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Apple hit with video encoding and iPhone battery lawsuits

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
A new complaint charges Apple, Inc. and a slew of other computer makers with violating a patent on encoding video to disk. Also, yet another lawsuit has been filed against the company accusing it of misleading customers about the costs of replacing the iPhone's battery.

MedioStream sues over video encoding patent

Filed last Tuesday in a Marshall, Texas district court known to side with plaintiffs in patent disputes, a seven-page suit from California-based MedioStream charges Apple as well as Acer, Dell, and Gateway with treading on a 2006 patent for a "method and system for direct recording of video information onto a disk medium."

In each case, the production of Apple's entire computer line -- including its "Mini Macs" -- is purportedly by itself a violation of the patent, which describes a simple process of accepting uncompress video, applying the user's preferred resizing and compression methods, and generating a resulting digital video stream that fits a particular TV standard. The remaining system designers are equally accused, though the software needed to perform the encoding isn't mentioned in the complaint.

MedioStream's attorneys in both California and Texas allege that the sale of any of these computers has caused damage to their client's business and that a jury trial is needed to bar the PC builders from further infringement as well as to demand compensation for perceived damages.

Third lawsuit arises over iPhone battery replacements

In what may be the clear sign of an emerging trend, a second suit filed this past Wednesday in California's northern district alleges that Apple and AT&T knowingly withheld information about the iPhone's true battery replacement costs until after the June 29th launch, effectively misleading some customers into buying the device when they would have otherwise refrained.

Similar to the circumstances surrounding the first and second complaints filed in recent weeks, the plaintiffs Mr. and Mrs. Stiener cite unverified claims that the battery in the iPhone will only last for 300 cycles before exhausting completely, allegedly requiring a yearly Apple battery replacement that would cost as much as $115 as well as the time necessary to wait for a replacement.

By not placing a warning about this apparent limitation in its promotional materials or on the packaging of the iPhone, Apple and AT&T were said to have been guilty of breaching both good faith and the California Commercial Code, which demands that manufacturers in the state honestly reflect how their products will perform in real-world conditions. The two companies responsible for the iPhone and its service meant to defraud customers, the Stieners said.

Written by the law firms Hoffman & Lazear as well as Folkenflik & McGerity, both of which were responsible for a similar suit in mid-August, the nine-page argument is considered a class action suit and would have Apple and AT&T pay restitution to any affected customer in California.
post #2 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

MedioStream's attorneys in both California and Texas allege that the sale of any of these computers has caused damage to their client's business and that a jury trial is needed to bar the PC builders from further infringement as well as to demand compensation for perceived damages.

oh my jesus.
post #3 of 31
There ought to be a law against such frivolous avaricious lawsuits. The judge ought to award damages to apple for this one.
post #4 of 31
what a waste of money... can't these companies make a living with NORMAL business practises?
post #5 of 31
Here is how the settlement will go...

Settle for 1,000,000 dollars, of which 700,000 is for legal fees. That gives 300,000 for parties that were wronged, minus 100,000 for distribution = 15$ iTunes gift card for everyone

Shakespeare was right
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post #6 of 31
Will this kind of fscking sh*t never cease? Let this be a lesson to businesses one and all: NEVER, EVER innovate and (heaven forbid!) be successful in the attempt. It's times like these when I'm ashamed to be an American.
post #7 of 31
I'm tired of this stupid crap. Can't AI just report relevant stuff instead of trivial crap like this that has nothing whatever to do with Apple's products, future products, etc.?
post #8 of 31
I don't know which is harder to believe: that MedioStream got a patent for what they "invented", or that there is yet another "I was too stupid to ask about the battery before I bought the iPhone, and now I want my money back (oh, but can I also keep the iPhone please?)" lawsuit.
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post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...MedioStream charges Apple....with treading on a 2006 patent for a "method and system for direct recording of video information onto a disk medium."

Oh please! I remember using QuickTime 1.0 back in 1991 or 1992 and a SuperMac VideoSpigot video capture card to record video directly to disk. Computers have been doing video for quite a long time now. Either the patent office hasn't used a computer before or the MedioStream people are really naive. Maybe they're just greedy.

As a commercial software developer myself, I'm torn between both sides of the software patent issue. It's examples like these, however that make me want to scrap software patents altogether.

And what do Dell, Gateway and Acer have to do with this issue? As far as I know they haven't invented any systems or hardware specifically to record video. They just bundle other company's solutions.

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post #10 of 31
The biggest problem with capital punishment is that it's never applied to the lawyers.
post #11 of 31
What I don't get is why the people sueing think that the battery drops dead after a certain number of charge cycles. Yes, it will not go to full capacity, but it will still hold %80 of the charge after 400 full charge cycles. I am willing to bet that the people who buy this phone will not fully drain the battery every day from the date of purcahse until the battery drops to %80 of the charge.

