The details of Apple's patent offensive are now public, and it's clear that while HTC is the target, it's Google's Android that has got Cupertino so annoyed. The patents on which Apple is claiming infringement include obvious things such as the use of a gesture to unlock and rotate the screen based on device orientation, but …
I´ll give it a try and Patent "a system that does one or more things according to instructions indicated by one or more users". If it flies , just about anything is up for grabs !
Seriously, the US legal and patent system should be checked for consistency
@ Steve 70: You sir owe me a keyboard.......
Patents confuse me...
... as I believe the iPhone/iTouch and most of it's features were created 18 years ago by James Gosling and his crew: https://duke.dev.java.net/green/. I'll conceed it doesn't have phone functionality and there is no shiny packaging to be seen but spatial cues, gestures and animated UI are there. Software patents in their current, vague form just do not add up.
While this is about the Android
It's also about Java. Many of the patents they cite cover functionality inherent in NeXTstep/OPENSTEP/OS X that have been incorporated into Java. That part didn't hit me until I read another article breaking it down, but this may be Steve going after the Freetards at Sun, too.
OH MY GOD
I've just realised that almost every single bit of software i've ever written infringes on these patents. I'm screwed! :O
Most or nearly all of the commenters seem to be of the opinion that they wouldn't buy an "overpiced average" piece of kit from Apple anyway, so the fact that they won't be buying an iPhone now because of the patent allegations will have Apple shaking in their sneakers.
Funny how no one said they would stop buying Nokia after their patent spat, but hey. After Nokia tried to wield their patents as a strategic weapon, it now seems that Apple has picked up on it. The whole point of this is to create FUD for the producers and users (the telcos).
I have to say I don't agree with the whole idea, but at least Apple is playing it as dirty as it needs to be played, which makes me hopeful that we won't see a return of the Mac/Windows scenario of the eighties.
Noone was thinking about buying Nokia even before the suit so, why bother stating the obvious?
Microsoft are still the bad guys of the piece?
I'm no fan of MS, but I don't get how so many people fawn over iProducts even though they are 1. style over substance and 2. created by a company that pulls this kind of legal BS.
Google are rapidly losing favour for their don't be evil/don't believe in privacy attitude, but I will support Android over Apple as far as phones go.
OO GUI to procedural OS
Eh, wouldn't prior art for this be Windows 3.x?
As software patents go, that one sounds pretty lame.
Prior, prior art...
Digital Research's Gem! And of course more than a passing nod to Xerox PARC's GUI work...
More corporate warfare
Yet another example of Intellectual Property law being used against the interests of the consumer. We need disarmament talks and a radical rethink to stop bad patents being bought and stockpiled for warfare.
if the patent makes the computer do something it couldn't do before
Church-Turing thesis, anyone? I guess I just proved that patents are BS in the EU =)
It's "Look and Feel" all over again
Haha, I'm beginning to think this guy is right about Apple's history repeating itself...
Yeah, competition is all great and well until it catches you up, and then consumers with a choice decide that they don't like your crappy restrictive business practices. I hope they lose this the same way they lost their stupid GUI "look and feel" suit against MS Windows.
There's something someone could fix
Change the rules so this type of crap is over and done with in a week.
The last two paragraphs of this piece are pure FUD but I will be way less interested when the result comes out to say "told you so."
This wouldn't have happened if Android were just a part of open source on top of Linux and not part Google's grand plan to assimilate us all. Apple (hate them) may be doing me a favour.
Apple owns the world
The guy who sits opposite me at work has an Apple. He's a cock.
Microsoft owns the world
I've just noticed that the Windows-touting cock opposite me at work has called me a cock for using a Mac. What a cock.
The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.
The office mirror is a wonderful thing.
I thought we got on ok! Look, I didn't know she was your mum, ok?
"Smooth animations between user screens"
So back to LCD screens on phones, yay for Snake!
starve them of cash.
and to think I was nearly considering a j-phone, mind you that was unlikely to happen coz it's crap for typing on, and doesn't do flash, and has an app store policed by puritans.
Just think all those extortionate j-phone contracts are going to be funding a bunch of US lawyers all the way to their luxury cars , private jets and next snort of coke.
Oh how I will love to see Apple lose this case.
