back to article ITC denies Apple an emergency ban on ALL HTC PHONES

US regulator the International Trade Commission has denied Apple's attempt to get an emergency ban on all HTC mobes. The fruity firm is accusing HTC of violating an existing exclusion order that's been in effect since December. The ITC issued the ban after finding that HTC was infringing on a patent that allows folks to …

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  1. DavCrav Silver badge

    This is getting ridiculous. Apple are trying to get all phones from all manufacturers banned for frivolous patents, like the ability to recognize a phone number (erm, didn't Skype do that before the iPhone?)

    Apple is less and less an innovator and more and more a patent troll.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Before diving head first, check there is water in the pool

      This patent is from LONG before Skype. It was filed in '96.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Before diving head first, check there is water in the pool

        > It was filed in '96.

        And I'm sure the Motorola phone I owned back then already picked out phone numbers from text messages.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Before diving head first, check there is water in the pool

          Yeah, strange how they haven't bothered defending the patent all these years ;)

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Before diving head first, check there is water in the pool

        "This patent is from LONG before Skype. It was filed in '96."

        OK, so we want to ban a company's entire phone roster based on a pretty rubbish patent from nearly twenty years ago. Oh, that makes it so much better.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Before diving head first, check there is water in the pool

          "erm, didn't Skype do that before the iPhone?"

          "This patent is from LONG before Skype. It was filed in '96."

          "OK, so we want to ban a company's entire phone roster based on a pretty rubbish patent from nearly twenty years ago. Oh, that makes it so much better."

          I didn't wanna play anyway! Wah!

          A patent is a patent - the issue date or your opinion of how 'rubbish' it is, is irrelevant.

          It is highly amusing you are critisicing Apple for not innovating enough because someone has been called out for copying them. Perhaps HTC should be 'more innovative' rather than infringing on someone else's patents..?

          1. Gerard Krupa

            Re: Before diving head first, check there is water in the pool

            Put into less vague terms, the measure of how 'rubbish' is a patent is relevant. If it fails to meet the criteria of non-obviousness then it could be invalidated. Personally I think that performing a regex scan on text and replacing matches with hyper links that trigger an appropriate callback is fairly obvious but I am speaking with the benefit of hindsight and with an opinion that the vast majority of software patents just aren't all that inventive and are granted due to lack of appropriate expertise at the USPTO.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Gimp

              Re: Before diving head first, check there is water in the pool

              Agreed. I'm a big fanboi but this is just ridiculous. HTC deserve to win this.

          2. Morely the IT Guy
            Thumb Down

            Re: Before diving head first, check there is water in the pool

            Apple's been completely derivative for decades. For example, the iPad? Introduced by Bill Gates in 1997. First seen in Star Trek (the TV series) in the 1960s.

          3. scarshapedstar
            Thumb Down

            Re: Before diving head first, check there is water in the pool

            Patenting regex 'on a mobile device' is a joke.

            I had a high school comp sci homework assignment to write a program that picked out phone numbers from text.

            High school.

          4. Alex.Red
            WTF?

            Re: Before diving head first, check there is water in the pool

            If the patent is that old then the logical question is:

            Why *now*???

      3. dssf

        Re: Before diving head first, check there is water in the pool

        How about checking the diving board for fractures before bouncing? Hehehehe. (imagine the appearance....)

      4. KeMa
        FAIL

        Re: Before diving head first, check there is water in the pool

        Well, Ericsson GH388 was launched in 1995 and could dial a phone number from a SMS. Extract from manual p42. Ericsson publication number EN/LZT 126 1298 R1A dated October 1995:

        "To call a phone number in a message

        Press YES when a phone number is found

        in the display to call the number direct.

        After the number has been called, the message

        is considered as read"

        Enough water in the pool now?

        I do NOT understand why this previous art has not invalidated that bs patent long ago. Sad that Ericsson didn't file a patent, then they could sue both Apple and HTC :-)

    2. dotdavid
      Trollface

      The trolls used to guard just the one bridge, and extract their frivilous tolls, but now it seems they're trying to guard all the bridges.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Huh?

