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back to article Apple wins skirmish in HTC-Google patent war

The US International Trade Commission has handed Apple a victory in its patent dispute with Android-phonemaker HTC, banning the Taiwanese company's infringing phones from importation into the US. The full impact of the victory's implications, however, remains to be seen. "Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade …

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The thing is that that $40B in the bank did not beling to Steve, and was not his to spend. It is collectively owned by the shareholders.

It was all very good for him to throw his toys out of his pram and promise to spend all of the money in laywer pissing contests, but I doubt the shareholders would have let him. People just have to look at what happens when you decide to transform your entire business into a lawsuit like the SCO Group. Regardless of any merits of the case, if they spent all their money on fighting, they would just get left behind as everyone else carried on moving forward.

As for this statement: "Do you not value the protection of invention, when you see it? You should; otherwise, there would be none." I fail to see how this stands up to any test. <sarcasm> Obviously, without patent law, nobody invented the wheel or levers and pullys. We still all live in caves and just hope to catch something to eat before we starve. </sarcasm>

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Trollface

Top Troll posting of 2011

@inventor:

Respect for the above post in terms of provoking readers into an emotional response!

Best of 2011 IMHO

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Apple turned up in the mobile phone market in 2007 and piggy backed on an industry that was already massively successful because of billions of pounds of previous investment by other handset manufacturers and network operators. Their contribution up to that date? Zero.

To try and get devices taken of the shelves made by manufacturers who built up the industry they are relying on seems a bit petty when they owe far more to these manufacturers than I suspect they will ever repay.

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Anonymous Coward

@JustaKOS

Sadly mate I don't think the Apple faithful give two flying Monkey's wotnots about innovation, other companies making products or little guys trying to make a living protecting their inventions, so long as the lads and lasses of Cuppertino keep telling the party faithful what to buy, when to buy and how it must be used, all will be well with the world!

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Anonymous Coward

@Rameses Noblick

I was under the impression that Woz left Apple for good around 1988, so his involvement with anything post 1990, especially the iMac and the iPhone, iWhatever is probably limited to a few quiet comments with his old partner over the odd meal and phone call.

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Go

$40B in apples

Sounds like someone reaped the rewards for his inventions.

The markets have spoken, no patents required, so please everybody move on and continue building better phones.

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Anonymous Coward

@KnucklesTheDog

Please show us where Apple is taking devices that built the mobile industry off the shelves?

Are they going against Ericsson or Nokia Siemens Networks? No.

HTC and Samsung did not build the mobile industry.

HTC and Samsung also borrowed a lot of ideas from the iPhone, including those that took the whole smartphone market from being mostly business tools into the wider public. That has made them very profitable compared to the super-thin margins they were getting on their previous stupidphone lines.

Same goes for carriers.

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Anonymous Coward

---ath0

We can't expect much reality coming from a faboi like athzero. Take a look at her posting histoire to see what I mean. But if anyone wants to take a look at HTC's innovation history they'll know one of the companies which built the smartphone/touchscreen industry.

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FAIL

@+++ath0

A brief history of Samsung and HTC, both manufacturing phones before everyone in the developed world had one, Samsung significantly before, hence both played a part in building up the industry to what it was in 2007.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_Corporation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_Telecommunications

Samsung also manufacture core components for the iPhone, so suggesting Apple aren't gaining the benefit of their experience is just bizarre:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/16/apple_a5_chips_factory_in_texas/

But of course this is all common knowledge anyway, so what was the point on my replying really?

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Happy

The point in replying

Shame the itards into being accurate!

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If Apple pushes too hard, they'll lose their 'friendly' reputation and alienate consumers

Apple originally stole their GUI concept from Xerox, to make the Lisa and then the Mac. Neither Mac nor Windows (nor Gnome, KDE, etc.) would exist if not for that "theft".

If this was about decompiling and reverse-engineering actual code, I could see their point, but this is largely about the superficial touchy-feelies.

Apple has to let this go and not be so anal about protecting every little user gesture and feature, because they've done (even recently) their share of copying too. This attitude will destroy their corporate image, and ultimately their corporate culture.