So it's no Crack-books (with US keyboards, they don't do a UK keyboard ) j-phone , j-pad or any other Jesus-Jobs stuff for me.
I own an iPhone and I want Apple to lose
I own an iPhone because it is bar far the best tool for my job. Don't care if Apple censors apps I don't user for IT work. Don't care if it has Flash (I hate Flash sites and disable it in Chrome.) And the keyboard is "good enough" but could be better.
However, I want there to be competition. I don't think simple ideas or software should be patentable and I hope Apple loses this one.
The fact that you choose your tools based on religious feelings about a company vs. whether the tool meet your needs fascinates me.
"I'm an iPhone manufacturer...
... and patent trolling was my idea"
The system's broken
And it's particularly broken in the US, and that seems to be a deliberately created situation.
We can bitch all we want, point out what a nonsense, how farcical and how dangerous it all is but while it remains the way it is companies are going to use / abuse it to their advantage and no one can really blame them. That's what companies do, that's the nature of 'good business'.
It actually goes beyond the system being broken; society is broken. Cases such as this simply highlight what little power us mere mortals have - if voting changed anything they'd ban it. The best we can hope is that the corporations get into a bloodbath, destroy themselves and all that protects and empowers them, and we can start again. Unlikely to happen. The status quo will continue in some form or other, them and us, and we won't be the ones with any power. It's in businesses own interests to maintain their power and they will, aided by those who want to ride the gravy train.
Paris : A natural leader for our 'bend over and take it' world.
It's a complete f*cking joke that someone gave Apple a patent for the Observer design pattern. Almost every piece of major software is highly likely to already use the Observer pattern - are Apple now going to sue Microsoft for using it in every Office Application, or in Windows in general, or in Linux, or in every web browser on the market, etc. etc. What a complete and utter farce!!!
Psion prior art on Observer pattern
I'm pretty sure there is prior art on Observer pattern per 1995 in Psion software :-)
Spread the word
Apple did an Evil!
i too was thinking that every bit of code i have written and every system i have worked on infringes "A system in which a software module called an event consumer can indicate an interest in receiving notifications about a specific set of events, and it provides an architecture for efficiently providing notifications to the [event] consumer".
but, happily many of them aren't that efficient, or at least thats my claim now!
I thought of one!
<i>i too was thinking that every bit of code i have written and every system i have worked on infringes "A system in which a software module called an event consumer can indicate an interest in receiving notifications about a specific set of events, and it provides an architecture for efficiently providing notifications to the [event] consumer".</i>
I can think of a couple, namely any device driver or syslogd.
I can think of another
How about push email.
You set up your phone/computer to tell your e-mail server to notify it when you've received email.
Blatant posturing to try and force money out of HTC or HTC out of the market. Winning this case would just destroy Apple. If Apple win then in order to enforce the win they would need to pursue all the other phone vendors. Not only that from the look of the patents they would also need to pursue other companies in other fields. This could easily end up with Maemo being a target in which case you're right back at Nokia invented GSM and Apple never licensed it. Say bye bye to the jesus phone. Knowingly infringed with triple damages and that cash pile Apple is say on will start to reduce fast.
Add in Google, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia, IBM, Palm, Oracle (Sun), Xerox (Who invented the GUI), HP, Dell, Sony, etc. Who exactly do Apple think they are going to sue and where do they expect it to end. This is a massive losers move of a case where Apple are hoping that HTC fold under pressure. Given that Formosa plastics own HTC I cannot see that happening too fast. Even if it does expect none of the Asian countries to obey the rulings. I would be amazed if Europe upholds this nonsense.
Expect this to be no more than news for the sake of news. It will go no-where. Best case scenario - all Apple patents are thrown out. Hilariously this would leave Apple well in the firing line of Nokia, Palm and RIM. Apple are betting a lot on HTC backing off.
Plea to Formosa plastics:
Stand up to Apple and their crap. Make this Apple's greatest folly and show that their patents aren't worth anything. Not only will we gain more innovation from it, but companies and entrepreneurs will feel free to innovate again.
I wonder if the Apple's copyright extends to desktop phones too?
It seems to be an overlooked market (smart (mobile) phones over dull & drab desktop phones.
Smart desktop phones?
They were called phones of the future...
It's a shame the mighty dollar rules all...
