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Apple accused of feeding intellectual property to patent troll

post #1 of 271
Thread Starter 
According to a new report, Apple has transferred some of its patents to patent-licensing firm Digitude Innovations, prompting accusations that the company is aiding a so-called "patent troll."

Digitude Innovations filed suit against a slew of tech giants this week, including Research in Motion, HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, Amazon and Nokia. Apple was noticeably absent from the list.

Further investigation by TechCrunch revealed that two of the patents wielded in the lawsuit had belonged to Apple earlier this year. The report noted that documents had been uncovered confirming a license agreement between Apple and Digitude, though the actual details of the agreement were not available to the public.

Apple apparently transferred a dozen patents to a shell company, called Cliff Island LLC, earlier this year. Though little information was available on Cliff Island, report author Jason Kincaid was able to ascertain that the company's address is the same as Digitude investor Altitude Capital. Cliff Island subsequently transferred the patents to Digitude.

A Forbes report from June noted that Digitude Innovations was "put together" by Altitude founder Robert Kramer. Altitude then went on to invest $50 million for the purpose of purchasing consumer electronics patents that would be used to sue big tech companies.

At the time, Kramer said he had "reached out to many of our prospective customers to encourage them to become early strategic licensees," while a formal licensing program was set to launch in the fourth quarter. Kramer also noted that Digitude is utilizing a new investment strategy of allowing investors to contribute patents instead of money. Participating companies would then receive a license for all of the firm's patents.

Given that Digitude is in the business of acquiring patents to sue others, the company has been labeled a "patent troll." However, Kramer asserts that he is a financial investor with legitimate claims.

Though it's not completely clear whether Apple has entered into a more formal agreement with Digitude beyond a licensing agreement, Kincaid offered several plausible scenarios for its relationship with the company. According to him, Apple could be using Digitude as a "hired gun" in its patent battles. However, he did point out that Apple not hesitated to sue its competitors outright when it felt its intellectual property was being infringed on.

Alternatively, Apple may have traded its patents to Digitude as part of a settlement. Kincaid noted that this scenario "seems more likely," while noting that it was hard to see Apple in a "positive light" if that was the case.

"The idea that the company didnt have any options other than handing over valuable patents to a patent troll knowing full well that it would then use those patents to sue other tech companies seems ludicrous," he wrote.

Also worth noting is the fact that Apple, with $81 billion in the bank, is by no means strapped for cash.

The patent troll issue became a hot topic for debate earlier this year when non-practicing entity Lodsys went after a number of independent iOS and Android developers over an patent related to in-app purchasing. Apple has asked the court to allow it to intervene on behalf of the developers in the suit. The iPhone maker has asserted that iOS developers are covered under its pre-existing license with Lodsys.

Apple rival Google has been vociferous in its complaints about the current patent system. In August, David Drummond, the company's chief legal officer accused Apple and Microsoft of "banding together" to use patents to attack its Android operating system.

"Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it," Drummond wrote.

Google has also said that "anticompetitive" patent lawsuits from Apple and Microsoft against Android vendors had forced the company into purchasing Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. The handset maker has nearly 17,000 issued patents and more than 7,000 filed patent applications.
post #2 of 271
They shouldn't have done that, it's disrespectful to the legal system as such.
post #3 of 271
I guess this justifies what Intellectual Ventures/Lodsys have been up to.

Very disappointing that Apple have chosen to engage in such acts.
"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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post #4 of 271
The question to ask is why are they doing this?

Did they really transfer the patents to the troll and ripping off others patents which is a norm with google is legal?

Did patent related suits really kill off innovations or ripping off others invention really killing off innovation.
post #5 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post

I guess this justifies what Intellectual Ventures/Lodsys have been up to.

Very disappointing that Apple have chosen to engage in such acts.

Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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

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post #6 of 271
I agree completely :-)
post #7 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts.

Ironic statement of the century
post #8 of 271
Forget the Apple involvement for a second. How the hell is this shit even legal period?
post #9 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts.

If you can refute anything reported by all means do so and change my judgement (judgement isn't finite and peoples opinions can change).
Are you wishing for me to wait for "all the facts" before passing judgement because it's regarding Apple or because it's the right thing to do?

I wonder where the people were who cry for "all the facts" were when the carrierIQ story recently blew up lately?

This "all the facts" policy could also be applied to: Antennagate, Smaung vs Apple patent cases, PSN Network hack e.t.c
"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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post #10 of 271
Just another way to make money. So much stupid law suits going on. I bet we are gonna hear allot about this here. I am discussed in this whole legal patent law suit crap. I wonder if some day the Government is gonna change the laws on this kinda crap and make it so they can't continue this.
An Apple man since 1977
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An Apple man since 1977
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post #11 of 271
If true, then this is great news!

