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Open source community 'hopelessly confused' by Apple-HTC suit

post #1 of 127
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Analyst Charlie Wolf with Needham & Company said Friday he believes the open source community, which has backed Google's Android mobile operating system against the iPhone, has the wrong take on Apple's patent lawsuit against rival handset maker HTC.

Wolf, in a new note to investors, said the open source community is "hopelessly confused." He said the open source movement came from the academic community, where ideas are freely exchanged. But things don't work like that in the business world.

"There's a critical difference between the free exchange of ideas and the free exchange of software," Wolf said. "In the academic world, the entire value of an idea accrues to its author in the form of reputation, citations, invitations to speak at conferences, and possibly an appointment at a prestigious university. In the open source world, no value accrues to the writer of a particular piece of software."

Wolf said although some have suggested Apple's lawsuit with HTC comes directly from Steve Jobs, he doesn't believe that's the case.

"The lawsuit is not about psychology," he wrote. "It's about economics. Apple has every right to sue to protect its intellectual property. That's what our patent system is all about."

Earlier this month, Apple sued HTC, alleging that the smartphone manufacturer has been in violation of 20 iPhone-related patents relating to user interface, underlying architecture and hardware. The complaint, filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission, has asked for sales and importation of all HTC handsets in the U.S. to be halted.

Apple's lawsuit specifically mentions the Google Android mobile operating system, and lists a number of Android-powered handsets, including the Nexus One and myTouch 3G. Some Windows Mobile smartphones were also named in the suit, but were targeted for their use of digital signal processing hardware decoders.

Google has come out in defense of its partner HTC, stating that the search giant stands behind the Android operating system "and the partners who have helped us to develop it." Wolf has previously said he believes Apple has better than 50-50 odds of coming out victorious in its suit against HTC.

Similarly, analyst Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros. previously said he believes Apple's "very large war chest" will likely force some competitors to either take out features or pay royalties to the iPhone maker in order to use patented technologies such as multi-touch.
post #2 of 127
Apple knew this was coming. They made it clear when SJ introduced the original iPhone, warning that they were going all out to protect their ip. I suspect they had the iPad in sight and saw where this was all headed. Or at least hoped it would.
post #3 of 127
"The open-source community" is a pretty broad brush. Is this the same "open source community" that has made Apple's WebKit the standard browser for virtually all mobile devices?
post #4 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"There's a critical difference between the free exchange of ideas and the free exchange of software," Wolf said. "In the academic world, the entire value of an idea accrues to its author in the form of reputation, citations, invitations to speak at conferences, and possibly an appointment at a prestigious university. In the open source world, no value accrues to the writer of a particular piece of software."


Well, perhaps nothing except reputation, citations, invitations to speak at conferences, and possibly a lucrative job offer.

Ask Torvalds whether "no value accrued" to him.
post #5 of 127
Just look at these patents below from Engadget's list. I am sure these patents cover desktop Linux just as much as Android. The Open Source community should be even more concerned than they are, because this is the most open attack on open source operating systems ever, with the biggest collection of patents.

Its not all about Slide to Unlock.

Like I said, check out the collection below. There are some very serious patents here which cover how an GUI and OS work, and seem to have nearly nothing to do with phones.


Quote:
Patent #5,455,599: Object-Oriented Graphic System

This is the oldest patent of the bunch, issued in 1995. (You can really get a sense for how Apple's counsel has changed the way it writes patents over time by reading all of these, by the way. The older ones are really quite terse.) Again, it's technical to the point where we don't feel comfortable saying exactly what it means, but it covers building graphics objects with a processor and outputting them through various means. Given the fact that this predates Steve Jobs' return to Apple, we'd say this one was thrown in because Apple's lawyers think it's particularly strong, not because it has something to do with phones specifically.