The more I read about this nonsense (and what's with crap US patent laws possibly applying over here? sod off already!) the more I hope for a company to stick two fingers up at the American market and develop for everywhere but.
Surely their comes a point where this falls into the realm of anti-competitive behaviour? Or, given that America seems increasingly run by lawyers, that is the hope. Set up two sets of conflicting laws and get richer while sorting out the mess.
FAIL because it's about US patents, need I say more?
Apple feeds on your hatred
Oh the flames! Love the commentard outrage.
Go Apple I say. Crush the competition.
Time to order that shiny new PowerBook I think...
There is a plague on society. it is called "lawyers" once they infest your company it will be destroyed. nice knowing you apple!
Smooth animations between user screens
Hmm, how long has Compiz been around on *nix platforms?
Oh noes, I'll have to turn off my shiny desktop graphics. :-(
Stinks of opportunistic patent trolling to me - some of these patents seem pretty shaky in terms of prior art, maybe they just want to give HTC a fright? Given it's owned by a company of FujiHeavyIndustries-standards, I really can't see that happening.
Software patents are a load of crap anyway - if you are so confident your coding is so shit hot, let people compete with you, and prove it - meritocracy FTW.
It might be silly...
...but it's not patent trolling. Patent trolling is when companies own patents (often as a result of buying the companies that own them) and do nothing with them other than look for companies that might be infringing on them in an attempt to get them to pay them royalties, which are often their primary, or only, source of revenue.
Whatever you may think of software patents (and I think they stink), Apple created these patents and they were awarded them. They are 100% relevant to their business and they have are using these patents in many of their products. So, Apple is definitely not patent trolling.
The real problem here is not Apple, but the brain dead American patent system. Apple is only playing by the rules of the system. Unfortunately the system is broken.
"Apple is only playing by the rules of the system"
No, Apple are not playing by the rules of the "system" ... they are ABUSING the "system".
Their entire company and its products are built from ideas conceived by others and then "protected" by Apple's rushing to abuse the "system" that they are now gaming for their own benefit and to the rest of the world's detriment. They are now betting, probably successfully, that they will STILL be allowed to use their stolen tech, because it is too much trouble to play by the rules of the "system" for any company that actually believes in it.
Apple abuses the "system" by ignoring their own responsibilities to those who have generously allowed them to continue to use their stolen tech, and by their pursuit of these lawsuits despite the obviousness of their untenability. Many posters here have noted some of the prior art that renders these same patents meaningless, yet Apple pushes ahead with their bid to destroy HTC.
That is "abuse", and the "system" was not intended to function that way.
Yes, the "system"
"Apple is abusing the system"
No they're not. It's the broken US patent system that allows Apple (and many others) to patent prior art. If they didn't patent it then someone else would. The way the system "works" it's better patent everything imaginable rather than wait for someone else to do it and then shaft you.
Your statement that Apple is entirely built on "stolen tech" is utter rubbish. It has borrowed it's fair share of ideas from others, just like any other tech company.
None of this would have happened if software patents weren't allowed.
US patent office again
Patent #7,362,331 is the motion physics thing you see in every game. (They are trying to patent damped harmonic motion in interfaces).
Patent #7,479,949 (Controlling by touch gestures) See palm and every prior touch device, they didn't invent any new gestures or otherwise here.
Patent #7,657,849: broad / obvious (unlocking by gesture). If they didn't invent gestures, then performing [action] by gesture is not special and Nokia had unlock prior to them.
Patent #7,469,381: Scrolling with underdamped harmonic motion, see all games consoles for examples of stuff scrolling in with underdamped harmonic motion.
Patent #6,424,354: , F*** off they did not invent that in 2002, it is the listener model of every clique C++ book.
Patent #7,383,453: Power saving by reducing voltage to command process section of processor. Not the inventor.
Again the problem here isn't Apple taking advantage of the system to prevent competition, its the US patent office granting patents on obvious and preexisting thing to a person who isn't the inventor.
"gesture, noun; a movement of part of the body, esp. a hand or the head, to express an idea or meaning"
I raise a finger in an upward motion to express an idea. If the idea is that I feel it is too dark in this room and the lights come on, is that a gesture based control covered by the patents? Surely the combination of gestures I perform at an ATM machine to unlock my bank account and withdraw cash money should be covered by the patent. Handwriting recognition is nothing more than gesture interpretation as is the old "rock and scroll" interface used on the itsy so many moons ago. We can only hope that patents covering the flipping of switches soon dies the ignoble death it deserves.
