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12.15.11

Apple’s Patent War on Linux Turns Back Against Apple, Which Allegedly Resorts to Using Patent Trolls

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 7:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SD

Summary: Apple’s aggressive moves against Linux-powered phones/tablets end up putting Apple’s business at risk and Apple is seen paying trolls, possibly with ill intent

THE behaviour of Apple has become increasingly relevant to us because Apple attacks Free/Open Source software.

The patent hoarding of Apple is further exacerbated with additions that are later being used to block sales of Android devices. There is reactionary motion to ban Apple devices as means of deterrence and the outcome can be serious for Apple’s business.

Ironically, the fight which was started by Apple does not turn out too well, at least not in the conventional way.

As we showed a couple of days ago, it is now Apple that risks embargo. In an article from Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols he labels this “revenge” and notes that:

A German court has just issued a preliminary injunction on Motorola’s behalf that blocks European sales of all Apple’s 3G-enabled devices.

A Microsoft booster helps show that Apple is additionally hurting open standards with its software patents. To quote:

Opera developer Haavard Moen has accused Apple of repeatedly using patents to undermine the development of Web standards and block their finalization.

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the industry group that governs and oversees the development of Web standards, requires that every specification it approves be implementable on a royalty-free basis, barring extraordinary circumstances that justify an exception to this rule. The specifications can contain patented technology, as long as royalty-free patent licenses are available.

Nilay Patel, who previously (as in this case) spread anti-Android (and thus Apple-sympathetic) messages through boosters who had helped Microsoft lobbyists, seeds this story, which goes along the lines of “Samsung did not play nice with Apple”. Meanwhile, “Apple appears to have entered an unusual deal with a company commonly referred to as a patent troll.” Ars Technica writes:

Apple may be using patent troll to do its legal dirty work

It appears that Apple has made a deal with patent troll Digitude Innnovations to help the company’s efforts to sue nearly every major mobile device maker. Digitude earlier this month launched one of its first legal attacks against Nokia, RIM, Motorola, HTC, LG, Samsung, Sony, and even Amazon, filing a patent infringement claim with the International Trade Commission. Conspicuously absent from that list is iPhone maker Apple, which until late November owned two of the patents being used to target “certain mobile devices” from its competitors.

We have already seen Microsoft using patent trolls as proxies in attacks on Android, so let’s keep an eye on this. Apple is desperate to block Android because its core business may depend on it. Apple previously paid the world’s biggest patent troll.

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8 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    December 15, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Gravatar

    Please show a shred of evidence to support your claim the battles were started by Apple.

    Just a shred… would be more than you have shown so far.

  2. Charles Oliver said,

    December 15, 2011 at 9:37 pm

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    Hmm, I thought it was generally well known that Apple was the original aggressor in the current spate of court cases. There’s a nice Steve Jobs quotes on that, to paraphrase: crush Android, competition bad, thermonuclear underpants.

    In the end though the patent system is all bad. Apple and Microsoft might be an investors in Intellectual Ventures, the patent troll par excellence, but then so is Google.

    Apple might spin out a patent troll company but then Google will probably do the same via Motorola Mobility (if they don’t, they leave Apple with an advantage).

    In the end nothing will crush Android, so Apple are maybe only protecting short term profits with their attempt to slow Android dominance.

    It is interesting that a company started by a couple of hippies is such a corporate cupcake these days. Pity really. I think Apple and Microsoft have done good stuff in the past. Ok they might have bought a lot of the stuff that they are known for but Google bought Android.

  3. Charles Oliver said,

    December 15, 2011 at 9:53 pm

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    Oh yeah, Apple is King Canute* trying to hold back the tide of Android.

    * Actually Canute was trying to prove that there are limits to power but that’s not how it’s portrayed, mostly**.

    ** If repeated enough a falsehood can seem to ring true, like “Windows works better” or “Chrome is more secure than Firefox”***.

    *** Of course that Asus campaign was maybe penance exacted by Microsoft for the original EEEPC, and Google paid for the research that shows Chrome is the most secure browser ****

    **** obviously picked up a trick from the IE bag * <- infinite loop.

  4. Michael said,

    December 15, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Gravatar

    Hmm, I thought it was generally well known that Apple was the original aggressor in the current spate of court cases. There’s a nice Steve Jobs quotes on that, to paraphrase: crush Android, competition bad, thermonuclear underpants.

    Let us look at the history… what came before Samsung’s undeniable copying of Apple?

    As far as I know that was the start between Samsung and Apple… though Google’s copying of iOS might be considered the start as well.

    In the end though the patent system is all bad. Apple and Microsoft might be an investors in Intellectual Ventures, the patent troll par excellence, but then so is Google.

    I agree there are massive problems with the patent system – but what other than patents protects an innovative company from the type of behavior Samsung has shown?

    Apple might spin out a patent troll company but then Google will probably do the same via Motorola Mobility (if they don’t, they leave Apple with an advantage).

