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Apple faces new lawsuit over iPhone concept

post #1 of 49
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A little-known California company is suing Apple Inc. and satellite phone company Atlantic RT, Inc. for patent infringement after having just recently beat both firms to a new patent covering mobile entertainment and communications devices.

Los Angeles-based Minerva Industries, Inc. filed the patent infringement lawsuit in theÂ*Eastern District of Texas on Tuesday,Â*just hours after having been granted United States Patent No. 7,321,783 entitledÂ*"Mobile Entertainment and Communication Device."

The 6-page formal complaint alleges that representatives from Minerva informed Apple of their pending application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office covering iPhone concepts back in November, but that Apple "waited until approximately one week before the patent was to issue before sending prior art" in an attempt to trump the filing with one of its own.

After subsequently examining both claims, however, the patent office definitively ruled in Minerva's favor, determining the claims within its application were patentable over Apple's prior art and all other art that had been submitted to the office.

"On information and belief, Apple monitored the progress of [Minerva's Application during the continued reexamination, and became aware on or about November 20, 2007 that the Patent Office rejected its contention that the Apple Prior Art rendered the claims of [Minerva's] Application invalid and had issued a notice of allowance," Minerva's attorneys at Russ August & Kabat wrote in the suit.

"As a result of these Defendants infringement of the Â783 Patent, Minerva has suffered monetary damages in an amount not yet determined, and will continue to suffer damages in the future unless Defendants infringing activities are enjoined by this Court."

Similarly, the complaint claims, Atlantic is also liable of infringement of the '783 Patent "by, among other things, making, using, offering to sell, or selling mobile entertainment and communication devices covered by one or more claims of the Â783 Patent, including without limitation the Thuraya SG-2520."

Minerva is seeking a permanent injunction enjoining Apple and AtlanticRT from further infringement, a judgment and order requiring both firms to pay damages, attorneys fees, as well as an award of enhanced damages due to the pair's "deliberate and willful" conduct.

Minerva on Tuesday also filed two additional suits of similar nature. One targets Research In Motion and Cricket Communications, while the other names 29 defendants, including AT&T Mobility, LG, Palm, Motorola, Nokia, Alltel, Dobson Cellular, Helio, HP, MetroPCS Wireless, Sprint Spectrum, Nextel, T-Mobile USA, Tracfone Wireless, Cellco Partnership, Virgin Mobile, HTC, Kyocera Wireless, Pantech Wireless, Sanyo, Sony Ericsson, and Samsung.
post #2 of 49
there goes more of the apple stock.
post #3 of 49
Yep. Right or wrong, them's the breaks.

Just for kicks, I went to the company's website... they seem to be only interested in patenting things and suing people but not producing any products... they could get a patent on the process...

http://www.gigatec.com/index.asp

The company profile starts off by saying they hold various patents, not what they try to do as a company.

In their press release, they call Apple's product the iphone; they can't even label it correctly: iPhone. Lame. Actually, their entire site is filled with grammatical errors. They can't be bothered to make a good presentation.

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply
post #4 of 49
I'm going to put in an application for flying plug-in electric cars. That way when someone gets around to actually building the device I can sue their ass off.

You gotta love America. You can get rich suing anyone you want.

By the way I hold the patent on a mixture of 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen. I call it iAir and everyone on the planet Earth owes me royalties for BREATHING. If you don't want to pay up you can opt out by not breathing. Your choice.

The Lawyers have got to go...
post #5 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post

Just for kicks, I went to the company's website... they seem to be only interested in patenting things and suing people but not producing any products... they could get a patent on the process...

http://www.gigatec.com/index.asp

Impressive. Their website looks like it was made by Web Design 1996.
post #6 of 49
Their only product is a stupid drawing of an idea most any geek could have drawn up a few years ago about a dream device. They probably sat back, watched an episode of The Jetsons and decided to patent it. What's worse is the US patent system will actually go for crap like this.

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

Reply
post #7 of 49
They also claim to hold patents on 'the seat belt air bag system' you'd think there would be more money going after the car makers!
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
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post #8 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by golffreak_199 View Post

there goes more of the apple stock.

This is one reason, not mentioned by the CFO,
that Apple likes to keep $18B in cash, i.e. to pay
for lawsuits and settlements.
post #9 of 49
That's a LOT of companies stealing from poor Minerva!
post #10 of 49
Wow, you can open a company just patenting random crap and then sue people once they actually have a product doing it? I love this country.

Their website really does just say they 'hold patents' and nothing else. It's impressive.