80 percent is not even that bad. According to the apple battery for iPhone site (sidebar), that would give 6.4 hours of straight talk time. I think that this is more than reasonable. Futhermore, has already been a precident set for apple to use non-replacable (liIon) batteries. It is common knowledge that these batteries lose thier charge. iPods use these batteries, and they have been around for long enough for people to get the message that these are irreplaceble (normally by the user.

I know that the iPhone battery is harder to replace than in the iPod, and that poses a problem for DIY at home replacement kits. The fact of the matter is that the charge information is written on the box. You do not have to purchase the device to find the information. It is also available online (Hey, I found it!).

All of these lawsuits are just shoddy attempts to turn a proffit. They have no real standing. I BS. Who is with me?
post #12 of 31
This is the Neo Software isn't?
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinitaBoy View Post

Will this kind of fscking sh*t never cease? ...

Haha. I read that as File system checking shit. Hoorah for computer geeks!
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post #14 of 31
I don't understand how an individual can get SO upset over a frikin battery! If you don't like the phone, return it. I didn't feel mislead when I baught my iPhone, I took one look at it and thought to myself, "that battery won't last". But I will be buying generation 2 by the time that happens.
I just had to stop and try to picture what type of person would do this! I currently don't know anyone dumb enough & hope I never have the misfortune of crossing paths with this individual.
Hell, even my wife knew this and she's not as familar with electronics.
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post #15 of 31
where are the people in this thread when Apple files one of their ridiculous patents?
post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

where are the people in this thread when Apple files one of their ridiculous patents?

They are pretty quiet when it comes to FILING. They only complain when Apple tries to USE a patent to wring patent infringement money out of another company for fictitious reasons.

It just so happens that Apple doesn't do a whole lot of that The reverse is much more of a trend.
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

where are the people in this thread when Apple files one of their ridiculous patents?

You will note that I said that I couldn't believe that MedioStream got a patent, not that they'd applied for one. The problem is that the system is totally broken, but if you are a technology company you simply cannot afford to take some kind of principled stand and apply only for patents that have genuine merit. Given that the patent office in the U.S. seemingly now awards patents for anything, whether innovative or not, it is vital to apply for patents to prevent others being awarded them instead of you.

There are plenty of things that I don't think Apple should be awarded patents for. I'm sure that most of the patents they've been given for the iPhone aren't warranted. The iPhone probably has a few (as opposed to hundreds) genuinely innovative ideas, the rest is just a high standard of engineering and shouldn't be patentable. However, as I said, I can't blame Apple for applying for those patents.
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post #18 of 31
We need patent reform very badly in this country.

Businesses suing over retarded patents aren't the big problem, they're just a symptom. The problem is that the system for determining if a patent is obvious or useful or valid is broken, and millions of patents are rewarded for things that are obvious.

This forces companies to grab up as many patents as they can, valid or not, to protect their business interests, and for some, to sue over to provide their entire revenue.

And on the battery issue, the people using are, again, idiots, and I think they pulled the 300 cycle lifespan out of their asses. That said, Apple has no excuse for not offering user-replaceable batteries this time. Why? Because, unlike the iPods with their solid metal back, the iPhone has a two part rear case that would allow them to design it so it slides open to replace the battery, just like every other damn phone. Hopefully this will be added in the next revision.
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinitaBoy View Post

Will this kind of fscking sh*t never cease? Let this be a lesson to businesses one and all: NEVER, EVER innovate and (heaven forbid!) be successful in the attempt. It's times like these when I'm ashamed to be an American.

No, likely not. And, if you are truly ashamed to be an American at a "time like this" (horrible times, right...patent issues and iPhone battery lawsuits being the largest travesty faced...or caused...by our country), then do something about it, instead of ranting in a forum like this. It is obvious that you have never really dealt with patent lawsuits, or issues related to them. Otherwise, you would realize your second sentence is ridiculous.
post #20 of 31
um, okay there's something no one has pointed out yet on this thread:

who cares. new ipods in just a few hours.
post #21 of 31
Alright, I am as sick of lawsuits like this as the next person and, unlike many, have been personally involved when another company sued mine for alleged infringement (false, of course), but until there are some real deterrents to filing, they will continue.

Solution: I propose physical, rather than punitive, damages. That is, if you sue me over alleged patent infringement and the suit is found to be without merit, I get to kick you in the ding ding and/or poke you in the eye with a sharpened stick for being such a chode-muncher.

In the case of corporations suing other corporations, officers/boards of directors must step up to take the required punishment publicly.

I invite your questions or comments, just beware the consequences.
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by appletweak View Post

I invite your questions or comments, just beware the consequences.

