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Google backs HTC in what could be 'long and bloody battle' with Apple

post #1 of 285
Thread Starter 
Apple's patent lawsuit against handset maker HTC is predicted by one analyst to be a major clash between the two corporations, with Apple having better than 50-50 odds to come out victorious in protecting its iPhone-related inventions.

Analyst Charlie Wolf, in a note to investors with Needham & Company Wednesday morning, said he believes Apple has a good chance to win its suit against HTC. A victory could result in patent violators being forced to change the user interface on their devices, or be forced to not sell their phones in the U.S.

"Apple invested heavily and imaginatively in designing a unique, disruptive smartphone," Wolf wrote. "In our view, the company has every right to protect the iPhone's unique features."

It was on Tuesday that Apple filed complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission and in a U.S. District Court in Delaware, accusing rival phone maker HTC of infringing on 20 patents related to the iPhone's user interface. Apple also specifically named a number of handsets, including some powered by the Google Android operating system, as being in violation.

Following the news, Google reached out to TechCrunch to weigh in on the matter: "We are not a party to this lawsuit," a spokesperson said. "However, we stand behind our Android operating system and the partners who have helped us to develop it."

Wolf said Apple's main issue with Android likely lies in the application of multi-touch functionality, originally pioneered by the iPhone. HTC and Google partnered to create the Nexus One handset, which received a software update adding multi-touch support after its January release. A year ago, HTC also introduced an Android phone with an iPhone-like virtual keyboard.

Apple's lawsuit specifically stated that the alleged patent violations pertain to "software architectures, frameworks, and implementations, including various aspects of software used to implement operating systems." Apple has asked the ITC to ban the sale of all HTC handsets in the U.S., and also to issue a permanent cease and desist order preventing the company from selling, distributing, licensing or advertising its smartphones.

Wolf said he believes Apple has fired the "first salvo in what could be a long and bloody battle" with rival HTC. The analyst sees Apple's aggressive approach with both HTC and Google as a positive for the company. Needham & Company has maintained its buy recommendation for AAPL stock with a price target of $280.

Also weighing in Wednesday, analyst Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros. said the lawsuit is likely to take years, but Apple's "very large war chest" will likely force some competitors to either take out features or pay royalties to Apple.

"While we are not surprised with this lawsuit as AAPL has said that it intends to vigorously defend its intellectual property, we do find the timing somewhat curious," Wu wrote. "From our conversations with industry sources, we believe the recent introduction of basic multi-touch capability by HTC and (Google) likely triggered this. While the lawsuit doesn't name GOOG, we believe it is indirectly aimed at the company as well as at others including (Nokia), (Motorola), Samsung, LG, etc.
post #2 of 285
"We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas."

- Steve Jobs, 1996
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
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post #3 of 285
It has been suggested elsewhere that Apple's internal statistics are not optimistic or that something is askew for the future, suggesting that Apple feels threatened to the point of cutting off competition with litigation.
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
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post #4 of 285
I haven't read the docs, but how in hell do you not name Google in this lawsuit when they developed the software that is probably principal to the 20 named patent infringements.

I'm guessing that Google has a bit of a firewall between themselves and Apple via licensing arrangements with their Hardware partners. (Google isn't selling the phone).

Both companies have plenty of cash, but my money is on Apple in this one.

Word to Google and Eric...... what comes around goes around.
post #5 of 285
There is no point in having patents if you do not defend them. If you do not defend your patents within a set period of time they can be regarded as irrelevant or even null and void.
post #6 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

It has been suggested elsewhere that Apple's internal statistics are not optimistic or that something is askew for the future, suggesting that Apple feels threatened to the point of cutting off competition with litigation.

What a crock !!

Apple has every right to defend its patents. The iPhone, when introduced in 2007, was a revolutionary product that dramatically changed the cellphone industry. Now, Google/HTC want to rip-off Apple's intellectual property. All Apple is doing is protecting its property from being stolen. Without the use of patented features invented by Apple, Google's cellphone ambitions are dead in the water !!!

Where do you get this nonsense about internal statistics?
post #7 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

"We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas."

- Steve Jobs, 1996

You do know that Jobs was paraphrasing a quote by Picasso when he made that comment? To de-contextualise that sentence is sophistry.
Believe nothing, no matter where you heard it, not even if I have said it, if it does not agree with your own reason and your own common sense.
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Believe nothing, no matter where you heard it, not even if I have said it, if it does not agree with your own reason and your own common sense.
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post #8 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

It has been suggested elsewhere that Apple's internal statistics are not optimistic or that something is askew for the future, suggesting that Apple feels threatened to the point of cutting off competition with litigation.

