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Apple iPhone targeted in patent lawsuit over sync, Bluetooth

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
Apple -- along with AT&T, Research in Motion and a number of other mobile companies -- is the defendant in a new patent suit that covers a broad range of smartphone related technologies, including e-mail syncing and Bluetooth connectivity.

The suit, filed earlier this month in a U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, is on behalf of a company called SmartPhone Technologies LLC, based in Frisco, Texas. It accuses Apple of violating six patents owned by the company covering a range of topics, including Bluetooth connectivity, e-mail syncing, bandwidth conservation and general smartphone functionality.

The suit alleges that Apple and its iPhone are liable for infringement of the patents and have caused damage to SmartPhone Technologies. In addition to Apple, a number of prominent smartphone companies and mobile operators are named as defendants, including RIM, AT&T, Samsung, Sanyo, LG, and Motorola.

The suit asks the court to find all of the named parties in violation of their respective patents, and seeks damages, costs and expenses from all of them. SmartPhone did not specify damages, but requested a jury trial in the Eastern District of Texas, where patent lawsuits are often filed in hopes of a favorable outcome.

The six patents specifically aimed at Apple are:

Patent No. 6,950,645: "Power Conserving Intuitive Device Discovery Technique in a Bluetooth Environment."

Patent No. 7,076,275: "Method and System for Single-Step Enablement of Telephony Functionality for a Portable Computer System."

Patent No. 7,506,064: "Handheld Computer System that Attempts to Establish an Alternative Network Link Upon Failing to Establish a Requested Network Link."

Patent No. 7,533,342: "System and Method of a Personal Computer Device Providing Telephone Capability."

Patent No. 6,711,609: "Method and Apparatus for Synchronizing an Email Client on a Portable Computer System with an Email Client on a Desktop Computer."

Patent No. RE40,459: "Method and Apparatus for Communicating Information Over Low Bandwidth Communications Networks."

The suit also includes a seventh patent of which Apple is not accused of violating. However, Motorola, Samsung and RIM are accused over U.S. Patent No. 5,742,095, entitled "Personal Communications Internetworking."

Apple and its iPhone are the frequent targets of patent-related lawsuits. Some of the most recent and prominent cases involve a lawsuit from Finnish phone maker Nokia and camera maker Kodak.

In its annual Form 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last October, Apple said it was then defending itself from more than 47 patent infringement cases, 27 of which were filed during the 2009 fiscal year. Those suits prove costly to defend, and sometimes Apple comes out on the losing end of a large payout. Last year, a Texas patent suit resulted in a 21.7 million ruling against Apple.
post #2 of 48
One day I'd like to see a list of all the lawsuits that Apple has pending and how many they have against other companies.
post #3 of 48
Litigation business is doing well. It is even better in worse economy. That's the US Patent value.
post #4 of 48
Lawyers rejoice!
post #5 of 48
Another day, another round of patent lawsuits... It would be interesting to see how much money Apple spends on lawsuits.
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post #6 of 48
What' wrong with all those eastern Texas companies, suing companies every other week.
post #7 of 48
What goes around comes around, I guess.
post #8 of 48
Blah blah blah blah blah. I wants free monies.. blah blah blah...
post #9 of 48
The most hilarious thing about these lawsuits is always the phrase "Eastern District of Texas." Gee, I thought the legal system was supposed to be impartial and all, but obviously companies know where to file their lawsuits to get a favorable result. Frontier justice, where no doubt wheels are being greased behind the scenes for just the right outcome. Since this is a U.S. District Court, why is there not an ongoing federal investigation into their reputation for favoring certain companies even before evidence is heard? A court should not have a reputation for favoring one side or the other. I know, I know, incredible naivete on my part! :-)
post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by BAW View Post

The most hilarious thing about these lawsuits is always the phrase "Eastern District of Texas." Gee, I thought the legal system was supposed to be impartial and all, but obviously companies know where to file their lawsuits to get a favorable result. Frontier justice, where no doubt wheels are being greased behind the scenes for just the right outcome. Since this is a U.S. District Court, why is there not an ongoing federal investigation into their reputation for favoring certain companies even before evidence is heard? A court should not have a reputation for favoring one side or the other. I know, I know, incredible naivete on my part! :-)

Didn't I read they are toying with the idea in that state that Texas should secede? How about the other 49 states helping it
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post #11 of 48
"Your honour, the Apple hearing is at 2. Did you want me to order you lunch in the meantime?"

