back to article Motorola sues Apple over - what else? - patents

Android stalwart Motorola has thrown a one-two punch at Apple, suing it in two US Federal Courts for patent infringement and filing a complaint against with the US International Trade Commission. "We had no choice but to file these complaints to halt Apple's continued infringement," Kirk Dailey, Motorola Mobility's corporate …

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WTF?

I wondered what would happen to Motorola patents when it splits apart

My moneys on Motorola winning this one as they have been in the game so long having, over the decades, knocked down most of it's competitors. Way back in the 1940's Motorola developed a backpack two-way radio, the 'Walkie-Talkie' concept and large hand-held two-way radios for the US military.

Bell (System) Labs actually conceived the cellular concept for radio systems.

Compared to Motorola Apple is a nothing in radio communications, given that Motorola's patent portfolio is numbered in the thousands.

We're standing by to watch Motorola to bitch-slap Jobs who is already a little unhappy with a court decision that found Apple had stolen IP, again.

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Happy

Sucked in Jobs...

Bite the hand that let you survive & suddenly you're up against a giant boot that's about to squish you like Godzilla squished Bambi in Life of Brian's predelicts. You're a fool Jobs & the proof will be in your demise. Motorola actually developed their patents rather than having an obvious thought that thought that thought was a patent... Basically this thought thought it had crapped itself & it had...

Next squish, Microsux...

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Coat

This lawsuit is good, but for a different reason

Motorola's lawsuit against Apple will probably accomplish something good even if it is thrown out of court. The chaotic free-for-all lawsuits by all parties will probably disincline the courts to entertain Apple's lawsuit against HTC, a lawsuit which I believe has less credibility than Motorola's lawsuit against Apple, a latecomer to the cellphone industry.

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Coat

The lawyers are winning - not sure anyone else is though

It could be due to lawyers scouring the world for possible infringements, suing on the off chance of a win and therefore showing the corporate suits that they're being proactive.

My GiveAFuckO'Meter isn't even twitching.

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how long before...

some of these monkeys get confused and sue themselves?

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Stop

hopefully there will be enough law suites...

.. that someone will decide that it is about time to take a closer look at the software patent system.

it really have become ludicrous. And it is NOT for the best interest of the consumer, and by looking at the law suites, it is not for the best interest of the industry as well.

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Who's going to win all these fights?

That's right, the lawyers... Everyone else will end up in cross-licensing agreements for patents.

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Flame

Motorola sues Apple over patents.

Sorry, Mr Myslewski, but "El Reg respectfully submits" ?? Douglas Adams was correct about them being the first against the wall when the revolution comes. If I start this, I will probably rant on for eternity. :-) [We really should not wait for "the revolution".]

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Boffin

Long before...

The idea was first recorded by one Dick The Butcher in Jack Cade's rebellion of 1450 - Dick's immortal words upon his & the rebels entering London were ""The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" - at least, according to the Bard, in Henry Vi part II

Since it has been such a popular notion for centuries, it is rather surprising that the idea has yet to be implemented...

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Joke

What do you call a lawyer with sand up to his neck?

Not enough sand!

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Thumb Up

I trust

(and sincerely hope) that you WEREN'T joking...

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Grenade

They MUST have calculated

that it's cheaper to shut the competition down than try to beat them with brains and sheer inventive genius.. good luck to them all :D

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Calculate they have...

Perhaps the "sheer inventive genius" was already displayed when they developed the technology covered by their patent portfolio. Now they want to be paid by those using the "fruit" of their earlier labor?

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Good one!

Oh wait, you're serious.

You do realise that a good chunk of these patents are for ideas *not* developed products, don't you?

And on top of that many of them are also for fairly obvious ideas such as painting something a different colour.

Add to that the often vague language (e.g. "Method for entering information into a computer or computer system") and you end up with the unbelievable mess we have today..

I'm not saying the patent system is bad per se, but the bar for entry appears to be set so low that you would need to lift up the floorboards to even know it was there.

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This would be Apple, not Motorola...

Apple has always been using Moto's years of investment. Not that I admire patents but Apple started this & now they're going to get creamed...

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Jobs Halo

Sophistry

That's no different to saying Ferrarri/McLaren/Rolls Royce have for years lived off Michelin's investment.

Utter tosh fuelled by irrational prejuduce.

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Stop

I bet

the lawyers hate all this litigation......

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"It's just a dog fight out there"

... a patent lawyer with the business-centric law firm Lowenstein Sandler told The Wall Street Journal.

