or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPod + iTunes + AppleTV › Lawsuit claims Apple's iTunes video content violates patent
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Lawsuit claims Apple's iTunes video content violates patent

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
A new lawsuit takes aim at Apple's delivery of movies, TV shows and other videos through iTunes, alleging that the service is in violation of a patent owned by Multi-Format Inc.

The New Jersey company is the owner of a patent granted in 2003, entitled "Multi-format audio/video production system." The company filed a lawsuit last week, alleging that the iTunes store and devices that connect to it to download videos are in violation of at least 20 claims within that patent.

"Apple has made, used, sold, offered for sale and/or imported products which enable the downloading and viewing of video programs, including, but not limited to, the personal computers, including the Power Mac G5, iPhone (including 3GS and 4G), iPad, iPod classic, iPod nano, iPod touch, Apple TV and iTunes products, throughout the United States," the complaint reads.

The patent, first filed for in 1998 is credited to inventors Kinya Washino and Barry H. Schwab. It describes the reprocessing of video to fit a certain aspect ratio or framerate to ensure that content will play on a specific device.

"An audio/video production system facilitates professional quality image manipulation and editing using an enhanced general-purpose hardware," the patent reads. "A program input may be translated into any variety of graphics or television formats, including NTSC, PAL, SECAM, and HDTV, and stored as data-compressed images, using any of several commercially available methods such as Motion JPEG, MPEG, etc."



The lawsuit claims that by allowing its customers to download and view video programs, Apple is in violation of the patent. It asserts that Multi-Format is entitled to a "reasonable royalty" in return.

The civil suit was filed in a U.S. District Court in the North District of Illinois.
post #2 of 48
Is the North District of Illinois the new black spot on the US judicial system, surpassing the Eastern District of Texas, or is this a legitimate case?
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #3 of 48
One of the more obvious trolls in recent memory.
post #4 of 48
1998 eh? This should be a fun one to follow the various expert opinions on.
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #5 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Is the North District of Illinois the new black spot on the US judicial system, surpassing the Eastern District of Texas, or is this a legitimate case?

If legitimate, why have they waited until now I wonder?
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #6 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

1998 eh? This should be a fun one to follow the various expert opinions on.

I don't remember much talk about HDTV back in 1998 when this patent was submitted. I remember digital cameras at the time being anything but hi res either.
post #7 of 48
Sounds a bit week.
They patented that the format had to change to be on a computer?
post #8 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

If legitimate, why have they waited until now I wonder?

Apple does this, too. Remember Psystar. Its a common and useful tactic to go after a single company after an egregious violation and after youve built a solid case.

This company, assuming they do have a solid patent, could have been waiting for iTunes to get so big as to maximize their profit. They may also have been collecting data and verifying they actually had a solid patent that would hold up in court, if it got that far.

That is just an example. Apple may also have no knowledge of this patent so even if they are in violation they may also be ethically innocent as the defendant.

(Disclaimer: I make no assertion as to who is guilty or innocent, and dont care as I dont think these cases affect the value of my stock in any significant way. Just posting objective viewpoints as to how both parters could be in the right.)
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #9 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryb View Post

I don't remember much talk about HDTV back in 1998 when this patent was submitted. I remember digital cameras at the time being anything but hi res either.

There was high-resolution digital imaging back then, although not in the consumer space. It was high-end commercial stuff, things like digital backs for 4x5" view cameras. The backs were connected directly to computers, as there were no high-capacity flash memory cards back then.

Likewise, HDTV was strictly the province of professional video: no consumer camcorders at the time.

It takes several years for a lot of this technology to trickle down to the consumer marketplace.
post #10 of 48
The only way to end patent trolling is to set a deadline and a cap on how much money the suing company can make. For example, if the claim is legit but there is no actual product produced, a year deadline for a claim and $50 should be made as payment. This way, the trolls would have no way to thrive squatting for absolutely no effort of their part. Trolling affects consumers, not just companies. It also sets a bad precedent.
Originally Posted by Granmastak: Labor unions managed to kill manufacturing a long time ago with their unreasonable demands. Now the people they were trying to protect, are out of a job.
Reply
Originally Posted by Granmastak: Labor unions managed to kill manufacturing a long time ago with their unreasonable demands. Now the people they were trying to protect, are out of a job.
Reply
post #11 of 48
Had myself the ol Matrox Rainbow Runner back then. Now a mobile phone takes hours and hours of HD, downloads via USB, and tapes are pretty much dead. And we have, for all intents and purposes, "Internet TV" now. And I am typing this on a glass screen.