"Sure thing sugarplum. Why dontcha rustle me up some fried chicken and some of them strawberry pies ah love so much. And hold all my calls. I gotta shine up my gun cuz I'll be usin' it as my gavel. Butt-end of course, he-he, and speakin of butt, once yer done with all the filin', why dontcha strut yer purty ass up here so ah can take a look atcha."


post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

It accuses Apple of violating six patents owned by the company covering a range of topics, including Bluetooth connectivity, e-mail syncing, bandwidth conversation and general smartphone functionality.

bandwidth conversation? Conservation, maybe?

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post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

bandwidth conversation? Conservation, maybe?

The "general smartphone functionality" part is most impressive.

"Hey, Bob"
"Yeah, Phil?"
"Dude, like, what do we put for our big patents?"
"Dude, put whatever, man. I'm busy. This joint aint gonna roll itself."
"Cool, man."

I can't wait for this to pan out.
post #14 of 48
You made my day with this post!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

"Your honour, the Apple hearing is at 2. Did you want me to order you lunch in the meantime?"

"Sure thing sugarplum. Why dontcha rustle me up some fried chicken and some of them strawberry pies ah love so much. And hold all my calls. I gotta shine up my gun cuz I'll be usin' it as my gavel. Butt-end of course, he-he, and speakin of butt, once yer done with all the filin', why dontcha strut yer purty ass up here so ah can take a look atcha."


post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by BAW View Post

You made my day with this post!

Much obliged, B-A-dubya, much obliged."
post #16 of 48
At least the company is located in Texas for once.
post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by iGenius View Post

What goes around comes around, I guess.

You trolls are amazing animals, you know that. Apple sues somebody and the outrage, the accusations of stifling innovation, the "monopoly" trump card, the "evil" trump card, all surface immediately. BUT Apple gets sued, and suddenly this is poetic justice, this is the right thing to do, take 'em down, patents are good.

I wonder how many law suits Microsoft itself against defending these days, or Dell, or HP, or Google, or Toyota. Only Apple is getting its comeuppance, eh. Like I said, you trolls sure do have an amazingly myopic vision of the world. And you rail against "fanboys"? What a laugh.
post #18 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

You trolls are amazing animals, you know that. Apple sues somebody and the outrage, the accusations of stifling innovation, the "monopoly" trump card, the "evil" trump card, all surface immediately. BUT Apple gets sued, and suddenly this is poetic justice, this is the right thing to do, take 'em down, patents are good.

I wonder how many law suits Microsoft itself against defending these days, or Dell, or HP, or Google, or Toyota. Only Apple is getting its comeuppance, eh. Like I said, you trolls sure do have an amazingly myopic vision of the world. And you rail against "fanboys"? What a laugh.

There is an amazing lack of consistency on BOTH sides. It was not too long ago that Kodak, a company that is nearly 125 years old, that supposedly tried to negotiate with Apple, was called a patent troll for trying to enforce its IP.

If both sides would simply be honest, then these posts would go down. Apple has every right to defend its IP, and not every company that sues Apple is a priori a patent troll simply because they sue Apple.

See, that was simple.
post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

You trolls are amazing animals, you know that. Apple sues somebody and the outrage, the accusations of stifling innovation, the "monopoly" trump card, the "evil" trump card, all surface immediately. BUT Apple gets sued, and suddenly this is poetic justice, this is the right thing to do, take 'em down, patents are good.