How can anybody whine about this? Why do these people insist that Apple brings a knife to a gun fight?

How is this any different than Google buying Motorola and then giving some patents to HTC, which they then use to sue Apple with?

Google gives HTC patents so it can sue Apple

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/n...sue-Apple.html

As long as it's legal, then I say good for Apple! Apple should use every method that they can to crush it's enemies. Apple should make friends with every patent troll in the world and then band together to sue the hell out of everybody, while Apple is protected.
post #12 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

If true, then this is great news!

How can anybody whine about this? Why do these people insist that Apple brings a knife to a gun fight?

How is this any different than Google buying Motorola and then giving some patents to HTC, which they then use to sue Apple with?

Google gives HTC patents so it can sue Apple

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/n...sue-Apple.html

As long as it's legal, then I say good for Apple! Apple should use every method that they can to crush it's enemies. Apple should make friends with every patent troll in the world and then band together to sue the hell out of everybody, while Apple is protected.

What's the difference?

HTC = not patent troll.
Digitude = patent troll.
The fact that Apple is trying to get back at Lodsys for exactly the same behavior is quite telling.

I guess you're in support of Lodsys attacking developers that bolster iOS and Apple's platform?
"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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post #13 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

Ironic statement of the century

Amen to that.
post #14 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post

What's the difference?

HTC = not patent troll.
Digitude = patent troll.
The fact that Apple is trying to get back at Lodsys for exactly the same behavior is quite telling.

I guess you're in support of Lodsys attacking developers that bolster iOS and Apple's platform?

I'm not taking a side on this issue because I'm unclear on what's actually going on, but with regards to the Lodsys issue, their efforts to attack the iOS and Android developers was not inappropriate because they were a patent troll but because their claim to require licensing fees from those developers is disputed - Apple & Google maintain that their 3rd Party Developers are covered by the licensing agreements already in place between Lodsys and Apple & Google

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post #15 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

If true, then this is great news!

How can anybody whine about this? Why do these people insist that Apple brings a knife to a gun fight?

How is this any different than Google buying Motorola and then giving some patents to HTC, which they then use to sue Apple with?

Google gives HTC patents so it can sue Apple

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/n...sue-Apple.html

As long as it's legal, then I say good for Apple! Apple should use every method that they can to crush it's enemies. Apple should make friends with every patent troll in the world and then band together to sue the hell out of everybody, while Apple is protected.

Google, Motorola, and HTC all manufacture product, Digitude does not. They are a patent troll in every sense of the term, and Apple set them in motion.
post #16 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

Google, Motorola, and HTC all manufacture product, Digitude does not. They are a patent troll in every sense of the term, and Apple set them in motion.

Is it illegal to be a patent troll? I don't think so. I wouldn't mind being a patent troll if I held many patents. The legality of some of the products that certain companies make is also in question, as they infringe upon other people's intellectual rights, so I don't think that makes them any better than a so-called patent troll.
post #17 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Is it illegal to be a patent troll? I don't think so. I wouldn't mind being a patent troll if I held many patents. The legality of some of the products that certain companies make is also in question, as they infringe upon other people's intellectual rights, so I don't think that makes them any better than a so-called patent troll.

I totally agreed! Who says Apple has to play nice when everyone else plays dirty. Who says Apple has to be "politically correct" all the time. It's time for Apple to behave like a Microsoft or a Google. Yeah, I say bring it on!
post #18 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

If true, then this is great news!

How can anybody whine about this? Why do these people insist that Apple brings a knife to a gun fight?

How is this any different than Google buying Motorola and then giving some patents to HTC, which they then use to sue Apple with?

Google gives HTC patents so it can sue Apple

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/n...sue-Apple.html

As long as it's legal, then I say good for Apple! Apple should use every method that they can to crush it's enemies. Apple should make friends with every patent troll in the world and then band together to sue the hell out of everybody, while Apple is protected.


I agree. I found the article amusing. It's good to see Apple playing as dirty as the leeches.
post #19 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleSteve View Post

I totally agreed! Who says Apple has to play nice when everyone else plays dirty. Who says Apple has to be "politically correct" all the time. It's time for Apple to behave like a Microsoft or a Google. Yeah, I say bring it on!

'Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war, That this foul deed shall smell above the earth.'
- "Julius Caesar," William Shakespeare, Act 3, Scene 1

Apple is just using someone else's dogs.

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post #20 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Google has also said that "anticompetitive" patent lawsuits from Apple and Microsoft against Android vendors had forced the company into purchasing Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. The handset maker has nearly 17,000 issued patents and more than 7,000 filed patent applications.

