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Apple to pay $8M in damages over iPod playlist patent suit

post #1 of 129
Thread Starter 
A federal jury has decided against Apple in a patent infringement suit accusing Apple of violating two patents related to downloadable playlists for iPods.

Bloomberg reported on Friday that, according to the lawyer for plaintiff Personal Audio, a jury found that patents were indeed infringed on and upheld their validity. Sirius XM Radio, Coby Electronics and Archos were also included in the original suit, but they had settled out of court last year.

Personal Audio, a patent licensing company, sued Apple in 2009 asking for $84 million in damages. Apple was accused of violating U.S. patents 6,199,076 "Audio Program Player Including a Dynamic Program Selection Controller" and 7,509,178 "Audio Program Distribution and Playback System."

The inventions describe an audio player that "can receive navigable playlists and can skip forward or backward through the downloaded list," report author Susan Decker wrote. Apple asserted that the patents were invalid, while also claiming that it wasn't using the inventions.

Patent expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents noted that Apple has "little incentive to appeal this decision," as the $8 million damages award is relatively insubstantial for the company, which has more than $60 billion in cash reserves. However, Apple could announce an intent to file an appeal in hopes of negotiating a discounted settlement with the company.

Mueller also compared the case to an ongoing case between iOS developers and Lodsys. The company filed suit in May, alleging that iOS developers have violated patents related to in-app purchasing. Apple has filed a motion to intervene in the case and maintains that the developers are covered under an licensing agreement it signed with Lodsys.

Like Personal Audio, Lodsys is a non-practicing entity that generates income from patent licenses. Both companies also chose to file their cases in East Texas, a district known for favoring so-called "patent trolls."

Apple recently paid $2 billion for a collection of 4G wireless networking patents from Canadian telecommunications company Nortel in hopes of gaining a competitive advantage in the smartphone race. As patent suits have ramped up in recent years, Apple has become the world's most-sued
post #2 of 129
Amazing how patent trolls can win with stuff as simple as this, yet apple has to fight off the iPhone copy-cats that flat out copied the iPhone in every aspect from touch to design.

Wish HTC and Motorola would lose out like apple did with this.
post #3 of 129
I'd live happily on 1/10th of 1/10th of that payout. Truly amazing how patent trolls get away with this.
post #4 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

I'd live happily on 1/10th of 1/10th of that payout. Truly amazing how patent trolls get away with this.

Some things should not be patents. Imagine only one company had the right to produce lamps, doors, tyres or shoe laces.
post #5 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by bodypainter View Post

Some things should not be patents. Imagine only one company had the right to produce lamps, doors, tyres or shoe laces.

Totally agree. These broad concept patents suppress innovation and creativity, while essentially making the patent system a joke.
post #6 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

East Texas, a district known for favoring so-called "patent trolls."

Nothing "so-called" about it. They're real trolls:

post #7 of 129
Banishing East Texas is next in the agenda I believe. Anybody currently residing there that is not part of the courthouse are ought to be safe at this point.
post #8 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by bodypainter View Post

Some things should not be patents. Imagine only one company had the right to produce lamps, doors, tyres or shoe laces.

Lamps and tires come to mind, and I'd imagine some shoe laces.

The problem I have with this patent is that they effectively patented a list. That should fall under the obvious heading.
post #9 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A federal jury has decided against Apple in a patent infringement suit accusing Apple of violating two patents related to downloadable playlists for iPods.

Bloomberg reported on Friday that, according to the lawyer for plaintiff Personal Audio, a jury found that patents were indeed infringed on and upheld their validity. Sirius XM Radio, Coby Electronics and Archos were also included in the original suit, but they had settled out of court last year.

Personal Audio, a patent licensing company, sued Apple in 2009 asking for $84 million in damages. Apple was accused of violating U.S. patents 6,199,076 "Audio Program Player Including a Dynamic Program Selection Controller" and 7,509,178 "Audio Program Distribution and Playback System."

The inventions describe an audio player that "can receive navigable playlists and can skip forward or backward through the downloaded list," report author Susan Decker wrote. Apple asserted that the patents were invalid, while also claiming that it wasn't using the inventions.