So in other words the exact opposite of what's going on. ROFL!

Anyway, here's who Apple hired:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkland_and_Ellis

HTC is toast.
post #9 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by thomasfxlt View Post

I haven't read the docs, but how in hell do you not name Google in this lawsuit when they developed the software that is probably principal to the 20 named patent infringements.

I'm guessing that Google has a bit of a firewall between themselves and Apple via licensing arrangements with their Hardware partners. (Google isn't selling the phone).

Both companies have plenty of cash, but my money is on Apple in this one.

Word to Google and Eric...... what comes around goes around.

You don't name Google because Google isn't the one selling it.
post #10 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

It has been suggested elsewhere that Apple's internal statistics are not optimistic or that something is askew for the future, suggesting that Apple feels threatened to the point of cutting off competition with litigation.

I doubt very much this has to do with Apple feeling 'threatened' at all.

It is very simple, either you defend your patents, or you lose the rights to those patents.

If I patent a machine that creates blue widgets. And 18 months after release you create a machine that makes blue widgets (in the same manner) I have 2 choices, defend my patent or lose the rights to control my own patent. I am being overly simplistic, but that is the gist of it.

Lets set the way back machine to 1986? Apple Sued Microsoft for infringement on its graphical user interface. Apple lost, eventually, due to prior art at Xerox-PARC, but I believe that Xerox, by not defending it, lost the ability to require licenses of that technology from both companies. My memory might be hazy on the exact details, and I am not going to do a lit search to post on a blog. ;-) [edited for readability - need more coffee]

This is just a step in the great dance of who 'owns' what idea. Hell, back in 1990, I developed specs for a clamshell touch-screen device that would connect to the internet wirelessly. I, stupidly, didn't patent it. But if I had, you can bet I'd be going after Microsoft if one of their rumored WinPho7 phones does just that.

Apples interface for the iPhone was 'disruptive' and revolutionary. They deserve protection against copy cats.
post #11 of 285
Wrong. You can choose to litigate your patents at any time during the period they are in effect. There is no provision that says you have to maintain them through vigilance. You are thinking of trademarks which is a different IP beast altogether.


Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

There is no point in having patents if you do not defend them. If you do not defend your patents within a set period of time they can be regarded as irrelevant or even null and void.
post #12 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by allblue View Post

You do know that Jobs was paraphrasing a quote by Picasso when he made that comment? To de-contextualise that sentence is sophistry.

Don't bother. You are using words that the fellow won't understand.
post #13 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by trboyden View Post

Wrong. You can choose to litigate your patents at any time during the period they are in effect. There is no provision that says you have to maintain them through vigilance. You are thinking of trademarks which is a different IP beast altogether.

Ah. Cool.

Well, no point in sitting them though.
post #14 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

"We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas."

- Steve Jobs, 1996

LOL not that quotation taken completely out of context. Steve Jobs was talking about inspiration and the ideas Apple can leverage from its own pool of talent it brought together, not about ripping off other people's patents. Here it is in full, and it's quite a brilliant quotation:

Ultimately it comes down to taste. It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what youre doing. I mean Picasso had a saying - he said good artists copy great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas, and I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.

Your signature, on the other hand, isn't simply a misreading of a quotation, it's an outright lie. But that's alright. When it comes to Apple, that's really the best that trolls could ever do. Especially these days.
post #15 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wings View Post

You don't name Google because Google isn't the one selling it.

That is a key point to understand. The whole concept is to prevent someone from PROFITING from your patent.

As Android is open source, Google is not directly profiting from phone. Now that is not to say that Apple won't go after Google in the future, but my guess is that they are using this action to shape what competitors can and can't do with with the Android interface.

It is hard, immensely hard, to go after Google/Android directly because the patents in question are all related to interface, how that interface interacts with the OS, and the developmental frameworks underlying the interface. Both iPhone and Android are descended from open-source. But the UI and frameworks to bridge between the UI and the kernal are Apples. Google just has to say that it didn't write the UI pieces and then they are 'off the hook'.

HTC built a UI that is surprisingly iPhone like. That has been it's selling point. This will end in either HTC redesigning their interface or HTC licensing technology from Apple [which I doubt will happen].
post #16 of 285
Serious question: Is there an example of an original Google creation that is successful in the marketplace?
post #17 of 285
Frankly, it sounds like neither analyst is very familiar with the specifics of Apple's lawsuit and are just shooting their mouths off as usual. The day either of them makes an informed, intelligent comment on anything Apple can't come too soon.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #18 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by trboyden View Post

Wrong. You can choose to litigate your patents at any time during the period they are in effect. There is no provision that says you have to maintain them through vigilance. You are thinking of trademarks which is a different IP beast altogether.

