back to article Apple turns the flamethrower on Android

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 …

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  1. Richard Wharram
    WTF?

    Smooth animations between user screens

    How in the name of Cheepus are things like this patentable ?

    1. Big-nosed Pengie

      One word:

      America.

  2. NB
    Flame

    tl;dr

    Apple are a bunch of cry baby dicks that want to stifle competition because even they know just how shit the jesus phone really is.

    Personally I'm waiting for MeeGo to start being used on devices before I buy a smart phone, then we can finally have a truly open mobile platform with good backing from nokia and intel.

  3. Dorian Farrimond
    Jobs Horns

    The cheek

    "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"

    That would be the observer pattern then?

  4. Piro
    FAIL

    Bunch of absolute lowlifes

    I'd throw them out of court and laugh at them.

    1. Anton Ivanov
      Flame

      No, that will be a long and illustrious lineup of syscalls

      There is a very long and illustrious line up of prior art here.

      epoll(), kqueue, /dev/poll all provide this functionality on the relevant Unix clones and most of them predate this patent by a very long time.

      If Apple pushes this one too much it may end up finding itself in the target area of IBM, SnOracle, etc who all hold prior art on the matter and all of them have much bigger patent war chests.

    2. Munchausen's proxy
      Pint

      "event consumer"?

      I guess I'm too old, and not up on what you kids are doing these days - it sounds like an interrupt handler to me.

      And I would think IBM would have something to say about prior art on a patent for an object-oriented GUI on a procedural OS (OS2's workplace shell).

    3. Ross Ryles

      Observer Pattern

      That patent made me instantly think "Observer Pattern" too.

      The GoF book references for known implementations of this are dated 1988.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting ...

    It seems Apple are betting the Farm they have so much money they can come out of this "not" looking like SCO .. somehow I rather doubt Google can afford to let HTC lose so I don't think they're going to be 'all' that soft a target, not to mention an attack on Android is an attack on Linux and the whole Open Source community.

    Cash pile aside, Apple have done some pretty stupid things over the years, but and this has to be way up there!

  6. Greg D
    Thumb Down

    software patents - why they are utter bullshit

    ooh they made a thing, that does stuff.

    thats surprisingly like our thing that does stuff.

    fuck lets sue.

    such a moronic thing software patents - stifle the market good n proper. thank god we dont have them here in the good ol' EU.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    So to me it sounds like ....

    if you live in America you will pretty much have the choice of either a Nokia 3310 or an iPhone ... I know which one I would rather.

    SNAKE BABY YEAH!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Quite agree but 6310i...

      I still use a Nokia 6310i as my business phone and proud of it!

  8. breakfast
    Stop

    While software is patentable this will keep happening

    Just doesn't make sense that Software patents behave the same as all other patents. The field is just too quick for that- if it is to be patentable the patents need at the very least to time out in a fraction of the time to avoid these constant stultifying and pernicious lawsuits.

  9. Jimmy Floyd
    Happy

    Looking on the bright side...

    If Apple are this frightened of Android it means they're shit-scared of their shiny ice-hockey puck being called out for what it is: technically average, restrictive, over-priced but oh-so purdee.

    The strangest sentence I note in this article is the bit about a gesture to unlock the phone, as opposed to a PIN. I was under the impression (and await correction) that this is standard on Android but that someone has had to create an app for it on the iPhone?

    There was an article a while back between us Reg commentards about the multi-touch bit that Android has on some (but not all) of the standard applications. I was slightly surprised not to see that mentioned but maybe that's a reflection of the sheer number of allegations!

  10. Cameron Colley

    Dear Apple: Fuck off and die.

    Yes, you "pioneered home computing" or some such back in the day -- but now you're just another patent-trolling innovation-stifling waste of space.

    To all those that have bought Apple products in the last few years: Thanks a fucking bunch you selfish morons -- you helped to fund this shit which will cost us non-Apple customers for years to come.

  11. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    WTF?

    Oh for flips sake!

    I have a LG GW520 and it has loads of similar gestures to my wife's Jesus-phone, like swipe-smooth scroll in picture gallery, twist and tilt to rotate the on screen orientation! I use Apple desktop kit, like it but Apple can be very, very short-sighted and childish about things like this.

    What's next? Suing the UK pound stores, seizing the kiddies plastic toys that look a little like the J-phone?!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Simple - Lawyers win

    Apple have lots of money = expensive Lawyers

    Google have lots of money = expensive Lawyers

    Microsoft have lots of money = expensive Lawyers

    Nokia have quite a bit of money = decent Lawyers

    OK - no one dare take on Microsoft but Apple will be fighting Google and Nokia at the same time. That cash mountain is going to disappear fast and I think Nokia will win their case.

    Patents, good greif. Oh wait, they are written by patent Lawyers...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    So basically ...

    This isn't about product protection at all, but more to limit consumer choice - by bringing some never-before-enforced (submarine) patents to the surface to push a rival which might take a slice of market you had staked out for yourself under.

    Smooth move, Apple - now they're just another patent troll ....

    Oh well.

  14. Drefsab

    Thanks Apple

    I'm in the market for a new phone I've been toying with waiting for the iphone 4th Gen or an android device such as Nexus One, Sony X10 or Motorola Shadow.

    This news has made me scratch the iphone off the list of possibles :) I know apple don't care about my personal busisnes but the only way they will ever learn that people don't like these types of action is mass voting with feet.

    Sadly I doubt there's enough people who are informed enough or opinionated enough to make a reasonable dent in apple's sales. As such they will continue to do all they can to make sure you don't get a choice of decent phones.

  15. Michael
    FAIL

    pish

    Sorry, but this is complete and utter pish.

