As world's most-sued tech company, Apple is forced to 'lawyer up'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple, the most-sued technology company in the world since after the iPhone was released, is stocking up on lawyers for patent battles with rivals Nokia, HTC and Motorola.



According to Businessweek, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs is recruiting lawyers who have experience fighting for and against some of the world's largest technology companies. The legal battle is seen as an effort to stop Android, the competing mobile operating system from search giant Google.



"Apple has hired some of the nation's top patent lawyers as outside counsel," authors Adam Satariano and Susan Decker wrote. "They include Ropert Krupka of Kirkland & Ellis, who negotiated a 2005 settlement in which Apple agreed to pay $100 million to Creative Technology Ltd., maker of the Zen music player; William Lee WilmerHale in Boston, who successfully represented Broadcom Corp in its fight against Qualcomm; and Matt powers of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, who successfully defended the patent on Merck & Co.'s biggest product, the $4.7 billion-a-year asthma drug Singulair."



Apple's legal efforts are led by Bruce Sewell, the company's general counsel. It also added Noreen Krall, former chief intellectual property counsel for Sun Microsystems and IBM, as an in-house attorney this year.



The report also noted that Apple has been the most-sued technology company since 2008, a year after the iPhone hit the market, according to LegalMetric Inc.



Apple has been bombarded with lawsuits in recent years, facing 27 new patent infringement suits filed in 2009 alone. Apple has said that responding to those claims, regardless of merit, consumes "significant time and expense."



Apple and Nokia are engaged in a mutual legal battle in which each company has accused the other of patent infringement. Apple has argued that Nokia has infringed on 13 patents related to a variety of technologies, including graphical user interface and booting of a handset, while Nokia has accused Apple of 10 patent violations.



Apple is also engaged in lawsuits with Motorola and HTC, two hardware makers that create handsets running the Google Android operating system. Those complaints have largely been viewed as an Apple versus Android battle.



"We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it," Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said in a comment after the HTC suit was filed. "We've decided to do something about it."
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    If you cant innovate, litigate
  • Reply 2 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zindako View Post


    If you cant innovate, litigate



    Agreed.



    This is a really sad affair, as I think Android has become a pretty spectaular platform overall. While Apple might offer the most stable platform, they sure could learn a few things by emulating some of its functions (notifications, namely).



    Not that it's so simple, but Apple should do as it's always done: beat the competition by simply being better.
  • Reply 3 of 66
    nhtnht Posts: 4,054member
    Heh...if Apple can get enough of the top firms on board that should be pretty amusing from the perspective of locking up a big chunk of top talent to work on existing Apple litigation and unavailable to someone else wanting to sue Apple...
  • Reply 4 of 66
    Well it's not like they can't afford to "lawyer up" with over 50 billion in the bank just sitting there waiting to be used.
  • Reply 5 of 66
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Great time to be a tech lawyer. The more innovation the more litigation.
  • Reply 6 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sacrilegend View Post


    Agreed.



    This is a really sad affair, as I think Android has become a pretty spectaular platform overall. While Apple might offer the most stable platform, they sure could learn a few things by emulating some of its functions (notifications, namely).



    Not that it's so simple, but Apple should do as it's always done: beat the competition by simply being better.



    Clearly you ignore the 27 lawsuits against Apple, which includes MOTO, HTC and NOKIA regarding Android.



    GOOGLE is in a world of hurt with Oracle and it knows it. It's hardware partners are flanking it against Apple [in a futile effort] but they can't help them against Oracle.



    Oh and guess what? Larry Ellison cannot stand Eric Schmidt. He never could at SUN nor at NOVELL.
  • Reply 7 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sacrilegend View Post


    Agreed.



    This is a really sad affair, as I think Android has become a pretty spectaular platform overall. While Apple might offer the most stable platform, they sure could learn a few things by emulating some of its functions (notifications, namely).



    Not that it's so simple, but Apple should do as it's always done: beat the competition by simply being better.



    A competitor steals your innovations for use in a competing product and you should do nothing.