Patent #6,424,354: Object-Oriented Event Notification System With Listener Registration Of Both Interests And Methods

This one is actually quite interesting: it's from 2002 and is illustrated with drawing from Mac OS 9, but it covers event notifications passed among objects -- a system specifically described in the abstract as presenting a context-sensitive menu on the screen. That's very much the core of the Android UI, if you think about it. We don't know exactly what Apple thinks HTC is infringing with this patent, but it's one to keep an eye on, since it could have huge implications.

Patent #5,481,721: Method for providing automatic and dynamic translation of object oriented programming language-based message passing into operation system message passing using proxy objects

This one's fun -- it's actually an old NeXT patent from 1996. And we're talking old-school NeXT -- the inventors are listed as Betrand Serlet, Avie Tevanian, and Lee Boynton. Anyway, this one is large, broad, and technical: it covers passing objects in an OS between processes by way of a proxy object. Again, given that this is primarily an OS patent and that Apple claims all of HTC's Android phones infringe it, it's hard to shake the impression that this case is anything but a proxy for a larger fight to come.

Patents #5,519,867 and #6,275,983: Object Oriented Multitasking System and Object-Oriented Operating System

Apple lumps these older OS patents together, so we are too. '867 is from 1996 and covers accessing OS level services in a multithreaded way; '983 is from 2001 and describes an OS in which apps can access native system services and those services can make use of data associated with an object. Again, dry, technical -- and totally aimed at Android, not HTC itself.

Patent #5,566,337: Method and apparatus for distributing events in an operating system

Another OS patent from 1996, this time relating to passing event notifications between objects -- like changing app behavior based on battery status. If you're not getting that Apple is targeting Android with the ITC case in particular by including low-level patents like these, there's really nothing more we can do. Oh, wait -- we can drop another six patents on your head.

Patent #5,929,852: Encapsulated network entity reference of a network component system

This one is also interesting because of it's age -- it's from 1999, and describes a way for users to get at remotely-stored resources more effectively by using software "components" that deal with different data types.

Patent 5,946,647: System and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data

Seriously, we're almost impressed at how deeply Apple is pulling here. '647, issued in 1999, is what you might characterize as the "data detectors" patent -- it covers parsing data for known structures like phone numbers, address, and dates, and then taking action with that data. The model described is client / server, though, so it remains to be seen how Android handles similar tasks.

Patent #5,969,705: Message protocol for controlling a user interface from an inactive application program

You're going to love this one: '705 is a 1999 patent covering a form of multitasking. Specifically, it hits on the idea that a foreground app can direct a background process to go do some task while the foreground app remains responsive. The actual implementation is a bit more specific, but in the end, it's just another OS patent that's aimed directly at Android. Apple's also claiming this one against Nokia.

Patent #5,915,131: Method and apparatus for handling I/O requests utilizing separate programming interfaces to access separate I/O service

A 2002 patent hitting on multiple API usage in operating systems. Guess which Google-designed OS Apple says infringes on this one? Oh, and yes -- Apple's also claiming this one against Nokia.

Patent #RE39,486: Extensible, replaceable network component system

This patent was originally issued in 2001 and then reissued in 2007, and it covers -- surprise! -- OS-level software. Specifically, RE '486 covers organizing modular software "components" into a network layer with an API. It's more specific than that, but again, what's important for our purposes here is that this is about low-level software, not devices -- and the HTC devices that Apple says infringe this patent all run low-level software from Google. This is another one that Apple's claiming against Nokia.
post #6 of 127
Apples lawyers are testing out these patents against HTC to see which will stick. These will then set precedence for taking on bigger fish.
post #7 of 127
I wish these analysts would check their facts. None of the patents in the suit regard multi-touch. It's widely believed that Apple's multi-touch patents are weak and wouldn't hold up in court.

I'd say it's 50/50 that they win and I really hope they don't. This would do more to hurt iPhone OS development than help it. Android is right at Apple's door and it scares the shit out of them. Innovate > Litigate.
post #8 of 127
I don't think the "OS Community" has a whole lot to worry about with Apple; their goal is to protect their hardware sales... but I do disagree with the comment that this isn't about SJ and psychology. The business psychology is everything in Apple's patent trolling. (And Nokia's, and ...)

