Judge affirms vital Apple touchscreen patent in case against Motorola

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


Judge Richard Posner has issued an order upholding some of Apple's patent claims against Motorola Mobility that one analysis believes will likely result in a finding of infringement on Motorola's part.



Patent expert Florian Mueller of Foss Patents reported on Saturday that the order is for a touchscreen heuristics patent ('949), one of the "killer patents" that Apple is leveraging in an attempt to get a legal "hole in one" against its competitors.



Thus far, Apple has won a handful of legal victories on minor patents, but the '949 patent has "the best prospects of singlehandedly securing victory for Apple," according to Mueller. Both Motorola and Samsung will offer their defenses against it at trials in June.



The patent in question outlines Apple's work on interpreting human touchscreen input by accounting for inherent imprecision. For instance, since users don't draw perfectly straight lines, touchscreen devices need a level of tolerance to understand the input accurately.



Judge Posner responded on Thursday to supplemental claim construction briefs related to the patent from both Apple and Motorola. Mueller interpreted the order to be "a clear win for Apple over Motorola (and Android in general)." Though he did note that jury trials come with "considerable uncertainty," he viewed Posner's conclusions as making it "realistically" unavoidable for Motorola to avoid a finding of infringement.



"Motorola…will have to come up with some really good invalidity arguments if it wants to avoid a disaster," Mueller wrote, adding that the company will at least have an opportunity to appeal any decision to the Federal Circuit.



The report went on to examine which gestures Posner had found valid. The judge sided with Apple on its methods for interpreting vertical and diagonal or horizontal and diagonal swipes. He found that the patent hadn't clearly described the difference between horizontal scrolling and swiping, while upholding a claim to tapping on the margin of a screen as a gesture to move to the next item. Posner also upheld Apple's claims for scrolling within a section of a display using additional fingers, but he did not affirm a second claim to a distinction on whether the gesture occurred within the region.



Mueller viewed Posner as having "expressed some annoyance" at one of Motorola's arguments. The handset maker had argued that an example of a 27-degree angle in Apple's patent meant that the patent was only limited to that angle. After reading the patent, Mueller himself believes that the 27-degree angle is "clearly identified" as just an example.



"I reject Motorola's argument (this is the third time they've made it and the third time I reject it) that the structure must be limited to the 27-degree angle used as an example by the specification," Posner wrote.



Apple and Motorola have been locked in a complex legal dispute over their respective intellectual property rights since 2010. Both companies have recently won small victories in the form of injunctions (1, 2) against each other in Germany. Earlier this month, the ITC cleared Motorola of allegations that it had infringed on three of Apple's patents.



Even as the lawsuits between the two companies continue, Google is making plans to finalize its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola. The European Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice have both approved the acquisition.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    Oh my goodness I wonder how much money and time was spent in finding something for Apple to retaliate against Motorola with. This is getting out of hand and is both disgusting and outright childish on both parties. Shame on both of you. I hope the judge throws this out of court, it's a ridiculous law suit and there is no reason for Apple to retaliate other then pride.



    Stop it you two, I'm going to call your fathers.
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Patent expert Florian Mueller of Foss Patents reported on Saturday

    Judge Posner responded on Thursday to supplemental claim construction briefs related to the patent from both Apple and Motorola. Mueller interpreted the order to be "a clear win for Apple over Motorola (and Android in general)." Though he did note that jury trials come with "considerable uncertainty," he viewed Posner's conclusions as making it "realistically" unavoidable for Motorola to avoid a finding of infringement.



    Mueller also wrote "I can't see that the ideas Apple came up with here -- and those are good ideas, for sure, but sooner or later others would have come up with them anyway -- should result in a monopoly until the year 2028 if this is meant to benefit the public", Going on to say "Apple argues that "if it turns out the claims are too broadly written and run afoul of the prior art, that is an issue that may be resolved at trial or via summary judgment", which is legally accurate, but the idea of interpreting gestures, which are inherently imprecise if made by a human being, by applying a certain degree of tolerance shouldn't be patentable regardless of who was first to come up with it. That's why I (Mueller) agreed with Motorola's request to declare the patent invalid for indefiniteness.



    Mueller is of course not a Judge nor even a lawyer so Judge Posner would be the expert here.
  • freerangefreerange Posts: 1,502member
    Time to really crank it up Apple and more aggressively kick butt!



    As to Mueller's comment - "Mueller also wrote "I can't see that the ideas Apple came up with here -- and those are good ideas, for sure, but sooner or later others would have come up with them anyway -- should result in a monopoly until the year 2028 if this is meant to benefit the public" - and why not? That is what the patent system is for. Whether it's for a cancer treatment medicine, or a touch screen, patents are designed to create temporary monopolies and to prevent others from copying your original ideas.
  • SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 25,341member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Relic View Post


    Oh my goodness I wonder how much money and time was spent in finding something for Apple to retaliate against Motorola with. This is getting out of hand and is both disgusting and outright childish on both parties. Shame on both of you. I hope the judge throws this out of court, it's a ridiculous law suit and there is no reason for Apple to retaliate other then pride.



