Are Apple’s Lawsuits Legitimate?

Re: http://gizmodo.com/5483689/the-apple-patents-cockpunching-all-smart-phones-an-illustrated-guide/

From a discussion on Google Buzz:

I don’t know the details, but from looking at the patent pictures, it looks like the patents are of implementation rather than idea. They couldn’t sue, for instance, if another company had an interface where you slid your finger across the screen to accept a call. But they CAN sue if the box that pops up to notify about the call is very similar, and the slider is in the same place, and is the same width, etc.

I’m pretty anti-patent in the vast majority of cases, but I wanted to offer an opposing viewpoint: Apple puts a TON of R&D into UX, particular when it comes to things like distance and resistance, so I can understand their being upset when they develop a product/implementation based on that research, patent the implementation, and then a company copies the implementation wholesale.

Apple is pretty anti-competition, and they’re pissed that Google and HTC are getting so chummy, so I don’t doubt that the legitimacy of the suit is questionable. But just looking at the pictures, I don’t think it’s quite so black and white yet.

One thought on “Are Apple’s Lawsuits Legitimate?

  1. I have no idea what the lawsuit is about, but as someone who has to design around competitor’s patents, I do know that the pictures included in the patent are almost meaningless. You always read a patent backwards, meaning in the very back of the document there are a list of statements structured like an outline:
    1.
    a.
    b.
    c.

    2.
    a.
    b.
    c.

    Etc….

    These statements ARE the patent. The pictures are only there for clarification. So, what will be debated in court is, how broadly did Apple word their patent and is Apple able to patent that broad of a claim; and secondly, does HTC actually infringe on the claims if they are able to be upheld.

    And the accusation of infringement on 20 patents is the strategy of building a patent family. This strategy is based on 2 concepts, patents only last 14 years, and you can’t patent things that have prior art. But, if I add a patent to a patent family, the 14 year limit starts over and a technically 12 year old patent could last 20 years if I timed things right. And if I can link all my patents to something as far back in the past as possible, I deny all competitors the opportunity to get a patent themselves.

    So to answer the question, are the lawsuits legitimate? In this country; probably, but the real winners are the lawyers.

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