One day... patent reform...
post #9 of 127
I think Wolf doesn't understand the open source community (that Apple is of course part of). I personally don't care for the ideas of Richard Stallman, but he doesn't represent the entire open source community. This really is just about business though. Everyone does this. I'm sure this is about a different dispute, the patent battle is just a proxy fight for something else. Sure it is nice to set an example, but is it wrong to play fair? In the movie Aviator (and in real life), Howard Hughes has the court case about him pampering the army officials for contract work. His response was that he would prefer not to, but everyone in the industry does it so he needs to. He said he would support making the practice illegal. If we think the patent system is allowing ideas to be patented or trivial innovations to be patented then our issue should be with the patent system. I'm sure Apple would support it because they are constantly being hit by trivial patents.
post #10 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

"The open-source community" is a pretty broad brush. Is this the same "open source community" that has made Apple's WebKit the standard browser for virtually all mobile devices?

The very same. And maybe that's part of the problem. Apple has released buckets of their IP into the public domain in one way or another, so the "community" got caught off-guard when the company drew a line and said "this far, no further."

There's an argument to be made that Apple is inconsistent in defending it's IP. They're aggressively protecting iPhone-related IP, but giving away Grand Central Dispatch. I think that, too, is part of what confuses people. There seems to be this notion that Apple is somehow hypocritical because they're both participating in the whole open-source game and aggressively defending their innovations. Cognitive dissonance runs rampant over this, it seems to me.
post #11 of 127
It's a tricky situation. Apple has been quite good to the Open Source community, filtering code back into FreeBSD. In fact, Apple saved FreeBSD and brought it to where it is today. That's just on example, though.
post #12 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomfoolery View Post

The very same. And maybe that's part of the problem. Apple has released buckets of their IP into the public domain in one way or another, so the "community" got caught off-guard when the company drew a line and said "this far, no further."

There's an argument to be made that Apple is inconsistent in defending it's IP. They're aggressively protecting iPhone-related IP, but giving away Grand Central Dispatch. I think that, too, is part of what confuses people. There seems to be this notion that Apple is somehow hypocritical because they're both participating in the whole open-source game and aggressively defending their innovations. Cognitive dissonance runs rampant over this, it seems to me.

I agree, that sense of hypocrisy is exactly why so many people are upset over this case. I think that maybe we are looking too deep in this though. Unless this becomes standard practice, maybe we should just give them the benefit of the doubt.
post #13 of 127
I have thought a lot about this law suit and I finally decided that I am against Apple on this one. While I think they have the right to defend their patents ( I Own a couple of my own), I do not think they have the right to try and destroy cometition with strong arm tactics. The part that gets me is how they went to the ITC and are trying to halt the import of a competors product BEFORE they have their day in court to try and defent their patents. This seem more like extortion than a real claim of damages. Also the fact that they are going after Google through HTC is just wrong. If they have a problem with Google, then go after Google...

I personally ( not a patent laywer ) think the claims made by Apple are weak, to general and the patnets should never have been granted. I personally do not think they they should hold up in court. I say should because in a cout of law, justice rarely has anything to do with it.

I do realize that Apple ( or any big company ) could care less about what I think. Last year I switched from a PC and bought a Macbook and liked it. It bought a MacMini for my entertainment center and I liked it as well. I was thinking about buying another MacMini to replace an aging web server. ( I already converted the code to run on Apache ). I was also starting to buy and rent movies through iTunes. In short, I was becoming a fan of Apple.

However, I do not like what I see Apple doing lately. They seem to be becoming way to much of a control freek company. They seem to be becoming a company that wants to succed through fear and intimidation more than one that wants to succeed through innovation. I personally think they are becoming their own enemy. As a result of this lawsuit I have decided not to buy any more products from Apple. It is my single little (meaningless) vote against what they are doing as a company....
post #14 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Wolf, in a new note to investors, said the open source community is "hopelessly confused." He said the open source movement came from the academic community, where ideas are freely exchanged. But things don't work like that in the business world.

