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Apple files third ITC complaint against HTC targeting 29 new phones

post #1 of 49
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Apple has filed its third patent infringement complaint in as many years with the U.S. International Trade Commission against rival smartphone maker HTC.

The complaint was filed on Monday against HTC's latest devices, which Apple has alleged infringe on its "data tapping" patent, according to intellectual property litigation expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. The latest complaint seeks an emergency proceeding targeting a total of 29 devices for allegedly infringing on Apple's data detectors patent.

That invention, U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647, previously resulted in an ITC injunction against HTC Android phones in December. The handset maker quickly developed what it said was a workaround to avoid infringement, but the importation of smartphones was still held up at U.S. Customs for review.

Now, Apple has argued that HTC is still infringing upon the '647 patent, entitled "System and Method for Performing an Action on a Structure Computer-Generated Data." The invention outlines technology for automated detection of data such as phone numbers, e-mail addresses and hyperlinks.

Apple's Advanced Technology Group invented "data detectors" in the mid-1990s. The feature fist appeared in the Mac operating system, and allowed the OS to recognized formatted data, like a phone number, within an unstructured document, enabling a user to take action upon the data recognized.



Apple has asked the ITC for an emergency proceeding and enforcement action that would prevent what it believes is further infringement from devices like the HTC One X, Sensation 4G, Evo 4G LTE and Incredible 2.

Apple's complaint also includes two screenshots from HTC's handsets as evidence that the company has not ceased infringement of the '647 patent. They show an HTC One S presenting a user with the options to open a link in a browser, copy the URL, share the link, or send it to Facebook.

Mueller noted that Apple's patented invention relates to certain operations on data structures rather than just a user interface element.

"In other words, there can be a genuine dispute over whether HTC's new implementation of the feature still falls within the scope of the patent," he wrote. "HTC apparently believes that it doesn't, while Apple believes that it does. The ITC will now have to evaluate the technology found in HTC's current products."

Late last month, HTC handsets that were held up at U.S. Customs began trickling in to the U.S. for customers to purchase. HTC said in an announcement that "some models" of its smartphones began arriving in America, but declined to say which models had passed inspection.
post #2 of 49

Okay, Apple wants to file against HTC. Okay. But an EMERGENCY filing....really?

post #3 of 49

Steve Jobs picked the right man to protect Apple's interests. Now, I cant speak for his "vision", but its nice to see that as always, Apple is as litigious as ever. Unless you protect what's yours vigorously, you end up with the kind of differentiation that Dell and HP have: next to nothing. 

 

Keep up the pressure, Tim. 

 

The industry at large has taken far too much away - far more than their fair share - from what happened in June 2007 and January 2010. It is high time that everyone's patent position is clarified via the courts.

 

Then we'll know where everyone stands. 

post #4 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Okay, Apple wants to file against HTC. Okay. But an EMERGENCY filing....really?

'Emergency' in legal filings means something different than in everyday life.

Essentially, it means that if the issue is that significant damage can be done before a conventional hearing schedule would occur.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"In other words, there can be a genuine dispute over whether HTC's new implementation of the feature still falls within the scope of the patent," he wrote. "HTC apparently believes that it doesn't, while Apple believes that it does. The ITC will now have to evaluate the technology found in HTC's current products."

This is the real issue. HTC already lost the data tapping patent issue. They were given time to fix the problem. If they are found to have fixed the problem, then they're OK. If, OTOH, the commission sides with Apple, then HTC is screwed and may be in contempt of court.
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post #5 of 49

This is why I'm glad software patents dont exist in Europe.

post #6 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Okay, Apple wants to file against HTC. Okay. But an EMERGENCY filing....really?

 

Yes, because HTC was given 4 months by the ITC to make necessary modifications. If they are still infringing, should HTC be allowed another 4 months? No. This is why the emergency meeting.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


This is the real issue. HTC already lost the data tapping patent issue. They were given time to fix the problem. If they are found to have fixed the problem, then they're OK. If, OTOH, the commission sides with Apple, then HTC is screwed and may be in contempt of court.

 

When I saw the screenshots of the original vs modified "workaround" I LOL'd. Apple didn't patent the "look & feel" of the data tapping patent - they patented the core underlying functionality. It appears all HTC did was "disguise" the way it looks to the user while still retaining the underlying functionality. I have a feeling HTC could be facing an immediate ban shortly.