    The sooner software patents are banned the better. The whole patent system needs re-thought and the bloody obvious ones should stop getting granted. The whole point of the system was to provide access to new innovations and enable inventors to be re-numerated for sharing their knowledge rather than keep it secret. This in turn should enable further innovation.

    Wide ranging non-specific patents should not be allowed in almost all cases.

  16. Ian 45

    Soon to be irrelevant?

    Since the west seems to be in terminal decline and all our jobs are exported to India and China one guesses they will be buying all the phones anyway.

    Tried Apple stuff, expensive for an average experience.,

    1. Macka

      Re: Looking on the bright side...

      Unlocking an iPhone is a one or two step process. The first is a finger gesture - a swipe which either takes you to the app screen or to a keypad to enter a pin. The second, the keypad/pin screen is not always required, it depends how you've got it set up. I've got mine set to screen lock quickly to protect against accidental input, but only to activate the keypad and pin if the device is locked for more than a few minutes. So if I use it, put it down and then pick it up again within a few minutes I don't have to faff around tapping in a pin number.

    2. Sean Timarco Baggaley
      Stop

      The Stupid is Strong in this one.

      Apple have NO FUCKING CHOICE. They are LEGALLY OBLIGATED to protect any patents they own, or they will lose them.

      Replace the word "Apple" in the preceding with any other US corporation.

      Do you not understand the definition of "democracy"?

      Don't like Software Patents? Guess what? YOU—"The People of The United States of America"— are ENTIRELY responsible for the actions of your government. Including passing dumb, stupid laws like these, which effectively hamstring corporations and stifle competition.

      *Every* business with a patent portfolio has to go through this crap. It only makes lawyers (and the USPTO) happy. It does sod all for a business and is actually a cost-centre and low-grade, blunt-stick tool for inter-corporation diplomacy. ("Hey, those guys have some patents we could use, let's sue 'em to bring them to the negotiating table...")

    3. David Webb

      Nope

      Hate to point out the obvious but Nokia is as rich as, if not richer than, Apple, with assets of over $53 billion compared to Apples assets of $42 billion. Jobs was proud to announce Apple were a $50b company, Nokia already were.

      When it comes to phone patents, Nokia could take Apple to the cleaners and back again, HTC is an easy mark to go against, why go for the ones that could defend themselves against this patent, go for the small fry.

      1. Raumkraut
        Stop

        Patent expiration

        "Apple have NO FUCKING CHOICE. They are LEGALLY OBLIGATED to protect any patents they own, or they will lose them."

        Wrong. Patents do not expire if you do not enforce them; otherwise there would be no problem of "submarine patents": where a company keeps quiet about holding/enforcing patents which read on a technology until it becomes widespread, essential, and thus provide easy pickings. Take Microsoft and FAT, for example.

        What you're thinking of are Trademarks. They can get diluted and/or genericised if their licensed use is not enforced, causing the owner to effectively lose their exclusivity on that mark.

        1. Anton Ivanov
          Flame

          And they should

          And the easiest way to solve this problem is if they do expire.

          A patent should automatically expire if the holder fails to bring a product to market or put it out for RAND licensing within 1 year after the patent has been granted. Considering that it takes 2-5 years on average from filing to granting this is not a particularly onerous requirement.

          Similarly, a patent that is not available for RAND licensing should automatically expire one year after the last non-insider sale of an item which contains the patented technology.

          And so on. By the way - software is not the worst offender here.

          Guess how much patents on battery technology, hybrid propulsion and green tech are held by Esso, BP and other petrol companies.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: Nope

        Can’t we just agree that they’re both very well-heeled corporations?

        At the end of 2009, Nokia’s total assets were €35.74 billion, Apple’s (based on today’s exchange rate) was €34.69 billion – not a huge amount in it. Nokia’s net income for 2009 was €891 million – Apple’s was €6.03 BILLION… quite a difference.

        However, I think most would be more interested in a company’s equity (assets minus liabilities). Nokia’s annual results put this at €14.75 billion – Apple’s equates to (again based on the current exchange rate, where the euro is preforming poorly) €23.15 billion.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Wolfram Alpha...

        ...has its uses:

        http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=Apple%2C+Nokia%2C+Microsoft%2C+Google

        Nokia is the only company with a market cap <$100 Billion and net income <$1 Billion

        That said - Nokis's patent claims would be the most crippling if upheld.

        However, they are a European based company, so most likely to lose in the US courts as we all know how patriotic US judges are.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          However

          for the same reason they'd be more likely to win in Europe which is a bigger marketplace.

      4. Big-nosed Pengie
        Headmaster

        Legally obliged

        I fixed that for you.

    4. Brian Morrison
      Grenade

      Now, I refuse to believe....

      ....that there is such a thing as a decent lawyer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        there are decent lawyers, but they are rare

        Clive Stafford-Smith would be the name that springs to mind. He's a good human being.

    5. Aaron 10
      Troll

      Patenty Trolling...

      By definition, patent trolls are companies that develop patents on products or software but don't make any products. Apple makes products, effectively eliminating them from being patent trolls.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Software patents

      The lot of you need to understand - software is expensive to develop. (Kinda like hardware! - Surprise!) A patent is a way of allowing an inventor a short term (Yes it is short term!) monopoly to allow them to recoup the investment in said product. Now we could go to a 'no patent' world. Then there would be no transfer of knowledge - because everything would be a trade secret. The bottom line - in the government's view - a patent is a way to get companies to exchange knowledge. This is why you have to disclose everything you know about the best way to do things on the subject of the patent. If you don't, you can lose the patent in a court fight. You want to get rid of software patents - expect the field to slowdown considerably. (I am not a Lawyer - but I got a long lecture - at $400+/hour! - from a patent lawyer about this during the last patent application I made.)

