidence of harm. If there were harm (other than people shaking their heads at the things that often get patented), company CEOs (from companies of all sizes) would take political action. Since that isn't the case, it looks to the average politician like there are just some people who have ideological/philosophical objections to software patents, and no one cares whether those objections are right or wrong. All that matters is what the economy wants and needs.

Re:The System Is Working (2)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470512)

I'm sure that each of Apple, HTC, Nokia and Motorola each independently invented the same things, that they wouldn't have invested effort in inventing if they couldn't protect forever with an exclusive monopoly, so now tech progress is protected by these patents instead of being completely logjammed. I'm sure the money spent on lawyers instead of development is promoting tech progress, not scaring away other innovators.

I know the system seems biased, but these companies probably can and do afford more research dollars than most others in the industry, so it's not unreasonable for them to have the larger patent portfolios. What you really have to look at is if these companies had absolutely no incentive to let any innovation in the open for fear of it being jacked. That is a whole lot of research effort being locked up. Money spent defending/attacking patents would be spent reverse engineering, and duplicating research. Probably somewhere in the middle is ideal. These behemoths will always be squabbling over something though, high value patents, or each other's secret sauce.

Not like you can't do original, independent research and sell it to whichever one hates the others most. You'd be competing with really big research budgets though, what would you expect? It's how the game is played.

Re:The System Is Working (2)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471450)

Your point might have some merit if it were common for engineers to study other peoples' patents to see how to implement various features.

However, that never happens, as a rule. Engineers who are faced with similar problems tend to arrive at the same more-or-less obvious solutions. When it becomes apparent that a given solution infringes upon a patent filed by another party who happened to have the same problem first, it invariably comes as a surprise to the "infringing" party.

In fact, engineers tend to be strongly discouraged by their management from doing patent searches at any time, for any reason. Far too many obvious things would lead to triple damages for willful infringement, otherwise.

Patents are not about rewarding innovation -- that's the market's job. They're about raising barriers to entry. It has always been so.

Motorola should countersue for Apple for MotoROKR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470344)

Remember Motorola had teamed up with Apple to make the MotoROKR phone with iTunes.
What a mess of a phone. Apple put limitation on that phone. It could only play 100 songs and no more even after you add extra memory, you could not store more songs than 100 songs in the phone.
Apple probably had more to benefit from its partnership with Motorola to create the iPhone.
http://direct.motorola.com/hellomoto/rokr/

See the slashdot hypocrisy in action (3, Interesting)

SilenceBE (1439827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470470)

- Motorola started the patent case agains apple, motorola is the patent troll in this case - Nokia requests patent and licenses which it doesnt require from other companies so discriminating Apple
And 90 procent of the posts will go about how apple is in fault here.... Yeah but they have patents so they are (more) evil then others. If they wouldnt have a patent portfolio they would be sitting ducks...

Re:See the fanboy hypocrisy in action (2)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471164)

Try reading the actual article [blogspot.com] rather than making up whatever you feel like.

Apple sued HTC first. HTC responded, Motorola responded. Apple shot first, they were the belligerent party and now we are all paying for a futile patent war.

One of the reasons I chose Android in the first place so I didn't have to overpay for a phone.

Re:See the slashdot hypocrisy in action (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476084)

To me this is simply aobut displacement of the established phone OEM. This, combined with the prevailing mobile phone model in the US, meant that the US market was stagnant. For instance, most of the cool stuff that Nokia was doing was unavailable and Motorola not doing that many cool things. The Mobile operators were not going to let cool things happen unless it was outlandishly profitable.

The reaction to this displacement was, of course, an attempt to stop the firms causing the displacement. Therefore Apple is sued. Google, who is work more within the status quo, is less venerable.

So there are legitimate benefits on all sides. Apple is closed, but requires the networks to open up. Android is open, but allows the networks to remain closed. Apple has a closed App store which provides security to the networks, while Android has an open App store, but networks can close their phones.

The only bad outcome is the prevailing model that exists a few years ago is allowed to return. That is ringtones that cost a $1, clips that can only be stream through mobile providers at an inflated charge set by the the network, and content that is comletely unavailable if the network operators are not going to make a mint.