 

Anyone remember when HTC said this was a "minor feature" and easy to remove?

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post #7 of 49
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Originally Posted by Therbo View Post
This is why I'm glad software patents dont exist in Europe.

 

Without checking anything to see if this is the case, my gut reaction is that's wrong. 

Originally Posted by helia

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post #8 of 49
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Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Without checking anything to see if this is the case, my gut reaction is that's wrong. 

 

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Do_software_patents_exist_in_my_area#Europe

post #9 of 49

Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


This is the real issue. HTC already lost the data tapping patent issue. They were given time to fix the problem. If they are found to have fixed the problem, then they're OK. If, OTOH, the commission sides with Apple, then HTC is screwed and may be in contempt of court.

 

I have no idea if you're correct or not Jr, but it doesn't seem right that HTC could be held in contempt.

 

The ITC action was to prevent importation of certain HTC handsets that were deemed by an ITC judge to be infringing on specific Apple IP. Handsets were held up at US customs until that government agency could verify that HTC was no longer infringing on those particular handsets, which US Customs determined had been taken care of in accordance with the ITC order. How would HTC be in contempt?

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post #10 of 49
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Originally Posted by lamewing View Post

Okay, Apple wants to file against HTC. Okay. But an EMERGENCY filing....really?

 

It's part of the game. If HTC, Moto, Samsung etc had a patent they thought Apple was 100% violating you can bet they would do the same thing. 

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post #11 of 49
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Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple has filed its third patent infringement complaint in as many years with the U.S. International Trade Commission against rival smartphone maker HTC.
The complaint was filed on Monday against HTC's latest devices, which Apple has alleged infringe on its "data tapping" patent, according to intellectual property litigation expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. The latest complaint seeks an emergency proceeding targeting a total of 29 devices for allegedly infringing on Apple's data detectors patent....

 

I was wondering when they were going to get around to this the moment I heard about the "workaround" (which isn't actually a workaround at all). 

post #12 of 49

 

Good, so I was right. Thanks!

Originally Posted by helia

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post #13 of 49

If Tim Cook hates litigation, he must be a masochist.  

post #14 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

 

The ITC action was to prevent importation of certain HTC handsets that were deemed by an ITC judge to be infringing on specific Apple IP. Handsets were held up at US customs until that government agency could verify that HTC was no longer infringing on those particular handsets, which US Customs determined had been taken care of in accordance with the ITC order. How would HTC be in contempt?

 

but did US Customs have an expert actually go through the software or did they just flip on the phones and compare screens and since they didn't look the same decided it had been 'fixed' when in fact it had not and HTC was trying to use a sleight of hand and word play to 'fix' things. And if that is the case then yes they could be found in contempt and a ban could be put back in place until they prove 100% that they have truly modified their system bottom up and removed the infringement. 

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post #15 of 49
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Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Good, so I was right. Thanks!


Huh? I was using that link to back me up, they don't exist but some do. However they are usually invalidated if brought to court, alot of them have been invalidated recently. 

post #16 of 49
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Originally Posted by Therbo View Post

This is why I'm glad software patents dont exist in Europe.

Why, so the clear inventor of an original idea can't protect it from the rest of the industry?  

 

It's rare that there is a case like this where one party clearly invented something that no one else had thought of, that did it first, that owns all the "prior art" and that had used the idea for many years before it was even attempted to be used by others.  Why shouldn't they get the rights to it?  It's their idea.  

post #17 of 49
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Originally Posted by Therbo View Post
…they don't exist but some do. 


So they exist. Okay.

Originally Posted by helia

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Originally Posted by helia

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post #18 of 49
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Originally Posted by Therbo View Post


Huh? I was using that link to back me up, they don't exist but some do. However they are usually invalidated if brought to court, alot of them have been invalidated recently. 

 

They do exist and the EPO still issues them today.  The link you provided clearly says so.  Just because something may get invalidated at a future time does not mean it does not exist. Just because you don't like them it does not mean they don't exist.  Even though saying they don't exist makes you feel happy or even superior, they still exist.  They exist for Europe as a whole and they exist in nearly every individual European country.    

post #19 of 49
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Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

 

but did US Customs have an expert actually go through the software or did they just flip on the phones and compare screens and since they didn't look the same decided it had been 'fixed' when in fact it had not and HTC was trying to use a sleight of hand and word play to 'fix' things. And if that is the case then yes they could be found in contempt and a ban could be put back in place until they prove 100% that they have truly modified their system bottom up and removed the infringement. 

