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05.19.12

Apple Patent Wars Make Android Devices Less Attractive, Everyone Suffers

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 4:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Jobs with patent
Original photo by Matt Buchanan; edited by Techrights

Summary: Bits of patent news regarding Apple and its patents

THE tales of HTC versus Apple are further complicated now that HTC removes features to dodge Apple patents. As one site put it:

The HTC One X for AT&T and Evo 4G LTE for Sprint already bear the distinction of being the first Android devices to face an import block at US Customs for potentially infringing an Apple patent, but the ignominy may be fleeting: sources tell us that HTC’s US devices use a customized version of Android that removes the offending “data tapping” feature. That’s confirmed by our own examination of an AT&T One X and Sprint Evo 4G LTE, neither of which exhibit the key behavior excluded from importation into the US by the International Trade Commission, and which both include a new settings screen not present in the international One X.

The customer clearly won’t benefit from this. Oracle in the mean time is fighting against the very heart of the platform and its mind is changing;

Both legal teams in Oracle’s lawsuit against Google had recently seemed determined to end the case as efficiently as possible; however, things took a turn for the complicated during the latest proceedings. When the final statements in the patent portion of the suit were concluded, Oracle’s team of lawyers went back to discuss the issue of damages once again, with Judge William Alsup surprising attendees by revealing that he had, in fact, spent time programming before.

The Oracle case against Android helps Apple and the longer it goes on for, the less confident developers will feel about developing for Dalvik. Apple is the mean time is hammering on HTC, which received patents from Google:

In its latest legal salvo, the iPhone maker has asked the ITC to dismiss five patents that Google issued to HTC last year.

All those patent fights among giants are harming everyone. Google ought to just do more to squash all software patents. Its current approach leads to the perception that software patents can be balanced. As this new post puts it:

Big Player Patent Battles Trickle Down to Everyone

[...]

When you look around at the news these days, you know that IP law is having a big impact on how big companies are spending their money. It seems that every company is playing defense with patents instead of taking the time innovate. High profile purchases such as Google buying Motorola Mobility was probably driven more by the company’s patent cache more than its technology holdings.

It has become clearer that all software patents — no matter whose — need to go. They in no way serve the common good.

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4 Comments

  1. chesterdkat said,

    May 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Gravatar

    Duh, I think that’s something called “intellectual property”. It’s a protection provided in capitalist countries. You know, like what the United States used to be before January 2009…

    Narrator Reply:

    The USA has been a fascist country ever since 1913 when a privately owned company (The Federal Reserve) merged with the State.

    If schools could teach history people would know Capitalism made the US such a great country. We need Capitalism. We need a market controlled by the people and not by the corporations.

    When Apple (a privately owned company) hires a swat team (the State) to raid someone’s house – that’s not Capitalism – that’s Fascism.

    chesterdkat Reply:

    Yes, I saw versions of that “facist” story on the “Internet”. Which blogger has it nailed?

  2. Michael said,

    May 20, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Gravatar

    If you want to get rid of patents that is great – but how do you deal with plagiarism in the industry. There is a lot of it. Do you just accept it as the cost of business? Do you ignore it? Do you just hope people will be nice and it will go away?

    What is your answer? You complain about the current system a great deal but have no alternatives to suggest in terms of protecting the investments / innovations companies make.

    Largely, Roy, it comes down to you knowing that the OSS ecosystem cannot compete on a level playing field (on desktop products at least, and apparently your fear stretches to hand-held devices) – so much of OSS is designed to be a cheap knock-off of the “real” thing.

    I have more faith in the OSS world – I think they can and should be able to come up with innovative products which are not just the results of plagiarizing the works of others. And I think these products can be excellent. Of course, by the nature of being OSS, others can and do use those ideas more freely than the ideas of groups which opt to protect their IP in an more stringent way. That is the “cost” of electing to use an open source model – you are agreeing that others can use your ideas and “plagiarize” freely. If you do not want them to, use a different license.

    But to insist that others must adopt a license more like the one you prefer is just insane. No: companies have choice and to take it from them, as you want, is not right. The “Free” community talks a big talk when it comes to the concept of choice, but when push comes to shove, the only choices they will accept as being valid are the ones they would make. This is not *real* choice.

    Support choice. Let companies protect their IP the way they see best to do so – even if you disagree with it and think it is harmful to the company or to you. If someone thought open source was harmful would you want them to be able to take that choice away? I certainly would not… but that is the type of thinking you show: people should not be able to eliminate the ability of others to make non-harmful choices simply because they do not like those choices.

    Your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins. Company X protecting its own IP and working to reduce others plagiarizing it does not infringe on anyone’s rights… thus there is no reason to be against it. Even Stallman agrees with this and protects his IP with licenses much more restrictive than the GPL – when he sees fit to do so.

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