This doesn't remind me of anything that Apple is offering. I don't remember being able to download playlists like that. You can access lists of music by download, but you can't just play them, skip back and forth like the filing says. You pick one at a time to sample or download it.

Quote:
Patent expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents noted that Apple has "little incentive to appeal this decision," as the $8 million damages award is relatively insubstantial for the company, which has more than $60 billion in cash reserves. However, Apple could announce an intent to file an appeal in hopes of negotiating a discounted settlement with the company.

That doesn't mean they're interested in paying out if they can get out of it. I think whether they appeal depends on how much it would cost to appeal, and their chances of an overturned or reduced judgment.
post #10 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Lamps and tires come to mind, and I'd imagine some shoe laces.

The problem I have with this patent is that they effectively patented a list. That should fall under the obvious heading.

Edison patented the light bulb, and Michelin the tire, unless I'm mistaken, and both were amazing inventions. What you are essentially saying is "if some invention is really useful, it should not be patented". This is not how you favor research.

The problem is not what you can patent, it's effectively deciding how much money you can make from a patent that you don't use. I think none, but that's my personal opinion and I won't force it upon anyone... yet. (I am honing my taking-over-the-world plan).

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #11 of 129
Whoops, I quoted the wrong guy Sorry about that

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #12 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Hawkeye_ View Post

Nothing "so-called" about it. They're real trolls:


What's so called is the type of troll I guess, like river trolls, mountain trolls, patent trolls, police patrols, yeastrolls...

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #13 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post

Edison patented the light bulb

Wrong - Edison patented the used of carbon filament, which was far from obvious, he'd tried several thousand filament materials before he found a way to make a carbon filament work.
Quote:
and Michelin the tire, unless I'm mistaken,

You are, John Boyd Dunlop invented and patented the pneumatic tyre. His patent was invalidated as there was prior art, a scottish inventor had already patented it in France and the US 40 years earlier but never commercialized it.
Quote:
What you are essentially saying is "if some invention is really useful, it should not be patented". This is not how you favor research.

No he's saying that a patent must be novel and original, that's not disputed, it's part of the requirement. It's just one that the court in East Texas is notoriously lax about enforcing, which is why patent trolls operate there.
post #14 of 129
The thing to remember about the East Texas court is that is a Federal court, not a Texas state court. The judges are appointed by the POTUS and approved by the Senate. Most of the cases do not involve plaintiffs and defendants from Texas. In fact there are patent cases filed that that don't even involve US companies, but are instead two international companies suing each other over the patents rights to products manufactured in foreign countries but sold in the US. The primary judge in most of these cases is Judge T. John Ward who was appointed by President Clinton in 1999. The number of patent cases filed in the East Texas Federal District court since Ward was appointed a judge has increased tenfold. Plaintiff in cases filed in Judge Ward's court are 20% to 30% more likely to win their case than the average for other federal district courts. Ward has been known to push defendants to settle or face steeper penalties.

You would think something would be done to stop this practice. Hopefully some defendant with deep pockets will appeal their verdict to a higher court claiming they received an unfair trial because it was tried in the East Texas District Federal court.
post #15 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

I'd live happily on 1/10th of 1/10th of that payout. Truly amazing how patent trolls get away with this.

$80k is enough to sustain your happiness forever? You're indeed a simple man. Good for you.
post #16 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

This doesn't remind me of anything that Apple is offering. I don't remember being able to download playlists like that. You can access lists of music by download, but you can't just play them, skip back and forth like the filing says. You pick one at a time to sample or download it.

I haven't read the patent, but the AI description sounds exactly like how an iPod works. You download your play list from your computer to the iPod and then have a navigable playlist on the iPod.

I agree that it's pretty obvious (not to mention that it fails to meet the requirement for specificity), but arguing that Apple doesn't do this is odd.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bodypainter View Post

Some things should not be patents. Imagine only one company had the right to produce lamps, doors, tyres or shoe laces.

That's not the way it works.

