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

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


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  1. LarsG


    WHAT do you expect?

    1. Anomalous Cowturd

      Prior art...

      My trusty 6310i could pick phone numbers out of SMS messages and give the option to call that number in circa 2002.

      The only winners here, as usual, are the bottom feeders^W^W lawyers.

      When will this software patent nonsense stop?

      1. Charles 9

        According to a post further down...

        ...Apple actually filed the patent in *1996*, just as the Internet ITSELF was turning mainstream. Meaning it likely predates any phone on the market that would have the capability (since GRPS and its successors didn't take off until later) and may even eclipse any existent example of prior art anyone could dredge up. Like it or not, Apple may well have beaten everyone to the punch in this case.

        OTOH, the fact the patent was filed 15 years ago also points to a shortened amount of time left for Apple to take advantage of it. As this is a US Design patent filed after 1995 (meaning the patent has a flat 20-year term), Apple has a little under five years to go.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Pre 1990, maybe even 1971

          Is this not the same concept as a hypelink in HTML, which to my knowledge was drawn up prior to 1990? This is a concept where the browser interprets some text in the text and provides the user with the means to perform some action on the hyperlink. Possibly the same can be said of the MAN utility in unix, which was first written in 1971 or thereabout. I am not sure if it had the linking ability then - but it probably was in there prior to 1995.

          Whatever - perhaps this is a completely new idea dreamed up by apple - but like so many of these concepts it is certainly not worthy of a patent in my eyes. Its like patenting thinking.

      2. what_fresh_hell_is_this?

        An interesting approach to prior art

        "My trusty 6310i could pick phone numbers out of SMS messages and give the option to call that number in circa 2002."

        The patent has an earliest date of 1 February 1996 and because of complications of US patent law may well have an effective date of 1995.

      3. g e

        Nokia 6310

        I was going to say exactly the same about the 6310 I have upstairs in a drawer. Maybe the brainless/biased ITC would like me to send it to them.

        Recorded Delivery, of course...

    2. Error Message Silver badge

      EU protectionism?

      After all, Apple's first victory against Android devices on its bogus patents came from German courts in rulings against Samsung.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Apple's case in Germany is about copyrights, not patents. The charge is that Samsung had copied their entire design package including product, wrapping and marketing/presentation.

      2. LarsG


        EU protectionism does not count as the phones are not made but only sold there.

        So this decision was probably made as a result of fear that the US might start up a trade war such as taxing EU goods even more than they do now.

        However, US firms filing in the US have a distinct advantage, just like the disadvantage British boxers enjoy having to fight US boxers in the USA.

        They cheat to win

    3. Lars Silver badge


      No, this is about a flawed patent system being used bye companies to distort competition.

      The tougher the competition the more we will have of this rubbish and we are always the losers.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      NEWS FLASH......

      2011 Apple file patent for the wheel.

      US patents administration upholds patent award to Apple.

      All vehicles must comply by April 2012 and replace wheels with squares.

      2013 Apple files patent for squares.

      US patents administration upholds patent award to Apple.

      All vehicles must comply by April 2014 and replace squares with ovals.

      2015 Apple files patent for ovals................

      1. PatientOne

        @AC 13:07

        Please, let Apple do this!

        Then watch the oil industry walk up, pat the little kid on the head and advise them to go home to mommy.

        Not that the US, the Patent office or anyone else would be allowed to let this happen. The Oil industry has far deeper pockets and much greater influence than some small time, corner electronics sales company (relatively speaking, of cause).

    5. Ammaross Danan


      Not just the 6310, but blackberries have been doing this since day one. Same with Palm devices.

  2. scarshapedstar

    Apple invented the Regular Expression

    And if you believe that, here comes Santa!

    (posted from my OUTLAWED Droid Incredible)

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Don't be silly; they didn't invent the regular expression...

      They just patented using it to FIND things :)

  3. Error Message Silver badge

    And who says bribing the U.S. International Trade Commission does not work?

    Apple gets a quick ruling on an insignificant bogus patent that never should have been issued in no time, whereas the Chinese drive the entire US Solar Cell market out of existence through the use of illegal government subsidies, with the U.S. International Trade Commission figuring they "might get around to looking into that" around 2025.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      You sound like a sore loser. If it was HTC winning against Android I'm sure you wouldn't be complaining.

      All these cases prove is that everyone has a valid patent or two that apply to mobile computing and UI design, which is to be expected.

