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Lawsuit accuses Apple of violating patented Wi-Fi antenna designs

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
The latest patent infringement lawsuit against Apple takes issue with Wi-Fi-enabled products, including the company's entire MacBook lineup.

The complaint filed by Linex Technologies accuses Apple of violating two patents related to design and implementation of antennas: U.S. Patent No. 6,757,322, entitled "Space diversity and coding, spectrum antenna and method;" and U.S. Patent No. RE 42,219, named "Multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) spread spectrum system and method."

Both applications refer to a plurality of signals sent and received wirelessly with a number of antennas. The accused Apple products cited in the complaint are the MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, AirPort Extreme, and Time Capsule.

"Defendants' Accused Products infringe the asserted claims by receiving and processing multiple spatial streams using multiple receive antennas," the complaint reads. "The infringing MIMO mode is described in, for example, Table 20-30 and related portions of the IEEE 802.11n standard."

Apple is not alone in the complaint from Linex, as rival PC maker Hewlett-Packard is also listed as a defendant. Wireless HP products named in the complaint include a variety of PCs, servers, and the MediaSmart LCD HDTV.



Other defendants in the case are Aruba Networks, Meru Networks, and Ruckus Wireless. The complaint was filed earlier this month in the U.S. District Court in Delaware.

Linex has asked the court to cease the sale of what it believes are infringing products. It also seeks damages for alleged violation of the '322 and '219 patents.

Linex Technologies is based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Its director and president, Donald L. Schilling, is the sole inventor credited with both the '219 and '322 patents.
post #2 of 37
Given the carelessness with which the patent office accept submissions, this will be a description of the "two wires in a box" idea.

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply
post #3 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

Given the carelessness with which the patent office accept submissions, this will be a description of the "two wires in a box" idea.

What a bunch of bovine scatology. Idea's should not receive a patent. The actual material, design and method of construction are what a patent's is based on. If idea's were patentable then the whole ham radio community would be violating patents left and right.
post #4 of 37
Are we just seeing an increase in the level of reporting of patent disputes, especially involving Apple, or are the patent trolls really ramping up their efforts?
post #5 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

Are we just seeing an increase in the level of reporting of patent disputes, especially involving Apple, or are the patent trolls really ramping up their efforts?

The more successful Apple is, the more people will want a piece of the action without actually doing anything useful.
post #6 of 37
This lot have been here before with Belkin et al back in 2007 in East Texas - http://dockets.justia.com/docket/tex...v00222/103433/

Anyhow, when does a standard (eg. 801.n) become a patent? More money for the lawyers - they must be on a bid to overtake bankers on salary and bonus!
post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radjin View Post

The more successful Apple is, the more people will want a piece of the action without actually doing anything useful.

Agreed - that is a reasonable supposition and it appears, from media coverage, to be on the rise, but I'm curious to know if that is actually being reflected in a significant increase in the number of claims.
post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by dannsh View Post

What a bunch of bovine scatology. Idea's should not receive a patent. The actual material, design and method of construction are what a patent's is based on. If idea's were patentable then the whole ham radio community would be violating patents left and right.

Sometimes I wonder if I could have patented this idea: "Go to Wharton, learn all about real-estate, start by doing up houses to build up a track record then borrow big and work really hard".

I could have sued Donald Trump for every penny he's worth, without working a day.

As you say, it's the execution of the idea that is where the meat is.

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply
post #9 of 37
I have a patent on the number "5"... Apple's going to pay... boy, are they going to pay...
Hmmmmmm...
Reply
Hmmmmmm...
Reply
post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

Agreed - that is a reasonable supposition and it appears, from media coverage, to be on the rise, but I'm curious to know if that is actually being reflected in a significant increase in the number of claims.

I imagine this is a daily occurrence for a company of Apple's size in tech.

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

Are we just seeing an increase in the level of reporting of patent disputes, especially involving Apple, or are the patent trolls really ramping up their efforts?

Every body wants a piece of that $60 Billion in cash Apple has piled up. This is mostly about lawyers making money. How may years have Wi-Fi antennas been around? And this outfit has just now decided that companies are violating its "patents"?
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Linex Technologies is based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Whoa, this guy could be my neighbor!
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by dannsh View Post

What a bunch of bovine scatology. Idea's should not receive a patent. The actual material, design and method of construction are what a patent's is based on. If idea's were patentable then the whole ham radio community would be violating patents left and right.

Ideas can't be patented, only specific implementations of an idea.

For example:

You could not receive a patent for "sorting an array of strings into alphabetical order".
You could receive a patent for "bubble sorting an array of string into alphabetical order".