  17. Nigel Wright
    FAIL

    No matter what....

    I still won't buy an iPhone and my next phone is likely to be an Android one.

  18. David Lawrence
    FAIL

    All yourr ideas is belong to Apple

    So Apple now own all smartphones eh? Just wait - when the iPud comes out they will own all Netbooks and eReaders too.

    Don't even think about having any smart ideas in future because they patented the concept of having smart ideas back in 2006.

    So let me get this straight - if they win, my smartphone OS will be totally crippled and loads of common-sense useful stuff will be taken away because Apple thought of it first?

    Is this progress of any kind? I think not. It will stifle any competition and will result in all the bad things that happen when monopolies exist.

  19. hahnchen
    FAIL

    Some [patents] are generic enough to be applied to any computing environment.

    So why were they granted? US Patent law needs reform. The USPO has to start hiring competent members of staff.

  20. Macka
    Thumb Down

    Apple should be careful

    Apple may live to regret this if as a consequence they push mobile vendors in the direction of Windows Phone 7 Series and allow Microsoft back into the game in a meaningful way.

    Personally I think they picked HTC because the they are producing the only phones that IMO offer any real competition with the iPhone. If I were to switch (and occasionally I look to see if I'm tempted) then an HTC Android device is the way I would go.

    I also think this sucks big time. Touch screen devices are the future of computing, and trying to stop people from getting involved and innovating around this to use touch to its full potential is only going to hurt the consumer. Imagine if whoever invented the electronic computer keyboard had been able to stop anyone else but themselves from using it. We couldn't have a computer industry like we do today.

    1. Seb123

      Not only Android

      Windows 7 is built using the same/similar patterns that Android and the iPhone uses...

      The '599 Patent, entitled "Object-Oriented Graphic System," was duly and legally issued on October 3, 1995 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the '599 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit I.

      The '354 Patent, entitled "Object-Oriented Event Notification System With Listener Registration Of Both Interests And Methods," was duly and legally issued on July 23, 2002 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the '354 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit J.

      These two patents mean that Apple basically own the rights to almost every Graphic User interface system in use today. I would like to seem them trying to take MS to court, especially considering that what happened in the 90s that got Apple back from the brink of bankruptcy. I recall Steve says that Bill G was a god amongst men or something similar.

    2. RegisterThis

      Future or present?

      "Touch screen devices are the future of computing"

      They are the present of computing as a 'fad' and have just as many 'cons' as 'pros' when compared to buttons (I for one prefer buttons) ... I think the future is probably more innovative than that like fast, accurate and reliable speech recognition etc.

      1. Gulfie
        Stop

        Speech Recognition?! Technically feasible, but won't happen

        Sorry, the Star Trek day when everything can be reliably controlled by voice alone will not arrive.

        Even if somebody puts together the hardware and software that will reliably transcribe all accents for a given language there are other reasons why SR will not replace mechanical interactions. We still need feedback in some form to verify what was spoken has been properly understood - OK that could synthesised speech repeating back what the computer thinks you said. Also, once an individual sees/hears that their command has been incorrectly interpreted there is an overwhelming urge to use a mechanical interaction (keyboard, mouse gesture, touch screen) to correct or cancel it rather than risk trying to so using another voice command.

        For me the killer technical issue is that for a computer to reliably differentiate between speech that is a command it should execute, and everything else we and others around us say, we would have to adopt a highly specific vocabulary for addressing the computer.

        There is a bigger problem though that this would still not overcome. Sci Fi generally depicts speech control as an individual using their natural language to address a computer, sometimes prefixing what they say with a 'magic word'. We all understand what is going on because we are capable of analysing not just what the person is saying, but the entire context within which it is said. Thus we are able to determine not only what is being said but also the work out who or what it is being said to.

        Imagine closing your eyes, listening to casual conversation between a group of people and identifying when you are being addressed, and when you are not. Sometimes you'll know because your name is said first. At other times you might be able to work it out from the context of the prior conversation. Sometimes though you'll not be able to know with a high degree of confidence if a question is aimed at you or not. It's the same for a computer - with only one source of information it won't be able to distinguish reliably enough when it is being addressed and when it is not. The irritation of false negatives (commands ignored) risk of false positives (non-commands treated as commands) will remain too high to adopt voice control in any situation where there are multiple people and/or multiple voice activated systems and/or anything vaguely safety critical. You can argue that this will improve over time but what rate is tolerable to joe public? And that's why it won't fly.

        1. RegisterThis
          Alien

          Your perception of Voice Recognition is contrained by the present ...

          @Gulfie

          You are thinking within the confines of the present ... what if the device is intelligent enough to understand context and can recognise its owners voice ...? We are talking the *future* here ...

        2. peter 45
          Headmaster

          Won't happen...ever?

          I am old enough to remember the days when a new font was invented for machine readable writing because computers were not powerful enough to read handwritten or even typed characters. I still see this font in 60/70s TV and movies. I wonder what happened to it and why it is no longer used?

          Never is a long long time

    3. Gulfie
      Thumb Down

      Wanna bet?

      I'd wager that Windows 7 Mobile will encroach on a few Apple patents as well...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      re: "All yourr ideas is belong to Apple"(sic)

      You've lead a sheltered existence, haven't you?

      This isn't how patents work, or what they're for. They are often abused, and lame as hell, but they work differently. Less spittle, more background reading please.