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Anonymous Coward

@ them

"Apple originally stole their GUI concept from Xerox, to make the Lisa and then the Mac. Neither Mac nor Windows (nor Gnome, KDE, etc.) would exist if not for that "theft"."

Sorry, but it wasn't theft.

Xerox obtained pre-IPO Apple stock in return for Apple being able to access the research at Xerox PARC, which they told Xerox was to work on a GUI.

Additonally, the work at Xerox Parc didn't happen in isolation but was influenced by that of others - e.g. Doug Engelbart.

Ah, sod it... let's just say Apple stole it all and it was all taken from Xerox PARC.

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WTF?

The claims

Claim 1: Symix circa 1989

Claim 8: The system recited in claim 1, with highlighting as would be obvious to anyone skilled in the art.

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Anonymous Coward

No surprise

It's difficult not o see the ITC in a harsh light. I do not of an instance when they have 'found' against an American company. I would happily be corrected.

There is nothing International about the this US organisation.

So it would seem now however, that HTC has to work around the decision... Bring on the innovation

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Anonymous Coward

My sloppy typing

I do not know of an instance when they have 'found' against an American company

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Bronze badge

A cry from a user...

I'm an iPhone user and content with that choice.

However I'm sure I'm not alone in getting sick of these tit-for-tat court battles over tiny features. In the end, the only people it hurts are the consumers who end up with less choice on more expensive phones (the only winners being the lawyers).

We'll end up with phones where each manufacturer will end up with certain trivial, but useful tweaks but not others, in most cases hampering functionality. As no-one has all the ideas (even Apple!), all handsets will be limited in their potential. Ridiculous.

Please don't bother replying with the blame game. I've heard it all before. I'm not defending any of them - this foolishness just needs ending.

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Pint

Bravo!

Well said Sir.

Nothing wrong with owning whatever phone you want and are comfortable with - if you prefer iPhones and are happy with the restrictions placed upon you by that choice, so be it. The same applies to if you wish to own a 'Droid, or a Nokia, or a WinPhone.

Other than amusing arguments on the internet, the court battles don't give us anything of worth, and will eventually end up harming both the industry and our wallets, as there's only one group of people that ends up paying for it all...

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Anonymous Coward

U.S. "International" Trade Commission

= Team America: World Patent^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Trade Police

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I SEE THAT

the new Apple 4s has a pull down notification bar?

Is this not something HTC Sense pioneered......

No wait, Apple have filed a patent!

They would file one for penicillin if they could and be pedantic enough to not allow anyone to use it.

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WTF?

Oh dear

Texts where highlighted long before Apple made its first iPhone.

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Anonymous Coward

Patent was filed long before Apple made its iPhone. Over 10 years before it.

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theres a reason peoples phones used to do this

isn't it from the mac this patent?

Does this mean normally it's cross licensed ?

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FAIL

It is time..

Time to do a complete over-haul on all current patents and the way future patents are processed and given.

This is going to far, there is now no way that someone could just sit down and write a program to do what they want it to do. What I mean is, if you write all the functions and code it yourself, and didn't lift any code (verbatim) from somewhere else, then it should be protected from lawsuits (even if features are similar), and if someone pops up and tries to sue, you show your source code to a jury of your peers and they decide if it's been lifted or not. This whole "I came up with bouncing text" and "It makes things you would want to click on click-able" crap is creating a minefield of patents that no one will be able to traverse without a multimillion dollar bank account and an army of lawyers.

Software patents were not meant to be a lock-down on all advancement. Software patents were supposed to be about the "way" to get to a result, and that challenged others to create a better "way" to get the end result by protecting the original "way" from being copied for a period of time.

When did patents become such pathetic junk as "a method that through action or inaction, to add,change, review, or remove data or elements of data from a virtual or physical device is made"?

What can be done to put an end to this stupidity?

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Stop

Apple is the new SCO

Is Apple the new SCO now, with litigation as the new business model? Not so cool...

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Apple may well have been granted this patent in 1996 but since its taken 15 years for them to inforce it when there have been hundreds of manufacturers and software companies that have had infringing products over that time then it proves Apple are just patent trolls rolling out vague patents when rival companies get products good enough to take away their market share.

