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Patent suit takes aim at Apple over iPhone, iPad 3G data transfer

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
A new lawsuit accuses Apple and a host of other companies, including Research in Motion, Amazon, Nokia and Sony, of violating three patents related to GPRS 3G data transfer.

The complaint comes from GPNE Corp., based in Honolulu, Hawaii, which has accused Apple and others of infringing on patents related to general packet radio service. As part of the 3G standard for GSM radio frequencies, it allows features such as multimedia messaging, push-to-talk over cellular, always-on Internet access, and point-to-point networking.

The lawsuit accuses "computerized communications devices and computerized tablet devices" manufactured by Apple of infringing on patents it owns. Specifically, GPNE accuses Apple of three counts of patent violation, related to the following inventions:
U.S. Patent No. 7,555,267 - "Network Communication System Wherein a Node Obtains Resources for Transmitting Data by Transmitting Two Reservation Requests"
U.S. Patent No. 7,570,954 - "Communication System Wherein a Clocking Signal from a Controller, a Request from a Node, Acknowledgement of the Request, and Data Transferred from the Node are All Provided on Different Frequencies, Enabling Simultaneous Transmission of these Signals"
U.S. Patent No. 7,792,492 - "Network Communication System with an Alignment Signal to Allow a Controller to Provide Messages to Nodes and Transmission of the Messages Over Four Independent Frequencies"
The first two patents were granted in 2009, while the U.S. Patent and Trademark office awarded the '492 patent in 2010. The filing notes that the inventions were "conceived in Hawaii by two local residents," one of whom, Gabriel Wong, is chairman of GPNE.

The complaint accuses Apple of making and selling portable devices "with the ability to function with GPRS." It specifically names the iPhone 4 and iPad, but is broadly worded to encompass any other 3G-capable devices and models in Apple's product lineup.



In addition to Apple, the full list of defendants in the suit is Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Garmin, Nokia, Pantech, Research in Motion, Sharp, and Sony Ericsson. Other devices listed in the suit include the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and BlackBerry Torch 9800.

GPNE has asked the court for damages, and to require the defendants to pay "a reasonable, on-going, post judgment royalty" for the right to use technology allegedly associated with the '267, '954 and '492 patents. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii on July 1, 2011.
post #2 of 24
Yikes, that is one serious list of defendants, these guys must be either extremely confident of their patent's validity or extremely stupid.
post #3 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Yikes, that is one serious list of defendants, these guys must be either extremely confident of their patent's validity or extremely stupid.

It's all or nothing if you're confident.

I'm sure that they'll just settle out of court with most of these companies and then agree to pay the royalties required.
post #4 of 24
Notably not in East Texas.
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobodyy View Post

It's all or nothing if you're confident.

I'm sure that they'll just settle out of court with most of these companies and then agree to pay the royalties required.

Except in patents it isn't. Mostly a firm that wants to get royalties on a patent will start by attacking a weak firm, getting them to pay up, then using their licensing as evidence that their patent is valid, when they go after the next guy.

It's not incontrovertible evidence of course, but it's enough often for a preliminary ruling in their favour, and at that point they're in a stronger bargaining position.

Going out for the top names in the industry all at once is just begging to be buried in prior art.
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The complaint comes from GPNE Corp., based in Honolulu, Hawaii, which has accused Apple and others of infringing on patents related to general packet radio service. As part of the 3G standard for GSM radio frequencies, it allows features such as multimedia messaging, push-to-talk over cellular, always-on Internet access, and point-to-point networking.

How can these patents have been granted and also be REQUIRED for GPRS/3G communications devices? The patents were FILED at the earliest 2007, which is many years after these standards were both ratified.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Yikes, that is one serious list of defendants, these guys must be either extremely confident of their patent's validity or extremely stupid.

Just the opposite. Throw a big pile of crap at the wall and see if anything sticks. What's also interesting are the companies missing from the list, really big ones. Makes one wonder if some puppeteering is going on behind the scenes.
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Yikes, that is one serious list of defendants, these guys must be either extremely confident of their patent's validity or extremely stupid.

Patent lawyers don't care, as long as they get extremely paid.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #9 of 24
I'm not seeing the Android Players listed.

Please explain that one GPNE Corp.
post #10 of 24
Why on earth is a patent related to G3 coming up now. Shouldn't these people have noticed before this, or shouldn't somebody have noticed that they have a patent to this tech?

