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Apple sues HTC over phone patents
Seb7




msg:4090194
 6:49 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

[news.bbc.co.uk ]

Apple has taken legal action against phone maker HTC, alleging it has infringed patented technology.

HTC has been accused of infringing 20 patents owned by Apple that are used in the iPhone.

Apple said the patent infringements covered technology used in the iPhone interface as well as its "underlying hardware and architecture."

HTC makes phones for many firms including Google and was behind the Nexus One handset.


I was under the impression Android was built from scratch.

I really don’t think HTC used any of Apple's code, maybe some of their interface ideas for which I think its a desperate measures from Apple.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 10:05 pm (utc) on Mar 2, 2010]
[edit reason] add quote [/edit]

 

Brett_Tabke




msg:4090284
 10:06 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

HTC makes many phones - including the WinMo based TouchPro/TouchPro2 in my pocket right now.

Sounds to me like Apple has good grounds. MultiTouch has been Apples core patent since the iPhone first appeared. However, there are several other patents as well:

[techcrunch.com...]

...the complaint filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission specifically calls out the various HTC Android phones (including the Nexus One, Magic/myTouch 3G, Dream/G1, Hero, and Droid Eris) as the main offending products. By going after the biggest Android manufacturer, Apple is putting all Android cell phone makers—and by extension Google— on notice. Is there any doubt now why Google CEO Eric Schmidt had to resign from Apple’s board last year? The battle lines are now drawn.


Nice run down of the patents over at Engadget:
[engadget.com...]

J_RaD




msg:4090304
 10:47 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

i wish all the best to apple in this one.

subhankar ray




msg:4090324
 11:30 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am not an expert in the patent litigation. However, can the Android stake holders like Google, Motorola with a larger patent portfolio (than HTC) can partner with HTC to defend Android community?

IanKelley




msg:4090341
 12:39 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I didn't read the patents but if they're trying to protect things like multitouch then they're going to have to sue everyone.

There isn't a cell phone manufacturer or operating system out there that isn't racing to release (or has already released) a device with features similar to the latest generation of Android phones.

jkovar




msg:4090381
 2:28 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wonder if there will ever come a day when "over granulated" patents will be considered anti-competitive business practice.

Harry




msg:4090383
 2:48 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

The multi-touch patents Apple allegedly has are over-rated. They are very minimal and do not cover much. Also, many other vendors have been using several of the features of the iPhone before the iPhone was ever released.

Do any of you remember the threat Apple made to Palm when the Palm Pre was unveiled? Why didn't Apple sure Palm?

Maybe its because Apple swiped the grid icon interface, the plane mode, the proximity sensors, the light sensors and many more patents from Palm and probably decided to skip a fight with an opponent with a wide patents library.

HTC on the other hand is quite poor when it comes to patents and is the weak link in the Android arena.

Me, I like neither Google nor Apple so will enjoy seeing the two self destruct each other. Bring on the pop corn!

BillyS




msg:4090391
 3:08 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

How in the world did Apple get such vague patents? Some of these are like granting a patent for a tire that is round.

Should be interesting to watch. If Apple wins, they've pretty much shut down all cell phone innovations from this point forward. I'm suprised some of these don't apply to blackberry too.

JS_Harris




msg:4090411
 4:03 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I hope the suit has real merrit, otherwise I'm unimpressed by Apple's willingness to sue just to see how things work out. Lawsuits based on "have nothing to lose" concepts usually unearth things that get lost at some point.

incrediBILL




msg:4090421
 4:21 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure how you can apply a generic technology, such as multi-touch, to a single device such as a phone, because anyone using a multi-touch screen would have that ability.

Besides, didn't MS Surface use multi-touch before the iPhone ever shipped?

As a matter of fact, the wiki claims the technology has been around since 1982.

Multi-touch technology began in 1982, when the University of Toronto's Input Research Group developed the first human-input multi-touch system.


Technically an iPhone is a multi-purpose computer that also can be used as a phone, just a handheld version.

How is having a desktop with a phone and a multi-touch screen any different than a handheld?

It isn't.

The patent system is patently broken.

ogletree




msg:4090433
 5:29 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't see how Apple can patent Multi Touch as an idea. Does that mean I can go out and patent the idea of steering a car with my mind and if somebody actually figures out how to do it they owe me money?

mack




msg:4090437
 6:02 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree that if this patent is allowed to stand and the ruling goes against HTC all this will do is hold back inovation within the touch screen industry. How else can you do on screen manipulation?

Mack.