"academic community, where ideas are freely exchanged", what's he been smoking! Yeah, ideas freely exchanged as long as they are in concurrence! Try talking about politics or by extension, military necessity and see how long the freely exchange of ideas lasts!


Quote:
"There's a critical difference between the free exchange of ideas and the free exchange of software," Wolf said. "In the academic world, the entire value of an idea accrues to its author in the form of reputation, citations, invitations to speak at conferences, and possibly an appointment at a prestigious university. In the open source world, no value accrues to the writer of a particular piece of software.

This is called the Ivy League "Hoighty Toighty" mentality!

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post #15 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

One day... patent reform...

Patent reform ought not, and never will, be about preventing companies and individuals who are actually innovating and producing products from protecting their IP. Necessary patent reform is about putting an end to the parasitic siphoning off of resources from real companies by those who have no interest in producing anything, but just living off the ingenuity and efforts of others.

It's not "patent trolling" when you are defending your own tangible products from copycats.
post #16 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by surur View Post

Just look at these patents below from Engadget's list. I am sure these patents cover desktop Linux just as much as Android. The Open Source community should be even more concerned than they are, because this is the most open attack on open source operating systems ever, with the biggest collection of patents.

Its not all about Slide to Unlock.

Like I said, check out the collection below. There are some very serious patents here which cover how an GUI and OS work, and seem to have nearly nothing to do with phones.

Thanks for the post, that was interesting.

Would I be right in my reading of this, which is that the majority of these claims could just as easily be made against Linux? If that's right, why are they not going after say, Ubuntu?
post #17 of 127
Quote:
Wolf, in a new note to investors, said the open source community is "hopelessly confused." He said the open source movement came from the academic community, where ideas are freely exchanged.

C'mon...people in the open source community are not idiots...they understand when a feature is a rip-off of another product, and they understand intellectual property.
post #18 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Apples lawyers are testing out these patents against HTC to see which will stick. These will then set precedence for taking on bigger fish.

Every singlke one of Apples patents fail either the "obviousness" or the "prior art" test. If HTC is smart, they will go to trial (and make sure the venue is not East Texas). Then Apple will pay a lot of money to have their patents overturned.
post #19 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Patent reform ought not, and never will, be about preventing companies and individuals who are actually innovating and producing products from protecting their IP. Necessary patent reform is about putting an end to the parasitic siphoning off of resources from real companies by those who have no interest in producing anything, but just living off the ingenuity and efforts of others.

It's not "patent trolling" when you are defending your own tangible products from copycats.

I agree. I don't think you should be able to patent a concept that you have no intention of doing anything with.
post #20 of 127
OK, I'm a big fan of Apple and they certainly have the right to protect their IP, but most of those patents listed should never have been granted on the basis of either prior art or being totally obvious.

I'll just take one example, Patent #6,424,354: Object-Oriented Event Notification System With Listener Registration Of Both Interests And Methods. This is nothing more than the Observer design pattern which was one of the patterns detailed in the now famous Design Patterns book by the 'Gang of Four', published in 1994, four years before the patent was applied for and 8 years before it was granted. Given that it appeared in the book in 1994 it was clearly a well known design pattern long before that. So how the hell did the USPTO grant that one??

Apple is taking existing public domain IP and patenting it as their own ideas. That stinks. However, I realise that Apple is just playing by the system, and the US Patent system, at least as it applies to software, is rotten to the core
post #21 of 127
Apple is in a very good position to use their patents (not saying they should, but they are in a great position).

