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07.28.13

Apple is Still Trying to Ban Linux Devices Using a Patent on Rounded Corners

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rounded corners! Ban all power sockets!

UK power socket

Summary: A noteworthy observation about Apple’s patent strategy and how it affects Android devices with the ‘wrong’ (i.e. not sharp) corners

Patent aggressor Apple is causing some problems for Windows and not just for Android, which is the Linux-based operating system claimed to be on half a billion devices sold in 2012 (hence bigger than Windows).

The patent fight that’s occupying Apple got the attention of patent reformists, who say:

Over at Patent Progress, Matt Levy points out the potentially ridiculous task that might befall U.S. Customs: deciding ‘how round is round?’, should an ITC administrative law judge call upon the agency to prevent Samsung smartphones from entering the country based on infringement of Apple’s “rounded rectangle” smartphone design patent, which I have previously criticized.

The potential dilemma for Customs illustrates how problematic the patent expansion is proving to be. I am reminded of discussions from Stanford Law’s recent conference, Design Patents in the Modern World, perhaps one of the first gatherings focused specifically on this once-sleepy area of the law. The great unanswered question of the April event was: is this all worth the trouble?

Citing Matt Levy, namely his post about Samsung and US Customs, he calls it a “headache”. To quote Levy: “You may know that the ITC is due to issue a final decision on whether Samsung smartphones infringe Apple patents. (As I wrote about a few weeks ago, the ITC recently held that some iPhones do infringe Samsung patents.) One of those Apple patents is the famous “rounded rectangles” design patent.”

We wrote about this patent before. The very fact that Apple is still pursuing device bans using this patent (despite opposition even from some Apple proponents) says a lot about Apple, the ITC, and USPTO. Who would conceivably defend such behaviour?

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A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    July 28, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Gravatar

    If Apple have ever gotten or even *tried* to get a patent on a rounded rectangle your story might be believable.

    They never have. If they had you would be able to point to the patent or evidence they tried to get such a patent.

    They *do* have a patent on their designs… but none of their hardware designs are merely rounded rectangles. None. Ever.

    Got it yet?

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