Mobile pioneer Openwave has launched action against Apple and RIM, claiming patent infringements and asking for a ban on US imports of Apple and RIM's infringing kit as well as the traditional damages. Openwave's action sees claims filed with a Delaware court which state that both Apple and RIM are infringing Openwave's patents …
Mobile pioneer ? ITYM 'patent troll'.
They developped a few "novel" things and brought them to market; a decade later Apple goes all "revolutionnary" by selling a rehash of these. The US patent system is a wreck, but this is one of its very few sensible applications.
NOT a patent troll
They DID innovate, and they DID bring some products to market - ahead of their time, in some ways. Complain about the patent system all you like (I certainly do), but by most commonly accepted definitions, Openwave absolutely fails the patent troll test.
RE:NOT a patent troll
"Openwave absolutely fails the patent troll test."
Apart from the obvious "wait until company raking in billions and then sue" angle?
I was composing email offline on a mobile phone in 2000 thanks to the Nokia Communicator.
In those days the phone didn't have GPRS and so you had to dial up to send and receive.
Ah, the good old brick.
I seem to recall managing to connect enough cables & connectors on the back to log on to both Cisco and Sun kit (had to be careful not to send an interrupt to the Sun kit though :) using some kind of beta terminal server software (Z rings a bell).
Looked odd but worked a treat.
Re: Prior art
"I was composing email offline on a mobile phone in 2000"
And long before that I was composing letters offline before posting them.
Even more prior
To quote Groucho Marx, "I'll go further than that, I'll get off at the depot". I seem to recall being able to do this (or something darn near like it) on a Newton. Which, help me out here, was a mobile device made by some company ... now who was it ...
To quote Abe Simpson, "My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it." I recall the use of a stilus for data entry on ancient wax tablets used by the Romans and Greeks of antiquity. I'd date to guess said wax tablets were also rectangular with a display surface that nearly covered one side. Of course we can only guess what the penalty for violating a patent in ancient Rome may have been but I'd wager it was somewhat more sporting and the inventions were less trivial.
Time for Apple to get a taste of thier own medicine. I really hope the case is solid and Apple is blocked from importing its IStuff. Karma is a female dog baby.
Letigious patent trolls..
Well, why am I not surprised that RIM and Apple are the "first" targets.
I guess Openware are hoping they'll settle rather than face the 'possible ban' of their handsets into the USA
This industry thrives on ideas, it's how they're turned into practise that makes the difference, thus offering many competing products that in essence do the same thing/s, albeit, in different ways.
I think the first Poster's comment "patent trolls" sums it up. When I was a kid I dreamed of and drew a flying car.
I still have those pictures stashed in the attic somewhere, time to dig them out and make some money from people who "infinged my IP" (or imagination) and plan on turning my daydreams into reality..
Did you make that flying car? No didn't think so.
Openwave did make browsers and email clients for mobile phones. I've used them.
So that would make you the troll and Openwave the company that actually did produce something.
"infinged my IP"
What IP? Did they copy your pictures? If so, you might have a copyright case. But I don't imagine that you filed any patents. You don't qualify for troll status, but you do just about manage 'idiot'.
"ban on US imports of Apple"?
How can this be? Apple's a US Company! Surely they're not making all their kit abroad - that wouldn't be very patriotic would it? Maybe we should start revisiting what it means to be an "American" or "British" company when it turns out that all of their products are actually made elsewhere.
Frankly I'm with Openwave on this if only because of the law of unintended consequences.
"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to." - Dorothy Parker.
Sauce for the goose, but...
How come Apple get an instant legal ban on Galaxy in Germany, in a hearing where the 'defendant' wasn't even notified of the case so they could defend themselves, but this IPTO one involves a ruling in eighteen months? Shouldn't there be an immediate ban on the off-chance that there's a case to answer, followed by a final ruling in 18 months? Perhaps Openwave are using the wrong court...
Re: Sauce for the goose, but...
Because not every ware has the same laws as the US.
It might be inconvenient for multinationals but us Yuropians have gone to war to ensure that there is not one law across all states.
...because this is an actual patent case, and that's a community design case. So they're even more not the same thing.
Well, first off, we're dealing with two completely different jurisdictions. To be honest, I don't know what the rules are on serving papers in Germany, but they clearly allowed it to happen - which has nothing to do with what's happening in a different case in a U.S. court. Second, preliminary injunctions are usually issued to stop (further) damage from happening. At the moment, that doesn't seem like a truly immediate issue - if Openwave wins, they will be awarded damages as well as either getting some form of ongoing compensation or a preferment injunction.
I doubt they'll win, but since they actually did real work, even to the point of producing a real product, I don't mind them trying.
Blast from the past
I had an Ericsson mobile with an Openwave browser in 2000, been a long time since I heard that name.
Before Nokia SW sank in a morass of Bureaucracy.