Their competitors are:

1) HTC - No patents at all. They will get creamed by Apple.
2) MOT/NOK - Apple cannot target either one of these. Their patented ideas are probably used in almost every phone. OTOH, with phones becoming more like computers, they can't really beat Apple either, since Apple controls a ton of computer patents.
3) MS - Again, stalemate. MSFT probably has more patents than Apple, but they wouldn't dare harm Apple in the desktop space (otherwise they will become a complete monopoly again) or any other space, because they don't want to look bad.
4) Google - Google has a ton of patents, but I doubt even a single one is being infringed upon by Apple. Of all the overlapping spaces that Google and Apple are in, Google has come in much after Apple. The only exception is mobile advertising, but both Google and Apple have acquired companies for this, and not developed property in-house.

HTC/Google stand no chance against this. While the Tech sector finds this distasteful, this is a fantastic business move by Apple. And while I disagree with them, I wont hold it against them. Cant blame them for playing by the rules.
post #22 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

I agree, that sense of hypocrisy is exactly why so many people are upset over this case. I think that maybe we are looking too deep in this though. Unless this becomes standard practice, maybe we should just give them the benefit of the doubt.

The thing is that Apple wants to chose which parts it gives the open source community, and not have the open source community take whatever it wants.
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post #23 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by sranger View Post

I have thought a lot about this law suit and I finally decided that I am against Apple on this one. While I think they have the right to defend their patents ( I Own a couple of my own), I do not think they have the right to try and destroy cometition with strong arm tactics.

What patents do you have? I would like to use them in my upcoming products... thanks for the hard work, now I don't have to do that part. I can just go make money off of your patents.
You don't mind do you?
post #24 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by sranger View Post

I have thought a lot about this law suit and I finally decided that I am against Apple on this one. While I think they have the right to defend their patents ( I Own a couple of my own), I do not think they have the right to try and destroy cometition with strong arm tactics. The part that gets me is how they went to the ITC and are trying to halt the import of a competors product BEFORE they have their day in court to try and defent their patents. This seem more like extortion than a real claim of damages. Also the fact that they are going after Google through HTC is just wrong. If they have a problem with Google, then go after Google...

I personally ( not a patent laywer ) think the claims made by Apple are weak, to general and the patnets should never have been granted. I personally do not think they they should hold up in court. I say should because in a cout of law, justice rarely has anything to do with it.

I do realize that Apple ( or any big company ) could care less about what I think. Last year I switched from a PC and bought a Macbook and liked it. It bought a MacMini for my entertainment center and I liked it as well. I was thinking about buying another MacMini to replace an aging web server. ( I already converted the code to run on Apache ). I was also starting to buy and rent movies through iTunes. In short, I was becoming a fan of Apple.

However, I do not like what I see Apple doing lately. They seem to be becoming way to much of a control freek company. They seem to be becoming a company that wants to succed through fear and intimidation more than one that wants to succeed through innovation. I personally think they are becoming their own enemy. As a result of this lawsuit I have decided not to buy any more products from Apple. It is my single little (meaningless) vote against what they are doing as a company....

Right, the vote is meaningless. I think it makes a bigger difference to discuss this issue. I'm sure Apple is listening.
post #25 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post

What patents do you have? I would like to use them in my upcoming products... thanks for the hard work, now I don't have to do that part. I can just go make money off of your patents.
You don't mind do you?

These are software patents. Unless you plan to sneak in to his house and steal source code, you would have to re-implement (which is hard).
post #26 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Apples lawyers are testing out these patents against HTC to see which will stick. These will then set precedence for taking on bigger fish.

Apple's lawyers in this case are from the firm Kirkland and Ellis, a highly regarded international law firm. Heading the case for Kirkland and Ellis is Robert Krupka who is considered one of the top experts in IP law in the world. You can bet your bippie that there is a sophisticated strategy behind which patents have been chosen, which firms are being attacked and in what order, which courts to file in, what the time scales are likely to be, etc. Apple will be paying 10s or 100s of millions of dollars for this lawsuit. This I feel reasonably certain is something that all these mobile phone firms are thinking about too, they see what and who they are up against and it must give them a moment of pause.

