04.12.15

The ITC’s and US Media’s Surprisingly Soft Treatment of Patent Bully Apple

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 4:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A thorn

Summary: Despite Apple’s history of initiating patent aggression against its competition (mostly Android-backing companies), the US corporate media treats Apple like a victim

OUR previous article showed how Apple was helping Microsoft extort Linux. It’s not hard to see and it’s not hard to understand. Both companies are proprietary software giants to which Linux is a massive threat. Outside the United States Android is slaughtering Apple’s ‘i’ devices and outside some very large (and monolithic) corporations it’s getting hard to see Windows dominance. Many people use Android, GNU/Linux, and sometimes “Apple”-branded PCs.

Neglecting to mention the ITC‘s role in pushing Apple‘s agenda of blocking the competition (usually foreign, as in non-US), the US media obsessed over Apple as the victim of patents, citing this case where not Apple was the troll. “The patents relate to accessing and storing downloaded songs, videos and games,” said one report (i.e. software patents), and “Apple [was] Ordered To Pay $532.9 Million In Patent Case”.

Poor Apple. Now it knows what it feels like to have trolls (like Apple) attacking the competition. See this report titled “ITC Trims Software Patent Probe For Apple Products”. It says that “The International Trade Commission has cut back an investigation into Apple Inc.’s consumer hardware devices after nonpracticing patent entity Enterprise Systems Technologies S.a.r.l withdrew claims that the devices infringed one of its software patents, according to a Tuesday order.” This shows a sort of confirmatory action wherein Apple is treated gently by the ITC — a trend we noted here before (going back years ago). Also see this report titled “Apple Patent Tips Real-Time Route Tracking”. Some innovation, eh? Harming society one patent at a time.

In other news, Ericsson, which uses Android, seeks a ban on Apple products and it’s suing. This news is over a month old, but Ericsson’s action is mostly reactionary because it’s Apple that started bullying Android, striving to embargo imports. One report said that “Apple had been paying royalties to Stockholm-based Ericsson before a license expired in mid-January. When talks over renewal failed, the companies sued each other, seeking court rulings on whether Ericsson’s royalty demands on fundamental technology were fair and reasonable.”

Here is some additional coverage [1, 2, 3, 4].

If we follow the narrative painted or thrown together by US media we may be left with the illusion of parity or reciprocity — a hypothetical situation where Android companies are basically the aggressors against Apple. Historically it was Apple that started it all by suing multiple Android backers, starting with HTC and Samsung.

To be fair, Google does pursue its share of software patents these days, the latest example of which is this creepy software patent: “As of March 31, 2015, Google owns a shiny new patent (8,996,429) outlining a robot that changes personalities based on circumstance and a wide variety of user information. The system stores useful data in the cloud where it can be accessed by other robots. Adorable robots, if we’re to go by Google’s “conceptual graphical representations” (above).”

Google never sued Apple over patents. In fact, Google never sues other companies over patent infringement unless those companies sue Google first. Therein lies the massive difference between Apple and Google, not just Microsoft and Google. Putting aside the “don’t be evil” mantra, Google is definitely a lot less evil than Apple and Microsoft.

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