11
Feb
apple-rotten1

Apple is at it again, bringing a motion for preliminary injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Nexus in the United States Thursday. The motion is based on a handful of powerful patents, which FOSS Patents has labeled "the patent equivalent of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." Here's FOSS' breakdown:

 

  1. the "data tapping" patent based on which the ITC ordered an import ban against HTC

  2. a patent related to Siri and unified search, which must be of huge concern to Google with a view to its core business

  3. a new slide-to-unlock patent that even had the head of the Taiwanese government profoundly worried

  4. a word completion patent that provides major speed improvements for touchscreen text entry

Three of the above patents were apparently granted only recently (after September 2011), while the "data tapping" patent may sound familiar to those who followed Apple's case to the ITC against HTC. Considering the patent was indeed decided to have been violated by the ITC, FOSS reports that it "should be a slam dunk."

FOSS also notes that, since the main proceeding has not been entered into public record just yet, it is possible that these four patents are only part of the larger case. For more information on the motion (and the specific patents in question), just click through the source link below.

Via FOSS Patents

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • jdm4u

    Wow. Apple is getting out of hand. Why can't they let they're war against android die along with Steve Jobs? This is ridiculous.

    • The engineer

      Against a open source project? Sounds like "Against the church" to me. Ridiculous. :D

  • skitchbeatz

    Over the past 12 months I've gone from disliking Apple's mobile OS approach to disliking the company altogether because of BS like this.

  • http://RootzWiki.com b16

    This is absolute bullshit. So glad I have a hackintosh and know they didn't get any freakin money.

  • Spartan062

    It's shit like this that's the reason I hate Apple.

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

    Serious question...
    (but first) In theory (purely theoretical), the population of this country is what actually makes up the Country (yes, that's a capital 'C'). Since the Country creates and formulates it's laws for orderly function, we can naturally associate that the people making up the whole have the ownership and rights to said laws. Taking it one step further, it means 'We' can decide what the laws are and how they are enforced.

    Now, the question...How come nobody is organizing a socially scary lynch mob against Apple? Why does nobody seem to suggest calling elected officials to demand that they lean on Apple (or the courts) to put an end to this crap? Seriously, it's one thing when it's companies fighting to make a couple of duckets off of each other (the way Microsoft does it), but it's something else when companies are taking gross advantage of laws in an effort to prevent technology from even coming to market.

    • David Ruddock

      Because Apple is using perfectly legitimate legal avenues to do all this. High-tech IP is a vicious arena, and courts (particularly in CA) have been far more supportive of it than you might think.

      I'm sure public policy groups have considered writing amicus briefs on this very subject, but the fact is that the letter of the law makes public policy arguments against the actual filing of the suits pretty pointless. As far as the injunctions, there is a public policy analysis the courts undertake, and US courts very rarely issue preliminary injunctions in infringement cases unless it's extremely obvious that the accused party is blatantly or willfully infringing the patent in question. I'd say there's a 95% chance Apple won't get that preliminary injunction - courts are very careful about issuing them.

      As far as the underlying laws, call your representative. Patent law just underwent a substantial reform with the Patent Reform Act of 2011 that also changes some aspects of infringement lawsuits (for the better, in my opinion), but really does little to make it harder to get a patent in the first place.

      Unfortunately, this is the system we have, and Apple is running a cost:benefit analysis on all this - until they decide they've burnt too much cash, I wouldn't count on their onslaught stopping. And that could take years.

      I also wouldn't ever count on these lawsuits killing Android, at worst, a royalty agreement will eventually emerge and everyone will shut up for a while until the next big thing in technology happens and the whole cycle starts over again.

      • Martin

        You are wrong in the royalty agreement assumption. Apple have already publicly said that they do not want to license out their "IP".

        They are there for the kill. Why would they care for some silly licensing sums when milking their own users is enough to make them on of the richest companies in the world? Now imagine just how much better they could be off if Android didn't exist.

        • Jon Garrett

          Ironic that apple can refuse to license its IP and at the same time sue Moto & Samsung for refusing to license theirs under FRAND.

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

          Actually, he's not wrong. It's a common tactic where one company files to kill the other product, then as the case draws closer (and often times during the case) both companies will settle because the defendant doesn't want any risk an entire product line going tits up. With Apple, they will hold out for the kill if they REALLY think they will get it, but they know this is just grandstanding. Just like I said in my other post, if Apple actually wanted to kill Android, they would go after Google directly and it wouldn't target a device, it would target the public release of Android code.

        • David Ruddock

          Steve Jobs didn't want to - not Apple Inc. At the end of the day, even Steve had to answer to shareholders, and now that he's gone, Tim Cook makes an even easier target to criticize.

          If Apple doesn't get a major settlement or judgment in the next year, the people with money at stake in the company will take notice, and they will force a change in the company's legal strategy. Capitalism at work.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

        I'm familiar with enough of the specifics, but at increasing levels this stuff has stopped being just a trolling effort between companies and it's turning into a war of attrition that's legitimately spilling over on everybody. We all know they won't get an injunction...frankly, it's far too late for it to matter anyway, there's better replacements coming in the very near future and Apple only seems interested in attacking the OEMs once they install the software rather than trying to stop the software (which is what all of the patents are focused on). If Apple actually cared to kill Android instead of trying to gain publicity and bilk some money they would sue Google directly for an injunction against releasing "infringing" software.

