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Apple settles patent dispute, signs license deal with SimpleAir

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Apple has settled an infringement suit with patent holder SimpleAir out of court for an undisclosed sum, the company announced on Thursday.

The terms of the license agreement between Apple and SimpleAir are confidential, but they settled the litigation SimpleAir had filed against Apple. The lawsuit was first filed in September of 2009 in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, where patent infringement suits are frequently filed in hopes of a favorable outcome.

The case was originally set to go to trial this April, but SimpleAir and Apple reached principal terms in settlement talks at the Texas courthouse, shortly before the trial was set to commence.

Those terms were presumably ironed out in the following weeks leading up to Thursday's announcement that the agreement had been finalized between SimpleAir and Apple.

In all, four patents were included in the complaint:

SimpleAir does not appear to have any actual products available for sale, as the company is self-described as "an inventor-owned technology licensing company." It said it has "interests and intellectual property in the wireless content delivery, mobile application, and push notification market spaces."
post #2 of 22

Not products but they have "System and Method...."
 

post #3 of 22

Another patent troll filing in Texas.

I'm sure Apple got a good deal.

post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

Another patent troll filing in Texas.

I'm sure Apple got a good deal.

 

But the fact remains, someone else owns these patents, Apple needs them. Business is business.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

 

But the fact remains, someone else owns these patents, Apple needs them. Business is business.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Except patent trolls' business is lawsuits, not actually DOING something. :-(

post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

Another patent troll filing in Texas.

I'm sure Apple got a good deal.

 

Well it can't really be a "patent troll" if they actually came up with the patents themselves and Apple ended up agreeing with them in the end.  

post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

Well it can't really be a "patent troll" if they actually came up with the patents themselves and Apple ended up agreeing with them in the end.  

 

Sure they can. Apple may have felt it was cheaper and easier in the long run to settle rather than fight it. If that is their reason for settling, it was a successful troll.

post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

 

Sure they can. Apple may have felt it was cheaper and easier in the long run to settle rather than fight it. If that is their reason for settling, it was a successful troll.

Hey, let's be reasonable and give them a chance. Maybe they had a good idea and Apple just didn't realize it'd been patented. I think someone should be allowed to patent without building something, if they at least tried to license it to someone who they thought *would* build something. That's still using your patents, and allows the small guys to invent even when they don't have resources to manufacture. Do we know for sure that SimpleAir hasn't made money in any way other than litigation?

post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

 

Except patent trolls' business is lawsuits, not actually DOING something. :-(

 

Sure they did something. They sold or licensed their patents. That's a good business!

 
 
 
 
 
 

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post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

Hey, let's be reasonable and give them a chance. Maybe they had a good idea and Apple just didn't realize it'd been patented. I think someone should be allowed to patent without building something, if they at least tried to license it to someone who they thought *would* build something. That's still using your patents, and allows the small guys to invent even when they don't have resources to manufacture. Do we know for sure that SimpleAir hasn't made money in any way other than litigation?


Spot on.  Many fail to realize that just because someone has a great idea does not mean they have the capitol to realize that idea.  And just because someone does not have the capitol for their idea does not give someone the right to just take the idea.  It takes time to raise capitol for an individual or a small company. 

 

Here is a great movie regarding this:

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1054588/

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellacool View Post


Spot on.  Many fail to realize that just because someone has a great idea does not mean they have the capitol to realize that idea.  And just because someone does not have the capitol for their idea does not give someone the right to just take the idea.  It takes time to raise capitol for an individual or a small company. 

Here is a great movie regarding this:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1054588/

That guy got a lot of money from Ford.
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post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Sure they did something. They sold or licensed their patents. That's a good business!



 


 





 


 





 


 




So the bottom line is think up something. You don't actually have to build it or test it, just patent it. Then sit back and wait for a real company to come up with the same thing and sue them. Great way to make money I guess, until the patent system is reformed some day.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


That guy got a lot of money from Ford.

And had his life ruined doing it.

post #14 of 22

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

 

Except patent trolls' business is lawsuits, not actually DOING something. :-(

 

Yeah and light bulbs just light factories. Lightbulbs aren't actually DOING something product-wise but without light bulbs, or electricity for that matter, the factories would do nothing. There isn't anything wrong with lawyers owning a patent-holding company. We call them trolls because their reputation for buying patents just to use against companies BUT they are business investors or someone who's holding the patent but couldn't actually produce what they designed.

 

This deal with SimpleAir is just one of many many such business deals that go on behind the business scene everyday. We shouldn't be condemning patent owners for not having the resources to make the product or technology they worked out. Did SimpleAir buy this patent to use against the industry or did they invent the technology for other companies to license? This is what the AI's article left out and it makes a big difference in trolling controversies.

post #15 of 22

Writing a patent isn't easy; paying a patent attorney to prosecute isn't cheap; getting the patent approved by the USPTO is no walk in the park.

And then, only a very small % are ever commercially successful.

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post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

 

Sure they can. Apple may have felt it was cheaper and easier in the long run to settle rather than fight it. If that is their reason for settling, it was a successful troll.