      Yeah, 'cos of course, Apple is the only phone manufacturer suing anyone else, and all non-Apple initiated lawsuits only target Apple don't they?

      Oh, hang on... No, that's complete and utter BOLLARDS!

      Out-of-date, but still relevant: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/oct/04/microsoft-motorola-android-patent-lawsuit#

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Once again missing the interesting part of the story...

    What the article is missing is the feature apple are complaining about, and why it's still in there. It's the old 'data tapping' patent (where say a phone number in a web page gets detected, and you can tap it to bring up a list of options like calling it, or adding it to your address book). They won on this patent previously, and HTC had to remove it - which they did, almost.

    Problem is, it still seems to be there in the gmail client. HTC says this is OK, because this part of android isn't open, they don't have the source code and they can't remove the feature - but they're still effectively shipping an infringing product, which is a big risk for them. The ITC could have banned their phones.

    So the question is: why the hell isn't google doing something about it? They're putting their partners at huge risk by continuing to include this feature after it's been found to infringe. They should at least give HTC the option to disable it!

  3. JimmyPage Silver badge
    WTF?

    "Software petents" - WTF ?

    "...a patent that allows folks to isolate data such as phone numbers in emails and then call the number."

    A feature that IIRC my Nokia 3210 had 10 years ago - OK, not from emails, but in SMS.

    The whole worlds gone mad, I tell you.

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: "Software petents" - WTF ?

      Well at the moment it's mainly the USA. Unfortunately as patient zero, they have a horrible habit of sharing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Software petents" - WTF ?

      10 years ago is still 6 years after apple filed this one. Amazingly enough, HTC have thought about checking prior art, and the ITC have actually looked at the evidence HTC could find - and they decided the patent is valid.

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: "Software patents" - WTF ?

        OK, fair point. Next question ...

        did Apple sue Nokia (assuming it was Nokia that first bought this feature to market) ?

        If the answer is "no" then is there not a principle that by not defending the patent, Apple have let it lapse ? ISTR this is the argument people come up with when people *do* sue on patents. "Oh, they have to defend their patent, or it'll be invalidated".

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: "Software patents" - WTF ?

          @JimmyPage

          Sadly not. You do have to defend Trademarks, but not Patents. That's why so-called submarine patents are so dangerous. The patent holders are quite within their rights to sit back and quietly let the damages add up.

          That said, I do think that if a company can be shown to be aware of infringement they should have to defend or lose.

      2. Suricou Raven

        Re: "Software petents" - WTF ?

        The cost of checking for potentially problematic patents fully could exceed the cost of designing the phone.

      3. vgrig_us

        Re: "Software petents" - WTF ?

        Wow! Apple fanboys are truly the worst...

    3. Thomas 18
      Thumb Down

      Re: Once again missing the interesting part of the story...

      GMail is a Google product. Why isn't it Googles problem.

      If you ship a computer and bundle a copy of Quake with it, your not responsible if some patent troll tries to sue for extensive use of brown in a computer interface.

      1. Number6

        Re: Once again missing the interesting part of the story...

        I'd happily uninstall the GMail client on my Android phone, along with 90% of the other stuff that I'm stuck with but never use.

        Don't patents last for 20 years? So only another four to go on that one. Or is US patent duration as elastic as their copyright's?

        Apple are just upset that some people are shipping phones better than theirs, and that some of us wouldn't buy an iPhone or iPad anyway because we don't want to be locked in, especially when they have this sort of attitude.

    4. Peter Murphy
      Stop

      Re: "Software petents" - WTF ?

      Sounds like a feature that grep had in 1973. Wanting to isolate numbers in text? Try a regular expression like "[0-9]+" with this utility.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Once again missing the interesting part of the story...

      If thats the case, then how come apple havent gone after samsung on this as well? or have they and got ruled against?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lame.

    Really frickin' lame.