TheMadScientist




msg:4090476
 7:57 am on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

As a matter of fact, the wiki claims the technology has been around since 1982.

IMO Wikipedia is allowing the term multi-touch to be thrown around very loosely by allowing too many things with a touch screen to be referred to as the Apple TradeMark 'Multi-Touch' [apple.com...] Touch screen technology has been around longer, but IMO not the way Apple did it with the iPhone or their TradeMark Multi-Touch Technology. (See Below)

Besides, didn't MS Surface use multi-touch before the iPhone ever shipped?

According to the same Wikipedia, with sources cited for these:
The Microsoft Surface was initially released Apr. 17, 2008.
The iPhone was released June 29, 2007.
It seems it was actually the other way around.

The actual title of the touch screen Patent is:
"Touch Screen Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics"

[google.com...]

Here's a portion of Claim 1 from the link above:
wherein the one or more heuristics comprise:
a vertical screen scrolling heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a one-dimensional vertical screen scrolling command rather than a two-dimensional screen translation command based on an angle of initial movement of a finger contact with respect to the touch screen display;
a two-dimensional screen translation heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to the two-dimensional screen translation command rather than the one-dimensional vertical screen scrolling command based on the angle of initial movement of the finger contact with respect to the touch screen display; and

IMO It's not simply a basic touch screen they're talking about.

What I don't understand about the 'it makes further development impossible' argument is if someone else can do more or different or in another way, then IMO they don't have to infringe on Apple's Patent, but if they can't then Apple already developed it, so why should others be able to copy?

IMO The 'it ruins development' argument is like saying since Xerox holds so many copy related patents there is no way another copy machine could ever be developed and the copy machine will not ever be developed or advanced, but somehow Cannon, Minolta, Mita, and others seem to make copy machines... They just had to do things a different way.

Zamboni




msg:4090692
 2:19 pm on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have to disagree with the idea that this lawsuit will hold back innovation. Apple is the innovator in this market and it's not likely the products they are suing over would exist without the Iphone's success. Apple isn't a patent troll they actually developed very popular products with their technology.

Apple needs to litigate now before all the Ipad clones running Android hit the market.

Harry




msg:4090732
 3:03 pm on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

@Zamboni, Apple is not an innovator in this category and as I wrote above, but people seem to overlook, is that the so-called multi touch patents's scope has been greatly exaggerated by the public and the media over the years. It's not as extensive as people think it is.

Some good articles were written about Apple's iPhone patents last year. One of them compared Apple's patents as patenting a a wood lining above a wheel, instead of patenting the actual wheel.

A lot of fanboys seem to think that Apple has done no wrong and invented all the technology and functionality in the iPhone from scratch. As I noted above, the airplane mode, the light sensor, searching for a contact by typing but the initials of the person's name, the proximity sensor were all swiped from Palm and Apple never paid a dime to use these features. A lot of other patents from Sony, Motorola, and Nokia were also swiped and Apple never paid these companies either. Apple thinks it can get away with using other people's patents while suing anyone that uses something similar to theirs.

And to make it clear, Apple did not create any multi-touch tech. I bought some company that had multi-touch tech. The multi-touch tech does not cover every possible uses of the multi-touch interface used in iPhones.

Zamboni




msg:4090738
 3:15 pm on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes Harry, anyone that reads the Mac forum knows your anti-mac-fanboy stance. If I was a shareholder in those companies that let Apple walk all over their patents I'd be pretty upset. If that was the case, it's their fault for not pursuing their patents.

The main question I have is would the HTC products in question exist without the Iphone?

P.S. before I get labelled an irate ultra-fanboy, I don't own a cell phone or a touch for that matter. I have a Mac at home but I also have 3 PC's. I'm not an Apple shareholder but if I was I'd be pretty pissed if Apple didn't exercise their patent rights. I'm sure the courts will sort out their legitimacy.

willybfriendly




msg:4090813
 5:09 pm on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

What I don't understand about the 'it makes further development impossible' argument is if someone else can do more or different or in another way, then IMO they don't have to infringe on Apple's Patent, but if they can't then Apple already developed it, so why should others be able to copy?


The problem here is that software patents are more and more covering ideas, not processes.

I used the example of covered bridges in another thread. There were at least 10 patents issued for truss designs in covered bridges - many relatively minor variations on prior designs. There was never to my knowledge a patent issued for, "A method to span chasms with a structure of wood beams and a roof..."

These are engineering problems, and as such only the specific solution deserves protection. "How do I build a skyscraper?" may lead to a patentable idea (pre-stressed concrete) but the idea of a high rise building is hardly worthy of protection.