Ah, you young whippersnappers... (says this 32 year old lol)
post #12 of 48
We have no information at this time that indicates these are patent trolls. As ever, let 'em work it out in the courts. Even with the finest legal staff in the world Apple will never be completely safeguarded from creating products that infringe on someone's patents.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #13 of 48
I have no knowledge on the patent world but the part quoted in the article is quite generic. Wouldn't it have already been done by video capture cards, and video converter cards etc which essentially do, since the 90s, what that quoted part says...?
post #14 of 48
The plaintiffs have to demonstrate loss as a result of the alleged patent violation. Discovery will determine if there was any actionable patent violation and what impact was felt as opposed to that claimed.

Discovery is the lead factor in the process and arguably the most important. Fortunately the billable hours are by the discovery team (legal assistants) not by the lawyers themselves.
post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

There was high-resolution digital imaging back then, although not in the consumer space. It was high-end commercial stuff, things like digital backs for 4x5" view cameras. The backs were connected directly to computers, as there were no high-capacity flash memory cards back then.

Likewise, HDTV was strictly the province of professional video: no consumer camcorders at the time.

It takes several years for a lot of this technology to trickle down to the consumer marketplace.

In 1998 formats like Panasonic D5 had decks but still at that time everything was NTSC 525 scanlines by 29.97 frames per second. Digital recording was practically none existent, still lots of analog equipment out there recording to tape or film to be late digitized for post production and then back to film when finished.
Sure there was "digital recording" but to tape. No external or internal hard drives, still even in digital realm the aspect ratio was 4:3 cause there was not enough 16:9 displays anywhere in the world.
That company looks to me one that was ahead of its time by the time they got granted the patent. Then my question is why you are able to be granted a patent when the technology that is need to do that is none existent. Is like I get granted a patent for device to support live on a space ship or base station in outer space... At this time I don't have the technology to prove that it works, could prove the concept somehow but it is not by real testing of it.
Sad.. but patent trolls will keep coming cause patent office failed at the time they granted rights to stuff that is to general and is more of a concept than reality.
post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

We have no information at this time that indicates these are patent trolls. ...

Don't we?

This is a very generalised patent on video downloading. If upheld it would seem to cover everyone who does video distribution on a network. It seems to me that if they aren't trolls, they should have both taken other players to court in the intervening 12-13 years, and also talked to Apple years ago.

One doesn't *have* to defend a patent to make it valid, and it doesn't *have* to be specific to be valid but both of those help a great deal and will affect the case. I would assume that Apple knew of this patent and believed it to be too general to stand up in court.
post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

We have no information at this time that indicates these are patent trolls. As ever, let 'em work it out in the courts. Even with the finest legal staff in the world Apple will never be completely safeguarded from creating products that infringe on someone's patents.

Really..I can not find any products they have created in the last 12 years. Of course they also appear to gave patented the generic process of changing video formats on a computer. No evidence? They are in fact the definition of trolls..
post #18 of 48
If Apple is a target, why not Google or Netflix and others. As far as I know Apple does not use iTunes to define which version is downloaded and the process is not on the fly as this seams to implicate. Apple just offers Sd and HD content. You get one or the other or both This seams that it would cover Quicktime more as it can output video in several different formats for delivery with the Javascript code selecting which is delivered based on the browser info. Seams to me that they are targeting the wrong product simply because that product is making money for Apple, where QuickTime does not so much.
post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by BTBlomberg View Post

If Apple is a target, why not Google or Netflix and others. As far as I know Apple does not use iTunes to define which version is downloaded and the process is not on the fly as this seams to implicate. Apple just offers Sd and HD content. You get one or the other or both This seams that it would cover Quicktime more as it can output video in several different formats for delivery with the Javascript code selecting which is delivered based on the browser info. Seams to me that they are targeting the wrong product simply because that product is making money for Apple, where QuickTime does not so much.

But QuickTime existed prior to this patent and would be a much tougher sell...
post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

I have no knowledge on the patent world but the part quoted in the article is quite generic. ...