When someone comes up with something novel, they are entitled to time-limited protection for that invention. The idea of a lamp goes to early in recorded history, so it can't be patented. Instead, when you come up with an improvement and get a patent, you are the only one who is allowed to practice that improvement while that patent is still in force (unless you choose to license it).

For example, Edison did not patent a light bulb. He patented a specific innovation that improved the lightbulb. That didn't stop people from making light bulbs, but simply stopped people from using his method.

Same thing on tires. The Scottish guy was the first person to invent a pneumatic tire and patented it (although he never commercialized it). If pneumatic tires hadn't been done before, that would be a valid patent.

The entire premise of patents is that someone who comes up with something useful should be able to benefit from their invention. Without patents, innovation would be severely stifled. In particular, small companies would have no incentive to invent anything - because a larger company could just come in and commercialize their invention and wipe the floor with them due to greater resources.
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post #17 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post

You would think something would be done to stop this practice. Hopefully some defendant with deep pockets will appeal their verdict to a higher court claiming they received an unfair trial because it was tried in the East Texas District Federal court.

They'd need better than that, they'd need to demonstrate a material error in the court's ruling and it can be difficult to do that. Even having done so it wouldn't have any impact on Judge Ward's status as a Federal Judge - that would require impeachment, it isn't something that happens in practice.
post #18 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I haven't read the patent, but the AI description sounds exactly like how an iPod works. You download your play list from your computer to the iPod and then have a navigable playlist on the iPod.

I agree that it's pretty obvious (not to mention that it fails to meet the requirement for specificity), but arguing that Apple doesn't do this is odd.

Really? I guess it depends on what is meant by "download". I took it as meaning over the internet, like over iTunes store, I haven't seen why it should be otherwise here. To me, copying a file from a computer to a peripheral device doesn't seem like a download any more than controlling a computer with a mouse is an upload. Especially when the patent mentions subscriber several times, usage and billing, which suggests some kind of internet music service to me, and iTunes doesn't operate like that, at least yet. I get the impression from the patent that the playlist is to be provided by a remote service.
post #19 of 129
It's time to nuke east Texas. The average IQ of the US will increase substantially.
post #20 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by bodypainter View Post

Some things should not be patents. Imagine only one company had the right to produce lamps, doors, tyres or shoe laces.

I also agree. Although it could stiffle innovation, so maybe a patent that lasts 5-10 years and can't be renewed so that a company is given credit for what they created and allowed to use it.
I think Apple will appeal because even the small amount could have long term affects to the bottom line. In other words, will it cover the continued sale? what about new products? Although, it could be part of the terms of the agreement.
post #21 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Really? I guess it depends on what is meant by "download". I took it as meaning over the internet, like over iTunes store, I haven't seen why it should be otherwise here. To me, copying a file from a computer to a peripheral device doesn't seem like a download any more than controlling a computer with a mouse is an upload. Especially when the patent mentions subscriber several times, usage and billing, which suggests some kind of internet music service to me, and iTunes doesn't operate like that, at least yet. I get the impression from the patent that the playlist is to be provided by a remote service.

That's a horrible analogy Jeff. Copying files from a computer to a connected device is a lot like downloading; whilst controlling a computer with a mouse is not even remotely like uploading?

(The key would be the copying of files...)

Why don't people on the Internet simply acknowledge when other folks make a good/valid point, and instead come up with silly justifications to defend their (often somewhat silly) positions?

No response necessary...
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post #22 of 129
I think EVERY decision out of that East Texas court should be appealed.
post #23 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Really? I guess it depends on what is meant by "download". I took it as meaning over the internet, like over iTunes store, I haven't seen why it should be otherwise here. To me, copying a file from a computer to a peripheral device doesn't seem like a download any more than controlling a computer with a mouse is an upload. Especially when the patent mentions subscriber several times, usage and billing, which suggests some kind of internet music service to me, and iTunes doesn't operate like that, at least yet. I get the impression from the patent that the playlist is to be provided by a remote service.