Rubbing his hands together and cackling evilly, no doubt.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "It's just a dog fight out there"

Before being sued for infringing on somebody else's "patent litigation is like a dog fight" patent.

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Unhappy

Ammended Quote...

It's just a dog fight out there," a patent lawyer with the business-centric law firm Lowenstein Sandler told The Wall Street Journal.

I'll ammend it.

It's just a dog fight out there," a patent lawyer with the business-centric law firm Lowenstein Sandler told The Wall Street Journal. "Kerrrching....Now where did I park my Strand Supercar*?"

* the supercar doesn't have a name, but comes "free" with the yacht.

http://uk.cars.yahoo.com/09062010/36/luxury-yacht-comes-free-custom-supercar-0.html

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biggest pile of patents

I can't help feeling that Motorola are going to have a far large pile of "essential" patents than Apple. As they Apple are the new boys on the phone block, Motorola have been in the telecom's market for a little bit longer.

All this patent slapping does make for an interesting spectator sport. Perhaps if they keep it up for long enough they'll finally piss the politicos off more than the value of their "donations" and they might decide to do something about it....but only after someone has patented a flying pig.

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Stop

Perhaps...

...if some of these companies put as much time and effort into developing decent products that people actually wanted to buy as they do in chasing real (or suspected) patent infringement, they wouldn't actually have to engage in patent-trolling whoever happens to be doing better than they are in the market at the moment.

Not that I'm saying that Apple (or anyone else for that matter) is squeaky clean in all this - things are never that simple - but the US Patent/IP protection system does seem to be fairly broken and open to gaming left, right and centre. And it looks like most of the rest of the Western world is hell-bent on going the same way.

What's that old quote? "First shoot all the (patent) lawyers..."

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Jobs Horns

They do...

The problem is companies like Moto spend 100's of millions worth of effort developing the basic technology of the product and then Apple come along uses all that expensive knowhow, without paying anything, sticks a shiny front end on it and pretends that is't all their own work.

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Gold badge

Erm?

I think you're of the belief that an Apple mobile phone is 100% custom and their phone chips are their own design. Only their processor and display chip is theirs.

Many of these court cases are about basic mobile phone workings. Apple doesn't create its own 3G GSM chips, they're made by Infineon and others.

If there was a court case against Intel processors and you assembled a PC from parts and used an Intel CPU you wouldn't expect to get sued for that. This is in effect what it happening.

HTC are being sued by Apple for using Android. Motorola are being sued by Microsoft for using Android.

It's all tactical, gives the PR departments something to do.

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staffing numbers

The problem is that any R&D company needs to employ 3 times as many patent lawyers as they do research staff.

I bet patent lawyers are paid more than engineers, who historically aren't good as asking for pay rises.

So given a set staffing budget, the more this legal slug fest goes on the fewer R&D staff will be employed.

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Thumb Down

Before having at Motorola..

Understand that Apple started this fight. They are just on the receiving end of their own malicious behaviour. It serves them right & thankfully Moto will either cream them to hell & back or the patent industry will be demolished in software...

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Jobs Horns

Hopefully M$ is next on Moto's list...

Destroy! Destroy!

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Pint

You already said this...

Tosh repeated is still tosh.

You are Steve Ballmer and I claim my prize.

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FAIL

Like a gang of one legged blokes having an arse kicking contest

It really doesn't do the public image of any of these companies any favours to be constantly bitching at each other.

The customer is relegated to rolling thier eyes on the sidelines while they snap and bite at each other. The only benfactors are the lawyers. *spit*

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Dead Vulture

Think you missed a bit of that last quote

""It's just a dog fight out there," a patent lawyer with the business-centric law firm Lowenstein Sandler told The Wall Street Journal."

...while rubbing his hands in glee.

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Grenade

Hmmm...

"It's just a dog fight out there," a patent lawyer with the business-centric law firm Lowenstein Sandler told The Wall Street Journal....

No doubt rubbing his hands together with glee, beaming from ear to ear, and contemplating ordering his'n'hers Ferraris. a new powerboat and a new Learjet with the anticipated proceeds.

Patent Lawyers - no, Lawyers in general make the Great White Shark look positively cuddly & benevolent.

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FAIL

antenna design?

>At the heart of the complaints are 18 patents covering, in Motorola's words, "wireless >communication technologies, such as WCDMA (3G), GPRS, 802.11 and antenna design,

Ah yes, Motorola's famous patented antenna design for mobile phones. You know, the one that doesn't work when you hold the phone. Duh!