I will bow to your superior knowledge on this, but I thought there was something in the Apple/Microsoft/Xerox case in the 80s that prevented Xerox from requiring licensing on their graphical UI patents.

Great, now I have to do a lit search to clear my own mind... THANKS APPLE
post #19 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Serious question: Is there an example of an original Google creation that is successful in the marketplace?

Search? Maps? Do those count?
post #20 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Serious question: Is there an example of an original Google creation that is successful in the marketplace?

You mean other than Google Search, Map/Reduce, Google Maps and Ad Sense?
post #21 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by reliason View Post

I will bow to your superior knowledge on this, but I thought there was something in the Apple/Microsoft/Xerox case in the 80s that prevented Xerox from requiring licensing on their graphical UI patents.

Great, now I have to do a lit search to clear my own mind... THANKS APPLE

Hehe . . . I know the feeling.
post #22 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Search? Maps? Do those count?

Damn you, beat me to it. ;-)
post #23 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by reliason View Post

Damn you, beat me to it. ;-)

Well I wasn't trying to be argumentative with Anant, since I agree with his tone on this one. These seem to be services that aren't quite on the same conceptual level as Apple's products. Agree? Disagree?
post #24 of 285
The iPhone came out with a phone with an icon-based application manager interface. Blackberry had such an interface well before Apple on a cell phone and I'm sure others before them. There is nothing revolutionary about that at all, just fancier graphics in the case of Apple's implementation. Icon-based application launchers are as old as the first GUI-based operating systems (i.e. Xerox, who Apple first stole the technology from). Added to that is multi-touch, again only "revolutionary" as far as it's use in a consumer handset. Elan and Synaptics invented multi-touch and have used it in commercial applications and resold the technology to just about every technology OEM out there.

The only feature Apple could possibly have a case on is the App Store integration. Apple will make a big deal about this in the press creating FUD to disrupt the commercial success of their competitors and will then sign a licensing deal to settle the manner. This is nothing but pure anti-competitive actions by a hypocritical company that has stolen more than their fair share of technology from others.

Apple, sign a cross-licensing deal and get back to proving that you have the best technology by innovating and not by being a patent troll.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reliason View Post

I doubt very much this has to do with Apple feeling 'threatened' at all.

It is very simple, either you defend your patents, or you lose the rights to those patents.

If I patent a machine that creates blue widgets. And 18 months after release you create a machine that makes blue widgets (in the same manner) I have 2 choices, defend my patent or lose the rights to control my own patent. I am being overly simplistic, but that is the gist of it.

Lets set the way back machine to 1986? Apple Sued Microsoft for infringement on its graphical user interface. Apple lost, eventually, due to prior art at Xerox-PARC, but I believe that Xerox, by not defending it, lost the ability to require licenses of that technology from both companies. My memory might be hazy on the exact details, and I am not going to do a lit search to post on a blog. ;-) [edited for readability - need more coffee]

This is just a step in the great dance of who 'owns' what idea. Hell, back in 1990, I developed specs for a clamshell touch-screen device that would connect to the internet wirelessly. I, stupidly, didn't patent it. But if I had, you can bet I'd be going after Microsoft if one of their rumored WinPho7 phones does just that.

Apples interface for the iPhone was 'disruptive' and revolutionary. They deserve protection against copy cats.
post #25 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

It has been suggested elsewhere that Apple's internal statistics are not optimistic or that something is askew for the future, suggesting that Apple feels threatened to the point of cutting off competition with litigation.

Your not even an *imaginative* troll.

Adding to ignore list in 3, 2, 1 ...
post #26 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by trboyden View Post

Wrong. You can choose to litigate your patents at any time during the period they are in effect. There is no provision that says you have to maintain them through vigilance. You are thinking of trademarks which is a different IP beast altogether.