I wonder how many law suits Microsoft itself against defending these days, or Dell, or HP, or Google, or Toyota. Only Apple is getting its comeuppance, eh. Like I said, you trolls sure do have an amazingly myopic vision of the world. And you rail against "fanboys"? What a laugh.

Although I am a satisfied Apple customer, I really couldn't care less whether it's Apple, Microsoft, Google, or any other tech company being sued in U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Texas. My point is that no court district should have that kind of reputation, and if they do, should be investigated. Argue the merits of whatever patent case you bring on exactly that, not on whose palms you've greased or where you know you can go for an almost always favorable ruling. Otherwise, why even bother to pretend that "justice" is being served?
post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

At least the company is located in Texas for once.

I had the same thought. But they don't even seem to have a website. How much do you want to bet that this "company" exists only on paper, and is nothing more than a repository of patents purchased from others. (Probably bought for fire sale prices from companies that went out of business) They make nothing, and do nothing but sue to protect the patents they own.

I wish the Justice Department would investigate these courts in East Texas. They seem to be bordering on being a criminal enterprise.
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post #21 of 48
What, like non-fanboys who continuously whine about stuff like an iPhone not being able to sync stuff via Bluetooth?

Why are they going after the licensees of Bluetooth and not the licensors?

Or how in order to sync with your "desktop" email software you have to go through third parties via "the cloud" e.g. MobileMe, GMail your ISP's mail server etc.

Innocent until proven guilty and all that stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

You trolls are amazing animals, you know that. Apple sues somebody and the outrage, the accusations of stifling innovation, the "monopoly" trump card, the "evil" trump card, all surface immediately. BUT Apple gets sued, and suddenly this is poetic justice, this is the right thing to do, take 'em down, patents are good.

I wonder how many law suits Microsoft itself against defending these days, or Dell, or HP, or Google, or Toyota. Only Apple is getting its comeuppance, eh. Like I said, you trolls sure do have an amazingly myopic vision of the world. And you rail against "fanboys"? What a laugh.
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post #22 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post

Litigation business is doing well. It is even better in worse economy. That's the US Patent value.

The truism is look at what government (by means of the US Patent Office) can do and totally screw up things to Almighty! Healthcare, a big mess already, is next!

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post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

You trolls are amazing animals, you know that. Apple sues somebody and the outrage, the accusations of stifling innovation, the "monopoly" trump card, the "evil" trump card, all surface immediately. BUT Apple gets sued, and suddenly this is poetic justice, this is the right thing to do, take 'em down, patents are good.

I wonder how many law suits Microsoft itself against defending these days, or Dell, or HP, or Google, or Toyota. Only Apple is getting its comeuppance, eh. Like I said, you trolls sure do have an amazingly myopic vision of the world. And you rail against "fanboys"? What a laugh.

The unfortunate thing, is that it goes both ways. When Apple launches their suits, they are in the right. The other companies have been borrowing, encroaching and stealing from Apple's IP portfolio for too long. It's about time. Patents Rulz. But when Apple gets sued, it's boo, hiss! Patent reform! Lawyers are evil! These companies are bad, etc.

People need to take off their bias glasses and at least try to look at these things objectively.

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...sometimes it's both
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post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

You trolls are amazing animals, you know that. Apple sues somebody and the outrage, the accusations of stifling innovation, the "monopoly" trump card, the "evil" trump card, all surface immediately.


I never said anything like that. Your false accusations are insulting.
post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

They make nothing, and do nothing but sue to protect the patents they own.

Do they steal other's stuff instead of innovating?
post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Didn't I read they are toying with the idea in that state that Texas should secede? How about the other 49 states helping it

There are two issues, only 25% of Texans wanted to secede, and I don't think there is a legal mechanism to allow secession or expulsion, short of a constitutional amendment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grking View Post

There is an amazing lack of consistency on BOTH sides. It was not too long ago that Kodak, a company that is nearly 125 years old, that supposedly tried to negotiate with Apple, was called a patent troll for trying to enforce its IP.

Kodak also filed through a New York district court, their home turf, rather than the patent troll turf of Eastern District of Texas.

