How many times has Apple been suing others for rounded corners and other dubious patents?
Apple has lost its fifth legal appeal against the holder of network protocol patents, VirnetX, inching the case forward one judgment at a time. This time a US federal court agreed [PDF] with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that two patents owned by VirnetX were in fact valid. It has previously – and repeatedly – been …
My extremely cursory - and legally naive - reading of the patents concerned suggest that they're to do with establishing a secure connection (such as a VPN or encrypted link) via a third party (like Apple), rather than exchanging keys directly between the endpoints.
If true, it would be of the same order as rounded corners.
In the US they're called patents. In the UK they'd be called registered designs. I'm not sure how other countries would treat them. They're not the same as ordinary patents.
Nevertheless this is a case where you'd like all three sides to lose - Apple, the trolls and the lawyers.
"Lawyers never lose."
You obviously haven't heard of my targeted adventure tourism business "High Adrenaline Shark Diving Tours 4 Lawyers"
It involves sharks, lawyers and a large pool. So far, the sharks have an almost perfect record.
This has also disproved the myth that sharks will eat anything...
So if you are sued for patent infringement and fight it in court, you should give up your right to sue others for patent infringement? That's a curious belief.
If you were in a car accident and the other driver sued you and you fought it in court believing you weren't at fault, and then later were in a separate accident and believed the other driver was at fault, would you think it is hypocritical to sue him?
There is one very big difference between the two cases (clearly both patents are absurd). Apple did actually make a phone with rounded corners so were presumably (at least in their minds) simply attempting to prevent others from copying their design. VirnetX on the other hand...
I hate patent trolls. Buy someone's ideas for peanuts then sit on them hoping someone will infringe so you get a payday. Patents expire after a certain number of years (haven't bothered to look up how many), when a product or service is actively using the process or product in the patent. The solution, in my mind, is to expire the patent after say, a tenth of that time when there is no product or service using the patented idea or concept on the market, and re-establishing an expired patent is not allowed for a select time period. A few real inventors may be harmed by this as they might have trouble legitimately getting funding or other backing for getting their product to market, but patent trolls would rapidly lose their "inventory".
It does not work. There are problems with just about any "solution". The above is the long term research all gets dropped because it's impossible to protect.
Protecting the information means not everyone can benefit, sharing it means individuals cannot profit. See space and time for other "continuums". ;)
A few real inventors may be harmed by this as they might have trouble legitimately getting funding or other backing for getting their product to market, but patent trolls would rapidly lose their "inventory".
I would expect even there, if you could show proof that you were actively seeking funding and/or licensees, that could count as actively promoting the patent.
Somebody i worked with (he was new) once made an untrue statement about me in front of witnesses and myself. I suggested that if he didn't retract it immediately and apologise I'd consult my lawyers then sue him. He said he didn't believe I had the money to talk to lawyers so no he wouldn't apologise. I mentioned that I had a barrister and a partner in an international law firm in my family. That wiped the smug smile off his face and he then apologised. He didn't stay with the firm long after that.
Ha ha. Years back i volunteered to help with the PTA on a function. Paired with a teacher who boasted, "we've done well with our offspring, one's a Doctor, one's a Lawyer."
Straight faced, i said "Well, one out of two ain't so bad.". Didn't get sued either.
Seriosuly, whenever anyone has said anything false about me i usually just laugh. More so if i started the rumour in the first place.
I objected to being called a "dishonest crook". He alleged that I'd stolen his personal property (a scooter) from under his desk and lied about doing so. It turned out the boss had removed it to the proper place which was behind reception in the cloakroom. Even after the facts had emerged he refused to say sorry or offer any apology.
Yeah well if you had all the facts you'd maybe you'd think differently. This wasn't the first incident where he'd made false accusations far from it. He was consistently late and often left early. In one case he was going to the dentist and he may well have met his dentist but must have done so in the pub he was seen entering directly after leaving work. He'd accused people of stealing his lunch out of the fridge, other stuff from his desk etc. None of those people he falsely accused had access to free legal advice and I was encouraged to give him both barrels so to speak. The final straw came very shortly after accusing me just before the end of his probation. He was on the sales team and had claimed for a couple of weeks prior that people were stealing his customers. He went as far as complaining to the department manager about it. This was thoroughly investigated because commission was at stake. It became obvious when looked into that none of these were his customers. Some of them were longstanding customers who had been with the firm many years. They had relationships with senior members of the sales team and mostly hadn't even heard of this bloke. He did not pass his probation.
All he had to do was just apologise to me, not the hardest thing to do you'd think. No he couldn't do that just as he hadn't to anyone else he'd accused. I'm told if you don't defend yourself against defamatory comments then it is far harder to do so in the future. The issue resolved itself anyway when he was told he wasn't passing his probation and wouldn't be needed any more.
Given the amount of money involved, it is not vexatious but shows up the weakness of the US legal system (Apple would have a much harder time in the UK because of our more integrated legal system and fewer lawyers with huge college debts chasing work.)
Vexatious litigation is e.g. when every year some idiot sues his neighbour for letting leaves fall in his garden.
Court considerations aside is Virtnex indeed a good faith inventor/engineering firm, with a solid patent for something they actually invented and worked on that’s not being remunerated by a company that can definitely afford to? Or even a solid patent that they purchased?
Or is this sitting in troll land?
At the end of the day, I’d probably cheer for North Korea’s Missile Design Bureau if they were being sued by a patent patent troll.
Icon cuz I suspect know the answer. But it is a serious question because it modifies the article’s meaning and reading significantly.
Inquiring minds want to know.
I believe these are the related patents:
Agile network protocol for secure communications with assured system availability
Agile network protocol for secure communications using secure domain names
Establishment of a secure communication link based on a domain name service (DNS) request
Agile network protocol for secure communications using secure domain names
I'm not convinced there is anything unique in these based on the patents being filed in 1998. All of the concepts appear to have pre-existing examples in either SSL, VPN's or load balancing. While all three were relatively new at the time, all had established standards or examples.
First, they are clearly patent trolls. That *SHOULD* mean they lose any case they bring (but, of course, it doesn't)...
Then there's the matter of their patents that were upheld. I don't actually see *ANYTHING* novel in one of them. The other is novel only in that it combines five blindingly obvious things into one "system". I fail to understand why these patents were (re)found to be valid. Then again, I am frequently shocked by what patents are actually upheld - sometimes, it seems the patent reviews are done by a group of monkeys and then the courts rely on the monkeys to determine if they should have been approved in the first place.
Anyone old enough to remember the print adverts in technical magazines from decades ago might remember there were three 'Apples' in the States.
Apple purloined it's logo from a competitor, as well as the name. Just as with the Xerox Park mouse and other things stolen by Jobs.
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