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01.23.13

Apple’s Strategy Against Linux and Android is Failing

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 3:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Great background

Summary: More setbacks in Apple litigation and a deposition of Apple’s CEO is expected

Apple’s obsession with patents is proving to be counter-productive. Wired has published this article which tells the story of SparkFun:

Design Like No One Is Patenting — How SparkFun Stays Ahead of the Pack

Electronics supplier SparkFun designs dozens of products a year and they haven’t patented a single one. It’s worked out pretty well so far.

Also, in a new interview Wired told Google’s Larry Page (CEO): “Steve Jobs felt competitive enough to claim that he was willing to “go to thermonuclear war” on Android.”

Page replied cleverly: “How well is that working?”

Apple has lost its mind. At Groklaw, which used to sympathise with Apple, Jones wrote: “The color version reads: “The applicant claims the colours black and silver as elements of Mark A in the series.” Great. Rounded corners. Now colors.” Patently Apple, an Apple boosting site has this report.

Recently, a Dutch court ruled against Apple, which is getting desperate for embargoes because Android devices sell like there is no limit (at the expense of Windows laptops and desktops, not just Apple-branded phones and tablets).

The US media, the corporate press in this case, says: “The outcome of these cases won’t be clear for several years, but so far neither company seems to be halting R&D or sales of the phones in question.”

Actually, Apple is reported to have halved orders, so sales are affected in some ways. Samsung won’t help Apple anymore. There is more about these disputes in the Page interview. Groklaw writes:

Apple and Samsung are having an intriguing debate before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. What does a patent holder have to prove in order to get an injunction? That is the question Apple raises. If there are, as claimed, approximately 200,000 patents that could be asserted against smartphones, which ones matter in the injunction analysis? Just a small handfull? Do you have to prove that the patent covers a feature that you can demonstrate consumers want, that it’s a feature that *drives* sales, in order to warrant an injunction?

Apple a couple of months back filed its petition for rehearing en banc of an October 2012 order by the Federal Court of Appeals in Apple v. Samsung II that held that in order to obtain injunctive relief in a case where an accused product contains many features, a “patentee must . . . show that the infringing feature drives consumer demand for the accused product”. Apple argues that this so-called “causal nexus” requirement violates equity.

As I read their motion, they are saying that the Federal Circuit’s order narrows drastically the ability of patent holders to obtain injunctions, and that there is a conflict with other rulings by this court and the US Supreme Court.

Apple is still trying to ban Android devices, but it’s a hard sell to the courts:

Apple Inc faces long odds in its attempt to overturn a U.S. appeals court ruling that threatens to undermine its smartphone patent war against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

Apple is said to be working against workers’ rights not just in China but also in the US. Judge Koh wants Apple’s CEO to be deposed for this:

US District Judge Lucy Koh has ordered Apple CEO Tim Cook to give a deposition about Apple’s role in a series of deals between top tech companies to not recruit each other’s employees. At a hearing this week, Koh said Cook, Google chairman Eric Schmidt, and Intel CEO Paul Otellini must be deposed to provide testimony about the deals, which the companies had agreed to dissolve after a US Department of Justice probe into the practices in 2010. The testimony is related to a civil lawsuit filed by five former employees of the companies, who claim that they and others lost out on better salaries due to the policies.

Apple’s bad practices go beyond that through. It colludes with Microsoft too. As Jones put it, “I told you patent litigation can be anticompetitive. Here’s a current example, according to the FTC. I continue to hope the FTC and other regulatory bodies will inquire into the Apple-Microsoft-Nokia-MOSAID et al patent attacks on Android as another.” The context was a “Federal Trade Commission staff report [pdf] [which] found that drug companies made 40 potential pay-for-delay deals in FY 2012 (1 October 2011 through 30 September 2012).” (source)

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