    Stop it you two, I'm going to call your fathers.



    Thanks for trolling.



    How about learning a little about patent law and the requirement that companies defend their patents or lose them, then come back (tail between legs) with an informed comment for everyone.
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Thanks for trolling.



    How about learning a little about patent law and the requirement that companies defend their patents or lose them, then come back (tail between legs) with an informed comment for everyone.



    Companies don't have to defend their patents or lose them. You may have have confused the idea with Trademark law.
  • cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    Let me guess, without looking, whose analysis deems this a likely win for Apple. Could it be Mueller?
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Relic View Post


    Oh my goodness I wonder how much money and time was spent in finding something for Apple to retaliate against Motorola with. This is getting out of hand and is both disgusting and outright childish on both parties. Shame on both of you. I hope the judge throws this out of court, it's a ridiculous law suit and there is no reason for Apple to retaliate other then pride.



    Stop it you two, I'm going to call your fathers.



    :sigh:





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post


    As to Mueller's comment - "Mueller also wrote "I can't see that the ideas Apple came up with here -- and those are good ideas, for sure, but sooner or later others would have come up with them anyway -- should result in a monopoly until the year 2028 if this is meant to benefit the public" - and why not?



    That's such an odd statement for Mueller to make.



    I can think of a multitude of brilliant concept and inventions that would have been been made a reality at some future point in time yet we revere those that actually were first to put all the pieces together.



    Do we think that Newton was just lucky for discovering gravity, of that the Wright Brothers were hacks for inventing the plane, or that Henry Ford stumbled upon the assembly line, or that Rick Hunt was just a nut who notice the vacuum could also cut hair?



    Does Apple get until 2028 for these touchscreen patents? That's clearly up to the law to decide but they did invent (or buy companies that invented them thus giving them ownership) so there is an inherent time frame for that right. Now we can argue that the patent system is flawed (and it ALWAYS WILL BE!) but that right of flawed ownership is also afforded to all that create something unique and original.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Companies don't have to defend their patents or lose them. You may have have confused the idea with Trademark law.



    You are right in that you don't lose the rights to a patent the way you do with a trademark, but what is the point of a patent if you aren't going to defend it? I assume you agree that patents that are being violated should be defended.



    There is also a case to be made that if you choose to defend your patents after a period no inaction that you lose ground for a lack of defense.
  • apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,297member
    So, since there's a lot of legal action taking place, Apple should drop all of their lawsuits? Because, that's exactly what certain people are implying. If there are a lot of rapes taking place and your wife or girlfriend gets raped, should you not report it? If you get robbed, should you let it slide?



    The simplistic thinking of some people is downright offensive and I'm glad that Apple is a company that seeks to protect it's property. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, keep up with the lawsuits Apple! Don't let thieves go unpunished. If Apple sues 100 more companies this year, I am ok with that!



    Anybody who whines about lawsuits and Apple does not deserve to use Apple technology.
  • slang4artslang4art Posts: 376member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Relic View Post


    Oh my goodness I wonder how much money and time was spent in finding something for Apple to retaliate against Motorola with. This is getting out of hand and is both disgusting and outright childish on both parties. Shame on both of you. I hope the judge throws this out of court, it's a ridiculous law suit and there is no reason for Apple to retaliate other then pride.



    Stop it you two, I'm going to call your fathers.



    Everything should just be like... free man. And like all the food and stuff could be given away, and medicine and like, there'd be no problems cuz like, we're all basically living in a big village and one person is like a tailor and another knows how to make mouse traps and then one dude can like, cook for people. It's so obvious and all the evil corporations are feeding us this crap so we can like... not see the truth that's right in front of us.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slang4Art View Post


    Everything should just be like... free man. And like all the food and stuff could be given away, and medicine and like, there'd be no problems cuz like, we're all basically living in a big village and one person is like a tailor and another knows how to make mouse traps and then one dude can like, cook for people. It's so obvious and all the evil corporations are feeding us this crap so we can like... not see the truth that's right in front of us.



    The irony...
  • christophbchristophb Posts: 1,377member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slang4Art View Post


    Everything should just be like... free man. And like all the food and stuff could be given away, and medicine and like, there'd be no problems cuz like, we're all basically living in a big village and one person is like a tailor and another knows how to make mouse traps and then one dude can like, cook for people. It's so obvious and all the evil corporations are feeding us this crap so we can like... not see the truth that's right in front of us.



    Reminds me of a toon from the film, Cars. Rest in peace, Fillmore.



