Greg's bite: Apple sues and gets sued again
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's bite: Apple sues and gets sued again

By Greg Mills

Anyone who reads a lot about Apple and the tech world run into articles regarding lawsuits over various patents, trademarks and other legal issues between the major tech players. One of the boiler plate lines in standard incorporations papers is the line that the new corporations can "sue and be sued." As a legal "person" corporations can be sued for the things they do or fail to do, especially performing or not preforming contractual duties. Corporations can also own real property and "intellectual property".  

Intellectual property amounts to ideas that are protected by law, such as patented inventions, copyrights, trademarks and the like. To understand the current legal bluster from Apple, one needs to recall the history of the company and the long running and bitter battle Apple fought with Microsoft over the look and feel of the Mac OS, which Bill Gates famously "used" to create Windows 1.   

Despite a non-disclosure agreement he signed, Gate was "inspired" by the Mac OS look and feel and adapted and appropriated elements of the Mac into Windows. Steve Jobs was rightly furious. Gates was to create software to run on the new Mac OS, not copy its features for a new graphic user interface PC OS.  

Apple and Microsoft fought it out in court for years before settling out of court some years later.  Both had spent a bundle and were tired of fighting. Gates agreed to loan Apple some much needed money and Jobs threw in the towel and the legal battle was over. The lessons learned were that the legal side of the company was critical, and Apple beefed up its cadre of attorneys of all stripes and became known for busting any little infringement of anything Apple considers its own.

Yesterday I noticed a neat little USB hub, shown in online stories, that when hooked up to a hot USB cable lights up a white Apple logo in the middle of the device. Amazingly, the logo is exactly an Apple trademark protected logo. To expect that Apple also noticed, and its attorneys are beating a path to the door of the company that launched the device would be an understatement. Apple has become known for coming down like a ton of bricks on infringers.

Recently Apple lost a dispute in the International Trade Commission where Apple tried to stop HTC and Nokia from importing cell phones into the Untied States that Apple contends are knock-offs of its iPhone. Incredibly, while not really ruling on the merits of Apple's case, the economic disaster to HTC and Nokia were the issue. The ruling isn't binding in court, but it was an attempt by Apple to quash competition that was using Apple's technology. The courts are much less likely to overcome actual infringement over economic hardship issues claimed by the infringer.       

I saw a chart of the tech industry companies represented with blocks for each company and arrows that connected them together as to who is suing whom. It reminded me of a plate of spaghetti.  

Intellectual property suits fall into distinct categories.  

There is the patent troll suit. This is where someone filed a general patent that loosely covers a lot of ground and yet somehow was granted by the Patent Office. Keep in mind that just because the Patent Office grants a patent doesn't mean the patent is valid. When sued by someone trying to get a bite of the Apple unfairly, the first line of defense is for Apple to claim the patent isn't valid. Apple will claim the patent is obvious and thus not valid in court. That sometimes works, and a judge will agree and throw the case out and Apple wins. Sometimes the case is settled out of court as a nuisance abatement settlement and Apple figures a few bucks on settling is a bargain compared to spending a fortune in court.  

Sometimes the supposedly infringed patent is considered valid over Apple's objections, then Apple will claim they didn't infringe on it in the first place. This also sometimes works. Apple will try to show that the intent of the patent is to protect something else and shouldn't apply to the situation being contested. That is often the case, and if the court narrowly construes the invention, that works. Other times the wildly broad claims of an irrelevant patent are upheld and Apple can either appeal or pay up. Apple can certainly appeal with 60 billion dollars in the bank.  

Sometimes Apple sues when they discover other companies have released products that infringe on Apple technology. A federal lawsuit is then filed, and the infringer can stop selling the device or face Apple in Federal Court ... someday, a few years and a few hundred thousand dollars of legal fees down the line.

Sometimes Apple was aware or unaware of a valid patent they needed to infringe, and they go ahead and use the patented concept. In this case Apple might be more willing to settle if they think they are unlikely to beat the case in court. The reasonableness of the settlement then becomes the issue.