Well, that's probably the biggest problem with a lot of patents over the last 25 years: they're totally generic "ideas" (as opposed to actual inventions) that should never have been granted patents in the first place. I don't think the PTO has any idea what it's doing with these technology patents, nor any idea really how to evaluate them.

The solution isn't entirely simple. The PTO will never have the expertise to appropriately evaluate these things. It wouldn't be fair to small inventors to require a product be brought to market, or to limit damage awards. But, the system has clearly spun out of control and now serves the exact opposite purpose that it is intended to serve.

EDIT: One possibility to solve the problem of software patents would be to go back to the idea that the inventor submit a copy of his invention -- i.e., a reference implementation that defines the invention, rather than vague wording that simply describes an idea. This way, there's no doubt about what the invention is, no ambiguity over exactly what is covered. The way things work now, it's as if Eli Whitney were granted a patent for the idea of, "a machine that separates the cotton fibers from the seeds," rather than for his specific implementation of a cotton gin for which a patent was actually granted. Requiring a reference implementation, defining the invention, for software patents would not be an onerous requirement, and most of these generic patents that plague industry would either never have been granted, or would have a solid, unambiguous footing, rather than the current, "let's see just how much we can get away with with this one," basis of a lot of these suits.
post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by plokoonpma View Post

In 1998 formats like Panasonic D5 had decks but still at that time everything was NTSC 525 scanlines by 29.97 frames per second. Digital recording was practically none existent, still lots of analog equipment out there recording to tape or film to be late digitized for post production and then back to film when finished.
Sure there was "digital recording" but to tape. No external or internal hard drives, still even in digital realm the aspect ratio was 4:3 cause there was not enough 16:9 displays anywhere in the world.
That company looks to me one that was ahead of its time by the time they got granted the patent. Then my question is why you are able to be granted a patent when the technology that is need to do that is none existent. Is like I get granted a patent for device to support live on a space ship or base station in outer space... At this time I don't have the technology to prove that it works, could prove the concept somehow but it is not by real testing of it.
Sad.. but patent trolls will keep coming cause patent office failed at the time they granted rights to stuff that is to general and is more of a concept than reality.

I think you're missing the entire point of patents, which is to protect the IDEA of something that does not yet exist. For if it did already exist - someone would already own the patent it. This is why its called INVENTION. The technologies this patent relies upon may not have been functioning in the marketplace at the time but the concepts it was built upon existed. Of course then again everyone is failing.

The Japanese had 1125 line analog HD broadcasting in a 5:3 aspect ratio in 1969. The French had a 768i system that was black and white from 1949 to 1985, Russians had an 1125 system developed though never deployed for military purposes in 1958.

In the United States, in 1981 the Japanese system was demonstrated to Ronald Reagan and it declared it a matter of national interest to introduce HDTV to the USA. In 1983 the US began the process of developing what became our HDTV standards, which the FCC adopted in 1996.


This means when this patent was filed in 1998 the standards for all of these formats already existed. A little research never heart anyone. (Yes, I used Wikipedia, so there may be some errors but doubtful anything earth shatteringly wrong)..
post #22 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by plokoonpma View Post

In 1998 formats like Panasonic D5 had decks but still at that time everything was NTSC 525 scanlines by 29.97 frames per second. Digital recording was practically none existent, still lots of analog equipment out there recording to tape or film to be late digitized for post production and then back to film when finished.
Sure there was "digital recording" but to tape. No external or internal hard drives, still even in digital realm the aspect ratio was 4:3 cause there was not enough 16:9 displays anywhere in the world.
That company looks to me one that was ahead of its time by the time they got granted the patent. Then my question is why you are able to be granted a patent when the technology that is need to do that is none existent. Is like I get granted a patent for device to support live on a space ship or base station in outer space... At this time I don't have the technology to prove that it works, could prove the concept somehow but it is not by real testing of it.
Sad.. but patent trolls will keep coming cause patent office failed at the time they granted rights to stuff that is to general and is more of a concept than reality.

I am not sure what you are saying here but in 1998 all this technology exist, digital recording was available, see the response below... I am hoping your comment was an attempt at sarcasm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wovel View Post

But QuickTime existed prior to this patent and would be a much tougher sell...

Exactly, I think this patent attempts to describe the transcoding process which need to occur to take video of various formats and convert them to allow them to be played on various devices. Quicktime has been doing this for a long time. I do not think the patent holder realizes this, they think itune is doing when in fact it quicktime.