    5. Shannon Jacobs
      Unhappy

      Patents were intended to encourage progress

      How times change. The original idea of patents was to ENCOURAGE more innovation. Now patents are mostly used to stifle progress. The direct stifling is typified by Apple's stalling FUD approach with this lawsuit, but there's also an indirect version, when companies refuse to pursue innovations that don't offer sufficient patent opportunities. High-stakes gambling is NOT the same as technical progress in the arts and sciences.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Oops!

    "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"

    Oh bugger - I have been programming like this for years (but referring to what I do as "callbacks")

    AC because I don't want to be sued!

  22. Monty Burns

    Not just phones then,.....

    "Some of the patents specify a device with a built-in screen, or battery, or touch-sensitivity, but some are generic enough to be applied to any computing environment."

    Forget the "but....", that already covers my laptop! Surley thats not right???!!! (and I don't mean correct)

    Look out HP & Dell, your next!

  23. Seb123
    Thumb Down

    Software Patterns can be patented

    How did Apple manage to patent software patents that are in use by nearly all GUI interfaces today? Who allows this sort of bs to happen?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    If Apple got their way...

    We'd all be eating oranges to avoid paying them a royalty...

    1. Rodrigo Rollan
      Coffee/keyboard

      Sanity check

      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.......

  25. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    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.

  26. Sean Bergeron
    Boffin

    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.

  27. Jax 1
    Unhappy

    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

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Funny...

    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.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    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.

    1. fandom Silver badge

      No really

      Noone was thinking about buying Nokia even before the suit so, why bother stating the obvious?

  30. Pirate Dave
    Pirate

    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.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    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.

    1. Gulfie
      Stop

      Prior, prior art...

      Digital Research's Gem! And of course more than a passing nod to Xerox PARC's GUI work...

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    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 =)

  33. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    It's "Look and Feel" all over again

    Haha, I'm beginning to think this guy is right about Apple's history repeating itself...

    http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-blodget-hey-apple-wake-up-it-2010-1

    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.

  34. Master Baker

    Apple owns the world

    The guy who sits opposite me at work has an Apple. He's a cock.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      The office mirror is a wonderful thing.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hey!

      I thought we got on ok! Look, I didn't know she was your mum, ok?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    "Smooth animations between user screens"

    So back to LCD screens on phones, yay for Snake!

  36. Karl H
    Flame

    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.

  37. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    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.

  38. Paul 135
    Jobs Horns

    Observer pattern

    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!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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.

      1. Gulfie
        Go

        "I'm an iPhone manufacturer...

        ... and patent trolling was my idea"

  39. Colin Critch
    WTF?

    Psion prior art on Observer pattern

    I'm pretty sure there is prior art on Observer pattern per 1995 in Psion software :-)

  40. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!
    Alert

    Spread the word

    Apple did an Evil!

  41. Jonathan
    WTF?

    "efficiently"?

    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!

    1. Matt Piechota

      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.

      1. MonkeyBot

        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.

  42. SC Handle
    Jobs Horns

    Idiots

    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.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Desktop phones

    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.

    1. Fuzz

      Smart desktop phones?

      http://www.amstrad.com/products/emailers/emp.html

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        long ago

        They were called phones of the future...

        http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/upgrade/1279796.html

  44. heyrick Silver badge
    FAIL

    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?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    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...

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Plague

    There is a plague on society. it is called "lawyers" once they infest your company it will be destroyed. nice knowing you apple!

  47. Steven Raith
    FAIL

    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.

    Steven R

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

    1. Michael Brown
      Unhappy

      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.

      1. James Butler
        Thumb Down

        The "System"

        "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.

        1. Michael Brown
          FAIL

          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.

  49. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    obscene gestures

    "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.

  50. max allan

    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")

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Exactly

      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.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    So...

    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?!

    1. Ivan Headache

      Not with bowl movements

      you couldn't. But you could stop me moving things around in the kitchen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        LOL!

        You know I mean bowel!

  52. Dick Emery
    Alert

    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?

  53. sleepy

    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.

  54. Lars Silver badge

    Nice article, but

    Nice article, but the last sentence I find a bit silly.

    "but anyone less well equipped would do well to get out of the mobile business while they can. "

    Also I think Nokia has some part of this too. (every body accusing every body in order to return to status quo, or something).

    Also I think Nokia should produce some hardware where you could download Android if you feel like it.

    Also I have a feeling that "sensing the orientation of the device." was there long before Apple produced any phones at all.

    1. foo_bar_baz

      Except

      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.

    2. James Butler

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: So close

        I think you're overlooking that Apple licensed to Microsoft, certain parts of its GUI for Windows 1.0. In Windows. 2.0, Microsoft added extra parts of Apple's GUI.

        As you probably know, Xerox got Apple stock for engineer visits and an understanding a GUI would be created by Apple, based on Xerox research.

        So the deal done between Apple/Microsoft and Xerox/Apple differed somewhat.

        Also, you've rather oversimplifed the court ruling of the Apple/Microsoft case - its finding was that because individual components of the GUI were not original, the GUI in its entirity must surely be unoriginal too.

    3. Mark 65 Silver badge

      and

      Momentous disadvantage 1: This is US only. So what?

  55. Robinson
    Thumb Down

    Yea whatever...

    I love my iPhone, but some of this is just rubbish! For example, the:

    "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"

    ... is utter crap. I've just been doing a technical write-up of this exact same thing for a product we have. It's called THE OBSERVER PATTERN.

  56. Geoff Mackenzie

    Pfffft ...

    That's the sound of my soft spot for Apple evaporating.

    Software patents suck.

