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Apple sued over mobile Safari as email retention policy questioned

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Apple is facing a new lawsuit over the iPhone's Safari web browser just as the company's lax policy on employee email retention is brought into question regarding a separate suit.

EMG Technology, LLC on Monday filed a formal complaint in the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler Division) accusing Apple of patent violation through "the way the iPhone navigates the Internet."

The suit comes a little more than a month after EMG was granted the rights to U.S. patent No. 7,441,196 titled "Apparatus and method of manipulating a region on a wireless device screen for viewing, zooming and scrolling internet content."

Los Angeles-based real estate developer Elliot Gottfurcht is listed as one of the patent's investors. As the lone managing member of EMG, he's retained the services of JMBM's Stanley Gibson, one of the lead trial attorneys who won a $1.35 billion payment in the patent infringement case against medical technology firm Medtronic.

A copy of EMG's suit was not available as of press time, though Gibson claims the patent in question covers "the display of Internet content reformatted from HTML to XML on mobile devices -- the industry standard currently displayed by the iPhone."

Additional patent claims in the suit, which seeks unspecified damages, include technology for manipulating a region of the screen for zooming and scrolling, Gibson said.

Meanwhile, the Standard is taking Apple to task for its employee email retention policy, or lack thereof. The publication reports that a recent filing in the Psystar vs Apple antitrust case reveals that Apple employees are responsible for maintaining their own documents such as emails, memos, and voicemails.

"In other words, there is no company-wide policy for archiving, saving, or deleting these documents," the Standard said. "This could pose a problem in the event of a lawsuit. In recent years, companies have been fined millions after failing to retrieve old emails and other files required as evidence."

The report goes on to cite an e-discovery lawyer who says Apple's lack of "organization or coordination" in regards to its employee email retention policy essentially makes it "incapable of compliance" with legal requirements surrounding document retention.
post #2 of 27
If you have a vague patent you should be required to do something more specific with it within a certain amount of time or loose it.
post #3 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

EMG Technology, LLC on Monday filed a formal complaint in the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler Division) accusing Apple of patent violation through "the way the iPhone navigates the Internet."

The suit comes a little more than a month after EMG was granted the rights to U.S. patent No. 7,441,196 titled "Apparatus and method of manipulating a region on a wireless device screen for viewing, zooming and scrolling internet content."

This doesn't say when the patent was submitted, but the iPhone was demonstrated in January of 2007 and has been for sale since the summer of 2007. Unless the patent was submitted in early 2006, I doubt that Apple saw the patent when it was pending and copied it.

Oh well... I guess we'll see how this plays out.

Edit: I found the link to the patent here. It says that the patent was applied for on March 13, 2006. I guess this company could have some merit.
post #4 of 27
Apple seems to be sued often, first pystar, now they have to turn around and fight this...

this patent is sort of vague, it seems to me all it is is basically having special websites for mobile phones that are easier to load, and also zooming and scrolling.
post #5 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by themoonisdown09 View Post

Edit: I found the link to the patent here. It says that the patent was applied for on March 13, 2006. I guess this company could have some merit.

"A method of navigating the Internet, comprising: displaying on-line content accessed via the Internet, the on-line content reformatted from a webpage in a hypertext markup language (HTML) format into an extensible markup language (XML) format to generate a sister site, the sister site including a portion or a whole of content of the web page reformatted to be displayed and navigable through a simplified navigation interface"

Erm, has anyone on the plaintiff's team actually used an iPhone?

IANAL, but this patent appears to describe a slicing service, whereby you visit a proxy site that divides up the web page you want to see into smaller chunks. How exactly this patent applies to any of Safari's inventions... which involve the site itself, no sister site, and no slicing... well, my soul would weep if the court found in the plaintiff's favor on this.
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post #6 of 27
The patent filing is important because even before the iPhone, there were other handheld players with internet browsers. Both Palm and MS CE (WinMobile) both had browsers too.

It's really a shame that someone can get a patent for obvious functions. I'm really waiting for someone to patent breathing as a "Method of extracting oxygen for internal bio-processing and energy production".
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I'm really waiting for someone to patent breathing as a "Method of extracting oxygen for internal bio-processing and energy production".



...or that other activity to which filing this lawsuit compares, which I am thinking of patenting as the "bulls' method of dispensing solid waste from internal bio-processing and energy consumption."
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by themoonisdown09 View Post

This doesn't say when the patent was submitted, but the iPhone was demonstrated in January of 2007 and has been for sale since the summer of 2007. Unless the patent was submitted in early 2006, I doubt that Apple saw the patent when it was pending and copied it.

