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

Vienna 3.0.6 :5eaf312: - RSS and Atom ne...
Vienna is a freeware and Open-Source RSS/Atom newsreader with article storage and management via a SQLite database, written in Objective-C and Cocoa, for the OS X operating system. It provides... Read more
Kodi 15.1.rc1 - Powerful media center to...
Kodi (was XBMC) is an award-winning free and open-source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user... Read more
Bookends 12.5.8 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Access the power of Bookends directly from Mellel, Nisus Writer Pro, or MS Word (... Read more
Chromium 44.0.2403.125 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 44.0.2403.125: This release contains a number... Read more
iMazing 1.2.2 - Complete iOS device mana...
iMazing (was DiskAid) is the ultimate iOS device manager with capabilities far beyond what iTunes offers. With iMazing and your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod), you can: Copy music to and from... Read more
Audio Hijack 3.2.0 - Record and enhance...
Audio Hijack (was Audio Hijack Pro) drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio... Read more
FontExplorer X Pro 5.0.1 - Font manageme...
FontExplorer X Pro is optimized for professional use; it's the solution that gives you the power you need to manage all your fonts. Now you can more easily manage, activate and organize your... Read more
Calcbot 1.0.2 - Intelligent calculator a...
Calcbot is an intelligent calculator and unit converter for the rest of us. Featuring an easy-to-read history tape, expression view, intuitive conversion, and much more! Features History Tape -... Read more
MTR 5.0.0.1 - The Mac's oldest and...
MTR (was MacTheRipper)--the Mac's oldest and smartest DVD-backup app--is now updated to version 5.001 MTR -- the complete toolbox, not a one-trick, point-and-click extractor. MTR is intended for... Read more
LibreOffice 4.4.5.2 - Free, open-source...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more

Card King: Dragon Wars - Tips, Tricks an...
[Read more] | Read more »
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX has brou...
Bandai Namco has released Pac-Man Championship Edition DX on iOS and Android, which features the classic arcade gameplay that we've all grown to love. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX can be enjoyed in much shorter bursts than the arcade versions... | Read more »
Cosmonautica (Games)
Cosmonautica 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Cast off! Are you ready for some hilarious adventures in outer space? | Read more »
Rescue humanity from a Demon horde in An...
Angel Stone is Fincon's follow up to the massively successful Hello Hero and is out now on iOS and Android. You play as a member of The Resistance, a group of mighty human warriors who have risen up in defiance of the Demon horde threatening to... | Read more »
Gallery Doctor (Photography)
Gallery Doctor 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Free up valuable iCloud and iPhone storage with Gallery Doctor, the only iPhone cleaner that automatically identifies the... | Read more »
You Against Me (Games)
You Against Me 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A simple game… You. Me. Claim, steal, lock, score, win! | Read more »
Yep, it's True - Angry Birds 2 is O...
The not exactly rumors were true and the birds are back. Angry Birds 2 has come to the App Store and the world will... well I suppose it'll still be the same, but now we have more bird-flinging options! [Read more] | Read more »
You Could Design Your Own Card for Chain...
If you've ever wanted to create your own item, weapon, trap, or even monster for Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night, this is your chance. Auroch Digital is currently holding a contest so that fans can fight to the death (not really) to see which... | Read more »
Bitcoin Billionaire is Going Back in Tim...
If you thought you managed to buy everything there is to buy in Bitcoin Billionaire and make all the money, well you though wrong. Those of you who made it far enough might remember investing in time travel - and it looks like that investment is... | Read more »
Domino Drop (Games)
Domino Drop 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Domino Drop is a delightful new puzzle game with dominos and gravity!Learn how to play it in a minute, master it day by day.Your... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

11-inch MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSR...
Best Buy has 11-inch MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: - 11″ 1.6GHz... Read more
iPad Air 2 on sale for up to $100 off MSRP
Best Buy has iPad Air 2s on sale for up to $100 off MSRP on their online store for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices available for online... Read more
Sale! 13-inch MacBook Pros on sale for $100 o...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Pros on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.5GHz/500GB MacBook Pro: $999.99 save $100 - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina... Read more
Sale! Save $100 on 13-inch MacBook Airs this...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model.... Read more
Worldwide Tablet Market Decline Continues, Ap...
The worldwide tablet market declined -7.0% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15) with shipments totaling 44.7 million units according to preliminary data from the International Data... Read more
TP-LINK TL-PA8030P KIT Powerline Featuring Ho...
Consumer and business networking products provider TP-LINK is now shipping its TL-PA8030P KIT AV1200 3-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit that expands your home’s network over its... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Air 2s available for u...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iPad Air 2s available for up to $140 off the price of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 128GB... Read more
Updated Apple iPad Price Trackers
We’ve updated our iPad Air Price Tracker and our iPad mini Price Tracker with the latest information on prices and availability from Apple and other resellers. Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch 128GB MacBook...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $759. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Infrastructure Engineer - *Apple* /Mac - Hil...
Infrastructure Engineer - Apple /Mac Job Code: 1608 # of openings: 1 Description Our fortune 500 client is looking to hire an experienced Infrastructure Engineer to join Read more
Executive Administrative Assistant, *Apple*...
…supporting presentation development for senior leadership. * User experience with Apple hardware and software is preferred. Additional Requirements The following list Read more
*Apple* Bus Company is now hirin - Apple Bus...
Apple Bus Company is now hiring school bus drivers in the Pettis County area. Class B CDL preferred. Free training provided. No nights or weekends required. Flexible Read more
*Apple* Certified Mac Technician - Updated 6...
…and friendly, hands-on technical support to customers troubleshooting and repairing Apple /Mac products with courtesy, speed and skill. Use your problem-solving skills Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.