I'll add that Robert Krupka has a reputation for winning big, difficult IP cases and he also has a reputation for taking cases all the way to judgement rather than settling out of court.
post #27 of 127
As far as I'm aware, Apple hasn't sued HTC for mutitouch nor has any patent been granted yet. I think it's still pending. I don't why this was mentioned in the last sentence of the article.

Apple has every right to protect their IP but it still doesn't mean the patent system isn't still broken.
post #28 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... Similarly, analyst Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros. previously said he believes Apple's "very large war chest" will likely force some competitors to ... pay royalties to the iPhone maker in order to use patented technologies such as multi-touch. ...

This is why Wu should never be believed.

Jobs and Cook have both explicitly stated that they will never licence their patented technology and everyone knows that historically Apple rarely if ever does this. It's not about the money.

Wu just doesn't "get" Apple IMO.
post #29 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

Right, the vote is meaningless. I think it makes a bigger difference to discuss this issue. I'm sure Apple is listening.

It would be nice is Apple did listen to these types of discussions, but I doubt that they do....

I am not picking on Apple here, I doubt any company really listens to it's customers...
post #30 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

I agree. I don't think you should be able to patent a concept that you have no intention of doing anything with.

from what I know, you can't patent a concept, you can only patent an implementation of a concept, ie, there needs to be a touchy feely bit to your concept or no patent.
post #31 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by jubei_nj View Post

I wish these analysts would check their facts. None of the patents in the suit regard multi-touch. It's widely believed that Apple's multi-touch patents are weak and wouldn't hold up in court.

I'd say it's 50/50 that they win and I really hope they don't. This would do more to hurt iPhone OS development than help it. Android is right at Apple's door and it scares the shit out of them. Innovate > Litigate.

Actually the patents are about the user interface, and other aspects that Apple wants protected in their IP - in their innovation if you will. And when you make glossy statements like "it is widely believed that" you need to specify to what audience you refer. If a group of seven-year-olds "widely believe" something that has a different weight than " a group of industry experts "widely believe" something. And let's understand a group of bloggers techies, geeks or fans is not an authoritative group to widely believe anything. Now if you are talking about a group of intellectual property experts, or technology experts, or stock market experts (obviously not simply self-proclaimed) then you start having a group that is worth paying attention to. And saying "it's 50/50 that they win is as about a lame a hedge as there is, you can't lose with that call now can you.

And what's this about hurting iPhone OS development? How will this "hurt" iPhone OS dev exactly? That statement makes no sense without an explanatory comment. This whole meme of Apple's bullying HTC, or "our buddies on Android" makes little sense. If, for example a gorgeous woman tells you she is attracted to you, fawns all over you and later you find your wallet missing and a bunch of changes on your hitherto pristine change cards, do you feel better because it was an attractive woman doing it? (well some of you might) But no. The expectation seems to be, "hey, Apple - look the other way while a bunch of other manufacturers use not just a look and feel approach to knocking off your innovation in a pretty well stagnant user interface market, but let them use exactly the same methodology, the same technology and ignore the years of effort (not to mention the expense of purchasing an existing firm that will give you an advantage in the interface)", because well actually doing something about it isn't very nice. And Android came from Linux, which is our ideological state of free and open everything - and therefore an ideological unicorn with fairy wings. It's not nice to challenge anything even remotely associated with that".

Android is not at Apple's door (as if it had been hanging around out the street, waiting for an opportunity to door-knock), Android has been around for a while, and is still getting built out as a mobile platform OS. But it still has some serious dev work to accomplish to be a true competitor.

Scared shitless companies don't execute a tightly targeted defense of IP. They flail around like SCO did, whacking at everything in sight. No this is a very specific strategy which has probably been planned for some time. You assume because you don't have the resources to monitor the market, that Apple is simply knee-jerking to whatever stimulus suddenly pops-up. Apple has demonstrated that they are pedantic and controlled in their approaches to product release and management - far beyond the type A controll-freakiness rep that Jobs has.