I guess it's easy to be confused when you don't understand terminology:

http://education.yahoo.com/reference...entry/download
Download definition: "Computer Science To transfer (data or programs) from a server or host computer to one's own computer or device."

Transferring a playlist from your computer ("host computer") to your iPod ("device") perfectly fits that definition.
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post #24 of 129
For those really interested in the patent and whether Apple truly violated it, parsing the meaning of the words in this post is silly. Go read the patent in its entirety first. Otherwise, you have no right contradicting each other.
post #25 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I guess it's easy to be confused when you don't understand terminology:

http://education.yahoo.com/reference...entry/download
Download definition: "Computer Science To transfer (data or programs) from a server or host computer to one's own computer or device."

Transferring a playlist from your computer ("host computer") to your iPod ("device") perfectly fits that definition.

The term used for iPod connection has always been sync or synchronize, never heard it referred to as downloading in that context.

OK, I didn't know the definition of a word as precisely as you did. Please at least read the abstract of the first patent linked in the article. In the context of the patent itself, it reads like an internet music service. There is no subscription, billing, fees within the context of the iTunes program connecting to an iPod, but those words are in the patent filing.
post #26 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by bodypainter View Post

Some things should not be patents. Imagine only one company had the right to produce lamps, doors, tyres or shoe laces.

What about how most zippers are YKK?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

It's time to nuke east Texas. The average IQ of the US will increase substantially.

Oh, yeah. That statement makes you a MUCH better person than the patent trolls who take advantage of these courts.

I refuse to even put an emoticon on that sentence.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

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post #27 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A federal jury has decided against Apple in a patent infringement suit ...

Not claiming to be an expert, and there is probably a good explanation but ...

... why in hell would a "jury" be involved in a patent case?

Shouldn't patent lawsuits be decided on the facts? A jury can decide almost anything whereas a patent is either good or not depending on the exact facts of the matter. There isn't (or shouldn't be) any room for interpretation or opinion as there is in jury cases.
post #28 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by ameldrum1 View Post

That's a horrible analogy Jeff. Copying files from a computer to a connected device is a lot like downloading; whilst controlling a computer with a mouse is not even remotely like uploading?

(The key would be the copying of files...)

Why don't people on the Internet simply acknowledge when other folks make a good/valid point, and instead come up with silly justifications to defend their (often somewhat silly) positions?

No response necessary...

What a ridiculous statement. Is building something a lot like buying something? Since we're utterly ignoring true meaning in English, why not?

Syncing with iTunes is nothing even remotely close to downloading, you know it, I
Know it, and the judge who ruled on this failed. His was the incorrect decision in this case, by a long long way.
post #29 of 129
What I don't understand is why there are other (all) smartphones with pinch to zoom gestures? Apple invented this and patented it...yet it's been stolen and is in use by thieves.
post #30 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post

Edison patented the light bulb, ...

This is actually a good example of the reverse of your argument.

Edison didn't really so much "invent" the lightbulb as simply beat others to it. Everyone knew at the time that 'electrically lighted bulbs' were going to work. The basic idea and how it would work were already done. The only thing missing was what material could be used for the filament and lots of inventors were trying to figure that out. Edison just tried over and over and over again until he hit on the right material.

The point is, it wasn't anything original, it wasn't even his idea. He just got there first and got the patent and froze out all the other inventors for years and years.

He didn't really "deserve" to have exclusive rights on the lightbulb idea, but he ended up with them anyway. He didn't actually think of the idea, yet he is "the inventor of the lightbulb." And whose to say that one of the other ideas might not have been better?

He probably didn't stifle much invention with the lightbulb patent, but he did with many of his other ideas. Patents can work to suppress ideas as much as they do to protect them. Especially since all copyright and patent law is basically skewed towards the needs and interests of business and not the actual inventors and creators.
post #31 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

What I don't understand is why there are other (all) smartphones with pinch to zoom gestures? Apple invented this and patented it...yet it's been stolen and is in use by thieves.

Actually I think there was prior art on pinch to zoom. It was done back in 2006 at least

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post #32 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

What a ridiculous statement. Is building something a lot like buying something? Since we're utterly ignoring true meaning in English, why not?