Apple has clearly played thier hand (1)

bunhed (208100) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470490)

Just stop coding iAnything for them and their stupid world. Just stop and they will play nice again. It sure didn't take them long to turn into Microsoft.

Re:Apple has clearly played thier hand (1)

SilenceBE (1439827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470510)

Yeah motorola filles patent claims agains apple and so it is apple fault! How did you wrap your head against that one ?

Re:Apple has clearly played thier hand (2)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471170)

Yeah motorola filles patent claims agains apple

But they didn't file first. [blogspot.com]

Apple sued HTC first, Motorola sued Apple some time later as a proactive defence. Apple was the belligerent party whether you like it or not.

Re:Apple has clearly played thier hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34478924)

Everyone knows that Hans Solo filed first....

Worls War II Parallels..... (0)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471126)

Does anybody else see the parallels between Apple's litigation and World War II? You have Apple (Axis Powers) filing lawsuits (declaring war) against Motorola, Nokia, and HTC (Allied Powers). Honestly, with the business practices Apple has, such as no outside apps (propaganda) without Apple authorization, no tethering (isolation from other countries), carrier lock-ins (you have the limited choices only Apple says you can have), and proprietary software (you live in Apple Land, and cannot leave), they bear a strong resemblance to Nazi Germany. If Der Fuhrer Steve Jobs remembers his history, then he should know he is about to have his ass handed to him and will surrender before it's too late.

Re:Worls War II Parallels..... (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471274)

Well, if you take away your childish attempt to portray Steve Jobs as Hitler, you'd find that a better comparison is World War I, where a complex spagetti mess of treaties lead all of Europe into war triggered by assassination of a single person.

Re:Worls War II Parallels..... (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473502)

Nice! But where do grammar nazi's fit in?

Maybe a car analogy will be better?

Hardware v. Software (3, Informative)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471644)

Apple decided to move into mobile phones and required hardware to do so. Lacking any actual know how on making phones, like many companies they borrowed the hardware from other companies - Motorola. Motorola is used to licensing out their hardware patents. Motorola makes money on just about every phone sale through their hardware licensing. So Apple asked Motorola to license their technology, but not like everyone else. Apple asked Motorola to trade software patents for hardware patents. Motorola told them to piss into the wind. The only way they were getting Motorola patens, Motorola said, was to trade for other hardware patents or pay a licensing fee like everyone else. Apple took choice C - to use the hardware patents even without license so they could make their iPhone - which would not exist without the Motorola technology.

The issue here boils down to this question: Are software patents in general worth the same as hardware patents. And of course the answer to anyone who knows anything about the subject is a resounding no. Hardware patents take billions of dollars to develop and millions of man hours in testing physical objects in a physical world. A software patent is an often unimplemented idea most often without a single line of code - vapor. Software patents often sound like this: "A system where a user can use a icon based interface to lookup information about his/her pet in real time with an image and a video of the pet in the same interface as the typing interface where the pet can see the user type". No - really - they are that dumb and ambiguous.

So Motorola makes an antenna design that will work within solid concrete tunnels without requiring frequency modulation or signal attenuation at the cost of billions of dollars and millions of man hours, testing – certification – more testing, IC engineering, fabrication and design, so much time and effort that to even list what needs to be done would be exhausting - and Apple thinks a fair trade would be the patent that consists of the words: "A system where the user can click and drag through a list of music and select which songs to buy with a button that allows a user to listen to a preview of the song." - Seriously?

Software patents should never exist. Apple should lose their ass for stealing Motorola technology even after Motorola said they could not use it. If you don’t like the terms of the deal –that means no deal! Not I just use their hardware patents anyway. Who the fuck acts like that? Is Apple a 5 year old? Then after stealing Motorola’s hardware they have the audacity to claim patent infringement? Justice would be well served if Motorola got a big chunk of every iPhone or other Apple device using their hardware without permission. A punitive amount too, not a happy negotiated amount. If the normal is %1 they should pay %10. If it’s %10 they should pay %50. Theft should not at the end of the day, be profitable for stealing technology!