I had one. Fax worked well. Email perfect.
I had a company account so they paid for double timeslot GSM so Web browsing was 28k. I only had 19K on the home phone line.
The office used ISDN, DSL was in office end of 2001.
I liked my Nokia Brick. You could do real work on it too.
I have no idea of the virtue of these claims though.
I liked mine, too.
It even doubled up as a handy defensive weapon.
I was mugged once; it involved CS gas, so I couldn't see to use it as a weapon; however the low-lifes that did it didn't want it because it was an "old brick phone"
I also remember a flight attendant saying that it was a very big phone and me opening it and saying that no it was a very small laptop :)
So, let me get this straight...
... a flight attendant (presumably female?) goes"Ooh, what a big phone you've got!" and the best you can come up with is "No, actually, it's a small laptop...".
I think I see why you are a Bachelor :-)
...I'm not sure why any of this is considered to be remotely specific to cellphones, anyway. Email uses standardized protocols. Composing emails offline then going online to send them was the way *everybody* did it back when you had to pay for dial-up internet access by the minute, and the POP protocol was designed with it specifically in mind. This goes back to the 1990s, if not the 1980s. I haven't read the Openwave patents, but I'd be very surprised if they can actually claim anything which prevents a cellphone simply implementing the perfectly normal offline abilities of standard email protocols.
Offline email goes back well before the 1990s - back pretty much to the origin of email, in fact.
POP (Post Office Protocol) was first standardized in 1984 (RFC 918). BITNet's RSCS store-and-forward email system started in 1981. Unix email with UUCP transport (which, yes, was typically used with offline composing and reading) dates back to 1979. IBM's internal VNET / RSCS network to 1975.
Earlier email systems I'm familiar with were often single-machine (users could only send messages to other accounts on the same system), so I'm not sure if there was an earlier system that had a real "offline composition" feature. But I bet there was.
Maybe Openwave did add some innovation in this area, but it's certainly not clear from the article or comments (at least that I've seen so far) what that was. And it's hard to see how much of anything to do with offline composition or reading of email isn't obvious to a skilled practitioner.
The eventual market...
At this rate, no-one in the world will be able to buy a smartphone anywhere in the world because they'll all have been banned from sale due to patents. Every company has some patent that it deems someone else is infringing, apparently...
The endgame is that all the existing manufacturers will cross-license just to keep producing, and this will effectively bar all newcomers from entering the market.
The same thing has happened with big Pharma in the US.
Disney did the same thing with copyright too, changing the public domain rules so no-one could use Mickey Rat after they used public domain works to establish themselves. They went through a door and closed/locked it behind them.
Testing mobile web apps in an Openwave browser when I was at uni. Good times, pity they were so left behind that this is the first I've heard of them in years.
"...which are accused of infringing patents covering such basics as composing email while offline and over-the-air application updating."
The crime here is that this was allowed to be patented in the first place.
a frightful fiend Doth close behind him tread ...
... or maybe just a sleazy mob of patent trolls eager to feast upon his blood.
This stuff is going to eventually plug up the pipes and give us all constipation, while in the meantime China is going to thumb its collective nose and tell us that if you want to take advantage of your bright idea then produce something that competes for customers - don't go complaining that it is your idea.
Besides, the stuff that the patent office is patenting is patently silly.
In the 1990's, all e-mail was composed off-line. Then we endured the screachy connection and our mail was synched while we went and did the shopping, saw a movie, collected a pizza and came back to perhaps see the final couple of mail transactions.
I'm not even going to bother reading the patent filings.
I was in the Bluebell Railway museum and read about Watt who patented the external condenser in the late 1700's - he was accused of holding up steme engine development for many, many years.
Oh I wish I had the vision in my youth to patent such specifics. I would (amongst other things) have patented, transporting water in liquid form, external cell phones (leaving Apple only the I-Intestine series for development), oh so many possibilities. Hmm, is there a patent on binary data yet?
I don't like Apple, but my country has obviously lost it collective spine to these ridiculous lawsuits. It makes me sad to see this type of frivolous crap.
I was composing email offline, and then connecting to send it, while on the road, in 1983.
I was also dialing into my host and browsing the file system, and the Internet at large, in the same time frame. I used a Panasonic Senior Partner luggable ... all 33 pounds of it. I still have the silly thing. After over a quarter million miles of air travel together, you tend to get attached to the daftest things :-)
Having read some of the patents...
At least two of them seem to be, "just like on the Internet, but using a mobile phone data connection.", with additions for server-side processing, which wouldn't be the case for Apple (but would be for RIM). i.e. a bit dubious.
I would love to watch the "end of the world" if openwave was able to ban iphone imports..
.. but more realistically, Apple will just buy their way out if push comes to shove.
"but more realistically, Apple will just buy their way out if push comes to shove."
I guess that's what they [Openwave] will be wanting as well.