Where a bubble sort is a specific implementation of sorting.
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

Whoa, this guy could be my neighbor!

Or you!

Seriously though, even though it's possible (likely?) that this guy is another troll I'm a bit alarmed about how quickly everyone is to judge without any evidence whatsoever. On the face of it, this looks like a patent on the use of multiple antennas to receive and send wireless signals and the code for the processing that goes on to enable that.

It is a unique situation and it is possible that someone patented those methods before Apple and HP. Patents are not given on ideas but on methods and implementations. All the jokes about patenting the number 5 or whatever are not relevant here. Right or wrong, it seems like the argument is about the particular methods in software that pertain in a very limited set of circumstances.
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

Agreed - that is a reasonable supposition and it appears, from media coverage, to be on the rise, but I'm curious to know if that is actually being reflected in a significant increase in the number of claims.

As with most things I hope that the increasing media coverage gets the attention of lawmakers looking to overhaul the patent system to make it more friendly to doing business. As it stands right now, at least with software, patents if you launch any type of product you are most likely to be infringing on one of these "process" patents that are no more than pre drawn conclusions put down on paper and filed with the patent office. A far cry from the inventions patents were designed to protect. Allowing overly broad and non functional patents held by non practicing entities to affect the ability of 'millions' of independent developers to bring real solutions to the market that they arrived at independently is absurd and runs counter to the intent of heathy patent system.

While this patent infringement case for antenna design may have merit as it may actually be a unique and novel implementation, it is diminished in the public's eyes because it comes at the time thousands of frivolous patents suits are also in the courts and news.
post #16 of 37
If the loser had to pay the entire costs of both sides it may slow some of these cases. Then again I guess the little guy would always lose so perhaps that's not a good idea , sigh.
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
Reply
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Or you!

Seriously though, even though it's possible (likely?) that this guy is another troll I'm a bit alarmed about how quickly everyone is to judge without any evidence whatsoever. On the face of it, this looks like a patent on the use of multiple antennas to receive and send wireless signals and the code for the processing that goes on to enable that.

It is a unique situation and it is possible that someone patented those methods before Apple and HP. Patents are not given on ideas but on methods and implementations. All the jokes about patenting the number 5 or whatever are not relevant here. Right or wrong, it seems like the argument is about the particular methods in software that pertain in a very limited set of circumstances.

They didn't file in East Texas, I give them credit for that at least.
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
Reply
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
Reply
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Or you!

Seriously though, even though it's possible (likely?) that this guy is another troll I'm a bit alarmed about how quickly everyone is to judge without any evidence whatsoever. On the face of it, this looks like a patent on the use of multiple antennas to receive and send wireless signals and the code for the processing that goes on to enable that.

It is a unique situation and it is possible that someone patented those methods before Apple and HP. Patents are not given on ideas but on methods and implementations. All the jokes about patenting the number 5 or whatever are not relevant here. Right or wrong, it seems like the argument is about the particular methods in software that pertain in a very limited set of circumstances.


But I'm willing to bet that there is a significant amount of prior art that will allow this to be dismissed. It looks like there are multiple patents relating to the kind and type of diversity and coding they reference in these patents. Usually they try to drive a settlement rather than go to court where a rather large pile of counter-patents or prior art or even common art will demonstrate the untenability of the claims. The problem with going after Apple, who while they have the deepest pockets, also means they have the most "practiced" legal team for this stuff.
If you are going to insist on being an ass, at least demonstrate the intelligence to be a smart one
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If you are going to insist on being an ass, at least demonstrate the intelligence to be a smart one
Reply
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Or you!

Seriously though, even though it's possible (likely?) that this guy is another troll I'm a bit alarmed about how quickly everyone is to judge without any evidence whatsoever. On the face of it, this looks like a patent on the use of multiple antennas to receive and send wireless signals and the code for the processing that goes on to enable that.

It is a unique situation and it is possible that someone patented those methods before Apple and HP. Patents are not given on ideas but on methods and implementations. All the jokes about patenting the number 5 or whatever are not relevant here. Right or wrong, it seems like the argument is about the particular methods in software that pertain in a very limited set of circumstances.

What? Multiple antennas is a patentable idea? You are frik'n joking right? I had a car back in the 70's that had an AM and FM radio antenna and a CB radio antenna. This is NOT a patentable idea so take your "rush to judgement" statement and put it where the sun don't shine!
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

They didn't file in East Texas, I give them credit for that at least.

Beat me to it
post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

They didn't file in East Texas, I give them credit for that at least.