Although MS aren't on the Apple radar yet at Winphone 7 is only a minor blip on on the smartphone radar and Win8 has yet to be released it wouldn't be surprised if Apple go after MS next if Window 8 starts to seriously erode the iphone/ipad sales.

Hopefully they will then both destroy each other throwing billions at each other through law suites and then perhaps we can get some real innovation from some small tech companies

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Anonymous Coward

One more reason why I will NEVER buy an apple product.

Next doors cat is more innovative than apple and its been dead for ten years.

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Anonymous Coward

It makes no difference as you only get to see the big names duking it out in court but you'd be surprised at the scale of this sort of crap, loads and loads of company lawyers making a career out of fucking each other over for a dollar via a busted patent system that now only seems to have one benefit, keeping people employed in the legal system!

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Facepalm

@GitMeMyShootinIrons - I just add to add my support to your statement: I am a happy Android user and am very gald you enjoy your iPhone. Everyone should be able to choose the device they want to meet their own needs.

As you say the only people suffering here is us, the consumers, and we suffer in multiple ways. Firstly, these silly rulings reduce our choice in devices, secondly they stifle new features and innovation but most importantly they cost us, the consumer, our money!!! We are the people funding these stupid court cases.

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how do you suffer?

ok tell me how YOU suffer? if you suffer so much because Google couldn't innovate and invent buy yourself an iPhone (keep in mind you are using an iPhone feature illegally on your Android phone). You have a choice: buy the original with patented (read original) user friendly features or the copy which implements ideas that were not patented by Apple.

And coming back to the theme of the article, I don't see why it's such a big problem for the others to pay the modic patent tax to Apple. It's a useful feature of a phone and I hate phones that don't support it. And yeah, Apple also pays royalties on some patents to others.

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I'll tell you how we all suffer, regardless of device manufacturer.

These law suits cost money. HTC,Apple,Goggle et al do not fund these out of their own personal pool of money, they fund it out of the money they make selling you, me and everyone else a device. So the price we all pay is a combination of manufacturing costs, marketing etc costs, profit margin and contribution to the 'oh we will probably get sued we had better cover that too fund' costs.

The only option a manufacturer has in this day and age with the distorted patent system is to build a device that only has features they know they own/have licensed.

So we either pay the additional fees to fund their legal actions, or accept that the device market will stagnate.

And seeing as you mentioned legality try this one http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/02/apple_loses/ - A big corp trying to crush a small inovator. Lets be honest all the device manufacturers are as bad as one another.

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"And yeah, Apple also pays royalties on some patents to others."

And one of the long ongoing battles that has allowed the Dutch court to intervene and Motorola to get an injunction against them is their refusal to pay patent licenses in an internationally agreed way.

http://www.reghardware.com/2011/12/09/apple_motorola_patents/

Quote from Dutch Court article on Samsungs claim for FRAND license agreement with Apple and Apples refusal to sign.

"And the court in the Hague backed up the general view on FRAND issues, that if a company wants to use a patent from an essential standard, it's open to being licensed. The ruling therefore ordered the two companies to negotiate such an agreement."

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Pint

Who's the Mount & Blade fan?

I think we should be told.

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Nya
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Who's patent is this?

Hang on, so Apple win's a patent for the auto creating hyperlink...meanwhile this is the same patent which BT is now chasing everyone for also? So who owns this patent? Apple or BT, or has (as is likely) they and pretty much everyone and nobody owns the damn thing.

The US patent system is a total piddle take!

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Unhappy

Boring

More patent news stories. Boring.

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Linux

Apple did not invent the mobile phone

Apple did not invent the mobile phone. All they did was to implement a touch based Graphical User Interface (GUI) that people like. Most software in a mobile phone is not part of the GUI.

Apple was banned from selling iPhones in Germany in November because the iPhone was found to violate two Motorola Mobility none GUI related patents. The first, European Patent (EP) 1010336 (B1), covers a "method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system", while EP 0847654 (B1) describes a "multiple pager status synchronisation system and method".

Over the next Year I expect the real inventors of Mobile phones Motorola, Nokia, Ericsson and Microsoft to ask for payment for the many hundreds of their patents which may have been violated by the iPhone.

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