    "Respect the classics, man!"
  • ltcompuserltcompuser Posts: 219member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Mueller also wrote "I can't see that the ideas Apple came up with here -- and those are good ideas, for sure, but sooner or later others would have come up with them anyway -- should result in a monopoly until the year 2028 if this is meant to benefit the public", Going on to say "Apple argues that "if it turns out the claims are too broadly written and run afoul of the prior art, that is an issue that may be resolved at trial or via summary judgment", which is legally accurate, but the idea of interpreting gestures, which are inherently imprecise if made by a human being, by applying a certain degree of tolerance shouldn't be patentable regardless of who was first to come up with it. That's why I (Mueller) agreed with Motorola's request to declare the patent invalid for indefiniteness.



    Mueller is of course not a Judge nor even a lawyer so Judge Posner would be the expert here.



    I felt the same way about the 1-Click patent, even after it was amended.
  • cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,151member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Relic View Post


    Oh my goodness I wonder how much money and time was spent in finding something for Apple to retaliate against Motorola with.



    You're so right, it's retaliation for Motorola's infringement of Apple IP. And, yes, shame on both of them: Motorola Mobility and Google. Probably took a whole second for Apple to find Waldo, because as you know, Android looked nothing like the iPhone before the iPhone. All the real time and money is spent in the legal presentation, set up by Apple's extensive R&D and patent filings.

    How much money do you suppose is worth spending on Apple's defense*, when the iPhone originates the biggest portion of its revenue and profits?



    Good win for Apple.





    *N.B. Governments don't police intellectual property infringement. It's up to rights-holders to protect themselves by suing infringers.
  • paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,287member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    :sigh:







    That's such an odd statement for Mueller to make.



    I can think of a multitude of brilliant concept and inventions that would have been been made a reality at some future point in time yet we revere those that actually were first to put all the pieces together.



    Do we think that Newton was just lucky for discovering gravity, of that the Wright Brothers were hacks for inventing the plane, or that Henry Ford stumbled upon the assembly line, or that Rick Hunt was just a nut who notice the vacuum could also cut hair?



    Does Apple get until 2028 for these touchscreen patents? That's clearly up to the law to decide but they did invent (or buy companies that invented them thus giving them ownership) so there is an inherent time frame for that right. Now we can argue that the patent system is flawed (and it ALWAYS WILL BE!) but that right of flawed ownership is also afforded to all that create something unique and original.







    You are right in that you don't lose the rights to a patent the way you do with a trademark, but what is the point of a patent if you aren't going to defend it? I assume you agree that patents that are being violated should be defended.



    There is also a case to be made that if you choose to defend your patents after a period no inaction that you lose ground for a lack of defense.



    This!! Negotiations will become infinitely more complex but this is where you start.
  • market_playermarket_player Posts: 140member
    Google flushed 12.5 Billion down the shitter.



    I hope their shareholders crucify the board members for this totally inexcusable act of trying to purchase your way into innovation.
  • f1ferrarif1ferrari Posts: 223member
    I have a sneaking suspicion that many of the people who berate Apple would litigate like crazy if their own inventions were copied without permission. That charity feeling of 'they should all settle this' would drain from their bodies when their hard work, time, and money invested was making profits for their competition.
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Market_Player View Post


    Google flushed 12.5 Billion down the shitter.



    I hope their shareholders crucify the board members for this totally inexcusable act of trying to purchase your way into innovation.



    Not only does it look like the patent wars are going against them, but their revenues from Android are not sufficient to justify the investment. They make much more money off iOS than off Android, so they'd probably be better off if they had never bothered with Android.
  • absolutedesignzabsolutedesignz Posts: 1,930member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by F1Ferrari View Post


    I have a sneaking suspicion that many of the people who berate Apple would litigate like crazy if their own inventions were copied without permission. That charity feeling of 'they should all settle this' would drain from their bodies when their hard work, time, and money invested was making profits for their competition.



    If a frog had a glass ass he'd break it periodically.
  • suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,156member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Relic View Post


    Oh my goodness I wonder how much money and time was spent in finding something for Apple to retaliate against Motorola with. This is getting out of hand and is both disgusting and outright childish on both parties. Shame on both of you. I hope the judge throws this out of court, it's a ridiculous law suit and there is no reason for Apple to retaliate other then pride.



    Stop it you two, I'm going to call your fathers.



    Actually, the legal system is valid avenue for resolving patent disputes; it's not "childish."

    Your post, on the other hand is. As is your threat to "call your fathers."
  • gtrgtr Posts: 3,208member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Relic View Post


    Oh my goodness I wonder how much money and time was spent in finding something for Apple to retaliate against Motorola with. This is getting out of hand and is both disgusting and outright childish on both parties. Shame on both of you. I hope the judge throws this out of court, it's a ridiculous law suit and there is no reason for Apple to retaliate other then pride.



    Stop it you two, I'm going to call your fathers.



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