You cannot take without paying for it.
You cannot trade software patents for hardware patents.
You cannot make up your own rules if you don't want to play nice with your hardware vendor


yes, the patent descriptions in my examples are fabricated, but they are still indicative of hardware patent vs. software patent. Don’t complain unless you also include the actual patents in question I’m just trying to illustrate the difference between software and hardware patents.

Re:Hardware v. Software (1)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472874)

"yes, the patent descriptions in my examples are fabricated, but they are still indicative of hardware patent vs. software patent. Don’t complain unless you also include the actual patents in question I’m just trying to illustrate the difference between software and hardware patents."

I'd say a lot more than just your examples are fabricated. Billions of dollars and millions of man-hours? Hehe.

And yes, of course, it's only fair that you can fabricate your argument but everyone else had better provide actual facts. ;)

1000000/40/52=481 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34477200)

Billions of dollars and millions of man-hours? Hehe.

Here's a little math.

1,000,000 hours / 40 hours per week / 52 weeks per year means to get 1,000,000 man hours you would need: <gasp>
(1000000/40/52=481).

480 employees!! OMFG!! How could they employ that massive number of people!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola [wikipedia.org]

Employees: 60,000
Total Assets: 25.603 billion

(60,000*40*52=1,248,000,000) Total man hours per year: 124,800,000.

Re:Hardware v. Software (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34476020)

Shut up! I was about to get a brand new hybrid traded for this line of code I made. Now you blew my deal! Now I will have to add a GUI to the code to make it look like at least it's pretty!

In all seriousness, where do you draw the line between software and hardware? Some instructions can be embedded into hardware (such as done in FPGA or video/audio coders/decoders, image/signal processing mechanisms). Algorithms are normally one main subject of research that can be simply expressed as software and can be also very time consuming. The issue here is how and where the line between hardware and software is drawn. Because error correction techniques can be quite expensive to implement in power efficient hardware while sixteen 50x50 pixel icon layout on a screen doesn't seem to require that much creativity and effort.

Get off your horse (1)

garote (682822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34478862)

Hardware patent example: A standard plastic zipper on a coat, except it's bigger than usual, so you can zip it while wearing gloves.

Software patent example: An algorithm for accurately locating and identifying the faces of individuals in photographs, in mixed-light conditions, with compensation for noise and motion-blur.

The descriptions in my examples are NOT fabricated.
The basis for your argument is garbage.

Re:Get off your horse (1)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 3 years ago | (#34479912)

You've made a great case for copyright, not patent. With copyright, you cannot copy the algorithm outright, and others can implement your 'idea' in another way, maybe with a different language and different hardware, and it lasts a lot longer than a patent. To claim patent on software is crazy because there are so many different ways to do that. In your example of hardware patent it sounds to me like the only way to zip a zipper with gloves on is with a larger zipper that could fit in a gloved hand - there is no other way unless you use a leash attached to the zipper - which isn't just a zipper anymore. If I made a zipper like the one described it's very easy to see it's an exact replica of your idea.

The software on the other hand is totally different. There is most likely a software framework for dealing with binary images, it has methods that can detect the difference in channels and draw outlines around it. A good example of a framework like this is AForge. [google.com]. It does not have a 'facial recognition' method, but is clearly built to allow people to easily implement such a system. To say "I have implemented a system using a bunch of tools someone else made in this combination so now that combination is mine and you can't replicate it." is like saying "I wrote a book using this literary technique so nobody can use this technique unless they pay me for it." The frameworks are made to do facial recognition. Implementing the framework should call for a copyright at most so people cannot copy your code line for line.

If you implement your 'facial recognition' on a chip without software frameworks then you've qualified for a hardware patent. But the idea that a computer can recognize a face has been around for as long as the word computer. Same for every other software idea, not an original idea in the bunch! After Star Trek and Minority Report – not to mention all the less popular sci-fi literature, you’re not going to find any software ideas that someone hasn’t already thought of. If you can do it than you get a copyright to your version of doing it - not the right to exclusively use the idea.