I agree wholeheartedly. You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I proposed public beheading as a viable punishment for frivolous lawsuits.
post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrightm View Post

...then do something about it, instead of ranting in a forum like this....

I'm not trying to start a political debate here.. but what exactly can anyone do. Call me a "half-empty" kind of person, but I think a lot of people's frustration comes from the reality that the problems are bigger than anyone can fix... no legislation, no more laws (please god no more laws), and no "representative" will ever or could ever do anything to stop this insanity (and by this insanity - I really am referring to the whole picture, not just lawsuits against Apple).

Also, I think a forum meant for people to discuss things openly...
post #24 of 31
OMFG That patent from Mediostream is amazing . How on earth does something like that get granted? I work as a software engineer for a company that creates video surveillance / recording equipment and so was interested to see what they could possibly have breached and spent a bit of time looking through the patent (proudly linked too from the Medio site as "groundbreaking efforts in computer science")...

Essentially all the document does is describe the operation of a codec. It's a process for decoding an encoded video stream (and this can be pretty much ANY stream as they've listed just about anything you can think of - DVD / VCD / WMV / AVI / RealPlayer / RGB / YUV / Analogue video... everything) and re-encoding to a supplied standard (e.g. TV format, AVI format, MPEG format... again everything under the sun.

There's no specifics, it covers just about everything... oh as long as it doesn't create an intermediate file in the process*. As I see it, this would cover everything from your DVD player (the conversion from DVD format to RGB output, say) to your TiVo, to any video recording solutions on the market.

"This important patent has many applications in today's world and is a testament to the vision and skill of our technical staff"

How do they get off with this crap? How can a patent like that be granted when there's so much prior art you can't walk into an electrical superstore without seeing an implementation of it?

breath deeply ... and relax....

* although the patent is specifically titled to imply recording to a disk medium, the first paragraph of the background states:
"But it would be recognized that the invention has a much broader range of applicability. For example, the invention can be applied to a variety of formats and information including audio information for a variety of applications such as fixed files, streaming video, captured streaming video and/or audio, any combination of these, and the like." so the intention isn't simply to output to files, streams are mentioned. I'm not sure from if this is part of the uses covered by the patent - I would really hope not!
post #25 of 31
I bought my HD Video Recorder in 2004 and that records to a "Disk Medium" so whoever granted such a patent must be living in a very remote area of the mountains.

Whats next ? A patent for a "method or system of conveying messages and annotations from one point to another in next to no time at all"
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by S10 View Post

what a waste of money... can't these companies make a living with NORMAL business practises?

I think they take the money from marketing. It's clearly a way to get "free" publicity. I've now been to MedioStream's homepage to learn what they're doing. DVD software for Windows, (no software screenshots). I never would have checked them out if it wasn't for this lawsuit.. so I guess it kind of works... it's bad though...
post #27 of 31
It'll never hold in court.

There are billions of examples of prior art and MedioStream will lose their patent and will be put on close scrutiny on following patents. Good thing too because companies that do this don't actually contribute anything to the world and are just out there to slow or stop companies that do contribute things to the world.
post #28 of 31
Another lawsuit about something that hasn't happened (battery will be dead in a year).

They can predict the future!

I predict they will lose.

And today is NEW IPOD DAY!
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

By not placing a warning about this apparent limitation in its promotional materials or on the packaging of the iPhone, Apple and AT&T were said to have been guilty of breaching both good faith and the California Commercial Code, which demands that manufacturers in the state honestly reflect how their products will perform in real-world conditions. The two companies responsible for the iPhone and its service meant to defraud customers, the Stieners said.

It's on the package. What a bunch if lawyers. (Sorry for the foul language.)
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post

It'll never hold in court.

The court isn't there to decide on the validity of the patent, it's there to decide whether it was infringed.

However as the Mac Mini was released in 2005, and this patent was 2006, so how can the Mac Mini infringe? It's ridiculous, and I'm sure the court will see that.
post #31 of 31
Well, actually, there are a few:

1. Patents no longer require "proof-of-concept", meaning you can write it up without actually having done it.

2. Horrid review process: As one reader pointed out, they had been doing at home, through the use of readily available hardware and software, exactly what this patent claims. In legalese, this is called "Prior Art."

Odds are Apples attourneys aren't worrid about this lawsuit at all; they'll just bury the plaintiff in reams of prior art. like:

TIVO
Hauppage WinTV
Perception DVR/PVR
Windows Media Mobile
Palm Media Player
ATI TV Wonder...

And the list goes on.

As for the battery life...duh. If you're retarded enough to buy a phone and not notice, after giving it the once over, that the battery is not removable, please take this glass of STFU.
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