Oh well... I guess we'll see how this plays out.

Edit: I found the link to the patent here. It says that the patent was applied for on March 13, 2006. I guess this company could have some merit.

If the plaintiff feels they have to file in the Eastern District of Texas, I really don't think they have much credibility.

I can't even find their web site, filter out all the hits with the Apple lawsuit story and it's either to other companies in unrelated fields or a dead web site: http://emgtechnology.com/

This is the entirety of that web page:
<html>
<head>
<title></title>
</head>
<body>

</body>
</html>

They had something, taken down only five days ago:

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:...ient=firefox-a
post #9 of 27
As the saying goes:

I got five people hatin' on me today, if I don't have ten people hatin' on me next week then I haven't progressed.
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

If the plaintiff feels they have to file in the Eastern District of Texas, I really don't think they have much credibility.

Doesn't mean they won't get a favorable ruling. Can't anything be done about this? Who's even accountable to "fix" it?

Edit: Think of emg's webpage when you read this passage "...while the plaintiff license-holder may have few or no documents worth discovering."
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by stompy View Post

Doesn't mean they won't get a favorable ruling. Can't anything be done about this? Who's even accountable to "fix" it?

That's my point, the run of the mill patent troll tries to file from that district because it increases their likelihood of a favorable ruling.
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ALBIM View Post

Apple seems to be sued often, first pystar, now they have to turn around and fight this...

this patent is sort of vague, it seems to me all it is is basically having special websites for mobile phones that are easier to load, and also zooming and scrolling.

We just hear about Apple getting sued because we're attuned to Apple news. All large companies get sued every day whether it's over patents, copyrights, or liability issues. Because Apple is renowned for its innovation it's a good target for every swinging dick who thinks they thought of something first. Lawyers make laws for other lawyers to make money off of. Most politicians are lawyers. Almost all judges are lawyers. It's a mutual profit society. Justice and common sense have nothing to do with anything. Apple will most likely end up paying a few million to the lawyers to make this go away. That's how things work the good old USA.
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

That's my point, the run of the mill patent troll tries to file from that district because it increases their likelihood of a favorable ruling.

Right, I'm in complete agreement, just adding another reference about how little the plaintiff has to lose.

Big business for little Texas town, wish it would come to an end. Funny... the lawyer in the article's picture comes up a lot in these stories.
post #14 of 27
At press time? Really? Where can I find this print edition of AppleInsider?
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahruman View Post

At press time? Really? Where can I find this print edition of AppleInsider?

We live in a digital age that still has hold-overs from the earlier dark ages. Press time means when the article was to be posted, ad there may be some internal deadline that we are unaware of.

Nothing to worry about.

 

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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."

 

 

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post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The suit comes a little more than a month after EMG was granted the rights to U.S. patent No. 7,441,196 titled "Apparatus and method of manipulating a region on a wireless device screen for viewing, zooming and scrolling internet content."

So if EMG filed for the Patent on March 13, 2006 and was granted the patent October 2008 or a little over 2 1/2 years after filing AND Apple intro'd the iPhone in January 2007 and Steve Jobs said it had been in the works for 2 years and Jobs said that "boy have we patented it" which would make Apple's patent requests range from January 2005 to December 2006 and if it takes similar 2 1/2 + years from patent request to patent approval which would give Apple until July 2009, is it not possible a similar patent request is floating around the Patent office awaiting approval? And if Apple is granted a Patent for its technology similar to EMG, could Apple then file a countersuit?

(apologies for the long winded, poorly structured sentence)

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #17 of 27
I guess I am so completely out of the loop when it comes to big corporate rules. I only sporadically save email at my work, Just like I didn't save every paper memo and letter before electronic comms. Of course I have not ever really worked for a large corporation either. Wow, what a bunch of crap to have to deal with.
post #18 of 27
Only in America someone named "Gottfurcht" (literally "Godphobia", but in this case means that he honors God) can be taken seriously....
Now running on a 20" aluminium iMac (Fall 2008), as well as a Macboook Pro 13" (mid 2009) and an iPhone.
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Now running on a 20" aluminium iMac (Fall 2008), as well as a Macboook Pro 13" (mid 2009) and an iPhone.
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post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by themoonisdown09 View Post

I found the link to the patent here. It says that the patent was applied for on March 13, 2006. I guess this company could have some merit.

However, the patent wouldn't have been published (i.e. viewable by the public) until around September 2007, so I don't see how Apple could have copied it.
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by thornrag View Post

IANAL, but this patent appears to describe a slicing service, whereby you visit a proxy site that divides up the web page you want to see into smaller chunks. How exactly this patent applies to any of Safari's inventions...