    I do not pretend to understand all of the details of these patent wars – and I certainly do not hold Apple blameless. Nor Google. Sounds like you pretty much agree… where Roy just focuses on attacking Apple and Google. That is one of the things I argue against.

    In the end nothing will crush Android, so Apple are maybe only protecting short term profits with their attempt to slow Android dominance.

    I tend to agree… and do not know what their long term strategy is. One good thing to come from this is both Apple and Google are being pushed to innovate… for now it seems Apple is (overall) ahead but Google is not standing still.

    It is interesting that a company started by a couple of hippies is such a corporate cupcake these days. Pity really. I think Apple and Microsoft have done good stuff in the past. Ok they might have bought a lot of the stuff that they are known for but Google bought Android.

    I think there is room for all three companies in the mobile space… and think the competition is good for all of us.

    The problem I see is where to draw the line from being inspired by the competition – which is natural and good – and out and out copying the competition which is clearly wrong. Apple thinks Google crossed the line… maybe they did and maybe they did not. Samsung, however, clearly did – as the links above so clearly show.

  5. walterbyrd said,

    December 15, 2011 at 11:13 pm

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    > “Let us look at the history… what came before Samsung’s undeniable copying of Apple?”

    “Undeniable” my ass. The JooJoo/crunchpad had rounded corners, and a flat screen, and it had a prototype out before the iPad.

    Aside from those “ideas” not being from Apple to begin with, the ideas are laughably frivolous.

    What other ideas did Apple “re-invent?” How about color icons, and kinetic scrolling?

    Apple is clearly trying to restrain free trade with a series of frivolous IP lawsuits.

    Michael Reply:

    “Let us look at the history… what came before Samsung’s undeniable copying of Apple?”

    “Undeniable” my ass. The JooJoo/crunchpad had rounded corners, and a flat screen, and it had a prototype out before the iPad.

    I was not clear: undeniable to rational people. I posted the evidence.. and said nothing about rounded corners or flat screens. Look at the evidence. I showed it to you. If you have something showing contrary evidence I would love to see it.

    Aside from those “ideas” not being from Apple to begin with, the ideas are laughably frivolous.

    Again, I am talking about the evidence, not your wishes. If you have evidence please show it.

    What other ideas did Apple “re-invent?” How about color icons, and kinetic scrolling?

    Apple completely re-invented the phone and then the tablet. Nobody was doing what they were before them. Look at the reports when it first came out.

    Apple is clearly trying to restrain free trade with a series of frivolous IP lawsuits.

    If you have evidence of this – something to counter what you have been shown – then please show it. Without that you are speaking of your wishes and not of what the evidence shows.

  6. mcinsand said,

    December 17, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Gravatar

    Apple started it, with that garbage design patent on rounded corners, among others. As we get to read more of these examples, we see how corrupted the patent system has become. After Apple and MS have so sleazily, dishonestly intimidated the markets with patents that no-one knowledgeable in the art would have filed as novel, I certainly feel no sympathy for them. In the end, though, they might well become allies; they may have loved software patents when they thought they could suppress innovation and competition, but they may well use reserves to fight against software patents in the end. FOSS now has significant backers, so this isn’t like the old days when the duopoly could run a small company out of business with legal defense fees.

    Woo-hoo! I do hope this is the start of Apple and MS getting what they deserve! Their efforts to exerminate choice might be exterminated, after all!

    Michael Reply:

    Apple started it, with that garbage design patent on rounded corners, among others.

    That happened *after* Samsung had already done what you have shown:

    For Apple’s lawsuit to have started it, Apple would need to have a time machine to somehow have started it before that which the lawsuits were a reaction to. Now while Apple’s backup solution is called “Time Machine”, I assure you it is not a real time machine that allows your claim to be accurate.

    In other words: you are claiming that something that happened *after* the start of the battle is the start.

    As we get to read more of these examples, we see how corrupted the patent system has become.

    Oh, it is horribly broken… and Apple has been pushed to make some rather odd claims as they use this broken system. As have others. No doubt.

    After Apple and MS have so sleazily, dishonestly intimidated the markets with patents that no-one knowledgeable in the art would have filed as novel, I certainly feel no sympathy for them.

    This is not about your emotional reaction, “sympathy” as you say. I am looking at this rationally – and the evidence is clear: when your “first” act is proceeded by a obviously “sleazy” behavior by Samsung, then it is Samsung who acted first and Apple which *reacted*. You do not like the reaction. So be it.

    In the end, though, they might well become allies; they may have loved software patents when they thought they could suppress innovation and competition, but they may well use reserves to fight against software patents in the end. FOSS now has significant backers, so this isn’t like the old days when the duopoly could run a small company out of business with legal defense fees.

    There is no “duopoly”. Roy made that up.

    Woo-hoo! I do hope this is the start of Apple and MS getting what they deserve! Their efforts to exerminate choice might be exterminated, after all!

    Elimination of choice? You made that up, too.

    When you simply make things up such as some imaginary “duopoly” and some fictitious person or group who is against choice, you severely hurt your own credibility.

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