 

They aren't a patent trolling company. Doing research and then licensing your ideas is less expensive than attempting to market, brand, manufacture and distribute an eventual product.

post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


So the bottom line is think up something. You don't actually have to build it or test it, just patent it. Then sit back and wait for a real company to come up with the same thing and sue them. Great way to make money I guess, until the patent system is reformed some day.

 

That's the bottom line for people who don't understand patents, and no amount of explanation will convince them otherwise.

 

And in case folks here were not aware:  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/05/rockstar/


Edited by SpamSandwich - 5/24/12 at 5:32pm

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post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljocampo View Post

 

Yeah and light bulbs just light factories. Lightbulbs aren't actually DOING something product-wise but without light bulbs, or electricity for that matter, the factories would do nothing. There isn't anything wrong with lawyers owning a patent-holding company. We call them trolls because their reputation for buying patents just to use against companies BUT they are business investors or someone who's holding the patent but couldn't actually produce what they designed.

 

This deal with SimpleAir is just one of many many such business deals that go on behind the business scene everyday. We shouldn't be condemning patent owners for not having the resources to make the product or technology they worked out. Did SimpleAir buy this patent to use against the industry or did they invent the technology for other companies to license? This is what the AI's article left out and it makes a big difference in trolling controversies.

 

That's really not even the issue. The issue is someone (or some company) had the foresight to come up with an idea and either did the hard work themselves going about getting a patent (not exactly an easy thing, by the way) OR they purchased a patent from someone else. If a patent owner can see hidden value in a patent and then goes about exploiting that patent for profit, they are within their rights to do so. Patents encourage, sometimes by threat of lawsuit, innovation and creativity by making them available for others to use or by locking others out with their limited monopoly power (a scenario that typically applies to Apple since they do not license their patents). Competitors are challenged to find ways around locked-down patents and to do the same or better for less money.


Edited by SpamSandwich - 5/24/12 at 4:28pm

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post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

 

Sure they can. Apple may have felt it was cheaper and easier in the long run to settle rather than fight it. If that is their reason for settling, it was a successful troll.

 

This is the most likely description of the way things went down. 

post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

Except patent trolls' business is lawsuits, not actually DOING something. :-(

Once again, the term 'patent troll' is an incredibly stupid term and almost always indicates that the person using it:
a) has never invented anything in their life
and
b) has no concept of how the patent system works.

It's as if you buy a factory that makes widgets, but you have no desire to make widgets. You sell the company to a real estate investor who plans to lease the company to someone who wants to make widgets (or something else). Is that real estate investor a 'real estate troll'? After all, he didn't build the factory - he just bought it. And since the owner of the factory has no intention to make widgets, why shouldn't someone be able to move into the factory without permission and start making widgets? That would be the equivalent of what people are advocating here.

And in this particular case, it's even more clear cut. The company which sued Apple was the inventor and they have some products that use the technology, so they're not a patent troll even by the usual ridiculous definition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellacool View Post


Spot on.  Many fail to realize that just because someone has a great idea does not mean they have the capitol to realize that idea.  And just because someone does not have the capitol for their idea does not give someone the right to just take the idea.  It takes time to raise capitol for an individual or a small company. 

Here is a great movie regarding this:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1054588/

Exactly. There are a million more examples. If I invent a process that improves the integrated circuit manufacturing process, I certainly don't want to build a fab - even if I had a few billion dollars lying around. Or perhaps I invent an improvement for nuclear reactors. Why should I have to build a reactor to make the patent valid? I have my name on some patents for water purification processes (not products). The products were designed to be used in nuclear plants to purify the ultra pure water in the reactor. Our products were true inventions and some of them were used at one point, although I don't know if they're still in use. Should those patents be invalidated just because I don't own a nuclear plant to exercise the process that the patent describes?

Even in simpler cases, the principle of "you must use the patent for it to be valid" does not make sense. For example. Lets say you're a company which makes products that are used in waste water treatment and you patent the application (process) but not the product (perhaps you're using an existing product in a novel way). Does the fact that you are not a waste generator make the patent invalid?
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post #21 of 22

I think if you come up with an idea that might or might not work without proofing that it will work, cough up some cash to patent it and then let another

company do the hard work to bring the idea to life and sue them afterwards that is my interpretation of patent troll.

 

If you can create some kind of prototype that will proof that your idea works as advertised in the patent all the power to you.

But if you cannot proof that it works then what you did is not inventing something new, you were writing Sci-Fi and you are not entitled to receive the patent.

 

This is no review of existing law, it is just my personal opinion.

post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by copeland View Post

I think if you come up with an idea that might or might not work without proofing that it will work, cough up some cash to patent it and then let another
company do the hard work to bring the idea to life and sue them afterwards that is my interpretation of patent troll.

That simply indicates that you do not understand the patent system.

A patent must be reduced to practice before you can get a patent. It is not enough to present an idea, you must present a working example of the implementation of the idea. Some people get away with hypothetical examples, but those are easy to get thrown out if the patent is challenged.
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