Quote:
If both sides would simply be honest, then these posts would go down. Apple has every right to defend its IP, and not every company that sues Apple is a priori a patent troll simply because they sue Apple.

True, however, if a "business" decides to sue through the Eastern District of Texas, I generally assume the filer is a patent troll, regardless of who they are suing, unless proven otherwise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

What, like non-fanboys who continuously whine about stuff like an iPhone not being able to sync stuff via Bluetooth?

Does the iPhone sync or transfer data over Bluetooth? If it does, that's news to me. It wasn't a big priority.
post #27 of 48
No, prompting my comment that it is something non-fanboys often like to whine about. i.e. the iPhone's absence of Bluetooth syncing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Does the iPhone sync or transfer data over Bluetooth? If it does, that's news to me. It wasn't a big priority.
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post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Kodak also filed through a New York district court, their home turf, rather than the patent troll turf of Eastern District of Texas.
True, however, if a "business" decides to sue through the Eastern District of Texas, I generally assume the filer is a patent troll, regardless of who they are suing, unless proven otherwise.

You seem to be reasonable. But the Kodak thread was amazing, in that they were called a troll, or that somehow their patents were not worth enforcing because they were not "relevant", cutting edge, or innovative (although what any of that has to do with patent validity eludes me), etc.
post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by iGenius View Post

Do they steal other's stuff instead of innovating?

Are you implying a moral equivalency between outfits like this that live to sue and a company like Apple with a long history of innovation? If so, there is no point in my my responding further. Or perhaps I misunderstood your point. I hope so.
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post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by grking View Post

You seem to be reasonable. But the Kodak thread was amazing, in that they were called a troll, or that somehow their patents were not worth enforcing because they were not "relevant", cutting edge, or innovative (although what any of that has to do with patent validity eludes me), etc.

You're right, that sort of thing is silly.

People don't think highly of Kodak, but they were working on electronic photography long before pretty much anyone else. They did a lot of the pioneering work, the problem is that their products were before their time and Kodak didn't persevere in getting things to the market, so that doesn't help their mind share. This was another place where Apple dropped the ball, Kodak and Apple collaborated on a digital camera, but never updated it.
post #31 of 48
The digital camera that Apple worked in partnership with Kodak to develop was one of their earliest examples.

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

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

You're right, that sort of thing is silly.

People don't think highly of Kodak, but they were working on electronic photography long before pretty much anyone else. They did a lot of the pioneering work, the problem is that their products were before their time and Kodak didn't persevere in getting things to the market, so that doesn't help their mind share.

Damn, you changed it.
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post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

The unfortunate thing, is that it goes both ways. When Apple launches their suits, they are in the right. The other companies have been borrowing, encroaching and stealing from Apple's IP portfolio for too long. It's about time. Patents Rulz. But when Apple gets sued, it's boo, hiss! Patent reform! Lawyers are evil! These companies are bad, etc.

People need to take off their bias glasses and at least try to look at these things objectively.

Companies suing other companies is just a part of doing business. It's a fact that must be dealt with, and seeing as Apple is worth tens of billions this is the time for every company that has been tracking Apple's growth curve with a valid or questionable lawsuit to file. You don't sue someone who can't pay.

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GOA

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GOA

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post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

The digital camera that Apple worked in partnership with Kodak to develop was one of their earliest examples.

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

Damn, you changed it.

Sorry about that, sometimes I forget to put what I wanted to say. But the link and the name is helpful.