Likewise, the idea of, "How do I make a screen respond to touch so I can eliminate the keyboard?" is hardly worthy of protection.

TheMadScientist




msg:4090849
 6:06 pm on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

The problem here is that software patents are more and more covering ideas, not processes.

I don't know, personally, the one I've looked at WRT this thread, referenced above, is much like Harry stated and does not cover everything, and also has some very specific items and behaviors of a process outlined, IMO.

Maybe you think it's more general and I'm thinking it's more specific even though it has a general name, but Harry has a good point when he says it seems the Press and people here think it's more extensive than it is. (I'm really not trying to state your point or position, so don't 'read-between-the-lines' because I'm not sure if you're even referring to the patent I am or if you're referring to the process overall.)

I used the example of covered bridges in another thread. There were at least 10 patents issued for truss designs in covered bridges - many relatively minor variations on prior designs. There was never to my knowledge a patent issued for, "A method to span chasms with a structure of wood beams and a roof..."

I agree with you here, but like I said previously, IMO the patents I've looked at recently are much more specific than they have been made to sound by some of the coverage.

Likewise, the idea of, "How do I make a screen respond to touch so I can eliminate the keyboard?" is hardly worthy of protection.

Yeah, that would be absolutely silly IMO, but in looking at the patent for a while last night it looked like there were some very specific behaviors associated with the 'touch screen' patent Apple holds and it's not nearly as general as the headlines make it sound.

The multi-touch tech does not cover every possible uses of the multi-touch interface used in iPhones.

I agree, so IMO, it does not hamper or hinder development in any way. It simply keeps people from doing it the same way Apple (or whomever received the original patent) did it first.

willybfriendly




msg:4090891
 6:56 pm on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Having scanned (vs studied) the patent, it still appears to me that it is an idea being patented, not a specific solution to an engineering problem. Many references to heuristics (def = "a method of solving problems by finding practical ways of dealing with them, learning from past experience") but nada in the way of specifics.

In other words, the patent appears to cover the idea of converting tactile interactions into operational commands - as if one could patent the wagging of a finger as a form of communication. That strikes me as silly.

On the other hand, the algorithms that convert voltage changes induced by pressure and movement into specific instructions to be processed by the operating system - those instructions burned into ROM - would certainly be worthy of protection. By analogy, the code is the truss design, while the idea of "multi-touch" is the bridge.

The idea of converting touch or motion into command instructions is hardly original with Apple. Look at almost any SF movie of the past 20 years and you will see it displayed. The specific solution to the engineering problem is all that is Apple's creation. As with any engineering problems, there are likely many routes from point A to point B. If, then, else, switch...

Hugene




msg:4091062
 9:21 pm on Mar 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

IMHO this is an indirect attack by Apple On G, as a response of the granting of the location based advertisement patent to G. Not really my idea, I think someone already predicted this in the Location Ad patent thread.

Basically, the slugging has begin, and we will see the true face of these corporations. I am actually not surprised that Apple has opened the hostilities, they have done this in the past and it was to be expected.

If it was up to Apple, all the hardware will be made by the same company, will run only one OS and one program at a time, bough from a single online source, and not transferable to any other device you actually own.

G has the option to start slugging back and loose credibility by showing an ugly face, or silently cave-in and not loose face but silently line the pockets of the predators at Apple. Or, if they are smart enough, play a whole new set of hands, fend off the attack by Apple without resorting to the same arm twisting techniques.

How to do that is the million dollar question right now. And if I had the answer to that, I would be an executive.

But some pointers for G:
1) Use the public and its opinion.
2) Increase the speed of innovation, patenting and software and hardware releases. The best way to protect your back is to make stuff become prior art or patent newer stuff.

engine




msg:4090045
 3:51 pm on Mar 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Apple Sues Taiwanese Phone Maker HTC For Patent Infringements [news.cnet.com]
Apple is suing phone maker HTC, alleging that the Taiwanese company is infringing 20 Apple patents related to the user interface, underlying architecture, and hardware of the iPhone.

"We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We've decided to do something about it," Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, said Tuesday in a statement. "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

[edited by: bill at 8:20 am (utc) on Mar 4, 2010]
[edit reason] tidy up splice [/edit]

bizminder




msg:4105018
 7:00 am on Mar 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

HTC simply can't get with the competition, Apple provides!1 With the iPhone the touchscreen patents always belonged and always will belong to Apple!

Good Apple sued HTC.

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