      There are cases of blatant copying in the IT world but also plenty of cases of coincidence. When developing software do people ever research what patents maybe out there? it is doubtful unless they are making software very similar to an existing successful product.

  4. Ben 54


    If a stupid patent like this is passed to thugs like apple, what chance have small developers have to expand on their tech? They are just p-ssd that they are losing market share so go on a witch hunt instead of improving their own useless product.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The US patent quango is a protectionist bubble that is inflating out of all control. The more of these ridiculous decisions that happen, the bigger the bubble gets, and the sooner it will burst.

    Looking forward to the revolution when the rest of the world simply tells the USA to go f itself and it's delusional patent system of enforcing control.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The patent regime is killing US tech industry and innovation. New companies in Asia are already ignoring the American market and sell their product exclusively in markets where they can safely ignore the patent racket. The US will have to change their system soon to save their industry, unless congress is willing to use the military to enforce their patent regime world-wide.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ac 09:43

        Killing US tech industry and innovation? How so? I don't see the tech industry in China coming out with innovative products at all, do you?

        They either make products for other countries (those who do have patents) or just copy them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @A/C 10:31

          That's not anything to do with patents, though. It's because they can't wear t-shirts to work...

        2. Mr Cheddarfingers

          RE: @ac 09:43

          "Killing US tech industry and innovation? How so? I don't see the tech industry in China coming out with innovative products at all, do you?"

          Yes, I do actually.

          Take ZTE for example, they displaced Apple last quarter making ZTE the 4th best selling smartphone manufacturer there is, pushing Apple into a rather pitiful 5th place. This was achieved with the likes of the ZTE Blade which was released only around a year after the iPhone 3GS yet cost £90 instead of the £400 tag the 3GS was selling for by then, and was far more powerful. If producing a far superior product, for less than a quarter the price isn't innovation, I'm not sure what is.

          Then there's the likes of Huwaei, whom the US has become very dependent on, and hence very paranoid over for telecomms equipment.

          But perhaps you're stuck too far inside you own little nationalistic shell to recognise any of this.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            I don't see any innovation in what you just wrote. You yourself confirm that the only "innovation" is lower price.

            Low price is easy if you don't have to do any R&D and just copy what someone else is doing.

            Nationalistic shell my half-Asian arse.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @ AC

              I suggest you visit South Korea to see some REAL tech innovation.

            2. PatientOne

              @AC 13:04

              I think you need to read the other poster's comment again:

              ZTE produce a more powerful product for a lower price. That means they had to either develop their own product or *improve* on someone else's. Either way that requires investment in R&D, and if they copied, they would also have to reverse engineer the product first at additional cost. Oh, and they would have to hide their copying so Apple, or whoever they copied off, wouldn't see it and drag them into court for the infringement, meaning even more work at more cost.

              So, chances are they didn't copy: They developed their own, at a lower cost, which is not that difficult considering where they're based.

        3. g e


          "I don't see the tech industry in China coming out with innovative products at all, do you"

          I don't see Crapple doing it either. They have been following everyone else since they first got into phones. Late with 3G, cameras, video recording and just ablout everything else.

          Before the fanbois bleat about SIRI, it's essentially piping ASR output into a search then punting the search results back into a TTS and it's Nuance that provided the technology, again something else Crapple claim to invent that's been around forever.

          Presumably they think they invented the touchscreen. You know, the ones they BUY FROM SAMSUNG...

          etc, etc

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll have to go dig out my wrecked lg voyager, but i'm pretty sure of three things:

    1. It did that when I got it.

    2. There was never an update to the phone from box to death, that could have added that function.

    3. Mine came close to the iphone, so that gap see 2.

  7. James O'Brien
    Black Helicopters



    They have a patent on highlighted text? How long until crApple go after world+dog for browsers highlighting text you search for in a webpage? Not to mention I love how this is patentable. USPTO for the lose here. Should be interesting to see how HTC and Google deal with this. Personally I wish that when I search for someone's number in my contact list the most likely option changes to webdings so i can easily identify it....

    Stealing a page from scarshapedstar

    (Sent from my OUTLAWED HTC EVO 3d)

    Belief due to the fact they are now looking for me for dialing 666 to call my mom, choosing the highlighted name to confirm x-mass plans....