I also like how their "News" and "Press Releases" just list who's suing who on patent infringements. It probably doesn't help much that you can patent just about anything out there with only a napkin sketch attached.
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post #11 of 49
I read the patent and it appears there's no match. Apple doesn't have memory sockets on their product.
post #12 of 49
A mobile entertainment and communication device in a palm-held size housing has a cellular or satellite telephone capable of wireless communication with the Internet and one or more replaceable memory card sockets for receiving a blank memory card for recording data directly from the Internet and, in particular, musical performances that then can be selectively reproduced by the device for the enjoyment of the user, including both audio and visual recordings and reproductions. The device also includes a camera and microphone for recording images and sound within the range of the device that can be wirelessly transmitted, either selectively or automatically to a remote telephone. Further, the device includes sensors for sensing unusual conditions that may also be transmitted to a remote telephone, together with the location of the device as determined by a GPS section of the device.

The above excerpt is taken from the patent office...Those items noted in Bold Italic Underline are currently not available on the iPhone...however, they are available on many other cellular phones. Apple may be able to work with this BS and put dummy corporations like this back in their place. I am so pissed at all of these idiots that try to take advantage of others advances, especially a DUMMY company that DOES NOTHING for people or products...Their whole purpose in life is to do what they are doing Go get em'!!!
post #13 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by SFC @rcher View Post

I am so pissed at all of these idiots that try to take advantage of others advances, especially a DUMMY company that DOES NOTHING for people or products...Their whole purpose in life is to do what they are doing Go get em'!!!

I think there should be something that states if you apply for a patent you should somehow prove that you will act on it. Company I work for has many patents but also a semi-working prototype that demonstrates we at least tried.
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post #14 of 49
This is no Burst. This is about as hookie a patent I've seen defended. I don't think they have a chance of winning in court, but they may know this and be just looking for the easy buyout, anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SFC @rcher View Post

The above excerpt is taken from the patent office...Those items noted in Bold Italic Underline are currently not available on the iPhone...however, they are available on many other cellular phones. Apple may be able to work with this BS and put dummy corporations like this back in their place. I am so pissed at all of these idiots that try to take advantage of others advances, especially a DUMMY company that DOES NOTHING for people or products...Their whole purpose in life is to do what they are doing Go get em'!!!

The iPhone has a microphone. It's how people hear me when I call them. Welcome to AI.
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post #15 of 49
Others have quoted the summary. That has no legal bearing. It's the claims that are sued over, and they appear to have successfully patented any device with a processor, memory, internet connection, and display capable of playing movies. I'm actually normally a fairly pro-patent guy-- I think being able to protect an R&D investment is key to innovation-- but this patent is just silly. It looks like they want to rush it through the court system before the USPTO has a chance to review it.

I'm hoping Apple fights it and puts this company next to SCO in the trash heap.
post #16 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This is no Burst. This is about as hookie a patent I've seen defended. I don't think they have a chance of winning in court, but they may know this and be just looking for the easy buyout, anyway.



The iPhone has a microphone. It's how people hear me when I call them. Welcome to AI.

Yeah...I see that, meant to also highlight the record part. Currently the iPhone is incapable of recording so that is just another small piece that is not available. Granted everything there can be upgraded by software, except for the "memory card socket" which would require iPhone 2.

I am just sick and tired of seeing lawsuit after lawsuit against major companies that seem to want to make a difference. There should be a law against these leeches that try to suck the lifeblood out of a company. If you have a product with these things that are identified in the patent and can produce it, then you have a leg to stand on...if you dont then get the FRICK out of here.

Thanks for the welcome...have not needed to post here until now! Usually on Macrumors or Apple Forums
post #17 of 49
I think this is covered by it's obvious, it's not novel and prior art.

Let me see, I have a cell phone, I have an iPod, duh it OBVIOUS, let's put them together.

This crap has got to be stopped!
post #18 of 49
Why did this company TAKE SO LONG???.. That alone is suspect. They don't deserve a dime. I hope Apple comes out with guns blazin!
post #19 of 49
Wow, when I got my first Palm Pilot back in 1997, I thought. "it sure would be a great idea to combine this thing with a cell phone". Had I known I could patent that idea and sit back and let someone else do all the work and actually create it, then sue for a billion dollars....... Instead, I just kept working and made an honest living... what WAS I THINKING! Sometimes I love this country, sometimes, not so much.... sheeesh...
post #20 of 49
I wonder if an insider at Apple is working with this company? Seriously, he or she could stand to make a lot of money if this lawsuit wins.
post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timon View Post

I think this is covered by it's obvious, it's not novel and prior art.