        Regarding the reform, in all practicality I think it made the situation worse by changing the requirement of patent acquisition from first-to-create to first-to-file. After the change, things are better for the large corporations while it's even more difficult for smaller companies and virtually impossible for an individual.

        The real problem is that not enough people know and understand the problem (not an issue I would even care to see fixed, the average person shouldn't be bothered with this kind of stuff), but consumer advocacy groups should be taking up this fight. At the end of the day, that $600 phone would cost up to 25% less if they didn't have to incorporate future legal fees into the price, which leads to the consumer losing way too much in these fights.

        My point is, I'd like to see somebody organize a group to lift their torches and pitchforks instead of quietly grumbling about the monster up on the hill ;)

    • Tee

      Good question. Where is the Android-version of Anonymous? Why is the Android-user community doing nothing concrete against Apple? Where is the strenght of the open source world?

      I'm sure if there were some serious bans from all the AOSP-gang out threre, also the world woke up what's happening. This is just another 'boring' legal battle unless someone wakes the masses up.

  • Dan

    Have Apple done anything but sue since Steve died? Hardly honouring his name, are they?
    On another note, here in the UK we have laws and things in place to prevent monopolies - do such things not exist in America? From what I've seen of Apple's patent arsenal your legal system clearly doesn't give a shit about how companies compete with each other so long as nothing happens to the inflow of taxes...

    • Tkun

      What are you talking about? Steve Jobs hated Android. If anything, they are honoring him by trying to sue Android-related companies at any chance they get.

      • Dan

        I'd have thought the best way to honour him would be to make owning an Android pointless because of how much better iPhones are - you know, competition, innovation? Like Steve used to do? Not just suing everybody so that they CAN'T compete.

        • Freak4Dell

          I didn't realize Apple was ever about innovation.

        • Some Guy

          Owning an Android is already pointless because it's second rate trash compared to the iPhone. The iPhone is the best selling phone on pretty much every carrier while Android gets market share from free and BOGO phones.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

      We do have anti-monopoly laws, but this doesn't even remotely come close to those; monopoly is a company that's become too big and takes advantage of it's position to prevent competition, Apple isn't even the biggest in ANY market, so it's got nothing to do with monopoly.

      The UK (at least based on the Apple vs. Samsung case from a few months ago) has less strict protections against this stuff than the US. The US doesn't allow treating a trademark as a patent (again, refer to Apple vs. Samsung) and we do have a notion of being able to patent something while not having exclusive patents (you can own it and charge for it, but if there's no other way to achieve a certain result, then you can't prevent others from licensing your patent at a reasonable price), which is something I've heard the UK doesn't have. When all is said and done, it doesn't matter what has been done to prevent this kind of malicious abuse, weasels (often called corporate lawyers in polite circles) will always look for ways to viciously penetrate and molest the legal system.

      In other words, expect to read about Apple filing a similar suit in Germany in the near future.

      • Nick

        You do realise Steve Jobs was still around when all this patent bullshit started. This is totally Steve's bag (baby)

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

          I think you meant to reply to somebody else...This comment doesn't make sense in context of what I wrote.

          I would like to add though, it wasn't Steve Jobs who originally started Apple down the path of hiring more lawyers than developers, that was the work of Tim Cook. It's too late at night to hunt down the quote, but Cook is known to have said something to the effect that there is nothing wrong with winning a market by suing the competition out of it. Cook is likely responsible for getting Jobs on the warpath. Just because Steve is dead it doesn't mean this tactic is going away, if anything it'll probably get notably worse.

  • Dave Jones

    What every happened to competition? A company used to release a product, then a competing company would release something that did the same things slightly differently but with some added, extra features to entice people to their product instead. Now, though, it's more like only Apple is allowed to make products and if someone else has a similar product, no matter how tenuous the link is to theirs, they'll act like a five year old, screaming and crying because someone copied their work. Dicks.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

      If it gives you any peace of mind, the same thing happened over a decade ago with Apple and they lost then too. It also happened with Netscape when IE came out and quickly gobbled up the market (netscape wasn't publicly blaming copying of features, but in court that was a major subject). This is Apple realizing that they don't have a firm hold on the market and they are trying to slow everybody down to wiggle as much money as they can before the house of cards topples.

  • AppleSux

    Well, seems that someone on your staff dug up the true Apple logo and posted it at the top of your page with the article header. Better watch out before they sue you for copyright infringement! lol

    • Zomby2D

      Now if only some hacker group could deface Apple's website and put that logo on there.

  • palmer nyako

    wish google would just shutdown everything of theirs that runs on mac or ios.

    • rob

      I would even go as far as blocking Mac/iOS products from accessing Google websites including YouTube

      • ocdtrekkie

        That would hit antitrust issues so fast your head would spin.