  57. Ben Rosenthal
    Jobs Horns

    got you all beat

    I'm coming to the US to patent the idea of having ideas, then I'll own YOU ALL, mwa ha ha! (or should that be bwa ha ha, I never could get the hang of the laugh at evil academy :/ )

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a theory...

    wasn't there a story last week about Apple having a mountain of cash just sitting on St Steve's desk doing nothing, and that he was waiting for the right moment to use it.

    Well, looks St Steve's moment has arrived and his plans to increase Apple's profit by handing the montain of cash to lawyers.

    In the words of Charlie Brown "Good Grief!"

  59. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    I've got a ....

    .....gesture for them, but I doubt they'll want to patent it.

    Then again, if it wasn't Apple (or some other actual tech company), it'd be some 'Patent Company' working out of some fat guys garage, where he works in his shorts and bathes in the money someone more deserving of it should have......

  60. Kevin Bailey
    Thumb Down

    Wel that's one iPad sale gone...

    I was going to help a friend sort out an iPad. For-geddit.

    Netbook with Andriod or Ubuntu for him now.

    He may still want to buy an iPad but without my help he won't be able to connect to Wifi or anything else.

    When will these companies learn - us techies make the decisions for companies/friends/family. Look what we've done to SCO and Seagate for not being Linux friendly - and look how we've boosted HP/RH for being on-side. And look what we're doing to MS.

    Shame - I thought a duopoly between Apple and Google would have been healthy - competition is good for both after all. HTC will now find their handsets being bought in their tens of thousands as we rally around to support them.

    Bye bye Apple - you didn't get it after all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re:

      If he can't get an iPad to connect over Wi-Fi, God help him with a Linux netbook.

      Regarding the Apple/HTC spat, no-one loses (especially not those employed in the legal profession). Not Apple, not HTC. Nobody in the outside, real world cares. Nothing will change.The simplest thing HTC can do is design a better phone. Make something more desirable than the iPhone, something more attractive to the man (or woman) on the street.

      And I suspect that, despite your protestations, Apple will still be around for a good few years yet.

      1. Kevin Bailey

        'If he can't get an iPad to connect over Wi-Fi, God help him with a Linux netbook'

        He's a user. So won't be able to connect anything to anything. He's been a radiographer for thirty years and has spent his spare time going to the theatre etc and not wasting time floundering about with PC's.

        And if you're try to say that Ubuntu is difficult to connect to Wifi then either have never used it or you are typing up rubbish because you're an astroturfer or scared of learning something new.

      2. Haydies
        Jobs Horns

        And that is why

        Apple are sueing HTC, the new range of Android phones beat the pants of the iPhone, with more power and more usability. So, if the competion has stepped up whats the best way to stop them? Sue the living sh*t out of them. Notice they didn't go after Google.... because google has more money and better lawers.

        What apple is best at is marketing, and lets be honest here.... google are even better. Looks to me like Apple.

        From reading that Apple just patented a load of good ideas, most of which are not even theirs and now they will use them to block any one that should make a better phone.

        And to those that say HTC should make better hardware, well, they do. They have done for some time. If you ignore the OS the HTC Touch HD is much better hardware then the iPhone and thats not even a new phone. The new ones are even better.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It's the UI, stupid

          "If you ignore the OS"

          The OS is the user experience. This is what matters. Hardware is of secondary importance.

    2. Frank Bough
      FAIL

      I call...

      bullshit on that one.

    3. Michael Brown
      FAIL

      No, it's you who doesn't get it

      If he gets an iPad he won't need your help with anything. God help him if you shaft him with a Linux netbook though.

      It's unenlightened techies like you who don't get it. Normal people (that's the vast majority) want tech goods that just work and don't require the help of friends with beards, sandals and dodgy anoraks like yourself. Apple understands this. That's why normal people (and enlightened techies) buy their products by the boat load.

      Techies like you who think you control the destiny of tech companies are very, very deluded.

      1. Kevin Bailey

        'No, it's you who doesn't get it'

        Umm... So all your friends/family can take and iPad, netbook whatever and can confidently connect them to WiFi.

        You must have a small number of friends who are all slashdot readers.

        My friends are teachers, lecturers, health professionals, etc etc and many of them need help connecting up their AV setup. They certainly need help with setting up WiFi connections.

        1. Michael Brown

          Connecting WiFi

          "So all your friends/family can take and iPad, and can confidently connect them to WiFi"

          If the iPad is anything like the iPhone (and as they run the same OS that's highly likely) then, yes, they can. It really is that simple. My friends and family, are all normal people who have never heard of slashdot.

          1. Kevin Bailey

            If they can connect an iPad...

            ... they can certainly connect Ubuntu

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did they copy Apple#s code?

    If they managed to get source code and copy it then throw the book at them.

    If not, then software and "something I dreamt of last night" patents can go to hell and take Jobs with them.

    Jobs was never keen to compete on quality, just marketing. Even when he had the quality edge, his first reaction was always to go running to the courts to protect him.

    What a dick.

  62. Sly
    FAIL

    simple defence for HTC

    look? feel? gestures?

    that's all controlled by the operating system.

    HTC makes hardware for a bundled operating system.

    If there's nothing else about hardware issues, go talk to the ones that made the operating system and user interface.

    why sue the keyboard, mouse, screen, etc manufacturer for something that the operating system does?

    Apple fail.

    1. Shannon Jacobs
      Thumb Down

      FUD works

      Apple has become the new master of FUD. Microsoft has (apparently) actually evolved to become a little less evil in the past couple of years, while I am now convinced Apple is the most evil of all the large players.

      I started shopping for a new phone last month. The iPhone seemed pretty impressive--but Apple has just convinced me to shop ANYWHERE else.

