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

Opera 51.0.2830.34 - High-performance We...
Opera is a fast and secure browser trusted by millions of users. With the intuitive interface, Speed Dial and visual bookmarks for organizing favorite sites, news feature with fresh, relevant content... Read more
ffWorks 1.0.6 - Convert multimedia files...
ffWorks (was iFFmpeg), focused on simplicity, brings a fresh approach to the use of FFmpeg, allowing you to create ultra-high-quality movies without the need to write a single line of code on the... Read more
Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 19.1.1 - Profess...
Photoshop CC 2018 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous Photoshop customer). Adobe Photoshop CC 2018, the industry standard... Read more
Google Chrome 64.0.3282.167 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
Adobe Acrobat Reader 18.011.20035 - View...
Adobe Acrobat Reader allows users to view PDF documents. You may not know what a PDF file is, but you've probably come across one at some point. PDF files are used by companies and even the IRS to... Read more
Adobe Acrobat 18.011.20035 - Powerful PD...
Acrobat DC is available only as a part of Adobe Creative Cloud, and can only be installed and/or updated through Adobe's Creative Cloud app. Adobe Acrobat DC with Adobe Document Cloud services is... Read more
Yummy FTP Pro 2.0 - $29.99
Yummy FTP Pro is an advanced Mac file transfer app which provides a full-featured professional toolkit combined with blazing speeds and impeccable reliability, so whether you want to transfer a few... Read more
WebSnapperPro 2.0.5 - $20.00
WebSnapperPro lets you capture full web pages exactly as they appear in your browser, with a single mouse click, without the need to "stitch" or cut-and-paste. Save the page as an image file or as... Read more
Cocktail 11.3.1 - General maintenance an...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for macOS that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
Fantastical 2.4.6 - Create calendar even...
Fantastical 2 is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Our top 5 characters from casual RPG Cre...
Creature Quest definitely lives up to its name with a host of collectible creatures based on fantasy tales and world mythologies. To celebrate Creature Quest’s first birthday, we’re going to lay out what we think are the five best characters in the... | Read more »
Around the Empire: What have you missed...
Did you know that Steel Media has a whole swathe of other sites dedicated to all aspects of mobile gaming? Sure you'll get the very best iPhone news, reviews, and opinions right here at 148Apps, but we don't want you missing out on a single piece... | Read more »
All the best games on sale for iPhone an...
Oh hi there, and welcome to our round-up of the best games that are currently on sale for iPhone and iPad. You thought I didn't see you there, did you, skulking behind the bushes? Trust me though, the bushes aren't where the best deals are. The... | Read more »
The Battle of Polytopia Guide - How to H...
A new update just released for The Battle of Polytopia (formerly Super Tribes), which introduces online multiplayer. For all the fans of Midjiwan’s lite take on Civilization, this is certainly welcome news, but playing online isn’t as easy and... | Read more »
Here are the very best mobile games to p...
It's Valentine's Day! Did you get loads of cards and chocolates and other tacky, simple expressions of human affection? Did you send out tat because you find it almost impossible to express emotion unless there's a section dedicated to it at your... | Read more »
Florence (Games)
Florence 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Florence is an interactive storybook from the award-winning lead designer of Monument Valley about the heart-racing highs and... | Read more »
Purrfect Date (Games)
Purrfect Date 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cats are a lil’ like marmite. Either you absolutely head-over-heels love’ em, or… nahhh, who are we kidding?! Everyone... | Read more »
More monsters to collect and evolve in C...
A laid-back mix of RPG and TCG, Creature Quest is all about building your deck, evolving your creatures and winning in battle. It’s the creation of VC Mobile, set up by Might and Magic producer Jon Van Caneghem. There are elements of that classic... | Read more »
Check out this awesome hands-on with the...
Well, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has come out on mobile. This isn't a clone, this isn't a riff on the battleroyale mechanics of the game, it's the official mobile port by Tencent. But there's a little bit of a hitch. [Read more] | Read more »
Hostage Negotiator (Entertainment)
Hostage Negotiator 1.1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Entertainment Price: $3.99, Version: 1.1.0 (iTunes) Description: Official app of the board game by AJ Porfirio and Van Ryder Games. In Hostage Negotiator, you play the part of... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

B&H offers $200 discount on Silver 15″ Ma...
B&H Photo has Silver 15″ Apple MacBook Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 15″ 2.8GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Silver (... Read more
12″ Apple iPad Pro Sale of the Year! Models u...
B&H Photo has 12″ #iPad Pros on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 12″ 64GB WiFi iPad Pro: $719 $80 off MSRP – 12″ 256GB WiFi... Read more
Deals on 32GB 9″ iPads: Up to $50 off MSRP, s...
B&H Photo has 2017 9.7″ 32GB iPads on sale for $299 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $30 off MSRP, and it’s currently the lowest price available for these... Read more
15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro available for o...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1699. That’s $300 off MSRP for this model, and it’s the lowest price available for a 15″ MacBook Pro currently offered by... Read more
13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro...
Amazon has the Silver 13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MPXX2LL/A) on sale for $1649.99 including free shipping. Their price is $150 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for a new 13″... Read more
Saturday Sale: Amazon offers 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.8GHz/256B Apple MacBook Air on sale today for $250 off MSRP including free shipping: – 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air (MQD42LL/A): $949.99, $250 off MSRP Their price is the lowest... Read more
Roundup of Apple Certified Refurbished 12″ Ma...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 12″ Retina MacBooks available for $200-$240 off the cost of new models. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Apple offers Certified Refurbished 10″ and 12...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished 2017 10″ and 12″ iPad Pros for $100-$190 off MSRP, depending on the model. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: –... Read more
Apple Canada offers Certified Refurbished Mac...
 Canadian shoppers can save up to $560 on the purchase of a 2017 current-generation MacBook Pro, MacBook, or MacBook Air with Certified Refurbished models at Apple Canada. Apple’s refurbished prices... Read more
Sale! 13″ MacBook Airs for up to $180 off MSR...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for $50-$120 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $899, $... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple (United...
# Apple Solutions Consultant Job Number: 113501424 Norman, Oklahoma, United States Posted: 15-Feb-2018 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Are you passionate about Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.