They sued Belkin et al back in 2007 in East Texas - http://dockets.justia.com/docket/tex...v00222/103433/

May be Delaware is seeking to be the new East Texas!
post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

Are we just seeing an increase in the level of reporting of patent disputes, especially involving Apple, or are the patent trolls really ramping up their efforts?

It's the Willie Sutton effect.
post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

What? Multiple antennas is a patentable idea?

Diversity has been around for a while. The only way they would win is if they patented a special way to use diversity with spread spectrum signals. The military has used this for a long time as well so there could be prior art and the patent invalid.
post #24 of 37
Patents for spread spectrum communication date all the way back to World War II when actress Hedy Lamarr (a mathematician) and her husband George Antheil (a musician) came up the basic concept to keep communications secret based upon using 88 frequencies keyed by data written to a piano roll (the punched paper used to play player pianos of the era). Ironically technology of the day couldn't make the concept work until computers and transistor technology made it possible in the early 1960s. Today, WiFi, your cell phone, cordless phones and many other kinds of wireless tech all use it.

This patent seems to be specifying a specific way to design an spread spectrum antenna, which might be patentable in of itself. The real question is why this isn't a part of the WiFi 802.11n standard which specifically deals with MIMO transmissions. Unless Apple is really doing something different than everyone else with WiFi (and that doesn't seem to be the case since others are being sued too), I'm thinking that prior art with the creation of the 802.11n standard is the first place I'd look for a strong defense.
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

Are we just seeing an increase in the level of reporting of patent disputes, especially involving Apple, or are the patent trolls really ramping up their efforts?

A combo of both. They are ramping up and blogs etc are figuring out that if Apple is in the headline it gets more hits for those ad payments.

As for the patent.

1. Two wires when there are two systems in use is just natural progression. So they could lose due to that notion

2. I firmly believe that there should be a limit to how long a company can wait while someone violates their patents to file a complaint. Like say 60 days from the first evidence of possible offense. This caca of waiting 10 years for someone to make money off 'your' patent is junk. It should be like trademarks. If you ignore it then you clearly don't care so you get nothing. In which case, all those products have been out for months in current form and years with wifi but not a peep so clearly these folks don't care that much so good bye

And I agree that idea only patents with no tech should be banned or limited to say 2 years. If after that point, the idea creator can't put tech on it they lose the idea completely. If they can they get that tech protected for the remainder of 20 years. But only if they abide by #2 above. Which goes triple if the tech is software since software inventions are actually a combo of copyright, trademark and patent issues.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Patents are not given on ideas but on methods and implementations.

Not true. Patents are indeed given just for ideas as ideas are inventions. Of late the rule has been that they must be particularly specific and unique but that only came about in the last 5-6 years.

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 37
My brain is a little mushy from going through 2 hours straight of Google I/O videos... So pardon me...

But is this lawsuit about 802.11n and MIMO? These routers, laptops whatever have been around for years now. What happened previously with Belkin, etc? Isn't 802.11n MIMO like, everywhere? Why target Apple?

Ah whatever time for some sleep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fecklesstechguy View Post

But I'm willing to bet that there is a significant amount of prior art that will allow this to be dismissed. It looks like there are multiple patents relating to the kind and type of diversity and coding they reference in these patents. Usually they try to drive a settlement rather than go to court where a rather large pile of counter-patents or prior art or even common art will demonstrate the untenability of the claims. The problem with going after Apple, who while they have the deepest pockets, also means they have the most "practiced" legal team for this stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Or you!

Seriously though, even though it's possible (likely?) that this guy is another troll I'm a bit alarmed about how quickly everyone is to judge without any evidence whatsoever. On the face of it, this looks like a patent on the use of multiple antennas to receive and send wireless signals and the code for the processing that goes on to enable that.

It is a unique situation and it is possible that someone patented those methods before Apple and HP. Patents are not given on ideas but on methods and implementations. All the jokes about patenting the number 5 or whatever are not relevant here. Right or wrong, it seems like the argument is about the particular methods in software that pertain in a very limited set of circumstances.
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

Given the carelessness with which the patent office accept submissions, this will be a description of the "two wires in a box" idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tawilson View Post

Ideas can't be patented, only specific implementations of an idea.

For example:

You could not receive a patent for "sorting an array of strings into alphabetical order".
You could receive a patent for "bubble sorting an array of string into alphabetical order".

Where a bubble sort is a specific implementation of sorting.