Than again we have technology challenge people sitting on these courts making the determination of what is prior art work.
post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

We have no information at this time that indicates these are patent trolls. As ever, let 'em work it out in the courts. Even with the finest legal staff in the world Apple will never be completely safeguarded from creating products that infringe on someone's patents.

For example, they sought to collect licensing fees from 11 retailers that sell DVDs and players. However the company has dropped its patent infringement lawsuit, the company's attorney said. Multi-Format dropped the complaint filed in U.S. District Court against Amazon.com, Best Buy, Buy.com, Circuit City, Costco, Fry's Electronics, Kmart, Radio Shack, Sears Roebuck & Co., Target and Wal-Mart. The company had claimed that its patent on transmitting content at 24 frames per second applied to DVD.

Hmmmmmm. I'll just bet that some patent lawyer or team , has been out farming patent trolling to a bunch of these smaller companies to generate some revenues.

But your last point is correct - there are so many patents that were made early-on int he development of the industry, that can be bought up and trolled that any company needs to have a good legal team to defend against patent predation. Especially if you are very successful.

For those interested the full patent under which they are suing Apple is listed here:

http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20090174813
post #24 of 48
The freaking US patent office needs to halt the approval of these vague ass patents. I wonder if I could get a patent on downloading "<>"..... then I could go and sue Google, Yahoo..... and anyone with a freaking web site. This insanity needs to be halted. Or better yet, adopt a "Looser pays" law whereby all these asshole tort lawyers can be put out of business for fraudulent lawsuits like I believe this one to be.
post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

If legitimate, why have they waited until now I wonder?

Because patent law allows them to wait until someone has made a profit to be claimed. Rather than waste their time going after just lawyer fees.

But based on what has been brought up about patents in other threads, the delivery of videos through itunes and even the syncing could be deemed as a natural offshoot of the same for music which is not covered under the patent. Plus how long as Quicktime allowed for exporting to other formats. That newer aspect could be covered there. And patent law actually does allow one to 'borrow' a patented idea and vastly improve it without being a violation. Not to mention simply whether this is an idea patent or a specific technology patent. The former are getting shot down more and more these days as particular functions become 'basic' to online and computers. Leaving only how a particular group achieves an idea as protectable

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wovel View Post

Really..I can not find any products they have created in the last 12 years.

It is not required for a patent. Creation of a product is only required under trademark, a detail that came up during the whole Cisco iphone game.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
post #26 of 48
The problem with discovery is that Apple gets to carry it out also. And you know they will be looking for something in that patent that violates one of Apple's patents, or is prior art.
Ken
Reply
Ken
Reply
post #27 of 48
folks ... keep in mind that 99% of all lawsuits settle out of court. That is in fact the goal of many lawsuits in the first place.
post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by LewysBlackmore View Post


For those interested the full patent under which they are suing Apple is listed here:

http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20090174813


I did not read it all, but what I did read they wrote a patent on the fact there will needs to be a system or method to translate or transcode video content due to the fact there are so many formats presently on the market such as PAL or NTSC.

They basically described a need/process, they do not explain how to do it. This patent is on an Idea not on a solution or method.

This is the old I patented Time Travel and once someone else figures out how to do it I am coming after them.
post #29 of 48
Patents, I think, should only be enforceable if it's proved that the violator knew about and consciously used the patent in question. Awesome example: Gottfried Leibniz was actually accused of plagiarism by Isaac Newton over the invention of modern calculus. I don't know if the two ever settled the matter personally, but posthumous examination revealed they both came up with the same ideas around the same time. This is what I notice in many, many patent violation accusations, and maybe the law should be more concerned with intent (like if the violator was trying to be cheap and not pay royalties, or the accuser sees an easy way to sue and make money).
post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Apple does this, too. Remember Psystar. Its a common and useful tactic to go after a single company after an egregious violation and after youve built a solid case.

True, But Apple sued Psystar only after about a year or so - This patent dates to over 12 years ago - that's a long time to prove damages here.
post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

I did not read it all, but what I did read is they wrote a patent on the fact that there will need to be a system or method to translate or transcode video content due to the fact there are so many formats presently on the market such as PAL or NTSC.

They basically described a need process they do not explain how to do it. This patent on an Idea not on a solution or method.