Start a petition for a use it or lose it patent law. Get rid of the trolls, people and companies either use their "inventions", sell the rights outright (no licensing), or lose them after some short time period. Companies using their patents could of course license them to others. And while we're at it, refine patent law so that "methods" have to be specific, no all encompassing general stuff that might apply to anyone. I realize that the actual text of the patent is not often fully disclosed, but when abstracts are so general you have to wonder.

Sometimes I think that this is the companies' business, what does it have to do with me? Then I wonder how many dollars of my iPhone, iPod or iPad purchase go into the hands of lawyers and trolls. I'd really rather not be paying them.
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by wvmb99 View Post

Why on earth is a patent related to G3 coming up now. Shouldn't these people have noticed before this, or shouldn't somebody have noticed that they have a patent to this tech?

These patents were only FILED FOR in 2007 (for the earliest one). How the hell does that happen. Surely the fact they are needed by GPRS/3G automatically makes them prior art?

GPRS was a standard in 1997.
3G was a standard in 1999, first commercial UK network in 2003.

My guess is that these patents will get invalidated pretty damned fast.
post #12 of 24
Dear Apple Insider:

Please consider aggregating all these patent lawsuit posts into a single roundup once a week.

Thank You,

Tod Ecphorizer
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

Just the opposite. Throw a big pile of crap at the wall and see if anything sticks. What's also interesting are the companies missing from the list, really big ones

That doesn't really work when all the targets for the crap are big well organized firms who are more than capable of working together to make sure that it sticks nowhere. It works fine for a firm like Lodsys that is targetting a lot of minnows, but not for this.
post #14 of 24
Once again, big corporations have stolen ideas from an inventor living in his mom's basement directly from his brain because he can't wear the tinfoil hat all te time (specifically, not in the shower on account of the possible electrocution risk from flying saucers), and they've profited heavily from his invention. The ability to use frequencies for data transfer? He invented that. The salt and pepper shaker? He invented that too. If Apple hadn't stolen his invention, he would have the iPhone and iPad on the market, and he would be the darling of Wall Street. But no, he has to stare at Steve Jobs on the cover of Time Magazine, a cover reserved for him! If only Apple didn't steal from his brain...

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by tawilson View Post

How can these patents have been granted and also be REQUIRED for GPRS/3G communications devices? The patents were FILED at the earliest 2007, which is many years after these standards were both ratified.

These patents are all continuations based on US 5,542,115, filed in June of 1994, and claim priority from that date.
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by NormM View Post

These patents are all continuations based on US 5,542,115, filed in June of 1994, and claim priority from that date.

Oh, the old "bolt a little bit of shit on to a vaguely similar existing patent for something that was created way after your extension patent".

Such utter BS!
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by tawilson View Post

Oh, the old "bolt a little bit of shit on to a vaguely similar existing patent for something that was created way after your extension patent".

Such utter BS!

Yes, because a bunch of companies would never have taken an idea from this company and appropriated it for their own use. Nah, multinational billion dollar corporations would never do that to some small company. This must be a sham!
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by wvmb99 View Post

Why on earth is a patent related to G3 coming up now. Shouldn't these people have noticed before this, or shouldn't somebody have noticed that they have a patent to this tech?

Who's to say they haven't been in talks with the defendants for years and finally have given up hope in reaching a deal?

Quote:
Start a petition for a use it or lose it patent law. Get rid of the trolls, people and companies either use their "inventions", sell the rights outright (no licensing), or lose them after some short time period.

So you're solution is that anyone with an idea either has to find the capital to implement it or just give up it's rights? This just leads to large companies just eating up any and all inventions, leaving the small company/inventor out in the cold.

And, by definition, patents already have a limited lifespan. The whole point of the patent is to give the inventor time to make money on their effort.

And why should I not be able to license a patent? If I invent a solar cell that converts 80% of the energy, that's worth quite a bit of money. But if I can't afford the 500 million it will take to start up production, why should I be forced to sign away the rights to another company, who, in turn, can produce and license it, thus making money from two sources?

Quote:
And while we're at it, refine patent law so that "methods" have to be specific, no all encompassing general stuff that might apply to anyone. I realize that the actual text of the patent is not often fully disclosed, but when abstracts are so general you have to wonder.

There's your problem. This is ALL that needs to be done. Fix the patent system and what can be patented itself. But that will never happen, since Congress couldn't even agree on the 'first to file' change they debated a few months ago (the same way everyone else does it, rather than the 'first to design' way, which allows someone to invent something, document it, then still file a patent years later, which can cause other companies years of lost effort designing something that turns out someone else ends up getting the rights to).
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

Who's to say they haven't been in talks with the defendants for years and finally have given up hope in reaching a deal?