Oh Boy in my 33 years of mainframe programming I have violated someone's patent multiple times with bubble sorts.
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post

This patent seems to be specifying a specific way to design an spread spectrum antenna, which might be patentable in of itself. The real question is why this isn't a part of the WiFi 802.11n standard which specifically deals with MIMO transmissions. Unless Apple is really doing something different than everyone else with WiFi (and that doesn't seem to be the case since others are being sued too), I'm thinking that prior art with the creation of the 802.11n standard is the first place I'd look for a strong defense.

Completely agreed. If this is concept is represented in the 802.11n standard (of which, the working group commenced well over 10 years ago), it will be a very difficult defense. The standards process is slow (intentionally), and there is generally sufficient legal review of standards drafts to ensure that problems like this don't emerge after the fact.

In fact, I remember (working at Bell Labs back in the '90s) the research on BLAST radio modes, which was a major contributing factor to the MIMO / 802.11n standard. I strongly suspect that any such innovation by Bell Labs would have been patented way back when (that is what Bell Labs "does", so to speak) and that could easily represent prior art for this concept.

I call this a simple case of trolling.
post #29 of 37
Patent trolls have become the new thought police!
post #30 of 37
I wonder if I worked INSIDE the patent system, I'd understand and believe in it?

From an outsider looking in, it's hard to imagine how they sort out some of these, but also the resources in time and money being spent!! Is there a related infograph on this?

With hitting 7 billion people this year, I'm guessing patent trolls will be on the rise...hmmmmm... I wonder if should push my sons in the direction of a this as a profession instead of a doctor?
post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post

Patents for spread spectrum communication date all the way back to World War II when actress Hedy Lamarr (a mathematician) and her husband George Antheil (a musician) came up the basic concept to keep communications secret based upon using 88 frequencies keyed by data written to a piano roll (the punched paper used to play player pianos of the era). Ironically technology of the day couldn't make the concept work until computers and transistor technology made it possible in the early 1960s. Today, WiFi, your cell phone, cordless phones and many other kinds of wireless tech all use it.

People often look at me with a blank stare when I try to tell them a hollywood actress is in part responsible for their iPhones and WiFi. It is a most fascinating story, with Hedy obviously far ahead of her time.
Quote:
This patent seems to be specifying a specific way to design an spread spectrum antenna, which might be patentable in of itself. The real question is why this isn't a part of the WiFi 802.11n standard which specifically deals with MIMO transmissions. Unless Apple is really doing something different than everyone else with WiFi (and that doesn't seem to be the case since others are being sued too), I'm thinking that prior art with the creation of the 802.11n standard is the first place I'd look for a strong defense.

Yeah it sounds like they are of the Rambus mold. That is frauds.
post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

It is a most fascinating story, with Hedy obviously far ahead of her time.

"It's Hedley"

post #33 of 37
...but, it seems to me that the "MIMO" technique -- or Spread Spectrum, has been around for quite a while in Radio Technology.

Prior art to that, would be in techniques to squeeze more data on FAX/Modems decades ago.

The only difference is; instead of moving signals across frequencies on a wire, you do it with radio waves.

But who knows -- maybe this is something legitimate. And there would be a lot more defendants than just Apple and HP if that were the case, as far as wireless data hubs are concerned.
post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

I have a patent on the number "5"... Apple's going to pay... boy, are they going to pay...

I got 9 !!!!

9
whats in a name ? 
beatles
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whats in a name ? 
beatles
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post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

If the loser had to pay the entire costs of both sides it may slow some of these cases. Then again I guess the little guy would always lose so perhaps that's not a good idea , sigh.

Even better, a judge should be able to stop and case and declare it a frivolous law suit. Then the lawyer of the losing side should pay all fees. After all, they are the ones who should have known it was a frivolous law suit to start with......
post #36 of 37
Wow, I just looked at the bio of Dr. Schilling. This guy is no slouch. He really has done some incredible things.

http://www.nbcwireless.com/wireless3...Schilling.html
post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by trevc View Post

I wonder if I worked INSIDE the patent system, I'd understand and believe in it?

From an outsider looking in, it's hard to imagine how they sort out some of these, but also the resources in time and money being spent!! Is there a related infograph on this?

With hitting 7 billion people this year, I'm guessing patent trolls will be on the rise...hmmmmm... I wonder if should push my sons in the direction of a this as a profession instead of a doctor?

It's just another government agency. If you look at the great job that FEMA, INS, The TSA, The Treasury department or even congress has done recently it's not hard to imagine the same ineptitude occurring in the patent office. It probably generates less work to approve a patent than to deny it and have to defend the reason why it was denied when it is appealed.
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