Let me see, I have a cell phone, I have an iPod, duh it OBVIOUS, let's put them together.

This crap has got to be stopped!

Totally agreed. I also went to read the patent and the claim was obvious, even in 2003. This company is not real and the patent is there only to exploit a loophole in patent law. The patent itself should never have been awarded.
post #22 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHawk View Post

Why did this company TAKE SO LONG???.. That alone is suspect. They don't deserve a dime. I hope Apple comes out with guns blazin!

The USPTO is quite slow too. Law moves slowly. If five years passed, then sure, they waited too long, but it's only a year since Apple introduced the item and it looks like the patent was reviewed in November.
post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by marmotton View Post

Totally agreed. I also went to read the patent and the claim was obvious, even in 2003. This company is not real and the patent is there only to exploit a loophole in patent law. The patent itself should never have been awarded.

Actually, I don't agree (although I think this patent is nonsense).

A patent is supposed to be a way of teaching - a average engineer in the field, reading the patent, is supposed to be able to make the product.

Their patent is so vague that nobody would be able to make the product in 2003. At most, it is an "idea", not an invention.
post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

The USPTO is quite slow too. Law moves slowly. If five years passed, then sure, they waited too long, but it's only a year since Apple introduced the item and it looks like the patent was reviewed in November.

as a former patent examiner, i remember hearing the story of the uncrustables patent where a reexam was launched and the examiner was basically told "this is not patentable." because lets be honest. a patent on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich? ummm, no.

Reading some of the base claims, I have to sit here and think ... you must be joking. Obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art seems like the understatement of the century. Then, the length of these claims really seems to be indicative of a problem with the original application. Claims shouldn't be this specific. Then, the ORs I've really just never seen as an examiner. lol.

But knowing how the PTO works, I must say the number of claims in this app is quite daunting to what amounts to a white collar factory worker. More than likely, this was done piecemeal overtime.

Either way. Wow.
post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnqh View Post

Actually, I don't agree (although I think this patent is nonsense).

A patent is supposed to be a way of teaching - a average engineer in the field, reading the patent, is supposed to be able to make the product.

Their patent is so vague that nobody would be able to make the product in 2003. At most, it is an "idea", not an invention.

Patents are intentionally made as vague as possible. Even the diagrams are made to include as little detail as possible, If they made them precise then any variation could be construed as a new product/invention/idea.

Should we go back to requiring a working product be submitted with the patent app? Besides not having the resources for such a feat it would then give control to those with deep pockets and shun anyone with a vision but no financial support. Our patent system was setup to protect the little guy but it's not working, at least not anymore. I hate pointing out a problem without having a potential solution in mind, but even the remotest possibility to fix our system escapes me. Maybe our legal system is what needs the most fixing. Perhaps we should charge the plaintiff all the defendants legal fees if they loss. That seems to work in the UK.
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post #26 of 49
Not only obvious, but not original. Just like the geosynchronous satellite was unpatentable because it was first described in a science fiction book by Arthur C. Clarke and thus in the public domain, this patent brings about as much (less!) to the table as your typical science fiction story. Seriously-- why can't any simple combination of technologies as described by countless science fiction novels be considered public domain? The handheld video phone... give me a break! That's been in books for decades!
post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajhill View Post

I'm going to put in an application for flying plug-in electric cars. That way when someone gets around to actually building the device I can sue their ass off.

Why flying? The way things work these days, you can still get a patent on regular electric cars.
Quote:
The Lawyers have got to go...

It has nothing to do with lawyers, the patent system itself has become badly flawed. You no longer have to implement anything. The descriptions themselves are vague enough that they could mean anything. I could probably patent the idea of a "mobile" record player (assuming nobody else has done it yet), just by saying well it's like a record player but it's portable. Brilliant! You get a patent.
post #28 of 49
Yes, there is a small problem with the patenting system...however, the patent trolls (like this company) aren't innocent. Even if the system allows exploitation, those who exploit it are culpable, even if 'only' morally...
post #29 of 49
Yeah, this is one of those patent speculator companies, I think, that technology companies want to get put out of business in the States - as most people have already said, all they do is buy patents and sue companies. The tech compannies were trying to get some patent reform done, but companies in other areas wer worried about the reform legislation.
post #30 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Patents are intentionally made as vague as possible. Even the diagrams are made to include as little detail as possible, If they made them precise then any variation could be construed as a new product/invention/idea.
.

That's not true.

The CLAIMS are as vague as possible. The description must be specific enough for an average person in trade to reproduce.
post #31 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoboomafoo View Post

as a former patent examiner, i remember hearing the story of the uncrustables patent where a reexam was launched and the examiner was basically told "this is not patentable." because lets be honest. a patent on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich? ummm, no.