US Customs must have based their holding of the HTC hansets on something, and the only thing I can think of is the ITC order that they must have had in hand. The onus was on Customs to verify the handsets no longer infringed before allowing them into the US I would think. The ITC had ordered Customs to block imports if the infringement still existed. If anyone was in contempt it seems more like it would be US Customs. If there was any question about it wouldn't they ask the ITC? Dunno since IANAL. 

 

Perhaps Law-Talkin' Guy can give his 2 cents.

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post #20 of 49
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Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Late last month, HTC handsets that were held up at U.S. Customs began trickling in to the U.S. for customers to purchase. HTC said in an announcement that "some models" of its smartphones began arriving in America, but declined to say which models had passed inspection.

 

Oh well.  There are only a few solutions for the smart phone customs problem in Mexico:

 

1) Liquidation sale of "some models" at gift shops throughout Tijuana, or

 

2) Arson, or

 

3) All of the above.

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post #21 of 49
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Originally Posted by Therbo View Post

This is why I'm glad software patents dont exist in Europe.

If true, that would explain why the US software industry dominates.

 

(Edits in italics).

post #22 of 49

NeXT had these back in 1989. We call them Services and are integral throughout OS X. Either way, Apple is covered on all fronts with both NeXT and Apple IP.
 

post #23 of 49
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Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post

If Tim Cook hates litigation, he must be a masochist.  

I hate having to discipline my child, but it's something that I may have to occasionally do nevertheless.

post #24 of 49

uhhh, this patent was filed in 1994 i belive? Therefore, 20 years from the filing date is 2014. So in other words, a bit of legal wrangling and delaying and the patent would no longer be valid. Apple better hurry up and get a move on. 

post #25 of 49
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Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post

If Tim Cook hates litigation, he must be a masochist.  

 

This doesn't follow at all.  Sounds like you're just making a back-handed insult about his sexuality.  

post #26 of 49
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Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

This doesn't follow at all.  Sounds like you're just making a back-handed insult about his sexuality.  

huh?

 

He means if he doesn't like it, why do it?

 

How did gay get into this?

post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post
This doesn't follow at all.  Sounds like you're just making a back-handed insult about his sexuality.  

 

Ah, this isn't that kind of… I'm not talking about this stuff.

 

Don't worry, it's nothing to do with Tim Cook's sexuality, real or imagined. Masochism can exist outside that realm entirely.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

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post #28 of 49
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Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

I have no idea if you're correct or not Jr, but it doesn't seem right that HTC could be held in contempt.

The ITC action was to prevent importation of certain HTC handsets that were deemed by an ITC judge to be infringing on specific Apple IP. Handsets were held up at US customs until that government agency could verify that HTC was no longer infringing on those particular handsets, which US Customs determined had been taken care of in accordance with the ITC order. How would HTC be in contempt?

Wow. Talk about one-sided.

What really happened is that Apple sued to block importation of HTC handsets because they violated an Apple patent. ITC agreed that the patent was valid and that HTC infringed. They had every right to block the importation at that point, but instead, they said to HTC "we'll give you 4 months to remove the offending items". If HTC failed to remove the offending items, just why shouldn't they be held in contempt?

As for the rest, US customs is not the one who decides if it's infringing or not. ITC (and, ultimately, Federal court) does that. The fact that some customs inspectors let the handsets through doesn't change that. Furthermore, I don't recall seeing anywhere that Customs said the new handsets don't infringe, anyway. So where did you come up with that?
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post #29 of 49
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Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post

uhhh, this patent was filed in 1994 i belive? Therefore, 20 years from the filing date is 2014. So in other words, a bit of legal wrangling and delaying and the patent would no longer be valid. Apple better hurry up and get a move on. 

Where did you get 1994?

The patent was filed in 1996 and issued in 1999:
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5946647.html

It was somewhere around the 90's that the patent law changed. Previously, it was 17 years after issuance and it changed to 20 years after filing. Either way, this patent won't expire for 4 more years - that gives Apple plenty of useful life.
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post #30 of 49

JrAgosta, I didn't see your citation for the claim HTC could be held in contempt in your reply. Like I said earlier, I don't know if you're correct or not. Perhaps you are. A citation would be helpful but I assume your statement was meant as opinion rather than fact based on your latest reply, so there is no citation to offer. Youjust  weren't as clear as you should have been in the first post. Sometimes hard to tell if you're posting facts or opinion. No biggie.