Just out of curiosity, how many commenters actually read down into the patent and not just skim the title and assume they understand the underlying technology claims? The spate of "this is too general" and "this sounds like this" would seem to indicate that few if any have. Yep. Apple should not ever, ever, ever make anyone unhappy by looking out for their own best interests - but still, somehow, innovate like the freaks they are and make us all joyously applicious. No matter how impossible and unreal that particular scenario really is.
post #32 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icesnake View Post

Every singlke one of Apples patents fail either the "obviousness" or the "prior art" test. If HTC is smart, they will go to trial (and make sure the venue is not East Texas). Then Apple will pay a lot of money to have their patents overturned.

It's interesting that you've come to this conclusion. You may well know more than I, you may well be a patent attorney for all I know. But as I mention elsewhere in this thread Apple has hired a world leading IP attorney (Robert Krupka) from a world class law firm specialising in IP Law to handle this case. Do you seriously believe that he wouldn't have told Apple your sage insight if they thought it were true?
post #33 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers;

I agree, that sense of hypocrisy is exactly why so many people are upset over this case. I think that maybe we are looking too deep in this though. Unless this becomes standard practice, maybe we should just give them the benefit of the doubt.

I wouldn't call it hypocrisy by any means. Apple open sourced Grand Central because it was mutually beneficial. They also did the same thing with CUPS. There are some things which Apple will not open source either because there is no benefit to them or it is essential to what makes their product different. They are still a company that needs to earn cash and can't give away everything for free.

That being said, I question the validity of any software patent although some of these software patents that Apple has stated seem to be heavily related to hardware.
post #34 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomfoolery View Post

The very same. And maybe that's part of the problem. Apple has released buckets of their IP into the public domain in one way or another, so the "community" got caught off-guard when the company drew a line and said "this far, no further."

There's an argument to be made that Apple is inconsistent in defending it's IP. They're aggressively protecting iPhone-related IP, but giving away Grand Central Dispatch. I think that, too, is part of what confuses people. There seems to be this notion that Apple is somehow hypocritical because they're both participating in the whole open-source game and aggressively defending their innovations. Cognitive dissonance runs rampant over this, it seems to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

I agree, that sense of hypocrisy is exactly why so many people are upset over this case. I think that maybe we are looking too deep in this though. Unless this becomes standard practice, maybe we should just give them the benefit of the doubt.

The way to look at it is quite simple. Apple gets to decide what it wants to share and what it doesn't want to share. That is EXACTLY the same choice EVERY OS coder has when they choose to either post their software with an OS license or not post it at all.

For the public and OS community there is also no ambiguity. What Apple has shared via an OS license it has shared and will not run down with any sort of legal prosecution, that option was explicitly abandoned when the source was posted with an OS license. That software Apple has not shared, they reserve the right to enforce IP rights over.

I think Apple is also being pretty explicit by stating, if you are trying to make money off our patents we will do what we can to stop you. But because Apple didn't sue the Android team/Community they are saying they aren't threatened by hobbyists [just don't try to turn that hobby into an infringing business though...]. This is even consistent with Apple's Psystar suit that hasn't been driven against the hobby white-boxers.

To be confused about where that line has been drawn really takes self imposed ignorance and/or a skewed sense of rights to IP. [I am not lumping anti-software patent folks into this, they are not confused and have very valid concerns that I share. Although until the actual laws change even they(we) are required to play by all but broken rules/laws.]
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post #35 of 127
Apple was always like that


it's not their first IP process

they used patend before, and be agressive

and used copyright too, in justice

do not make the "but but but.. I thought apple was nice and kissy !..." NO.

apple never was that nice and it's one of the reason why Apple is different and stil there. The one time where apple make the error to be too much open (the mac prototype), it was a failure, and in 90s apple was unable to build upon their product and IP. it was catastrophic.