  5. Richard 51
    Thumb Down

    An inconsequential but useful feature

    Why is the ability to tag a phone number and dial it seen to be so important that it warrants banning the sale or distribution of another companies phones across the USA? This is IPR gone mad. Yes its a useful feature but would I pay more for this feature in a phone worth £500? Would I decide not to buy a phone because the feature was not available? Probably not.

    I don't know about everyone else but I am fed up with the incessant stream of litigation between phone companies that focus on inconsequential features and whose sole purpose seems to be to block competition.

    The governments should investigate all these companies for anti-competitive activities.

    1. Smallbrainfield

      Re: An inconsequential but useful feature

      They should check for douche-baggery as well. I believe that is the term our US cousins would use to refer to such actions.

    2. The Axe

      Re: An inconsequential but useful feature

      Between phone companies? Only between Apple and everyone else.

      Apple don't seem to have any confidence in their own product and don't trust their fanboys to not buy Apple products if a competitior had a similar feature to an Apple product.

      So is it the legal team trying to exand their empire or is someone really worried about Apple's marketing team?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An inconsequential but useful feature

      "Why is the ability to tag a phone number and dial it seen to be so important that it warrants banning the sale or distribution of another companies phones across the USA?"

      Translation:

      Why is it that when someone owns a patent, and someone infringes it that they suffer consequences?

      What are you suggesting? That companies should be allowed to infringe patents with impunity? Where does that end? What would be the point of the patent system..?

      1. Ru

        Re: "What would be the point of the patent system..?"

        Wasn't the point of the patent system to protect the little guy providing novel things, in exchange for which everyone would be better off at the end of the patent term when the invention entered the public domain?

        "What are you suggesting? That companies should be allowed to infringe patents with impunity?"

        No, more like they should have a sense of perspective when demanding injuctive relief. Possibly the underlying argument could be extended to the awfulness of the software patent environment in the US where the tendency to grant protection and let the courts sort out the technical merits of the thing has a chilling effect on innovation and commerce worldwide.

      2. Steve Knox

        @Fitz

        Richard 51's point was clearly about the original granting of the patent, and the subsequent upholding of the patent, not about allowing infringement. Your translation algorithm is worse than Google's.

        "[S]o important that it warrants banning the sale or distribution of another companies [products] across the USA" should be the bar to which a technology rises in order to be granted a patent to begin with. That is, as you ask, the point of the patent system: to provide exclusive rights over a certain technology.

        Since this technology is not that important (at least in the minds of the sane), the correct action would be to invalidate the patent. But that is almost impossible in this country, as mind-numbing obviousness is not considered a legal basis for invalidating such things, and the burden of proof is entirely upon the individual seeking to invalidate the patent.

        I don't blame Apple, (or Motorola, etc.) They're businesses, and morality is not in their dictionary. Their sole purpose is to make money within the framework of their legal environment. It's not their fault that the legal system w/r/t patents is so broken in the US that something as obvious as this could be patented, upheld, and used to justify an import ban.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Facepalm

          Re: @Fitz

          "I don't blame Apple, (or Motorola, etc.) They're businesses, and morality is not in their dictionary. Their sole purpose is to make money within the framework of their legal environment. It's not their fault that the legal system w/r/t patents is so broken in the US that something as obvious as this could be patented, upheld, and used to justify an import ban."

          Absolutely which is my point - you cannot blame a company for enforcing it's patents. The question is should they have been granted a patent on something to obvious in the first place.

          1. KnucklesTheDog

            Re: @Fitz

            "you cannot blame a company for enforcing it's patents"

            Yes you can, they'er not legally obliged to defend this trivial piece of functionality, in fact they've not bothered for many years. You don't have to bully people simply because you can get away with it, Apple make a lot of money by selling products people want to buy. They could leave it at that and still keep their billions.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Fitz

              "Yes you can, they'er not legally obliged to defend this trivial piece of functionality, in fact they've not bothered for many years."