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Title

The Guardian have a handy cut-out-and-add-to diagram of the bigger fish involved in this.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/oct/04/microsoft-motorola-android-patent-lawsuit#

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Anonymous Coward

Bound to be more

The way the telecoms industry effectively works is all the players pool the patents needed to support a particular technology standard and pay each other the difference based on what they each bring to the pool. If Apple came in late, and has no patents in to pool and isn't paying any licences for what it uses then it’s bound to get sued. Quite rightly in my personal opinion given that it costs the other companies 100's of millions to develop the original technology.

The only thing that surprises me about this is that Moto didn't wait to see how the Nokia v Apple version of this went, before starting its attack. I fully expect the other 2G and G3 technology patent holders to initiate action as well.

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WTF?

One way for Motorola to cure its ills

So Motorola has decided that the law is a better way to resolve its problems instead of putting a stop to making crap products that no one wants to buy. We can't be too far away from the time when patent trolls... sorry, concerned manufacturers, realise that there are greater profits to be made through the courts of East Texas than from actually designing and manufacturing stuff.

Unlike a lot of the would-be hippies at el reg, who believe that patents are just plain uncool, maaan, I understand the manufacturers' desire to protect their intellectual property and to make a few bucks from their brainchildren, but this law-festing really has got out of control. BTW, it would be interesting to learn how many of the same scrap-the-patents people would be all for any patent that they ever managed to secure for work they had done, but, I digress.

Do companies like Apple et al simply design something and then sit back and wait for the envelopes bearing that now infamous East Texas postmark to hit the doormat, or do they research what must by now be trillions of patents, many of them ridiculous, baseless and indefensible? Time for the trolls to be weeded out by a patenting system that knows what it is they are permitting patents for and that kicks the truly frivolous applications into some very long grass.

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Flame

Re: One way for Motorola to cure its ills

"Unlike a lot of the would-be hippies at el reg, who believe that patents are just plain uncool, maaan,"

Warning: comment author's brain engaging rhetorical autopilot...

"I understand the manufacturers' desire to protect their intellectual property and to make a few bucks from their brainchildren, but this law-festing really has got out of control. BTW, it would be interesting to learn how many of the same scrap-the-patents people would be all for any patent that they ever managed to secure for work they had done, but, I digress."

It would be interesting if anyone parroting the "intellectual property must be protected!" meme had actually considered the differences between the different forms of "intellectual property", notably the part where aliens from another planet could be sued for patent infringement upon stepping out of their spacecraft and performing some act or other that some aspiring monopolist thinks that they "invented" and "own".

"Do companies like Apple et al simply design something and then sit back and wait for the envelopes bearing that now infamous East Texas postmark to hit the doormat, or do they research what must by now be trillions of patents, many of them ridiculous, baseless and indefensible? Time for the trolls to be weeded out by a patenting system that knows what it is they are permitting patents for and that kicks the truly frivolous applications into some very long grass."

Nope. Time for entire classes of patents to be put in the bin where they belong. Anything else is just, "Please tweak the system so that it makes money for me but not him over there who I hate!"

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Who's suing whom?

Looks like this will need updating:

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/whos-suing-whom-in-the-telecoms-trade/

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Jobs Horns

"Silly Motorola..."

"...You're patenting wrong!"

* Obligatory Jobs joke *

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Alert

Good apples / bad apples

With the ongoing patent hyperinflation, it's quite hard to tell the good and bad apples apart. But maybe Apple serves as an example that a company has to ignore patents if it wants to create something innovative.

Don't move, or I'll litigate!

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Gold badge

Push email

I still don't see how they are ignoring patents.

With so many thousands of patents, how on earth can a company check through them before making a product?

Obviously some things are so well known that it is impossible to be unaware of them. RIM's push email is an example. Nobody is infringing on that, which explains why push on all other devices isn't as good and uses more battery life.

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Alert

Hold on a second...

Motorola actually wants to take credit for Apple's antenna design!? Gentlemen, these must indeed be desperate times.

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Actually ...

One of these companies should patent the various procedures of court battles. That would throw their competitors off a bit. Apple gets first dibs as it spends more time in the court room on its own than the rest.

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Grenade

Re: Actually ...

Oh no: can't have people interfering with the legal profession. The legal profession dicking around with everybody else's line of work is totally OK, however.

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Grenade

Legal PROFESSION???

Profession??

I suppose so - it's only a variant of the oldest profession, after all...

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