    1. James O'Brien
      Black Helicopters


      HELIS bloody autocorrect should die.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      It's not a patent on merely highlighting text or reg expressions, it is scanning documents automatically and then applying a shortcut that allows you to click on the address or phone number.

      Using highlighting and regular expressions may be how it is implemented, but patents detail the process at a higher level. It's a patent on the process or concept, not the exact solution.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Giles Jones

        Exactly. Which is why either Google or HTC will find another way to do the exact same thing and be clear of the patent issues in no time. It's all about the process, not the outcome.

  8. ~mico

    Does that mean...

    ...That smart-linking (i.e. making a text that clearly represents a web address or a phone number into a clickable link) infringes on Apple's patents? And here I was, thinking this behavior was natural, and indeed present in my Programmers Notepad, written around 1998... Software patents are indeed magical.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That, and numerous others:

      "As examples of the "structures" in question, the patent offers phone numbers, e-mail addresses, post-office addresses, zip codes, and dates. The user's "action" could be, for example, tapping on a detected and highlighted phone number in an email or contact list to make a phone call to that number."

      Skype on a tablet PC would be infringing in that case, as it installs an extension into the browser (or at least Firefox) that allows exactly this.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The patent was filed in 1996

      1. P. Lee

        Wikipedia: The use of regular expressions in structured information standards for document and database modeling started in the 1960s and expanded in the 1980s when industry standards like ISO SGML (precursored by ANSI "GCA 101-1983") consolidated.

        Oh you mean you might actually want to use the regex for something?

        Apart from the skype telephone toolbar, how many email clients, word processors, spreadsheets etc find, highlight and linkify email addresses and anything starting "http://"?

        And what's the betting that MS are not sued? Let's face it, they aren't a threat to Apple's phone ambitions. ;)

        It's just Apple trying to disrupt business again. Oddly they seem to have succeeded this time.

        FAIL for HTC's lawyers for not getting this one thrown out.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I'm pretty sure civ 1 had this feature in the civiliopedia... and microsoft encarta 95

  9. Arctic fox

    I am a little puzzled.

    "Apple will likely assert that the patched versions still violate claims 1 and 8 of US Patent No. 5,946,647,"

    Aren't you rather assuming that HTC and Google are incapable of coming up with a fix that avoids Apple's patent? Or are you assuming that whatever the fix is Apple will sue whether or not the fix in reality still breaches their patent? The ITC *has* rejected the rest of Cupertino's claims from its original suit, dated March 2010 (a total of nine alleged breaches not upheld by the commission) and it seems to me that as long as the fix is competent there is a reasonable likelihood that HTC will win through. If they do it will be a lot harder for Apple to sue the other OEMs over the same patents.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      it depends on the detection part, the action can be got around by putting a icon to tap next to the number, I can't see much use for an address book without being able to dial the number on any phone.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Your address book is safe. The bogus patent is for automagically creating hyperlinks in unstructured data. Your addrese book is structured data and no detection needed, the fields are explicit.

        I doubt the linkify process actually covered will be easy or possible to work round but thats ususally a good sign the patent is invalid. If HTC now convince the ITC of that enforcement is likely to be stayed pending a patent reexamination. Expect this to go from Apple losing 9 claims to losing all the patents.

  10. Paul Shirley

    it may well be trivially easy to disable

    There's a good chance just locking the 'linkify' UI support to off will disable it in most or all of the OS and most 3rd party apps as well. Any 3rd party app that still has it will then have to be targeted by Apple directly - not HTCs problem.

    Odds are they've already toggled that in test builds and will spend the next 3 months checking its effective. Meanwhile a torrent of prior art looks about to fall on the ITC and there's not much chance the ban will survive long enough to actually start!

    In 3 months time I believe this will look like a very bad day for Apple and not much better for their accomplices at the ITC.

  11. inventor

    apple's real edge

    Aside from the legalities, we all know that Steve vowed to spend every last dollar of the $40B in the bank when he died, to fight off pretenders copying the iPhone. Is there any question that the iPhone is his invention set, that it is demonstrably better, that the public has paid for it as such, and that he had every right to protect his inventions? Does his death change Apple's right to continue such protections?

    Do you commentors doubt that there are not tens or hundreds of other patents that could yet be asserted?

    Do you not value the protection of invention, when you see it? You should; otherwise, there would be none.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But they're not copying the iPhone


    2. Mike Pellatt

      Danger, Will Robinson. Jobs RDF influence detected.