 

 

.... Oh, and here's the citation you requested for the claim that US Customs cleared those specific HTC handsets, complying with the ITC.

Now U.S. customs has cleared both devices for entry into America and said the phones are in compliance with the ITC’s ruling. 

http://venturebeat.com/2012/05/29/evo-one-x-clear-customs/

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post #31 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

JrAgosta, I didn't see your citation for the claim HTC could be held in contempt in your reply. Like I said earlier, I don't know if you're correct or not. Perhaps you are. A citation would be helpful but I assume your statement was meant as opinion rather than fact based on your latest reply, so there is no citation to offer. Youjust  weren't as clear as you should have been in the first post. Sometimes hard to tell if you're posting facts or opinion. No biggie.

Since you obviously don't have any clue how courts or the patent system works, you really shouldn't be commenting.

1. ITC ruled that HTC was in contempt and gave them 4 months to fix it.
2. If it turns out that Apple is correct and HTC didn't correct their infringement, they are in contempt.

It's that simple. No opinion needed, just a basic understanding of how the court system works.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

.... Oh, and here's the citation you requested for the claim that US Customs cleared those specific HTC handsets, complying with the ITC.
Now U.S. customs has cleared both devices for entry into America and said the phones are in compliance with the ITC’s ruling. 

http://venturebeat.com/2012/05/29/evo-one-x-clear-customs/

Well, that's what HTC says. But even if it's true, it doesn't change the fact that it's not US Customs which rules on infringement. That's up to ITC and eventually Federal courts. If Apple is correct and HTC only made a cosmetic change (which might have fooled US Customs since they're not patent experts), then Customs erred in releasing the handsets.

If, OTOH, ITC rules that the change was sufficient, then there's not a problem - but it's not really up to Customs.
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post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Why, so the clear inventor of an original idea can't protect it from the rest of the industry?  

It's rare that there is a case like this where one party clearly invented something that no one else had thought of, that did it first, that owns all the "prior art" and that had used the idea for many years before it was even attempted to be used by others.  Why shouldn't they get the rights to it?  It's their idea.  

It's insane to protect an idea and a bit less so to protect a specific implementation of an idea. Patent law in Europe is more like the latter than the former.
If you look at it this way patent law is more like copyright and protects the hard work of the patent holder.
The Apple patent in question is totally obvious and should never be granted to them.
Who can complain about a Motif (X window) implemetation in 2012?

J.
post #33 of 49

Someone in Korea is popping a bottle of bubbly on the news... US customers should hurry up to get what is probably the best phone on the market right now (looks and features combined), or they'll have to settle with a Samsung. 

 

I wouldn't be surprised if HTC can get themselves out of a ban again, but it's unfortunate Apple takes it on the smaller guy. It seems that Apple wants Samsung to retain domination in the smartphone market by going against HTC and Motorola.

post #34 of 49
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Originally Posted by Therbo View Post


[...] they don't exist but some do. 

 

/brain cramp

post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Since you obviously don't have any clue how courts or the patent system works, you really shouldn't be commenting.
1. ITC ruled that HTC was in contempt and gave them 4 months to fix it.
2. If it turns out that Apple is correct and HTC didn't correct their infringement, they are in contempt.
It's that simple. No opinion needed, just a basic understanding of how the court system works.
Well, that's what HTC says. But even if it's true, it doesn't change the fact that it's not US Customs which rules on infringement. That's up to ITC and eventually Federal courts. If Apple is correct and HTC only made a cosmetic change (which might have fooled US Customs since they're not patent experts), then Customs erred in releasing the handsets.
If, OTOH, ITC rules that the change was sufficient, then there's not a problem - but it's not really up to Customs.

Why are you always so rude to other members? You're apparently convinced that you are smarter than the rest of us and looking down your nose at us commoners is proper behavior. I thought I've been quite polite until now but you seem incapable of basic courtesies when replying to others. I've been trying to ignore your act but it's not easy.