So you're solution is that anyone with an idea either has to find the capital to implement it or just give up it's rights? This just leads to large companies just eating up any and all inventions, leaving the small company/inventor out in the cold.

And, by definition, patents already have a limited lifespan. The whole point of the patent is to give the inventor time to make money on their effort.

And why should I not be able to license a patent? If I invent a solar cell that converts 80% of the energy, that's worth quite a bit of money. But if I can't afford the 500 million it will take to start up production, why should I be forced to sign away the rights to another company, who, in turn, can produce and license it, thus making money from two sources?



There's your problem. This is ALL that needs to be done. Fix the patent system and what can be patented itself. But that will never happen, since Congress couldn't even agree on the 'first to file' change they debated a few months ago (the same way everyone else does it, rather than the 'first to design' way, which allows someone to invent something, document it, then still file a patent years later, which can cause other companies years of lost effort designing something that turns out someone else ends up getting the rights to).

If you've got the capital to file and receive those patents you have the brains to be wise enough to approach those market leaders who would implement such technology into their products and offer licensing relationships, or even outright sell them your patents, especially if you don't foresee ever producing a product with them.

Perhaps the Department of Defense should void all these GPRS patents seeing as it's the DoD that invented the technologies back in the 1950s and this version was declassified after GPRS2 and beyond replaced it in the Military fields.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louzer View Post

Yes, because a bunch of companies would never have taken an idea from this company and appropriated it for their own use. Nah, multinational billion dollar corporations would never do that to some small company. This must be a sham!

Yes that's right, the entire global mobile phone industry was copying two guys in Hawaii. For decades.

Continuation patents are a scam, even the USPTO admits it, but current legislation doesn't allow them to change the rules regarding them.
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Yes that's right, the entire global mobile phone industry was copying two guys in Hawaii. For decades.

Continuation patents are a scam, even the USPTO admits it, but current legislation doesn't allow them to change the rules regarding them.

I don't think you know what a continuation/division is and how it affects a U.S. patent.

For continuation/division/CIP applications filed after June 8, 1995, the patent term is from the issue date to 20 years after the effective filing date.

For example, US 7,555,267 has a filing date of January 30, 2009 and effective filing date of June 24, 1994 (filing date of US 5,542,115). So its patent term is ends on June 24, 2014 (plus any applicable patent term adjustment). So you're not really extending the patent term (except for any applicable patent term adjustment, which is generally given due to delays by the USPTO).

As for adding new materials to the claims/specification, continuation practice under 35 U.S.C. 120 does not allow that. So whatever is claimed in US 7,555,267 was also present in US 5,542,115.

Therefore, the continuation (US 7,555,267) still covers what was "invented" (just not claimed in the patent) by the inventor as of June 24, 1994. I don't see how this is a scam. You present your whole invention in the specification of a patent application and try to get a patent out of one aspect of the invention. Then you can try to get another patent out of another aspect of the same invention later. As long as you disclosed everything from the beginning, that's not a scam.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by wvmb99 View Post

I realize that the actual text of the patent is not often fully disclosed, but when abstracts are so general you have to wonder.

In the United States, the patent office will release complete details of every granted patent to anybody who asks for it. The full text is available online free of charge; attached images can also be downloaded, but the interface might be clunky. Anybody can purchase a certified paper copy of every patent in its entirety.

In short, anything that a company wants to retain as a trade secret must never be filed as part of a patent. Trade secrets and patents are mutually exclusive.

The text and images contained in a granted patent are, in general, not subject to most copyright restrictions unless the patent applicant specifically asks for certain portions of the material to have a copyright notice attached; the copyright notice attached to any material inside a patent must grant everybody permission to produce verbatim facsimile copies of the copyrighted material as it appears in the patent document.
post #23 of 24
To update this nearly 3 year old story the case against Apple (some of the others have presumably taken a license?) is just now making it to trial. 1bugeye.gif

Judge Koh has decided that pejorative terms like patent troll, bandit, privateer and shakedown are banned from use by Apple counsel. She will allow the use of Non-Practicing Entity, Patent Assertion Entity and even "a company that doesn't make or sell anything".
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #24 of 24
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post
Judge Koh has decided…


Good for her. I’m sure that’s legal¡

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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