Relative to one another :
Making software: Trivial at higher levels – very cheap.
Making hardware: Very challenging – very expensive.

P.S.: I asked that if you critique my fabricated examples to provide the actual ones in question not two random ones you felt proved your point. And is this a defense of Apple? That is not clear.

Re:Hardware v. Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34479434)

Spoken like a true hardware nerd...

Already in the law. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480102)

A punitive amount too, not a happy negotiated amount. If the normal is %1 they should pay %10. If it's %10 they should pay %50. Theft should not at the end of the day, be profitable for stealing technology!

If I recall correctly the patent system already has a punitive damage multiplier of 3x for willful patent infringement. By that standard 1% becomes 3%, 10% becomes 30%.

Good enough for ya? B-)

Milllions of Devices...Billions of lost revenue (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471768)

I think the govenrnment should step in against these IP infringers, fine them each $500 Billion (that's not much more than 1k/device/patent, which seems low based on other recent IP judgements for copyright infringement), and call it good.

None of this annoying individual corps sue another corp - let the government be the police and the fine recipient. That way we can piss of everyone and make up for the unfunded tax cut extension. (For those thinking this is for international companies, I think each government can levy fines for the IP registered in their own countries - they all need a little help these days).

Buying a barrier to entry (2)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471988)

My own fear about all these court cases is that when the dust settles we'll have half a dozen companies who've paid dearly for nothing (other than the right to distribute their software) and this companies won't take too kindly to new developers.

We'll be left with a cartel. If you want to write software for phones, you better pay the expensive cross-licences or get into the protection of someone who has.

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Cost_barrier_to_market_entry [swpat.org]
http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Phone_patent_litigation [swpat.org]

Because bullying is easier than competing on merit (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474192)

12.04.10
Apple is Bullying Competitors — Including Linux — Using Software Patents
> Apple is suing to embargo Linux-based phones/phone makers, using software patents to generally remove competition or remove features from competitors’ products.

http://techrights.org/2010/12/04/apple-swpats-vs-android/

Apple has a long history of this. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480480)

Apple is Bullying Competitors -- Including Linux -- Using Software Patents
> Apple is suing to embargo Linux-based phones/phone makers, using software patents to generally remove competition or remove features from competitors' products.

Apple has a long history of using legal "Intellectual Property" attacks against competitors.

Two shining examples were the "Look and Feel" suits they filed against Digital Research's GEM in 1985 and Microsoft's early Windows product in 1988.

If I understand it correctly: These attempted to stretch copyright and trademark law to treat the overall appearance of a windowing interface as a "performance" (like a play) and the individual elements and/or their grouping and interaction as a trademark. Allowing this would have given Apple a monopoly on windowing systems lasting as long as copyrights and trademarks (virtually forever and as long as they were used for business, respectively).

Digital Research knuckled under, crippled their product, and fell by the wayside. Microsoft fought an won on virtually all points (except for the desktop "wastebasket" and disk-drive icons/functionality.)

For this one: Rah Microsoft! B-)

on the one hand, on the other (0)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474782)

On the one hand, I really hope that Apple gets what they deserve: for three decades, they have been copying, cloning, and stealing other people's ideas and not giving anything significant back. The should finally be held accountable, publicly and openly.

On the other hand, I think the best for the market would be if all these patents ended up being unenforceable on all sides. Then the market will take care of the problem by itself: Apple will settle at its usual 3-5% market share and the rest of us can go back to ignoring them, except for occasionally making fun of their bad software engineering and pompous commercials.

Re:on the one hand, on the other (1)

thanasakis (225405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34480152)

they have been copying, cloning, and stealing other people's ideas

Pray tell us, whom they where copying from? Microsoft perhaps?

Re:on the one hand, on the other (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34481708)

Xerox, IBM, Bell Labs, Palm, Nokia, Psion, Danger, Handspring, Diamond, Creative, Adobe, lots of academic research labs, lots of startups.

Pray tell us, what original ideas has Apple ever actually had? What original contributions have they made to computer science or even the market?

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