AHA! I was right
Quote:
Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corporation, 35 F.3d 1435 (9th Cir. 1994) was a copyright infringement lawsuit in which Apple Computer, Inc. (now Apple Inc.) sought to prevent Microsoft Corporation and Hewlett-Packard from using visual graphical user interface (GUI) elements that were similar to those in Apple's Lisa and Macintosh operating systems. The court ruled that, "Apple cannot get patent-like protection for the idea of a graphical user interface, or the idea of a desktop metaphor [under copyright law]..."[1] Because Mac's GUI was heavily based on unlicensed GUI developed before by Xerox, in the midst of the Apple v. Microsoft lawsuit, Xerox also sued Apple on the same grounds.[2] The lawsuit was dismissed because Xerox had waited too long to file suit, and the statute of limitations had expired. Apple lost all claims in the suit except for the ruling that the trash can icon and file folder icons from Hewlett-Packard's NewWave windows application were infringing. The lawsuit was filed in 1988 and lasted four years; the decision was affirmed on appeal in 1994[1], and Apple's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_C...ft_Corporation

The key is 'statute of limitations' had passed on the Xerox infringement. So, yes, they can litigate, but if they don't defend for 7 years (I believe that is the statute of limitation) from the first infringement, they cannot press the infringement case.
post #27 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by reliason View Post

I doubt very much this has to do with Apple feeling 'threatened' at all.

I've just read that Apple is actually looking for an injunction against all the named phones in their lawsuit. Which means a block on importing, marketing, advertising, demonstrating, warehousing inventory for distribution, distributing, or offering for sale.

Now if Apple wasn't "threatened" as you say, then couldn't they have just simply stopped at the lawsuit itself (essentially asking HTC to just pay)? Asking the court to literally stop all of those phones from crossing our borders and to remove all existing phones in our borders seems really excessive.

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple also asks the court to force HTC to have any and all infringing items be removed from existing HTC smartphones not mentioned in the suit via a OTA update.

It does give off the feeling that Apple is threatened... This move would not just slow smartphone competition (as it would if Apple is simply successful on the lawsuit alone), it would outright kill competition in the US market, as most of those phones are the main competitors to Apple.
\Apple has always had competition. It's just been in its blind spot.
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\Apple has always had competition. It's just been in its blind spot.
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post #28 of 285
Hopefully they both are guilty of infringement and both have to pay or give some concessions. The arrogance of both companies is getting larger and larger each day.
post #29 of 285
You bring up a interesting point that I wonder if Apple's lawyers have considered. By attacking an open source project (if that is indeed the case here and it's not about the App Store integration) Apple is violating the licensing terms of several open source licenses and they could have their right to use open source software in their products revoked. Apple is playing with fire here as a federal court has already set precedent in this regard. Apple's products may be great, but they are nothing without open source and it would be very difficult for them to re-implement the features without violating other company's patents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reliason View Post

That is a key point to understand. The whole concept is to prevent someone from PROFITING from your patent.

As Android is open source, Google is not directly profiting from phone. Now that is not to say that Apple won't go after Google in the future, but my guess is that they are using this action to shape what competitors can and can't do with with the Android interface.

It is hard, immensely hard, to go after Google/Android directly because the patents in question are all related to interface, how that interface interacts with the OS, and the developmental frameworks underlying the interface. Both iPhone and Android are descended from open-source. But the UI and frameworks to bridge between the UI and the kernal are Apples. Google just has to say that it didn't write the UI pieces and then they are 'off the hook'.

HTC built a UI that is surprisingly iPhone like. That has been it's selling point. This will end in either HTC redesigning their interface or HTC licensing technology from Apple [which I doubt will happen].
post #30 of 285
Uggg... Defending the patents through suits I can understand, but shouldn't they be suing Google over this? I can only imagine that these patent infringments are over software features in the Android OS and more than likely apply to EVERY Google Android phone, not just the ones from HTC.

As far as the shenanigans about asking to have the sales of all of these phones blocked from being sold here... Well, that just seems like a bad PR move. Defend your patents, sue them, make them pay licensing fees, but don't have sales blocked. That's just plain ridiculous.

I've got some advice for Apple. The majority of the phones you're asking to be blocked are on different carriers. Do you want to know why you're loosing potential market share to these phones? It's not just because of copy cat phones. I'll give you a hint; it's name is 4 characters long, you have an exclusive contract with them, and they provide an extremely lack of decent coverage. If you want to sell more phones, start producing them for different carriers.

I myself had an iPhone, moved to a location where I can't get AT&T coverage, and had to switch to Verizon. I'm now on a Droid; that's not because the Droid is better, but because I can't get an iPhone with Verizon. I miss my iPhone and want it back, but until you start selling your phone on more carriers, I won't be able to own one again.

So, to recap, less blockage of competition phone sales and more production of iPhone for other carriers. KTHXBYE
post #31 of 285
No, you're not. The key term you missed there was "copyright infringement lawsuit". Again, not patent law and a different kind of IP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reliason View Post

AHA! I was right


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_C...ft_Corporation

The key is 'statute of limitations' had passed on the Xerox infringement. So, yes, they can litigate, but if they don't defend for 7 years (I believe that is the statute of limitation) from the first infringement, they cannot press the infringement case.
post #32 of 285
I wonder if the timing has anything to with the iPad's imminent release with the same OS and patents I assume which is most likely about to also have numerous copycats. Phones are one thing but the 'Pad' may be the next major computing paradigm shift and Apple don't want a rerun of Windows this time most likely from Google.