They had done some research long before then, the technology wasn't ready. The first prototype was something about the size of a suitcase.
post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by BAW View Post

The most hilarious thing about these lawsuits is always the phrase "Eastern District of Texas." Gee, I thought the legal system was supposed to be impartial and all, but obviously companies know where to file their lawsuits to get a favorable result. Frontier justice, where no doubt wheels are being greased behind the scenes for just the right outcome. Since this is a U.S. District Court, why is there not an ongoing federal investigation into their reputation for favoring certain companies even before evidence is heard? A court should not have a reputation for favoring one side or the other. I know, I know, incredible naivete on my part! :-)



Should i bother saying it's not the court, it's the community? The trials are 100% jury trials, it's the hicks that live there that love to stick it to companies. All a company has to do is find a law office in that area and be represented by them, it's a gold mine for the community where you have law offices from all over the country opening store fronts in your town. This loophole in the system is what needs to change so that you can't just pick that area and sue there.
post #35 of 48
This is such a bad suit for SmartPhone Technologies LLC to file. It's stifling technological advancements.
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post #36 of 48
If you read the patents themselves you will see that they are originally "PalmSource", i.e. Palm/Handspring and probably come from their experience with the Treo, which were essentially the first smartphones. (I believe the first Handspring Treo pre-dates the first Blackberry.)

How this company which is suing came to get the patents is another matter.
post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamIIGS View Post

Should i bother saying it's not the court, it's the community? The trials are 100% jury trials, it's the hicks that live there that love to stick it to companies. All a company has to do is find a law office in that area and be represented by them, it's a gold mine for the community where you have law offices from all over the country opening store fronts in your town. This loophole in the system is what needs to change so that you can't just pick that area and sue there.

Good clarification, thanks! Even more reason to investigate . . .
post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

One day I'd like to see a list of all the lawsuits that Apple has pending and how many they have against other companies.

Based on Apple's 10-Q/K SEC filings, since 2000, Apple has only initiated suits against other companies 3 times, and countersued 4 times. In all other cases and there are lots (roughly 100 but some have been combined into class-action suits), they have been sued. Though I glanced at them quickly, it looks like only one-third or less of all suits have been about patent infringement. Many are about "defective" product, stock option backdating/insider trading, false advertising, misrepresentation, unfair/deceptive business practices, breach of contract, trademark infringement, etc.

In 2010, Apple sued HTC for patent infringement. (Not yet in a filed 10-Q)
In 2009, Apple countersued Nokia.
In 2008, Apple sued Psystar for copyright infringement.
In 2006, Apple sued Burst.com to declare its patents invalid. This was a pre-emptive suit, as Burst.com, having won against Microsoft, was likely to also sue Apple.
In 2006, Apple countersued Creative Technology.
In 2004, Apple countersued Compression Labs.
In 2003, Apple countersued Apple Corps.

One could reasonably say that Apple is very hesitant to pull the lawsuit trigger.
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post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

Based on Apple's 10-Q/K SEC filings, since 2000, Apple has only initiated suits against other companies 3 times, and countersued 4 times. In all other cases, they have been sued. Though I glanced at them quickly, it looks like only one-third or less of all suits have been about patent infringement. Many are about "defective" product, stock option backdating/insider trading, false advertising, misrepresentation, unfair/deceptive business practices, breach of contract, trademark infringement, etc.

In 2010, Apple sued HTC for patent infringement. (Not yet in a filed 10-Q)
In 2009, Apple countersued Nokia.
In 2008, Apple sued Psystar for copyright infringement.
In 2006, Apple sued Burst.com to declare its patents invalid. This was a pre-emptive suit, as Burst.com, having won against Microsoft, was likely to also sue Apple.
In 2006, Apple countersued Creative Technology.
In 2004, Apple countersued Compression Labs.
In 2003, Apple countersued Apple Corps.

Well you can throw out the backdating/insider trading. Nothing ever came of that. The advertising suits were always a gray area anyway . . . But yes, Apple doesn't seem very litigious once you have a look at the specifics.
post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

"Your honour, the Apple hearing is at 2. Did you want me to order you lunch in the meantime?"

"Sure thing sugarplum. Why dontcha rustle me up some fried chicken and some of them strawberry pies ah love so much. And hold all my calls. I gotta shine up my gun cuz I'll be usin' it as my gavel. Butt-end of course, he-he, and speakin of butt, once yer done with all the filin', why dontcha strut yer purty ass up here so ah can take a look atcha."



Awesome. Totally hilarious!
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