  63. Adam Williamson 1
    WTF?

    @Anonymous Coward

    "The fact that you choose your tools based on religious feelings about a company vs. whether the tool meet your needs fascinates me."

    Er, really? Apart from your misguided usage of the word 'religious', isn't that fairly normal? Would you buy a phone from Baby Eaters Co. (slogan "We Eat Ten Babies Per Day!"), even if it were a really good phone?

    1. Rattus Rattus
      Thumb Up

      "Baby Eaters Co."

      Actually yes, I would buy from them just on the strength of that name and slogan. So would a lot of other people, I reckon. Misanthropy is popular.

    2. James Melody
      Thumb Up

      Baby Eaters Co

      Do you have a link to their website?

  64. Mage Silver badge
    Flame

    Even if iphone is the best Phone and people are copying it

    These patents should NEVER have been awarded.

    Some aspects of the iPhone are copyright-able. I doubt ANY aspect of the iPhone is a valid Apple Patent.

    BTW I actually played with a "windows" object orientated Graphics workstation in about 1977 in a public retail show room. It was made by Xerox and was monochrome Portrait.

    In 1980s I used at least one 90 degree swivel terminal that automatically changed from Portrait to Landscape when you swivel.

    I designed a Pad (mini-Tablet) with gesture controlled Touch screen (mono of course) in 1987 .. 1990. I have a patent for a Pen for it that functioned as "mouse" on ordinary surface and worked as cordless handset. 1990.

    Apple have innovated very little ever, they are a trend setting fashion design house. They didn't invent the capacitive touch screen. It was unpopular because of low resolution, poor for handwriting recognition.

    Let them rely on Copyright, registered Design, Trademarks etc, like other Artists. Not fake patents because the USPO doesn't do it's job.

  65. nsld
    Paris Hilton

    A glowing endorsement for HTC then!

    It appears that all HTC need to do is supply the phones sans OS and let the retail companies stick what they want on there.

    As Android isnt restricted by the jobsian thought police all the owners of the units need to do is install the features they want from the interwebs.

    The fact Apple are doing this means they think the HTC kit is good stuff, after all, if it was shit and wasnt hurting sales do you think Apple would be digging into the future organ fund?

    Paris - she wouldnt waste the cash pile on something this pointless.

  66. Wrenchy
    Linux

    I hope Apple doesn't patent..

    ..The act of breathing. They have a cunning way of receiving a patent for the obvious, then beating someone over the head with it when someone comes remotely close.

    They probably have someone that works for the USPTO on the Apple Board of Directors. Granting them patents left and right.

  67. raving angry loony
    Grenade

    a joke

    The only thing they're proving is that the US patent system has become a very sick, very expensive, very twisted joke.

  68. James Halliday
    Jobs Horns

    How to fight back

    Youtube (i.e. google) just needs to pull the non-flash video content they added merely to make apple users happy.

    Youtube might take a small hit in viewers - but youtube isn't going to collapse if they leave. That just leaves apple with the choice of adding flash support, or explaining why that youtube app has vanished to their umpteen million users.

    I do own both an N1 and an ipod touch - so I whilst I get the benefit of each bit of tech, I also suffer when rattles are thrown on either side.

    I'm not going to dump one perfectly good device due to the legal pressure of the other maker - so if one gets pissy, I don't applaud them for defending their shonky patent, I just get pissy over them f'in over my other nice device - with no benefit to me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Duh... not!

      "They have a cunning way of receiving a patent for the obvious,"

      Gee - good patents ARE obvious AFTER someone patents them. It is coming up with the original thought that matters. (FYI - I have multiple patents - some have been game changers in major industries. All of them look obvious once one reads the patent.)

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Au contrare

        I believe that patents, at least in UK/Europe, cannot be for something obvious and this, obviously, is only ever judged after the application.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Q: Who's actually getting rich from all this?

    A: The lawyers.

    Solution: Kill all the lawyers and let the normal rules of capitalism decide which product survives and which doesn't. Secondly, the US patent system clearly needs an enema, so it's time to break out a bunch of fire hoses and open fire on the problem.

    Finally, I don't give a shit about either companies or where their products rank on the suck-scale. All I want is a phone that works; a phone that doesn't drop calls if I turn sideways and something that does NOT have a camera! Yes, some of us still work places where we aren't allowed to have camera phones.

  70. Cliff

    Bloody stupid.

    We may snipe at Google's "Don't be evil", but Apple seem like a right bunch of c*nts to be honest, all smiles and fluffy sincerity whilst stabbing your baby. Real sociopaths.

    If Google were feeling troublesome and wanting to defend their phone OS (which I use and like, having come from WinMo), they could publically offer to back HTC, and let the sabre-rattle begin. Only lawyers win, we consumers lose. Cheers Jobs.

    1. chr0m4t1c

      In that case

      "All I want is a phone that works; a phone that doesn't drop calls if I turn sideways and something that does NOT have a camera!"

      I'd say you probably want a Blue Chip VX-1. About £20 SIM free and unlocked. For that money you could buy a couple to have backup in case of problems.

      Probably want to re-think the "Kill all the lawyers" option, you might want someone to represent you in court when you're up on that serial killer rap.

      I'd also say that you might have a problem with the normal rules of capitalism deciding outcomes. If capitalism had been allowed to run it's own course then Apple would have died a death in the 1990s, we'd be stuck with Vista (if MS had even bothered releasing it), most website on the 'net would only work with IE6 and I expect the Blackberry would have been pretty much stillborn.

      Much of the market we have today is as a result of MS franticly propping up businesses that it had almost destroyed or not doing it's usual "embrace and extinguish" on anything that was genuinely useful and innovative (read: dangerous to MS market share) that appeared.