Reading some of the base claims, I have to sit here and think ... you must be joking. Obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art seems like the understatement of the century. Then, the length of these claims really seems to be indicative of a problem with the original application. Claims shouldn't be this specific. Then, the ORs I've really just never seen as an examiner. lol.

But knowing how the PTO works, I must say the number of claims in this app is quite daunting to what amounts to a white collar factory worker. More than likely, this was done piecemeal overtime.

Either way. Wow.

We'll be seeking more of your professional opinions since someone sues Apple every other week with a suspect infringement claim.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post

Yeah, this is one of those patent speculator companies, I think, that technology companies want to get put out of business in the States - as most people have already said, all they do is buy patents and sue companies. The tech compannies were trying to get some patent reform done, but companies in other areas wer worried about the reform legislation.

Soon not only all manufacturing but all engineering will go to China where no one really seems to care about patents or copying things as they see fit.
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post #33 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by polvadis View Post

Soon not only all manufacturing but all engineering will go to China were no one really seems to care about patents or copying things as they see fit.

If the pattern of history continues, China will probably care once they're a considerable power in research and creativity. Then patents and copyrights will become a concern. On the whole, it's not in their interests right now to bother with it.
post #34 of 49
I love how they have the CEO's "latest message" and it was from 2006.

"It is my hope to declare the year 2006 with you as the year of great harvest...."
post #35 of 49
Quote:
You are visitor number 25057 since 8/29/2001.

How many of those visits were from people linking to them from Apple related websites?! My personal home page gets more hits than them!

Bunch of parasites.
post #36 of 49
Continued legal foolishness such as this only continues to prove to the world that Americans are the single most dull-witted people on the face of the earth. For a people to willingly allow this to continue without any active measures in place to improve the system is certainly not evidence of wisdom, nor an expression of freedom, nor protection of the weak. America willingly allows lawyers and the courts to be its taskmasters, empowering deceivers and thieves and the slothful to gain the upper hand. Can any such nation expect true prosperity in the long term? This is not simply a problem for Apple. It's a national problem that speaks of the intelligence and moral fiber of every American.
post #37 of 49
So this patent basically covers almost every cell phone sold in that past five years...a communications device with a memory card slot that can display photos and videos. My three year old moto e815 can do all that. And my 5 year old moto v551 has it all except the memory card slot (also absent from the iPhone). That predates their patent application. Sure, the iPhone does it prettier with better web browsing and email functionality, etc. But it's all the same functions when it comes right down to it.

Additionally, any patent infringement lawsuit filed in "the Eastern District of Texas" should automatically be dismissed as frivolous. The only reason for a California company to file a lawsuit against another California company in a court in Texas is because they know their case doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell without the well known bias of that particular court. Apple should open a branch legal office there. It would save them thousands of dollars in travel expenses every year not having to send their lawyers to defend against all the stupid lawsuits that get filed there.
post #38 of 49
Patents are a joke. Anyone can file patent about anything and they can be so general. They should establish a rule that you should have an actual product line for your patented device/whatever or your patent will be taken away. They should also stop software patents.
post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

Continued legal foolishness such as this only continues to prove to the world that Americans are the single most dull-witted people on the face of the earth. For a people to willingly allow this to continue without any active measures in place to improve the system is certainly not evidence of wisdom, nor an expression of freedom, nor protection of the weak. America willingly allows lawyers and the courts to be its taskmasters, empowering deceivers and thieves and the slothful to gain the upper hand. Can any such nation expect true prosperity in the long term? This is not simply a problem for Apple. It's a national problem that speaks of the intelligence and moral fiber of every American.

Actually, the reason we don;t have any restrictions is that Patent hawks like these people won't elect people to office who can get this done.
post #40 of 49
It really irritates me that these so-called technology companies can go out, get a patient on something, and never do anything with it. Take for instance, this company. When you go under their products section, it shows what looks like the new workings for a Sony Ericcson phone. If that is the case, do they hold all the patients on the design concept of the phone? I find this hard to beleive.

I think what really is happening here is that this company sees where it can make it's money. By suing the pants of larger companies like Apple, Sony, Sprint, AT&T and so forth because it see that they have the corner market in a technology that they have invested time and money in, yet are to chicken to put that patient to use.

The idea of technology is to advance how we communicate. If people here in the good old U.S.A keep suing eachother for no reason, so much for the 21 centry technology boom. We might as well go back to the 19th century and live like they did.
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