              This sounds like a sensible way to behave - I trust you have the same attitude with regard to Motorola Mobility (owned by Google) currently prosecuting Apple for use of one of their technologies?

              1. KnucklesTheDog

                Re: @Fitz

                "I trust you have the same attitude with regard to Motorola Mobility"

                If you're suggesting that I'm taking a specifically anti-Apple stance then there's no reason to assume that, after all I was even complimentary about their products.

                As for the noise cancellation patent specifically, I don't know if that's an obvious concept (along the lines of a balanced cable for example) or a piece of genuine technology (e.g. a circuit they've researched and developed at cost to themselves). There's always grey areas too of course, but I don't think anyone would suggest that software to identify a number in a piece of text could ever fall into that.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: An inconsequential but useful feature

        I like it when people say "what are you suggesting?" when they really mean "I'm going to deliberately misinterpret what you've written to make a point that has nothing to do with what you've written, but I'd like everyone to see my point of view anyway".

        Here's a clue, if you want an insight into what someone's suggesting, read what they've actually written.

  6. Smallbrainfield
    Trollface

    Just think how much more awesome Apples products would be...

    ... if they spent less time hiring lawyers and bitching about people stealing their stuff and instead spent that time making their peerless products even more staggeringly attractive and wonderful.

    Hey Apple, ever noticed how all smartphones LOOK THE FUCKING SAME, so what does it matter if HTC make a phone with a similar looking grommet which does similar things ever so slightly differently?

    All anyone cares about is can they use it to cheat in the pub quiz. And does it do the Facebooks or not.

    Yeah, trollface. What can you do?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just think how much more awesome Apples products would be...

      "... if they spent less time hiring lawyers and bitching about people stealing their stuff and instead spent that time making their peerless products even more staggeringly attractive and wonderful."

      Ok let's say they do this, and people copy them and Apple don't bother to prosecute infringements against their patented designs. What do you think that would do to their share price? What would be the point of Apple? To design things for HTC and Samsung for free? How does that work?

      "Hey Apple, ever noticed how all smartphones LOOK THE FUCKING SAME, so what does it matter if HTC make a phone with a similar looking grommet which does similar things ever so slightly differently?"

      I think you will find the issue is patent infringement, not if something 'looks similar' (however that will probably get taken into account).

      1. Smallbrainfield

        Fair point well made.

        I'm just jealous as I can't justify paying for a smartphone of any flavour.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just think how much more awesome Apples products would be...

        Oh noes our share price is going down, its ok though because we have $11Billion in the bank. or something just as stupid no one need 11billion!

  7. Pooka
    Coat

    Is it just me...

    ...or are Apple trying to ban everything that doesn't have an i in front of it?

    I guess they must be really worried about the way phones are going...

    Got my coat already - phone update day, and Vodafone have already asked me if I wanted to update to an 4S. Took me 10 mins to stop laughing at the nice person on the upgrade phoneline who called me to advise it was upgrade day....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it just me...

      It's not just you - it's also other people who fail to grasp the concept of patent infringement when it applies to Apple's patents, but strangely it's ok when Google do it.

      http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-06-25/google-s-motorola-win-in-apple-iphone-patent-case-gets-review

      1. Gio Ciampa

        Re: Is it just me...

        From the article you quote:

        "The 3G patent that was found to be infringed covers a way to eliminate noise so signals are clearer."

        Rather less obvious - and a damn sight more technical - than the "click on a phone number and do stuff" suit you're trying to justify

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Is it just me...

          Irrelevant - they have been granted the patent, they are within their rights to enforce it.

          1. Gio Ciampa

            Re: Is it just me...

            That may be the case - but I know which of the two would last longer under serious scrutiny (unlike the "grant it anyway" mantra that exists at the moment)

  8. big_D Silver badge
    Stop

    Patend must have expired...

    "The ITC issued the ban after finding that HTC was infringing on a patent that allows folks to isolate data such as phone numbers in emails and then call the number."