I'm mostly a linux fan and made my money from opensource, but you have to understand Apple has a business to protect, its independence to protect and a platform to build.

sometimes it's bad, sometimes it's good, I still think it worth it. In the end Apple brought many great products, allowed khtml to be a great project (webkit), helped bsd, contributed to opengl, mpeg, and other industrial norms, in the end, apple is useful.

and no I DO NOT want a "nice apple". A Nice Apple was the dead-end company of the 90s. I never want to live again a computer industry zombified with a world of beige pc-computer.


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Think about Sun. Sun mostly gave all their wonderful innovation and product into opensource and free software ,but without a sustainable business behind it neither Sun was able to promote them and build them in great products (linux or solaris or heck : mac os x) neither sun was able to gain profit from them. Where is Sun now ?

Apple has to strive for the right balance.
post #36 of 127
Apple had to go after HTC, they are a bottom feeder and are eating everyone lunch from below. If Apple lets them copy everything the iphone does and charge so little for it, this just devalues everything Apple did and does not allow any company who competes in the smart phone market to make money.

Apple change the game in the Cell phone market, prior to the iphone the service providers dictated features and what phone the consumer got, they set pricing and even gave away phones which basically told consumers the phone has no value and people do not want to pay for them. If you look at what VZ is doing they are giving away HTC smart phones to get people to mover to VZ and abandon the iphone. If this keeps up apple will exit the market since you can not make money and the likes of VZ will dictate what you get.

If Apple really wanted to wage patent wars on the industry they would have gone after every company at at once, like all those other patent whores company who are only interested in the money. They didn't they went after just one the which happens to just copy and crank them out by the millions.

This was truly a strategic move, they do not want HTC destroying the current business model and they will if they keep cranking out copies and allow service providers to give them away and charge you more for the services.
post #37 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by shubidua View Post

The thing is that Apple wants to chose which parts it gives the open source community, and not have the open source community take whatever it wants.

That's their right. That's my right. I have posted BSD and Creative Commons licensed code, but I refuse to play in GPL projects. I also sometimes keep code for myself with an eye to potential future income generating uses. This is exactly the way the whole OS world was designed to work (except in Stallman's mind).
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post #38 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelab View Post

OK, I'm a big fan of Apple and they certainly have the right to protect their IP, but most of those patents listed should never have been granted on the basis of either prior art or being totally obvious.

I'll just take one example, Patent #6,424,354: Object-Oriented Event Notification System With Listener Registration Of Both Interests And Methods. This is nothing more than the Observer design pattern which was one of the patterns detailed in the now famous Design Patterns book by the 'Gang of Four', published in 1994, four years before the patent was applied for and 8 years before it was granted. Given that it appeared in the book in 1994 it was clearly a well known design pattern long before that. So how the hell did the USPTO grant that one??

Apple is taking existing public domain IP and patenting it as their own ideas. That stinks. However, I realise that Apple is just playing by the system, and the US Patent system, at least as it applies to software, is rotten to the core

Actually the patent in question is a refinement (continuation?) of patent number 6,259,446, which was filed years before the term "Design Patterns" were even in the common geek vocabulary and before this book was written. If anything, Apple's patents serve as a basis for the book and not the other way around.
post #39 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icesnake View Post

Every singlke one of Apples patents fail either the "obviousness" or the "prior art" test. If HTC is smart, they will go to trial (and make sure the venue is not East Texas). Then Apple will pay a lot of money to have their patents overturned.

You cannot apply the obviousness test after the patent has been granted, and it is even less useful years after the patent was granted. Because when it was granted, it wasn't quite so obvious.

The way to show whether something was obvious or not when the patent was filed is to show prior art that predates the filing date, not the granted date. So either cough up some prior art examples or leave obviousness out of the discussion.
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post #40 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

These are software patents. Unless you plan to sneak in to his house and steal source code, you would have to re-implement (which is hard).

No, no. That's ok. Just tell me what the final product is. I'll get a copy and reverse engineer your code, and then I can use it for my product.
Thanks a lot!
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