 

In reality we're equally qualified to comment on legal matters as far as I can see since neither of us has legal training and you have no idea what my experience with courts and/or attorneys has been. The big difference between you and me is I don't mind admitting I don't know everything and sometimes I'm even wrong. Don't be so full of yourself all the time. Conceit isn't considered a desirable character trait by most, and pompous isn't the new black.


Edited by Gatorguy - 6/6/12 at 12:59pm
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post #36 of 49
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Originally Posted by jnjnjn View Post


It's insane to protect an idea ...

 

You really don't have to say any more than just this.  

 

It paints you as a complete nutter that has the opposite view of IP to almost every artist, designer and inventor that ever lived and indicates that you probably never thought up an original idea yourself.  At least for the life of the artist/inventor, any original works or ideas should be protected.  Virtually everyone agrees with this.  No commerce of any kind can proceed without this kind of protection.  

post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnjnjn View Post

It's insane to protect an idea and a bit less so to protect a specific implementation of an idea. Patent law in Europe is more like the latter than the former.
J.

As is patent law in the U.S. You can not patent an idea in the US (or anywhere else that I know of). You can only patent an implementation of an idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Why are you always so rude to other members? You're apparently convinced that you are smarter than the rest of us and looking down your nose at us commoners is proper behavior. I thought I've been quite polite until now but you seem incapable of basic courtesies when replying to others. I've been trying to ignore your act but it's not easy.

I'm not rude, but I am willing to point out when you're babbling about things you don't understand - which just happens to be most of the time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

In reality we're equally qualified to comment on legal matters as far as I can see since neither of us has legal training and you have no idea what my experience with courts and/or attorneys has been. The big difference between you and me is I don't mind admitting I don't know everything and sometimes I'm even wrong. Don't be so full of yourself all the time. Conceit isn't considered a desirable character trait by most, and pompous isn't the new black.

Obviously, we're not equally qualified to comment on legal matters. I've run several different companies and have had to deal with legal matters for at lest 3 decades. You, OTOH, don't even have any idea of the most basic legal matters - like contempt of court.
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post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


As is patent law in the U.S. You can not patent an idea in the US (or anywhere else that I know of). You can only patent an implementation of an idea.
I'm not rude, but I am willing to point out when you're babbling about things you don't understand - which just happens to be most of the time.
Obviously, we're not equally qualified to comment on legal matters. I've run several different companies and have had to deal with legal matters for at lest 3 decades. You, OTOH, don't even have any idea of the most basic legal matters - like contempt of court

Since you're so certain you're correct, what part of the order could HTC be held in contempt of by the ITC judge?  IANAL, nor are you, but I'm still pretty darn sure you're wrong with your supposed factual statements on the possibility of HTC being found in contempt of this order by the ITC judge. 

 

As for your "three decades" running businesses, I was absolutely correct that you have no idea what my experience has been. My business management and business ownership spans more than your three decades. Still going strong too.


Edited by Gatorguy - 6/6/12 at 4:40pm
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post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Since you're so certain you're correct, what part of the order could HTC be held in contempt of by the ITC judge?  IANAL, nor are you, but I'm still pretty darn sure you're wrong with your supposed factual statements on the possibility of HTC being found in contempt of this order by the ITC judge. 

The part where HTC was ordered to redesign their product within 4 months. What part of that is too difficult for you to understand?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

As for your "three decades" running businesses, I was absolutely correct that you have no idea what my experience has been. My business management and business ownership spans more than your three decades. Still going strong too.

Sorry, but your newspaper route doesn't count.

It's clear from your posts that you don't have any clue what you're talking about when it comes to business or legal matters. Maybe Google doesn't pay you enough for you to get an education.
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post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Why, so the clear inventor of an original idea can't protect it from the rest of the industry?  

 

It's rare that there is a case like this where one party clearly invented something that no one else had thought of, that did it first, that owns all the "prior art" and that had used the idea for many years before it was even attempted to be used by others.  Why shouldn't they get the rights to it?  It's their idea.  

 

Seriously?!?

 

I have news for you, Apple did NOT invent regular expressions in programming. This patent deserves to be grouped with the likes of Amazon's "one-click" patent, and the handful of other patents that are abusive, anti-competitive, and completely void of any "invention". Fortunately for Apple, the fact that this patent is SO old makes invalidation from "prior art" extremely difficult.

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