    Hmm, that was one of the first programs I had to write in my first job, extracting phone numbers, addresses, employee numbers etc. from large unformatted text files. As that was back in the mid 80s, either Apple's patent is invalid due to prior art, or it must have been patented before 1985, in which case, the patent should have expired...

    1. big_D Silver badge
      Pint

      Before anybody asks...

      No, we didn't make phone calles with the extracted data, but we did use it to perform various other tasks.

      1. Number6

        Re: Before anybody asks...

        I remember doing early Computer Telephony Integration in the early 90s, we probably did this sort of thing. I even designed the ethernet interface that went on our PABX product at the time so it could talk directly instead of via a separate PC with an ethernet interface.

      2. TechnicalBen Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Before anybody asks...

        Quick, there is a gap in the patent, no one has patented extracting numbers to make video calls!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Before anybody asks...

          "Quick, there is a gap in the patent, no one has patented extracting numbers to make video calls!"

          Too late! The patent (from 1996) is sufficiently broad ('data having recognizable structures') to cover anything - sad case of affairs, but that's the patent system for you.

          http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=5,946,647.PN.&OS=PN/5,946,647&RS=PN/5,946,647

  9. Crisp Silver badge

    Frigging software patents.

    "HTC was infringing on a patent that allows folks to isolate data such as phone numbers in emails and then call the number."

    I didn't think that you were allowed to patent the bleedin' obvious!

  10. BryanM
    Thumb Down

    The more I read, the less I ever want to buy anything from Apple. Frankly, I'd rather go without than get suckered in to paying them any money.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The facts recited by Apple in its submission do not conclusively demonstrate that HTC’s representations were inaccurate at the time that they were made."

    Or in more simplistic terms, HTC told the truth... :P

    Die crapple. Die. Die...

    1. Stuart Castle

      There's a massive difference between somebody telling the truth, and somebody else not proving that the original somebody lied. This is exactly what happened between Apple and HTC. HTC may or may not have told the truth, but regardless, Apple failed to prove they lied.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just to be clear here......

    Apple have a patent for extracting some data out of something and then doing something with it? Wasn't that kind of stuff being done in the 60s????

    1. CJ 5

      Re: Just to be clear here......

      It seems that in America you can patent anything as a new invention if you add '.. on a smartphone'.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just to be clear here......

      A patent on reading?

  13. Big_Ted
    Facepalm

    Would be ok if it worked

    I have many times tapped a number in an email to go to tracking or link to my oder and had a popup asking if I want to dial the number etc.

    This is something that I use for numbers but a long press is good enougth to decide to treat as a number for phone or quik tap for link.

    Sort that out in a form that really works and you would have something "magical and unique".....

  14. Zombie Womble

    [pitiful wailing] Whahh, they're selling better phones than ours, make them stop, make them stoooop....[/pitiful wailing]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "[pitiful wailing] Whahh, they're selling better phones than ours, make them stop, make them stoooop....[/pitiful wailing]"

      It would be more accurate to say:

      "Whahhh someone is making money on our patented technology without paying us any money! Wahhh!"

      Replace the 'wahhh! with LAWSUIT and that's about the size of it.

  15. W.O.Frobozz
    Thumb Down

    Hubris

    Apple's been almost destroyed by it's own arrogance before, and it will happen again. And this time Bill Gates won't be there to bail them out. Fuck you, Steve Jobs (and the cadre of fanatics you rode in on).

  16. auburnman
    Facepalm

    How hard/pricey is it

    to invalidate a patent? I am genuinely astonished we haven't heard of HTC/Samsung/whoever going hell for leather at Apple's patents with a "burn the crops and salt the earth" mentality.

  17. CraigW

    Not a good look

    When will apple finally understand that pulling this sort of crap is not going to force everyone to go out and buy yet more iphones? A great number of android phone users simply DO NOT WANT AN IPHONE.

    This shit is getting real old, real fast, and does NOBODY any favours other than the patent lawyers.