      Really, if the DoJ had not stepped in I don't think I want to know where we would have been now.

      I do agree that the current patent system in the US does appear to be very badly broken, though.

  71. WeeDom
    WTF?

    Hold on a tick

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/16/picsel_technologies_sues_apple_626_patent/

    So - Apple are now suing HTC for (give or take) the same infringement which Picsel was accusing Apple of?

    While I'm agog... Apple are going to sue over the implementation of an object waiting for a notification of an event? Surely this will break every operating system in the world!

    What on earth is going on over there???

  72. Brian Miller Silver badge
    FAIL

    USPTO will put its mark on anything

    There's nobody with brains over at the USPTO. I've seen patents that covered Paint and the right-click context menu. Right, neither company invented what they patented. I once worked for a company that fought a patent troll and won, but the company racked up so much debt from the fight that it was forced into bankruptcy. The judge said that he had never seen so much prior art, yet of course the patent office issued a patent.

    Why does it do this? Well, consider the fact that any good programmer would actually want to be writing software, instead of reading yet another lame patent application, with another 500 sitting in the inbox. So of course the USPTO hires morons who otherwise would be working as accountants, and said morons have no clue or concern of the art, original or prior.

    I'm guessing that there's probably five truly original software ideas at the patent office, and that may be too optimistic.

  73. Mussie (Ed)
    Thumb Down

    bah...

    Apple needs to pull its head in....

  74. The Mighty Spang
    Gates Halo

    "Smooth animations between user screens"

    ok... i'll put a patent in for "hollywood movie with good acting, good story and good script" and when the technology finally happens for this to be doable I'll be fucking MINTED

    and yes the windows API is a great example of mapping OO features into a procedural API. if that's not enough think of the MFC

    as the bloke before said... backin 1990 I saw Rationale ADA terminal screens able to be rotated and have the editors react

    the american vs abroad rhetoric - surely any normal person would see that all apple's manufacturing is abroad and the point is void.

    the only good news in this is that they'e only brought the suit because they actually think they might be in trouble

  75. Rex Alfie Lee
    Thumb Down

    More... USPTO will put its mark on anything

    If these idiots accepting these patents are accountants then they wouldn't see the connection between other patents or prior art. What's more I don't think I could be bothered looking it up either because it'd be too difficult with too many ways to say the same thing.

  76. David 138
    Thumb Down

    I Hate America

    We can thank our American brothers for this crap. Who says yes to these patents for obvious things. Think i should get in contact with them so i can patent the right turn. dont want the left marketing isnt RIGHT :P

    The world should dump support of the Patent until they stop being so retarded.

  77. martin 62
    Gates Horns

    i was listening to this while reading this article

    i was listening to this while reading this and found it very fitting:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1pkKqIUyDI

    the song is: My Patch - Jim Noir

  78. Jean-Paul

    Good on them...

    I would protect what I believed to be mine, don't care which company...They own the patent, they can protect them...Voice your anger to the patent system that awards them in the first place not the people who own them...

  79. vhmoura
    Thumb Down

    Apple x HTC - how anoying hein apple?

    I do hope Nokia wins the cout battle against apple regarding gsm and other patents that apple is being sued for. It seems pathetic that apple is doing this and most of the media is watching HTC as the evil when apple has also stolen dont know how many patents from nokia... Apple hasnt invented anything, just made it better.Otherwise, all car manufactures would be paying huge amount of money to Ford's family... :)

    1. Openminded Cynic
      Jobs Horns

      Not meaning to be pedantic...

      ...but don't you mean Mr Benz who is largely credited with the motorcar/automobile. Mr Ford just "made it better". To use your analogy though by the same merit as apple shouldn't every manufacturer that uses a production line be licensing the idea from Ford?

      Apple should realise that in an industry where technology is very similar / overlaps a bum fight over who came up with it first will just give a few lawyers a wedge of cash and moderately piss consumers off. seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face to me.

  80. Samuel Deakin

    Why don't Google buy HTC

    Why don't Google buy HTC....If I've read it right Apple might back down..

  81. michael4096

    Apple, that well known UI company...

    ...who stole their 'original' ideas from Xerox

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Apple, that well known UI company

      Just by saying something over and over again and again – or rather parrot what one CEO said about a rival company - doesn’t make true.

      Xerox did attempt to sue Apple over infringing some copyrights that Xerox held over its own GUI – most of this was thrown out of court over the length of time that Xerox took to bring the case. Xerox’s decision to bring the case was really down to the fact that Apple was attempting to sue Microsoft for the same thing – the reason being if Apple won, then it would be Xerox who would be the real winner.

      It’s not accurate to say that Apple simply stole from Xerox – in return for being granted access to PARC research and an understanding that Apple would use it to create a GUI, Xerox was allowed to buy Apple stock at very favourable terms.

      Now, it’s true that Apple recruited some key people from Xerox PARC – one major reason is these Xerox employees felt they could achieve more at Apple, because though they were coming up with great stuff, Xerox wasn’t going to do anything with them (it was the laser printer that the company saw most commercial potential). This is quite common for in tech companies.

      Oh, you might be interested that Jobs – some might say ironically - initially bitterly resisted the idea of visiting Xerox PARC – and it was only the persistence of Jef Rakin that led to the initiation. One reason Apple was invited was because it was felt that it was working in many of the same areas as PARC was – patents filed by Apple before the visit do show this to be the case re: GUI.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        Someone that knows the facts!!!