As I have noted in this space previously, the Federal patent infringement lawsuits Apple dropped on the desk of all the companies that are manufacturing Android handsets are critical and will either kill Android or allow that platform to continue with modifications of features that are too close to Apple's iPhone and iPad.   

The touch screen interface Apple introduced is worth a bundle, and there are many patents covering every aspect of that interface. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone he stated that Apple covered every aspect of the iPhone and would vigorously defend their invention in court.  Those Android handset law suits are the first salvo in what will become a major legal battle over ownership of the smartphone industry.  

Apple, Google, RIM, Nokia and others are very interested in obtaining a portfolio of patented owned by Nortel. That portfolio consists of roughly 1,000 patents owned by Nortel Networks, who went bankrupt. The cell phone patents up for auction are like a hand full of aces in a poker game. In Federal court holding aces is very helpful.

Google has the most to gain from owning the Nortel patents, since it has far fewer cell phone patents than the other major players. Apple has a lot more cash in the bank and holding all those additional patents may be worth the money as killing Android is the key to owning the smartphone market Apple pioneered with iPhone.  

Apple has the technology, parts supply, R&D, market, software and momentum to own the touch screen smartphone and tablet market. Time will tell how well all this works out for Apple. The legal battle over the Android platform intellectual property is going to define smart phones and tablet computers for years to come.  Remember this main point: if Apple can kill Android off, the rest of the industry isn't anything to worry about.  

That's Greg's Bite for today.

(Greg Mills is currently a graphic and Faux Wall Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. Greg is an Extra Class Ham Radio Operator, AB6SF, iOS developer and web site designer. He's also working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process for turning waste dual pane glass window units into thermal solar panels used to heat water see: www.CottageIndustySolar.com Married, with one daughter, Greg writes for intellectual property web sites and on Mac/Tech related issues. See Greg's art web site at http://www.gregmills.info He can be emailed at gregmills@mac.com )

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

1Password 5.1 - Powerful password manage...
1Password is a password manager that uniquely brings you both security and convenience. It is the only program that provides anti-phishing protection and goes beyond password management by adding Web... Read more
GarageSale 6.9.2 - Create outstanding eB...
GarageSale is a slick, full-featured client application for the eBay online auction system. Create and manage your auctions with ease. With GarageSale, you can create, edit, track, and manage... Read more
calibre 2.17 - Complete e-library manage...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 6.1.2 - Create diagrams,...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
OmniGraffle 6.1.2 - Create diagrams, flo...
OmniGraffle helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use Graffle to... Read more
RoboForm 2.0.2 - Password manager; syncs...
RoboForm is a password manager that offers one-click login, mobile syncing, easy form filling, and reliable security. Password Manager. RoboForm remembers your passwords so you don't have to! Just... Read more
Apple MainStage 3.1 - Live performance t...
Love the sound you got on your recording? MainStage 3 makes it easy to bring all the same instruments and effects to the stage. Everything from the Sound Library and Smart Controls you're familiar... Read more
Freeway Pro 7.0.2 - Drag-and-drop Web de...
Freeway Pro lets you build websites with speed and precision... without writing a line of code! With its user-oriented drag-and-drop interface, Freeway Pro helps you piece together the website of... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.44 - File, phot...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
Stacks 2.6.9 - New way to create pages i...
Stacks is a new way to create pages in RapidWeaver. It's a plugin designed to combine drag-and-drop simplicity with the power of fluid layout. Features: Fluid Layout: Stacks lets you build pages... Read more