Syncing with iTunes is nothing even remotely close to downloading, you know it, I
Know it, and the judge who ruled on this failed. His was the incorrect decision in this case, by a long long way.

In his defense, my mouse analogy was faulty. Syncing or synchronization might be considered a more informal term, I don't know for sure.

Maybe it's more like a printer, if I print a file using the postscript format, it is sending a file to a printer, though it often is not saved to non volatile storage as a .ps or .eps, but the data is the same. Is it technically downloading? I suppose it is if you use the dictionary definition. How many people think of it that way? I just see it as a peripheral device.

But again, I maintain there's a context within the patent filing that makes it questionable that the iPod docking scenario fits. Maybe it's that somewhat tenuous link that brought the damages down to $8M.
post #33 of 129
I love how they say "inventions". These aren't inventions, they're ideas. I've got a million of em, just like everyone else.

Getting a paper that says, basically, "FIRST!!!", shouldn't give you the right to sue someone who get's the same idea and actually makes it a reality.

Where is the infringement? Where is the product that Apple stole this idea from?

It doesn't exist, and neither should the legs that people like Personal Audio and Lodsys stand on.

The biggest criminal here? Our legal system. One fail after another. What a joke.
post #34 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by brentbordelon View Post

Where is the infringement? Where is the product that Apple stole this idea from?

The requirement for a product before infringement is probably unreasonable it would have made life very difficult to patent something entirely justified like RSA while it still wouldn't stop egregious patents like 1-click. What we need is a tightening up of the concept of 'obvious', but we're unlikely to get one any time soon.
post #35 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by brentbordelon View Post

I love how they say "inventions". These aren't inventions, they're ideas. I've got a million of em, just like everyone else.

Getting a paper that says, basically, "FIRST!!!", shouldn't give you the right to sue someone who get's the same idea and actually makes it a reality.

Where is the infringement? Where is the product that Apple stole this idea from?

It doesn't exist, and neither should the legs that people like Personal Audio and Lodsys stand on.

The biggest criminal here? Our legal system. One fail after another. What a joke.

Would people PLEASE learn something about the patent system before attacking it?

You can not patent an idea. You can patent only the implementation of an idea. A patent must be reduced to practice before a patent can be granted. There are exceptions, and 'reduced to practice' is not always easy to define, but the law is clear.

And throwing out the entire concept of patents just because you don't like them is absurd. Innovation would be greatly crippled if companies were not able to obtain patents. Why should I spend money on R&D if I can simply copy what someone else did?
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post #36 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

And throwing out the entire concept of patents just because you don't like them is absurd. Innovation would be greatly crippled if companies were not able to obtain patents. Why should I spend money on R&D if I can simply copy what someone else did?

That's a real stretch where software patents are concerned, the fact is that copyright provided enough protection for software for decades - the extension of the use of patents to software and business practices hasn't empowered innovation, quite the opposite.

I think you would be hard pressed to find a professional programmer who thinks that software patents drive innovation in the software industry, except possibly in a very few areas like cryptography.
post #37 of 129
It seems to me one sensible patent reform would be to outlaw the monetization of patents per se--selling them to holding companies who have no creative or productive interest in them. A patent could be sold to someone who is employing it for its intended use, but not to package it as a Wall Street investment "instrument." A "use it or lose it" law would be a good adjunct to this: even someone who does buy it for its intended purpose would have to employ it within a stipulated time. If not, the patent becomes null and void.

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post #38 of 129
Yawn. Pay it..move on.
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post #39 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

It seems to me one sensible patent reform would be to outlaw the monetization of patents per se

No, that would be a terrible idea not to mention impossible. Patents that belonged to people would be worthless, patents that belonged to corporations would be placed into shell corporations that could be sold. If you prevented the sale of corporations that held patents then you would effectively end the possibility for technology firms to merge ever.
post #40 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

$80k is enough to sustain your happiness forever? You're indeed a simple man. Good for you.

You reckon 1/10th of $8,000,000 is "$80k" do you?

As for your username...
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