This sounds an awful lot like how WAP browsers worked, back in 1998, and how Opera Mini worked, back in 2005 (before EMG's patent filing).
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by tawilson View Post

However, the patent wouldn't have been published (i.e. viewable by the public) until around September 2007, so I don't see how Apple could have copied it.

Infringement can't be said to have occurred until after a patent is issued, but it could still be infringement even if Apple had never heard of the patent, patent-holder, or any ideas derived from them until the lawsuit. If the patent is valid, Apple continuing to market the technology is infringing on the patent nonetheless.

However, what's described does seem to be a quite a bit different process from what mobile safari does. This patent is for techniques more complicated than just navigating a web browser on a handheld device.
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by rasnet View Post

Infringement can't be said to have occurred until after a patent is issued, but it could still be infringement even if Apple had never heard of the patent, patent-holder, or any ideas derived from them until the lawsuit. If the patent is valid, Apple continuing to market the technology is infringing on the patent nonetheless.

However, what's described does seem to be a quite a bit different process from what mobile safari does. This patent is for techniques more complicated than just navigating a web browser on a handheld device.


The patent is absurd. XML isnt a display language. Websites may, or may not, convert HTML to xml for mobiles , other devices or applications to read the data ( i.e. RSS readers) but not only is that nothing to do with how mobile phones ( even simple ones) operate - it is clearly prior art so this patent should never have been issued. And the iPhone clearly uses Safari to browse full websites - the very fact that Apple has been targeted when it has a full browser shows the absurdity of this claim, the patent holder ( absent prior art) might have had a claim against WAP phones but not the iPhone.

These idiots have to be stopped. Frivolous patent claims should be penalized with a fine - up to a million dollars - if the patent is deemed to be useless if used to sue in court ( before that we should allow patents to be granted provisionally until tested in court to allow innovation, but we need to stop frivolous lawsuits).

anyway Apple legal should be able to take this one on. Companies like Apple and others need to lobby government a bit more to change laws to make these cases more difficult.
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post #23 of 27
Agreed. And remember patents are not a file first and win forever thing. All the sued company has to do is show prior art and the patent becomes invalid because it is no longer advancing the art, just documenting where the art was previously advanced by someone else.
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post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by tawilson View Post

This sounds an awful lot like how WAP browsers worked, back in 1998, and how Opera Mini worked, back in 2005 (before EMG's patent filing).

Sounds pretty similar to stuff I described in a whitepaper submitted to one of the early WWW conferences: http://www.cs.kent.ac.uk/pubs/1995/57/index.html (which Palm then went on to describe in a presentation of their own in 2000)
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by themoonisdown09 View Post

This doesn't say when the patent was submitted, but the iPhone was demonstrated in January of 2007 and has been for sale since the summer of 2007. Unless the patent was submitted in early 2006, I doubt that Apple saw the patent when it was pending and copied it.

Oh well... I guess we'll see how this plays out.

Edit: I found the link to the patent here. It says that the patent was applied for on March 13, 2006. I guess this company could have some merit.

yes but these days it has been decided by the courts that patents need to be specific. you can't patent 'have a way to zoom websites on a mobile phone to make them easy to read'.

you can however patent "use of a two finger stretch and pinch movement on a touchscreen based mobile device to zoom and shrink content' because that is specific.

so the validity will depend on what exactly the patent covers technology wise.
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by thornrag View Post

"A method of navigating the Internet, comprising: displaying on-line content accessed via the Internet, the on-line content reformatted from a webpage in a hypertext markup language (HTML) format into an extensible markup language (XML) format to generate a sister site, the sister site including a portion or a whole of content of the web page reformatted to be displayed and navigable through a simplified navigation interface"
.


which begs the question, who is doing this remarking. seems to me that by copyright laws, it would have to be the peeps that originally created the content. add to this that most pages on an iphone aren't 'iphone friendly' and clearly apple isn't touching them.

so the lawsuits should be on the folks creating the content.

although I thought that the whole html/xml was more of a public domain/open source gig so folks can use them as wanted and folks have been creating versions of sites chosen by detecting OS, browser etc for years. way before EMG and the mobile phone. how is this any different.
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by themoonisdown09 View Post

It says that the patent was applied for on March 13, 2006. I guess this company could have some merit.


keep in mind however that before the iphone was the Newton project which was in the mid 90s. and apple continued some if not all of the patents from that project. so they might have patents dating before this March 2006 filing date.
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