Didn't Google purchased Motorola Mobility (for $12.5 billion) to prevent "anticompetitive" patent lawsuits from Motorola Mobility against the other Android venders? MM was bleeding a lot of cash while the other Android venders were making a ton on money selling Android phones that was using patents from MM. It was MM that was going to become a "patent troll" if Google didn't step up and purchased them for way, way more than what they're worth.
post #21 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post

HTC = not patent troll.

So how are the S3 Graphics cards that HTC is presumably going to use in their phones working out?

HTC = patent troll
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #22 of 271
I think that what Apple is looking for is a per phone or pad/tablet in Amazon's case licensing fee like Microsoft is doing with Android rather than an injunction from shipping products like Apple probably wants with their lawsuits right now against Samsung, HTC and Motorola.
post #23 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts.

I'd be interested to meet the person who has all the facts. If that person could eventually share with others, would be nice. It SEEMS to me that until now, we're a bit strapped for them. There might be a necessity for a anti-monopoly ruling on fact-hoarding here?

Jurys judge on their best opinion and sentence people to death in the USA. They RARELY if ever have all the facts (if they did, it would raise questions about how they get chosen...).

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 #24 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

So how are the S3 Graphics cards that HTC is presumably going to use in their phones working out?

HTC = patent troll

HTC are have re-evaluated their purchase of S3, anyway, how are the two situations related?

HTC were going to purchase s3 and it's assets.
Apple have sold assets to a non existent company to try to stealthily pass patents to a patent troll.

As the TechCrunch article is titled "Apple Made A Deal With The Devil (No, Worse: A Patent Troll)".

Addition:
Look at what these assholes are up to:
http://www.tomsguide.com/us/patent-i...ews-13400.html

Quote:
Digitude, an IP licensing company based in Alexandria, Virginia, just sued RIM, LG, Sony, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, HTC, and Amazon over the infringement of four of its patents.

Which company is strangely absent from this list? I'm glad that Apple have been caught out in this spinelss act. Why didn't they keep their patents and directly go after all of these infringers?
"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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post #25 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

Forget the Apple involvement for a second. How the hell is this shit even legal period?

It's a complicated question. It raises two issues:

- how do you make sure theorical research occurs (it requires huge investments and do not bring immediate industrial products for funding itself)?
- how do you prevent "Murano Mirror"-type situations?

For the record, the latter describes the situation that occurs when a group (here, the Murano Glass-blowers of Venetia in the 15th century) makes a breakthrough and is not legally protected. The glass trade secret was a state secret for the Republic of Venice (under penalty of death, glass-blowers were prevented from leaving the city).

It is quite obvious that it is both a critical issue towards sustained innovation as well as towards individual freedom.

I'll take patent trolls over "Murano Mirror" any day, but there probably are improvements to the system to be made.

-------

Also, some people argue the world would be better off without lawyers. Just saying.

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 #26 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleSteve View Post

I totally agreed! Who says Apple has to play nice when everyone else plays dirty. Who says Apple has to be "politically correct" all the time. It's time for Apple to behave like a Microsoft or a Google. Yeah, I say bring it on!

Yep, Steve is now gone. It's time for Apple to turn into Microsoft or Google or HP. Great plan.
Hopefully, SOMEONE at Apple disagrees with it.

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 #27 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post

Yep, Steve is now gone. It's time for Apple to turn into Microsoft or Google or HP. Great plan.
Hopefully, SOMEONE at Apple disagrees with it.

Let's not be naive.
The patent game has turned into something awfully dirty in the last decade or so. Tech companies have to play hardball or die.
It's inevitable that playing the game is going to look ugly at times, but "ugly" is not a relevant consideration for that matter.
post #28 of 271
If Apple is pulling a backdoor don't-look-behind-the-curtain MS stunt (see MOSAID and Microsoft/Nokia) it would be extremely disappointing. They've been the shining underdog for so long, I hope the billions of dollars and new market leader status hasn't twisted them into something that we now need to worry about, particularly with their historical secrecy, and now enough billions to do whatever they wish in most cases whether for good or not-so-good.

Even many hardcore Apple fans are likely raising an eyebrow. Hopefully things can be explained without casting Apple in a bad light. Whether you're a fan or not, I hope you'd want things to stay above board.
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #29 of 271
What comes around, trolls around?
post #30 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post


Which company is strangely absent from this list? I'm glad that Apple have been caught out in this spinelss act. Why didn't they keep their patents and directly go after all of these infringers?

Good move on Apple's part, if this story is true.

Why didn't Google sue Apple directly instead of giving patents to HTC?

And why is Samsung trying to sue Apple using FRAND patents?