This is the old I patented Time Travel and once someone else figures out how to do it I am coming after them.

If what you say is true, then it's an automatic fail for these guys and they *are* trolls. Patents are granted on implementations not ideas, which is why you can't patent the idea of downloading or whatever other vague thing.

You can't patent the idea of transcoding, then wait for someone to achieve it and sue them. They have to have at least a general, vague description of the devices and methods involved, like saying you need a central server and the video is stored roughly thus, and distributed this way or that etc. The more detail the better in cases like this.
post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by revilre View Post

I think you're missing the entire point of patents, which is to protect the IDEA of something that does not yet exist. For if it did already exist - someone would already own the patent it. This is why its called INVENTION. The technologies this patent relies upon may not have been functioning in the marketplace at the time but the concepts it was built upon existed. Of course then again everyone is failing.

The Japanese had 1125 line analog HD broadcasting in a 5:3 aspect ratio in 1969. The French had a 768i system that was black and white from 1949 to 1985, Russians had an 1125 system developed though never deployed for military purposes in 1958.

In the United States, in 1981 the Japanese system was demonstrated to Ronald Reagan and it declared it a matter of national interest to introduce HDTV to the USA. In 1983 the US began the process of developing what became our HDTV standards, which the FCC adopted in 1996.


This means when this patent was filed in 1998 the standards for all of these formats already existed. A little research never heart anyone. (Yes, I used Wikipedia, so there may be some errors but doubtful anything earth shatteringly wrong)..

When I hear patent I remember the telephone and other inventions, by that time wasn't about concepts, it was for stuff that worked. These people made a lot of stuff from scratch. Marketplace and bring a product to mass production is another thing, but that relies on how the inventor merchandise his novelty.

Japan had indeed prototypes and some hardware to broadcast on that resolution but is kind of obvious that it never turned or materialized cause the lack and cost to offer that kind of product to mass market.
If you pay some attention to the companies that make the broadcast equipment and see how they deployed technology then you will have to ask.. why? if they had all those kind of HD formats since 1969 they waited late 80's to start release products that partially supported those formats.
The answer is money! before the affordable digital era a pro deck from Panasonic, Sony or JVC had prices so high up to more than 50k, almost 20 years ago that was a freaking bunch of money, even for big broadcast companies that still had linear set ups.
The evolution on HD still developing, the above mentioned companies are conservative in some of the product lines. If you compare an HD Broadcast camera priced above 50k up to more than 100k fully loaded and compared it to a RED that has more resolution and can be used for film you will discover the different approaches the industry has.
I refer specifically to Broadcast type of equipment cause is the first to come up, sure you can buy an HD video camera or for the same purpose a SLR from Canon or Nikon and record HD BUT is not broadcast, you can't tweak the image, can't adjust compression or any other of the PRO features. Thats why broadcast companies buy pro products like Ikegami or any pro camera to record.
They are not making a sue against TiVo, Lockheed Martin (satellites), You Tube.. they have to resize content to download it to an specific device.
Why bother! Apple is the cash cow
post #33 of 48
I think I need a Patent 101 course/overview as like other posts here, as to me, a patent is like a telephone and I dont really understand how a concept can be patented.

If a thousand separate companies tackled the solution of producing a iTunes related store deliverying video content, theyd probably ALL come up with the same common-sense solution of offering different formats for different devices. That some how negates a patent in my head.

I wish I could go back in time and patent:

The selection of different monetary amounts (i.e. dollars, quarters, dimes, etc.) that cumulates to the total difference of payment received for an item and the price of the sale item.

I could essentially sue every store that does cash transactions in the world for a percentage.


The amount of money and resources consumed by patents must be staggering.
post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by trevc View Post

I wish I could go back in time and patent:

The selection of different monetary amounts (i.e. dollars, quarters, dimes, etc.) that cumulates to the total difference of payment received for an item and the price of the sale item.

I could essentially sue every store that does cash transactions in the world for a percentage.

No, you couldn't, since you'd have to go way back in time to patent that, and by now, it would have expired.
post #35 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

No, you couldn't, since you'd have to go way back in time to patent that, and by now, it would have expired.

Plus, there was no patent law then, and the king slept with your wife on your wedding night.
post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerryb View Post

I don't remember much talk about HDTV back in 1998 when this patent was submitted. I remember digital cameras at the time being anything but hi res either.