This Week at 148Apps: January 19-23, 201...
Warm Your Winter With New Apps!   How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you’re looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out... | Read more »
Eggmaster Review
Eggmaster Review By Jennifer Allen on January 26th, 2015 Our Rating: :: BRIEFLY COMPELLINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Tap like crazy to gain eggs, so that you can buy upgrades to gain more eggs, and so on. It... | Read more »
Cloudy Or Dry – Funny Or Die Release a W...
Cloudy Or Dry – Funny Or Die Release a Weather App Posted by Ellis Spice on January 26th, 2015 [ permalink ] iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad | Read more »
Mediocre, the Team Behind Smash Hit, is...
Mediocre, the Team Behind Smash Hit, is Teasing Their Latest Unnamed Project Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 26th, 2015 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Heroes of Gaia Review
Heroes of Gaia Review By Campbell Bird on January 26th, 2015 Our Rating: :: TIMERS OF MIGHT AND MAGICUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad This free-to-play rpg looks a lot like Heroes of Might and Magic, but it’s poor... | Read more »
Choice Provisions is Set to Launch Destr...
Choice Provisions is Set to Launch Destructamundo on iOS This Month Posted by Tre Lawrence on January 23rd, 2015 [ permalink ] Choice Provisions – home stable to | Read more »
King of Thieves – An Interview With Zept...
Ahead of the release of ZeptoLab’s King of Thieves, we were able to ask ZeptoLab’s co-founder, Semyon Voinov, a few questions about the inspiration behind the game and what that means for the Cut the Rope franchise. | Read more »
Handle Review
Handle Review By Jennifer Allen on January 23rd, 2015 Our Rating: :: SPEEDY ORGANIZINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Handle is a very convenient way of juggling your emails, To Do list, and Calendar all through one... | Read more »
The New Disney Inquizitive App Offers a...
The New Disney Inquizitive App Offers a Place for Fans to Take Disney Quizzes Posted by Tre Lawrence on January 23rd, 2015 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Hands-On With Cut the Rope Developer Zep...
Marking quite a departure from ZeptoLab’s past successes, namely the Cut The Rope series, King of Thieves is shaping up to be quite promising. Due for release in February, we were lucky enough to have some time with a preview build to see exactly... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Stir Kinetic Desk M1 Standing Or Sitting Desk...
The age of the standing desk is upon us, and according to medical research, it’s arriving none too soon. The World Health Organization (WHO), reports that 60 to 85 percent of people worldwide lead... Read more
Bosch Opens North American eBike Conversion H...
Following its entry into the U.S. eBike market in early 2014, Bosch has established a new headquarters office for Bosch eBike Systems (http://www.bosch-ebike.us) in Southern California, expanding the... Read more
13-inch 2.4GHz Retina MacBook Pro (Apple refu...
The Apple Store has previous-generation Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.4GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pros available for $999. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.4GHz/... Read more
13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Adorama has the 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1189.99, $110 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges NY & NJ sales tax only. Read more
College Student Deals are back, additional $5...
Take an additional $50 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through April 11, 2015. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take advantage... Read more
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus GIve Apple Half Of US Mob...
Chicago-based Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, LLC (CIRP) have released analysis of the results of its research on mobile phone manufacturers for the calendar quarter that ended December 31,... Read more
Save $100 on MacBook Airs with 256GB of stora...
B&H Photo has 256GB MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook Air: $999 $100 off MSRP - 13″ 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook... Read more
21-inch 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179, save $...
B&H Photo has the 21″ 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any... Read more
iPhone Usage Rates by State Correlate With Ed...
Chitika Insights notes that despite iPhones being the largest source of smartphone Internet traffic in North America, their latest study finds a relatively high degree of variation of iPhone usage... Read more
ProGearX Extendable Pole “Pov/Selfie Stick” M...
There’s something inescapably narcissistic about the concept of selfies as they’ve developed as a smartphone-driven social (particularly social media) phenomenon that rubs me the wrong way. However,... Read more

Jobs Board

Detailer *Apple* Ford Body Shop / Collision...
Apple Automotive is one of the fastest growing dealer…and it shows. Consider making the switch to the Apple Automotive Group today! At Apple Automotive , Read more
*Apple* Acura/Subaru Service Technicians - A...
Apple Automotive is one of the fastest growing dealer…and it shows. Consider making the switch to the Apple Automotive Group today! At Apple Automotive , Read more
Business Development Manager - *Apple* Pay...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is seeking an experienced business development manager to support the identification, recruitment, negotiation and ongoing management of Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC)- Retail S...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.