      The claimed patent clearly describes a process well-covered by prior art, as numerous previous posters have pointed out.

      Go read up why patents were originally introduced, and ask yourself if the current uses that the legislation are being put to are compatible with the original goals.

      Finally... Apple, in all its life, introduced comparatively little that was novel. It is a tribute to Steve's excellent marketing and design skills, his attention to detail, and finally the power of the RDF that World+Dog believes it to be a significant innovator.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Do you not value the protection of invention...?"

      I think we all do. What we fear is that this sort of idiocy will lead to a situation where only the biggest companies will be able to successfully invent/innovate. The small inventors will not get a look in as anything a startup creates will already be covered by a speculative patent. Or they will simply be suppressed by legal action if their invention strays onto the turf of the big boys even if there is no infringement.

      It is the death of innovation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


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

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      This is not an invention. It is an obvious usage of existing (at the time) technology. The patent should never have been granted due to it's obviousness. I was writing code that detected and "hyperlinked" (as I didn't know it was called) 6 years before this patent was applied for. Yes, I did check the patent dates.

    6. Rameses Niblick the Third (KKWWMT)


      "Is there any question that the iPhone is his invention set"

      Er, yes. Put simply, Jobs was the figure-head, all the hard work was, and is done by Wozniak and the engineers. To be honest, I'd be surprised if his input went beyond "No, I want it to be four icons across!" and "can we make this in white as well as black?"

      "that it is demonstrably better"

      If it's so much better, then why 1) dont they let the much better product perform in the market, instead of using ridiculous patents, and 2) why, even at the premium end of the market, does Android sell so well?

      " that the public has paid for it as such"

      The public has paid for it? I didn't realise Apple was a government owned company

      "and that he had every right to protect his inventions"

      Genuinely new inventions, yes, absolutely. However, email clients have been doing this highlight types of data for years, as have phones, picking numbers out of text messages.

      "Do you commentors doubt that there are not tens or hundreds of other patents that could yet be asserted?"

      No, don't doubt this at all, and I expect they are all as petty and stupid as this.

      "Do you not value the protection of invention, when you see it?"

      See above.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Rameses Noblick

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

    7. Rob

      Let me help you...

      ... this is the icon you were probably looking for......

    8. despicable me

      "Do you not value the protection of invention, when you see it?"

      Absolutely, but you may wish to look up the definition of "invention".

    9. BristolBachelor Gold badge

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

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

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

    10. KnucklesTheDog
      Thumb Down

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

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

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


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

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

        HTC and Samsung did not build the mobile industry.

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

        Same goes for carriers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


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

        2. KnucklesTheDog


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

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

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

          1. Craigness

            The point in replying

            Shame the itards into being accurate!

    11. Desktop Mobile

      Top Troll posting of 2011


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

      Best of 2011 IMHO

    12. Schultz

      $40B in apples

      Sounds like someone reaped the rewards for his inventions.

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

  12. them

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

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

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

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ them

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

      Sorry, but it wasn't theft.

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

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

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

  13. Eddy Ito

    The claims

    Claim 1: Symix circa 1989

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

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No surprise

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

    There is nothing International about the this US organisation.

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My sloppy typing

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

  15. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    A cry from a user...

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

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

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

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

    1. BenR


      Well said Sir.

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

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

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    U.S. "International" Trade Commission

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

  17. LarsG


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

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

    No wait, Apple have filed a patent!

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

  18. Lars Silver badge

    Oh dear

    Texts where highlighted long before Apple made its first iPhone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

  19. davefb

    theres a reason peoples phones used to do this

    isn't it from the mac this patent?

    Does this mean normally it's cross licensed ?

  20. MacGyver

    It is time..

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

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

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

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

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

  21. Wouter

    Apple is the new SCO

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

  22. mark l 2 Silver badge

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

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

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

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

  24. CarlC

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

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      how do you suffer?

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

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

      1. CarlC

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

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

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

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

        And seeing as you mentioned legality try this one - A big corp trying to crush a small inovator. Lets be honest all the device manufacturers are as bad as one another.

      2. CarlC

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

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

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

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

  25. Smallbrainfield

    Who's the Mount & Blade fan?

    I think we should be told.

  26. Nya
    Thumb Down

    Who's patent is this?

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

    The US patent system is a total piddle take!

  27. cs94njw


    More patent news stories. Boring.

  28. PaulM 1

    Apple did not invent the mobile phone

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

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

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

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