It's time for Apple to start playing hardball with those cowards. I'd like to see Android completely destroyed. The world would be a better place without Android. And if Android were to disappear, Fandroids would also naturally disappear and go extinct like the dodo bird.

All is fair in war.
post #31 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post

Yep, Steve is now gone. It's time for Apple to turn into Microsoft or Google or HP. Great plan.
Hopefully, SOMEONE at Apple disagrees with it.

And perhaps it's exactly what SJ would have wanted.
post #32 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

'Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war, That this foul deed shall smell above the earth.'
- "Julius Caesar," William Shakespeare, Act 3, Scene 1

Apple is just using someone else's dogs.

-- Also, Chang in Star Trek VI, quoting Shakespeare

Cry Havoc!
post #33 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post

What's the difference?

HTC = not patent troll.
Digitude = patent troll.

It seems these days EVERY company is a bit of a patent troll. I wish they'd stop suing each other and just focus their energies in more productive ways.
post #34 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by tikiman View Post

It seems these days EVERY company is a bit of a patent troll. I wish they'd stop suing each other and just focus their energies in more productive ways.

And some people wish for peace on earth, but that's obviously never going to happen, so war it is. I've chosen my side.
post #35 of 271
Actually, this is a smart strategy. The problem when Apple sues somebody directly is other major companies can counter sue Apple. This puts Apple's product sales at risk. When the party suing you doesn't make any products, it limits the defenses of the party being sued. You can't claim the party that is suing you is infringing patents if it doesn't make anything.
post #36 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

Actually, this is a smart strategy. The problem when Apple sues somebody directly is other major companies can counter sue Apple. This puts Apple's product sales at risk. When the party suing you doesn't make any products, it limits the defenses of the party being sued. You can't claim the party that is suing you is infringing patents if it doesn't make anything.

That's a pretty good point that you make there.

Perhaps Apple is playing chess, while the other bozos are playing checkers.
post #37 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Is it illegal to be a patent troll? I don't think so. I wouldn't mind being a patent troll if I held many patents. The legality of some of the products that certain companies make is also in question, as they infringe upon other people's intellectual rights, so I don't think that makes them any better than a so-called patent troll.

Sure it does. It is impossible to actually make a product today while figuring out what patents the product may infringe upon. You actually ever read a patent? They are intentionally vague, and many impossible to read. So a company like Apple that tends to be the leader of the pack can legitimately bring a product to market and not know a product is violating a patent. Patent trolls take advantage of this by not letting companies like Apple know right away about the alleged infringing patent. They wait until the product is already shipping and successful just like a troll hiding under a bridge would do.
post #38 of 271
1) This is an absolutely awesome story.

2) Lodsys was never simply a patent troll waiting for a product to get profitable before claiming rights. Apple licensed with them early on.

3) Sounds to me that Apple's claim that their developers were covered by the original license may not have been so clear that they were willing to make a deal with Lodsys to safeguard their developers. Is Lodsys still going after Apple in that case? Are they still going after Google? Sounds like strategic and brilliant to me.

4) This isn't the playground. You can partner and sue all at the same time. Just look at Apple and Samsung's situation. Samsung blatantly copied Apple but Apple still still use their components in most of their HW products. That's how the game is played, not by taking your toys and going off to pout.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #39 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

Sure it does. It is impossible to actually make a product today while figuring out what patents the product may infringe upon. You actually ever read a patent? They are intentionally vague, and many impossible to read. So a company like Apple that tends to be the leader of the pack can legitimately bring a product to market and not know a product is violating a patent. Patent trolls take advantage of this by not letting companies like Apple know right away about the alleged infringing patent. They wait until the product is already shipping and successful just like a troll hiding under a bridge would do.

I see what you mean.

My comment was more targeted towards certain companies that intentionally release something that is a blatant ripoff of another product. I don't think that those companies are any better than the patent trolls.
post #40 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Good move on Apple's part, if this story is true.

Potentially earning the ire of RIM, LG, Sony, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, HTC, and Amazon? Very smart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Why didn't Google sue Apple directly instead of giving patents to HTC?

And why is Samsung trying to sue Apple using FRAND patents?

I don't really know. Have you asked Google or Samsung themselves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

It's time for Apple to start playing hardball with those cowards. I'd like to see Android completely destroyed. The world would be a better place without Android. And if Android were to disappear, Fandroids would also naturally disappear and go extinct like the dodo bird.

All is fair in war.

It sounds like this whole thing means a lot to you personally. Perusing the eradication of any group (be they social, racial, religious or other) sounds unhealthy & you seem to be engaged in some fictitious war.

Probably best if I ignore you from now in as I doubt you can have any kind of sound discussion with that kind of fanaticism.
"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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