At least we are going somewhere - so Apple has not necessarily stolen
what they claim to be their creation. Now as to copying
, the fact is that Xerox lost its case in court. Unless we are privy to the transcripts of the case (these are public if you wish to dig deeper), we cannot decide here whether there is merit to the case of the case of Xerox, and whether Apple has indeed made enough derivative innovations that would make its creation novel enough from the prior work.
As I argued above -- it is the intent of patent law to protect the invention of others but also to foster further development of prior technologies. So, copying or borrowing ideas from others, to be the foundation of succeeding inventions is encouraged and legal. If Apple simply copied the scripts and design of Xerox, that is another story.Another issue as to your set of facts above.
There is a rule in debates or exchange of ideas, Secondary information, such as those from newspapers are not necessarily accepted as facts. As reputable as NY Times might be, I have come to know that sometimes their reporters or writers do not know what they are talking about sometimes or are not immune to their own prejudices. I even cited inaccuracies in their technology articles. One of the authors even wrote to me because he did not fully understand the error, even after I explained the error in answer to his email.
Originally Posted by trboyden It's difficult to compare the present case and the former case.
As the article above points out, IP law was a lot weaker back then and companies got away with a lot more "casual" infringement. Just because Apple and Microsoft couldn't be held accountable for their actions, doesn't make them right. Also the former case was about copyrights (which is somewhat weaker IP than patents and has different coverage) not patents as is the present case.
I would encourage you therefore to stick to the present case, to bolster your allegations of the present. Past history may matter, but sometimes it obfuscates your argument.
Originally Posted by trboyden
You don't have to have a patent to be covered under copyright or trademark law. However, your content/design has to fall under the coverage of these other IP laws. They each have their own place and can sometimes overlap.
This article discusses the current state of the patent system:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4788834/
Again, I would encourage you to use original sources. Surely, you can cite an online copy of the patent law. But, correct me if I am mistaken. As far as I know, while the laws governing patents, copyright and trademark may be covered by the same act of Congress. How they work are entirely different.Copyright.
It has to be in public domain (published), or an "application" sent to the Patent Office to have any protection. The public has the right to know and access to records of prior creations.
Not all published work are copyrighted. For example, the contents of the telephone book is not protected by Copyright. [This issue has been litigated already.] However, the design of the presentation may be copyrighted.
Computer codes may be copyrighted but it has to be published or submitted to the Patents Office. If Apple simply copied the entire computer code or significant parts of it, then it would be a violation. If the Xerox scripts were not under copyright protection, even if Apple copied the entire code, they are not technically in violation of the law. As far as I know, Xerox did not win their case. What exactly happened we both do not know based on the information you presented to bolster your argument.
Another limitation of the copyright. It is the content of the copyrighted material that is protected. However, the idea there is not. Also, an idea is not patentable.
As such, a derivative creations or invention from copyrighted materials can be patented, without violating the copyringted material (assuming no scripts were copied verbatim, if it was a computer program).Trademark
. Any design, name or creation must be registered to be protected by a trademark.Patent.
We and others already explored this. It is not against the law to build upon prior inventions, to get a derivative patents for ones own unique creation.
Reverse engineering is a common practice. If HTC or any of those creating iPhone clones can demonstrate a novel discovery or investion to achieve the same stuff that Apple did with the iPhone, then they may well have a case. On the other hand, Apple's application, if I remember the posts oof the patents posted here and in other sites, they also ennsured protection of the totality of the look and feel
that resulted in the unique interaction of a user to the iPhone. That totality may be protectedd by a trademark.
If you are familiar with the language of patent application, apart from the prior technologies section, anyone that applies for a patent would attempt to include encompassing (primary) claims and more specific (derivative) claims to define the creation or invention. So, even a single patent,. once approved can affect the patents of future derivative inventions and creations.