Also if this does get nasty has Apple got its alternative to Google Maps ready yet?
Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #33 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by trboyden View Post


The only feature Apple could possibly have a case on is the App Store integration. Apple will make a big deal about this in the press creating FUD to disrupt the commercial success of their competitors and will then sign a licensing deal to settle the manner. This is nothing but pure anti-competitive actions by a hypocritical company that has stolen more than their fair share of technology from others.

Apple, sign a cross-licensing deal and get back to proving that you have the best technology by innovating and not by being a patent troll.

Edited for missing his point... sheesh, Learn To read.

Yep - I agree. But I doubt the cross licensing will happen. At least not until the iPad and iPhone 4.0 are well established. Just setting back Android/WiPho7 a year will be enough to cement apples leadership.
post #34 of 285
This is a good tactical move by Apple to disrupt Android developers support. If the lawsuit is not over, how will the developers know what technology they can or can't use? They will wait for the lawsuit and development will stall on the Android platform.

Not that Apple's app store is losing pace but this sure will propel Apple platform to even further ahead. Good work!!
post #35 of 285
If you believe everything you read in the press, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

"Patent Troll" has a modern, broad interpretation that covers companies that use patents to squash competition. You're definition is correct, but is only one definition of many around the terminology.

Seeing how this whole lawsuit is about stolen technology, Apple's past practices are very relevant. To say otherwise is just being hypocritical. That is not how business is done and why the IP system is in place, if not very broken. Throwing insults at me does not change this fact.


Quote:
Originally Posted by reliason View Post

Dude, at first I was willing to accept that you ACTUALLY had knowledge of the situation, but now.. not so much.

1.) Apples case is not about an application launching interface regarding icons, it is about the TOUCH aspects. The iPhone is cursor-less, swipe, pinch to zoom, etc where all hailed as 'disruptive' and 'revolutionary' by the press. 18 months later, HTC copied these.

2.) You have never worked with a Patent troll, have you? By definition, patent trolls are 'non-practicing' owners of patents. They patent an idea/method but never deliver product. Apple created the touch interface, patented it, and is defending it.

As for 'stolen' their fair share - so what? This is how business is done. If you create something and don't defend it, you lose it. If you steal something and get caught, you get sued.

If you don't like it - move to North Korea where you will never be bothered by these issues again.
post #36 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wings View Post

You don't name Google because Google isn't the one selling it.

Actually, Google is the ONLY one selling the Nexus One in the US...
post #37 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Don't bother. You are using words that the fellow won't understand.

fellow == C-3PO
post #38 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by reliason View Post

But I doubt the cross licensing will happen. At least not until the iPad and iPhone 4.0 are well established.

Exactly the point I raised about Apple raising hell in the press to disrupt competition. Then they will sign a cross-licensing agreement. That is how modern technology business is done.
post #39 of 285
Quote:
Originally Posted by AsianBob View Post

I've just read that Apple is actually looking for an injunction against all the named phones in their lawsuit. Which means a block on importing, marketing, advertising, demonstrating, warehousing inventory for distribution, distributing, or offering for sale.

Now if Apple wasn't "threatened" as you say, then couldn't they have just simply stopped at the lawsuit itself (essentially asking HTC to just pay)? Asking the court to literally stop all of those phones from crossing our borders and to remove all existing phones in our borders seems really excessive.

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple also asks the court to force HTC to have any and all infringing items be removed from existing HTC smartphones not mentioned in the suit via a OTA update.

It does give off the feeling that Apple is threatened... This move would not just slow smartphone competition (as it would if Apple is simply successful on the lawsuit alone), it would outright kill competition in the US market, as most of those phones are the main competitors to Apple.

Basics in negotiation: you go for much more than you want, and you settle for what you initially intended to get. It is as simple as that.
"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." - Albert Einstein
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"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." - Albert Einstein
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post #40 of 285
The whole point in all of this will be to determin if the patents are enforcable. Many patents are not enforcable or are easly worked around. I read the 20 patent claims. Some are very weak and probably wont stand up in court. A couple might have more teeth...

In general the more specific the patent the harder it is to enforce or the easier it is to work around. A more general patent is typically easier to prove, but one that is to general start to fall in the public domain and is also difficult to enforce...

In a year or two we will see what happens....
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