Again, I raise a finger in an upward motion to express an idea.
I'd just pull out of the US
If it were my company, I'd just say "Oh well, no more US sales, I'll concentrate on Europe" and leave it at that. Preferably closing down all my US operations and removing all the money from the country the day before the court case.
Then just let Apple stew in their own apple juices.
The American operators and customers will soon get annoyed enough to buy HTC kit anyway on the grey market.
Although I do have some sympathy with people who have had genuine ground breaking inventions, this seems to be Apple throwing together a whole bunch of buzzwords in different sequences, patenting them and then waiting for someone to invent something that they can make fit one of their combos.
Rather than investing loads of money in coming up with a whole new idea.
I actually like Apple products, I had an iPhone and an iMac. They avoid most of the crap "your system is broken" errors and other problems with Windows and a lot of the annoyance around partially finished software on Linux (your software isn't finished until you've written a decent manual for it! and I don't mean an INSTALL how-to and "self documenting code")
USA is such a tiny part of the phone market now and going forward. A lot of the transmission technologies are foreign and most of the manufacture is too. Couple that with the market external to the US being far larger and HTC could just stop selling to yanks and tell them to go get f*cked until they sort their stupid patent system out. The tech roles have now reversed and if they want to come and play with the rest of us it's our rules they need to follow.
Where are all the fruit fans who were saying how unfair it was of Nokia to pick on their angelic orchard now?
Honestly, the US patent system is a farce. I could patent bowl movements and then literally sue your arse (ass). How's that for a software patent?!
Not with bowl movements
you couldn't. But you could stop me moving things around in the kitchen.
You know I mean bowel!
HTC should sue back
Under anti-competetive practices.
But yes IP is broken but so is the rest of the corrupted system including law and government in general. Gotta love capitalism.
My Apple Nano v1 will be the last thing from Apple I ever buy.
Where is my Steve Jobs is the devil icon?
Apple actually didn't start this
There's no doubt that every handset maker has copied iPhone slavishly, and without some legal IP protection, neither Apple, nor Microsoft, nor Nokia would be viable companies. This is just business. To stay in business you have to use the US patent system the way it is, not the way it "should" be, and years ago Apple was royally shafted by Microsoft over the Mac. They've learned their lesson, and in general studiously avoid the perils of patent litigation or of licensing their crown jewels. Tech patents operate by mutually assured destruction of megacorps with large patent portfolios.
First Apple were sued by Nokia and Kodak over iPhone. Nokia is trying to extort a cross license to iPhone patents that Apple doesn't want to share, in exchange for not charging Apple-specific extortionate fees for its own industry standard freely licensed patents. It's likely a settlement will be reached without actually testing Apple's patents in court.
So Apple are going for HTC as their best target with the smallest patent portfolio, to get a final decision made by the courts that can be used against other iPhone copiers. Advantage one: Apple don't need to negotiate, because HTC has nothing Apple needs. Advantage two: HTC is Microsoft's leading handset partner for Windows Phone - resolving this this can only slow MS down. Advantage three: Google is trying to control the smartphone business almost by stealth - via HTC Google can be forced to show their hand, and probably to indemnify Android licensees, becoming seen as the new Microsoft.
Nokia can't charge Apple-specific extortionate fees. The fees are governed by standards bodies to make sure the industry doesn't get stifled by license fees.
So close .....
"...years ago Apple was royally shafted by Microsoft over the Mac."
Um ... you must be referring to the GUI debacle, where Apple said, "We invented it" and Microsoft said, "We invented it" and the judge said, "Losers. IBM PARX Xerox invented it ... and both of you know it because both of you attended the demonstration before you started working on your own version, so get the hell out of my courtroom."
You also ignore that Microsoft provided most of the productivity software for the Mac, including rolling out a Mac version of MS Office very early on so that the Mac users could have something to type with besides a simple text editor. Not to mention the additional programming assistance Microsoft gave to Apple, including loaner coders and engineers, so it could become a viable computer company.
Oh yeah ... Microsoft shafted Apple, alright. And the rest of your comment will be taken seriously.
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