        Just to add to that, those that left PARC for Apple were originally 'poached' from SRI, so Xerox's (and most of the commentards) claim that Xerox 'invented' the GUI and WIMP (search for Doug Engelbart and Ivan Sutherland and Vannevar Bush) are historically way off the mark. That's not to say that PARC wasn't innovative; it's just that some of the stuff was conceived at the SRI; the notion of WIMP (what people *actually* mean by 'GUI'). Still, that's what you get when you learn history from fanboys and trolls on the web...

        OT: This is a fault of the system, not Kodak/Nokia/Apple/Google/Microsoft/whoever! They are all simply playing the game that is capitalism. Yes, the System Is Broken(tm), but the hyperbole (and hypocrisy...) on here and elsewhere is absolutely ridiculous! Google aren't evil! Apple aren't evil! Microsoft aren't evil! Nokia aren't evil! Here are some examples of evil; Harold Shipman, Pol Pot, Peter Sutcliffe, Jeffrey Dahmer, Idi Amin, Josef Stalin and I won't mention the unmentionables for fear of Godwin's Law, but you all get the idea. Nokia/Apple/Google/Microsoft, and everybody else, ARE all merely businesses, rightly or wrongly, trying to make the most money possible for their shareholders and themselves. Simple. As. That. They all employ lawyers to make sure that they can bend the rules a far as possible; in fact to point just before they break them. If they get too close to breaking them, they lobby to get the rules changed in their favour. It's called commerce. It's how it works, Get over it! Don't like it? You know how to change it...

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    another post

    Interestingly, Microsoft was sued for a huge amount of money when delivering Miscrosoft OS with internet explored on it, although anyone could remove or install ANY other browser...

    No one says a thing about Apple OS with their own browser although you can install ANY other browser...

    hang on? are they saying apple is an Angel and any other company is Evil?

    I was considering buy a new apple macpro, but, seriously, this just made me realise how stupid they have become...

    1. SynnerCal
      Thumb Down

      Apple is the new MS

      I seem to remember the problem with Windows was that, even though you could install Firefox, Opera et al, you couldn't actually get rid of IE - it was tied in so tightly with the OS that if you did, then parts of the OS (like the update feature) stopped working.

      With my very limited MacOSX knowledge I'm guessing that you can remove Safari if you want. In which case Apple and MS should be treated differently.

      What p1ss3s me off about the current Apple is that they pretend to be a fwuffy-widdle-bunny of a company graciously letting their products 'escape' to selected technoliterati, when in fact they're merely another ruthless money-grabbing megacorp. No different to MS, IBM, HP, etc.

      On the upside - does Apple's hounding of HTC mean that their phones will be available at cut prices? That'd be great, because the Android-based stuff is the only real replacement I'd look at for my old Nokia N95 (the iPhone wouldn't cut it - too many compromises)

  83. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    prior art

    Most of their claims have prior art, so their patents are actually invalid. The event driven system and proxy object ideas came from xerox and apple just copied them without paying for them. The automatically highlighted clickable link idea and the codec url in the media stream is part of the html standard, somewhere from the beginning of the web and both of them were invented by different companies or research groups, who (like xerox) choose not to patent them. For example, the highlighting support existed since ericsson added text support to their mobile phones and that was quite a few years ago.

  84. E 2
    Thumb Down

    wrt creators and consumers of event notifications

    Prior art. All over the place. Everywhere. Nuke the patent office, this is ridiculous.

  85. EvilKurisu
    WTF?

    wtf

    An apt name for a company that's rotten to the core !

  86. Alex 83
    Terminator

    gesture patents

    it makes me so insensed that you can patent a gesture what a stupid f#$@%ing idea. I think i will head down the patent office and patent iwalk

    a person moves their leg and places in front of the other. This motion may be repeated

    numerous times. The purpose of this new gesture allows the person to travel from point a to

    point b.

    words do not really describe how hard i want to kick the us patent office in the balls.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Multi-touch

    Good overview, Bill...but you're missing the salient point. Of course, some of those patents are foolish.

    I think what set off Apple is a secret agreement that Google would not activate multi-touch gestures on their Android handsets for a given period. Notice that Google just updated -- maybe a tad early -- the Nexus One to enable multi-touch.

    Bosom buddies no more.

  88. VirtualMark

    patenting a gesture?

    are they serious? what next, patenting a mouse click? apple suck big time. america also sucks big time, this patent system is extremely flawed. a patent should only be granted for a new piece of technology, not for a gesture!

  89. Thomas 18
    Grenade

    sue the USPTO

    You should be able to counter-sue the USPTO for damages when some patent troll attacks you with a retarded patent that should never have been granted in the first place. Maybe then they would be more careful when assigning them.

  90. Jack 23
    Thumb Down

    Actually incredible

    I find Apple's attitude difficult to comprehend. As the article says, there will be 10 years of shitslinging and then some dollar will change hands, and by then, the actual problem will have gone away.

    Also, half the processes stated as against the patents are performed by any number of different softwares.

    The only party who looks bad in this case is Apple. What a bunch of good-for-nothings. I hope the rest of the industry destroys them for this.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prior Art...

    "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"

    This sounds a whole lot like Amiga Exec messaging system (Commodore Amiga O/S circa 1983 or 84).

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good for Apple

    Nice to see Apple being aggressive for a change.

    The company exists to make money, after all. Sue the opposition; it's the American way. Forget all the touchy-feely crap, just go for the jugular.

  93. Roy Cunningham
    FAIL

    Let those without sin...etc etc

    Let's not forget Creative Labs succssfully sued for patent infringement for the iPod user interface which Apple quite happily stole and made many millions $ from. Apple probably wouldn't be where they are now if it wasn't for that blatant patent theft.

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