  18. Bodhi

    Just noticed

    My Xperia S does this too, and funnily enough it does it in the same place as on the HTC - in the GMail app. Funny that.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just noticed

      I guess the difference is that Sony could probably pool resources from their various different divisions, including various patents, and give Apple the anal reaming they so desperately deserve.

      Not that Sony are much better, mind.

      Just more evidence of the current system being buggered beyond all economical repair. Patent schmatent. What matters is how hard you can hit back, and Sony (BMG, at least) have a hell of a lot of licensed artists they could pull straight out of iTunes.

      Not a small list at all.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just noticed

      Has it occurred to you that Sony may have paid to license the feature..?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look, I understand that Beats stuff looks a bit tacky, and the hardware occasionally a bit flaky but isn't this going a bit far, Apple? I mean you don't need to protect us from them. Plus, we were never going to buy your stuff anyway ;)

  20. despicable me
    Pirate

    Sounds familiar...

    MPAA and their pals: "every pirated download is a lost CD/DVD sale"

    Apple: "every pirated patent is a lost iPhone sale".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds familiar...

      Apple: "every pirated patent is a lost iPhone sale".

      You have put this in quotes - please post where Apple have made this statement.

      1. despicable me
        Facepalm

        Re: Sounds familiar...

        "please post where Apple have made this statement"*.

        Hi "Fitz"*,

        "You're so vain. You probably think this song is about you."*

        What makes you think it is an Apple quote? You seem to think that Apple have patented quotations or possibly "phrases in quotes"* now.

        * Not an Apple quote.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sounds familiar...

          "What makes you think it is an Apple quote?"

          I seriously doubt Apple ever made that claim, but it was you that presented it as an Apple quote so I asked you to provide evidence they said it.

          "You seem to think that Apple have patented quotations or possibly "phrases in quotes"* now.""

          Not at all - I'm just calling you out on your bullshit.

      2. vgrig_us

        Re: Sounds familiar...

        Oh, god! Really? Quotes bother you even that sarcasm is obvious, you moron!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sounds familiar...

          "Oh, god! Really? Quotes bother you even that sarcasm is obvious, you moron!"

          Ignorant bullshit bothers me, and I enjoy arguing.

          You do the maths.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sounds familiar...

            So...you bother yourself?

            Weird.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sounds familiar...

              "So...you bother yourself?"

              Frequently!

          2. vgrig_us

            Re: Sounds familiar...

            "You do the maths."

            I always do - i have masters in math. What about you? What kind of bullshit, liberal arts major would screw you up this badly?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sounds familiar...

              Taught you well they have, young Jedi :)

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sounds familiar...

              "I always do - i have masters in math. What about you? What kind of bullshit, liberal arts major would screw you up this badly?"

              Oh dear - have I triggered some nerd posturing behavioural macro? Grow up.

      3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. chipxtreme
    FAIL

    Even if crapple managed to patent troll every other phone maker out of making phones I still wouldn't buy anything from them. I'd hang onto my galaxy s3 forever in that case.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pox on Apple

    There should be some sort of reciprocation, like "if you can't get it banned, you get banned instead" kind of thing.

  24. Mark Morgan
    WTF?

    Erm, not new or original

    "HTC was infringing on a patent that allows folks to isolate data such as phone numbers in emails and then call the number"

    I'm pretty sure my old Sony Ericsson K750i could do that with numbers in SMS text messages - the K850i could certainly do it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Erm, not new or original

      I have a strong suspicion Nokia 6630 could do it too,. It was widely sold, had Symbian, and also had 3G (UMTS/WCDMA) about 4 years before Apple. Also, it was designed and made in Finland, not by 3rd parties.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Erm, not new or original

      "I'm pretty sure my old Sony Ericsson K750i could do that with numbers in SMS text messages - the K850i could certainly do it."