I do.

http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/4148556


In fact, I remember watching that July 08, 1998 US Senate HDTV Transition hearing committee series of shows on CSPAN and CNN. In fact, I recall them manufacturers bitching about not being able to have a long period of time to recoup their R&D by passing the cost to the Consumers.

The original switch was to flick HDTV on in 1999.

The Space Shuttle broadcast I watched [at lunch time] at Magnolia Hi-Fi in Bellevue, WA on $25,000 HDTV wall televisions demonstrated this new technology.
post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

EDIT: One possibility to solve the problem of software patents would be to go back to the idea that the inventor submit a copy of his invention -- i.e., a reference implementation that defines the invention, rather than vague wording that simply describes an idea.

What would you define as a 'reference implementation'? Since it is software, a reference implementation would be easy enough to do. All you need to do is write something to convert some video.

If the Patent Office wanted to do something about it, they could, much more easily, just lose the whole 'vague wording' patent. Require more than just some rumblings, but some actual detail about what is being done. If not that, then no patent. No need to 'go back to the inventor' for some implementation. Just say "Denied, too vague" and force them to re-submit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uguysrnuts View Post

The only way to end patent trolling is to set a deadline and a cap on how much money the suing company can make. For example, if the claim is legit but there is no actual product produced, a year deadline for a claim and $50 should be made as payment.

Patents have a deadline. Its 17 years. It is that length because the lawmakers at the time wanted to give inventors time to develop and profit from their work. This might be fine for your large companies. But if you're a small company or just an individual, your brilliant idea/concept/design might be great, but takes capital to put into play.

The 'little guy' already is very suspicious and concerned about going to a larger company in hopes of licensing their idea, for they fear their idea will be 'stolen' with no remuneration at all. With your grand concept, the large company could start working out a deal, draw it out, then kill it (or just wait). By that point, the inventor is up to his 1 year time period, has no product and no hopes of getting one made anytime soon and big company just swoops in and uses the patent for $50.
post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Apple does this, too. Remember Psystar. Its a common and useful tactic to go after a single company after an egregious violation and after youve built a solid case.

This company, assuming they do have a solid patent, could have been waiting for iTunes to get so big as to maximize their profit. They may also have been collecting data and verifying they actually had a solid patent that would hold up in court, if it got that far.

That is just an example. Apple may also have no knowledge of this patent so even if they are in violation they may also be ethically innocent as the defendant.

(Disclaimer: I make no assertion as to who is guilty or innocent, and dont care as I dont think these cases affect the value of my stock in any significant way. Just posting objective viewpoints as to how both parters could be in the right.)

Err, Apple filed suit 3 months after Psystar went live. Hardly a long time, but I still get what you're saying. The longer the wait, the larger the violation.
post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

What would you define as a 'reference implementation'? Since it is software, a reference implementation would be easy enough to do. All you need to do is write something to convert some video.

If the Patent Office wanted to do something about it, they could, much more easily, just lose the whole 'vague wording' patent. Require more than just some rumblings, but some actual detail about what is being done. If not that, then no patent. No need to 'go back to the inventor' for some implementation. Just say "Denied, too vague" and force them to re-submit.

Obviously, I would define a reference implementation as something that actually implements the invention that is being patented. At that point, it becomes pretty obvious what the invention does, and how it does it. There's no need to subjectively ban vague wording, which is technically not allowed now, just force "inventors" to actually show their invention as part of the application, which for software is not unreasonable. If they can't implement it, maybe they didn't actually invent anything.
post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by clickmyface View Post

Err, Apple filed suit 3 months after Psystar went live. Hardly a long time, but I still get what you're saying. The longer the wait, the larger the violation.

But it was still three months. And this was with Psystar selling computers with OS X on it, installed. If there was anything slam-dunk, most would have said this was it. And yet it took Apple three months (maybe two months was just spent laughing?) to gather up data, details, review their side of things, and make sure something wasn't right.

And that was something simple (a contract/license on software), not a patent defense. Who knows how hard it was to determine if their patent was even being violated. People always make these things out to be as simple as "Someone ships product with patent violation in it, patent holder finds out immediately and files lawsuit".
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPod + iTunes + AppleTV › Lawsuit claims Apple's iTunes video content violates patent