        Also, many many Googlers use Macs. Found it out from Googlers directly.

  • ScottyBraun

    F*CK APPLE.... Stupid babies

  • jerry

    This is bullshit!

  • Brian

    Funny enough, Apple states that they are doing this to inspire other companies to become more innovative. Wouldn't it be great if another manufacturer did take their advice to avoid using any similar features and turned the world of mobile devices on its ear? I wonder what they would do then?

    To be honest, I think they see history repeating itself as this is similar to Mac and Microsoft in the 80s. The innovators are once again losing their position to a company who improved upon its idea and had good enough sense to let other companies share the ability to distribute. Google is simply the student, learning from Microsoft Windows' sucess in a similar situation. What is most shocking is that Apple wasn't smart enough to see it coming, already knowing how Microsoft took advantage of Apple's need to keep it's OS and hardware in a proprietary setup.

  • L boogie

    It's not hard to believe that Apple is continuing Jobs' agenda to nuke Android into extinction and this is just the latest effort from the GAC/GAS crew. I guess milking customer base, making record breaking profits at the expense of inhuman labor, tampering with legal evidence to seek injunctions, being granted patents that have been utilized by firms that have existed long before iOS etc is not enough, Apple's quest for Android annihilation is taking them further into a place where they're gonna eventually dance to the horrible tunes they're constantly churning out. btw, this is yet another reason the patent system has to be thoroughly restructured thanks to granting useless software patents such as these and attempting to go after Google's bread n butter is going to cost you dearly, Apple assuming El goog is not resting on its laurels.

  • brad.

    When will auto manufactures and clothes manufactures start following the same suit.

    If I make a car with four wheels, engine, doors, wipers, lights, does this mean I can start litigating against all car manufactures. These patents and lawsuits are ridiculous. And a waste of time and money that could be spent on R/D. Pure laziness and greed on apples behalf.

  • Freak4Dell

    I'll admit I'm not an expert on patent law, so forgive me if this is a stupid question. The article mentions a patent on search related to Siri that supposedly Google is supposed to be worried about. If that's true, couldn't Google just prove that they did it first, thus making the patent invalid? After all, Google has been doing search for longer than Siri has been around.

    Also, just out of hypothetical curiosity, let's say Apple gets the injunction. What would happen if Samsung just changes the name of the phone, pushes it through the FCC again, and releases it under the new name with absolutely no changes? I mean, yeah, of course Apple would just sue them again, but would they actually be able to do anything to stop Samsung from repeating that process over and over, other than just to keep suing? Maybe it's just me, but I think it'd be hilarious if every time Samsung got served, they just changed the name of the device and submitted a motion to dismiss because they aren't shipping the device in question anymore.

    I can't help but wonder if Apple is secretly scared of Google. I mean, if they're truly trying to fulfill Jobs' dream of killing Android no matter what it takes, why not go directly after Google? Since the Galaxy Nexus is a pure Google phone, these are clearly Android features they're arguing about, rather than manufacturer additions. Are they scared that they'll get butts kicked? As I've said before, I'm sure that Google isn't just sleeping in the corner on these issues. If Apple ever stops being too cowardly to attack Google, I'd be willing to bet that Google will come back at them full force.

    Regardless of whether Google hands Apple's testicles to them on a silver platter or not, I really do wish they'd just go after Google so that this whole patent war could end. Google has enough money to either sue it out to the end, or enough engineers to just change up how the system works without violating Apple's stupid little patents. Either way, we'd still have Android, and Apple would have to shut up.

  • Chris

    i think that google should block all IOS devices from all google services. just leave the iMac out of it. :)

  • Dirk

    The whole tech patent system needs to be overhauled. This world war of patents is just ruining it for everybody now.

    • L boogie

      This is true because only the lawyers are winners in this sordid mess and as usual, consumers are the losers and the ones who end up paying for this garbage

  • anhmel

    Patents should be abolished

  • Noel

    Laughable indeed...this patent trolling by some is getting out of hand. Competition should be in show room not in the courtroom. Slide to unlock, tap, double tap, pinch to zoom, shapes (rectangular circular, square), screen sizes etc...all these stuff shouldn't be patented to anyone. There are just limited shapes a device can have or just limited ways u can interact with a touch screen device. This are just ways of impeding others from making competitive devices...some which are way better. This nonsense ought to stop...discover something new and ask for a patent not just packaging or repackaging tech and things that already exist and ask for patent. Guess they will soon patent the way we are holding our phones and Tablets....laughable. The courts should throw all these out...

  • chamber

    Its too much, patents are getting too general in their wording to block out competition. Like that dumb slide to unlock patent, basically they are saying no one should be able to unlock using any sort of input into the touch screen.

  • wgasa

    yay for apple and their anti-progress campaign!

  • Hidroid

    Apple can go straight to hell and they are too blind to see that some consumers are open minded and just want a nice product. It seems there is a new apple lawsuit everyday and when you combine that with their horrible working conditions the general public is starting to wake up. I've already signed a boycott apple petition for better working conditions in China.

  • David

    I would love to see Anonymous target Apple like they did Sony.