      Ok here is the problem - the K750i was announced in 2005, the patent is from 1996:

      http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=5,946,647.PN.&OS=PN/5,946,647&RS=PN/5,946,647

      So basically, whoever owned the patent (remember Apple may have only recently bought it) could have feasibly taken Sony/Ericsson to court over the k750i, if it did have that functionality.

      Sony may have simply licensed the technology from the patent owner (or had a reciprocal agreement by allowing use of their patents).

      1. KeMa
        Holmes

        Re: Erm, not new or original

        Sorry, restating from one of my earlier posts...

        There's also the Ericsson GH388, launched in 1995 with the same feature. Go find the manual: Ericsson publication number EN/LZT 126 1298 R1A dated October 1995, page 42.

        "To call a phone number in a message. Press YES when a phone number is found in the display to call the number direct."

        Can we just agree that there IS prior art?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Erm, not new or original

          I saw your earlier post and it certainly seems related on the surface based on what we now consider a computer and a phone, however if you read the text of the patent, it specifies 'computer data'. It's one for the lawers to fight out over the definition, but it wouldn't surprise me if something like this relatively recent court case:

          http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-8th-circuit/1555014.html

          Where a cellphone was defined as a computer has facilitated this issue, causing companies to re-evaluate patents they hold related to comptuers which now have a supporting precedent to apply to phones.

          To save you hunting through the related law, the definition of what constitutes a 'computer' from 18 USC § 1030 is:

          "(1) the term “computer” means an electronic, magnetic, optical, electrochemical, or other high speed data processing device performing logical, arithmetic, or storage functions, and includes any data storage facility or communications facility directly related to or operating in conjunction with such device, but such term does not include an automated typewriter or typesetter, a portable hand held calculator, or other similar device; "

          Note the exceptions for calculator or other device - I will wager that in 1995, a phone was considered more similar to a calculator than a computer.

          I could be wrong of course, and I'm no lawer, but you get the idea.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fruit

    Since Apple products are too shitty for them to compete, their business plan is to eliminate all competition.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fruit

      "Since Apple products are too shitty for them to compete, their business plan is to eliminate all competition."

      Blah blah blah - serious question: If they are so shit, why are people copying their patented technology?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fruit

        Rounded corners?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fruit

          "Rounded corners?"

          Which infringed patent involves 'rounded corners'..?

  26. NotSmartEnough
    Paris Hilton

    Conspiracy!

    This is another example of a trade war hiding behind a series of increasingly spurious patent disputes:

    The US Patent Office grant Apple a patent on something obvious/essential;

    Apple defend its patent 'vigorously';

    US judges find in favour of Apple and ban imports of infringing tech;

    US consumers find they're free to buy from Apple or go without.

    Way to enhance your country's balance of trade.

    (Adjusts tinfoil hat)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Conspiracy!

      Huawei Ascend D and ZTE Era out soon .... both quad-core......

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tossers

    I now absolutely fucking hate apple. I'll never ever buy an apple product. I'm so glad iPhones and ipads shatter when people drop them. Tossers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tossers

      Can I infer from this that you 'fucking hate' any company that enforces it's patents? So you hate Motorola who are owned by Google, and so will never buy an Android phone? You hate British Telecom who are suing Android and so will never use their broadband?

      Also I've dropped my iPhone and iPad many times and yet to see them shatter.

  28. mike acker

    a patent that allows folks to isolate data such as phone numbers in emails and then call the number.

    ??

    my i305 does that and I've had it for 5 years

  29. mike acker

    my i 305 did that

    a patent that allows folks to isolate data such as phone numbers in emails and then call the number.

    ??

    my i 305 does that and i've had it for 5 years

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: my i 305 did that

      Your i305 also uses the mobile network to make calls, and no doubt several thousand other patented technologies throughout it's construction and operation, many of which Motorola will own themselves; others that they will license to use.

      Because something is patented does not mean it's not allowed to be used - it means that to use it one must negotiate with the holder of the patent. If it's used without consent it also doesn't mean that the owner *must * prosecute the infringer much the same as you do not have to press charges if someone assaults you, however the option is there.

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