    Excellent point, sir.
  • Reply 8 of 66
    benicebenice Posts: 382member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sacrilegend View Post


    Agreed.



    This is a really sad affair, as I think Android has become a pretty spectaular platform overall. While Apple might offer the most stable platform, they sure could learn a few things by emulating some of its functions (notifications, namely).



    Not that it's so simple, but Apple should do as it's always done: beat the competition by simply being better.



    Completely agree with you.
  • Reply 9 of 66
    Whoa... Never seen so many "agreed"s on one page on AppleInsider.



    I hope you all will agree on this.
  • Reply 10 of 66
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sacrilegend View Post


    Agreed.



    This is a really sad affair, as I think Android has become a pretty spectaular platform overall. While Apple might offer the most stable platform, they sure could learn a few things by emulating some of its functions (notifications, namely).



    Not that it's so simple, but Apple should do as it's always done: beat the competition by simply being better.



    Are you suggesting that Apple is not beating the competition and/or is not being better?
  • Reply 11 of 66
    tjwtjw Posts: 216member
    This really is a sad state of affairs. Apple are very good at making products that are 'better' in a lot of people's eyes so why can't they just stick to this?



    All this litigation is going to hurt everyone in the end. Even if apple successfully closes down the competition through litigation which let's be honest will never happen, then as consumers we are left with no decent competition. However much of a fan boy you are, if there was only apple then apple wouldn't be so 'good'



    This just screams desperation on apple's part. This time next year apple will still be the most profitable smart phone maker but android will be in a much better position in terms of number of users and speed of growth.
  • Reply 12 of 66
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chintan100 View Post


    Whoa... Never seen so many "agreed"s on one page on AppleInsider.



    I hope you all will agree on this.



    Trolls are like monkeys. They have no imagination. They just ape each other.
  • Reply 13 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    Oh and guess what? Larry Ellison cannot stand Eric Schmidt. He never could at SUN nor at NOVELL.



    Rumor has it that Larry's kendo dummy looks exactly like Eric.
  • Reply 14 of 66
    I love the first paragraph, did an 8 year old write it?
  • Reply 15 of 66
    chronsterchronster Posts: 1,894member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Onhka View Post


    Trolls are like monkeys. They have no imagination. They just ape each other.



    Monkeys do have imagination. They dream like any other animal. What are you talking about?
  • Reply 16 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tjw View Post


    This really is a sad state of affairs. Apple are very good at making products that are 'better' in a lot of people's eyes so why can't they just stick to this?



    All this litigation is going to hurt everyone in the end. Even if apple successfully closes down the competition through litigation which let's be honest will never happen, then as consumers we are left with no decent competition. However much of a fan boy you are, if there was only apple then apple wouldn't be so 'good'



    This just screams desperation on apple's part. This time next year apple will still be the most profitable smart phone maker but android will be in a much better position in terms of number of users and speed of growth.



    With all due respect, the notion that Android can be "shut down" simply because its innovative, and Apple is suing Android manufacturers, is a little simple minded. If there is a financial incentive to use Android other than "its free", then vendors WILL PAY to use various patents. Notice that this report talks about how many people are suing Apple. Reread that. Many of these should ALSO be suing Android manufacturers too (except in the cases where they ARE Android manufacturers). Let's be honest though... until this year, few IF ANY of the patent lawsuits against Apple have been from competitors. They've been from patent holders that could easily sue Android device makers as well.



    So, again... let's acknowledge that this is a complicated issue. Apple can't afford to be sued by Nokia and Motorola and not have court validated patents in its arsenal. Look at the ORDER of who started suing who first. Apple sued HTC in order to strengthen its position against Nokia. People thought they would sue Palm for a good long time, and it never happened. Android isn't really threatening Apple yet... as Apple hasn't even been able to keep up with demand and Android is only beginning to attract the attention of patent holders. HTC is now paying Microsoft, and others are paying more and more as this crazy year continues.



    Anyone wanting to cast the lawsuits this year as "Apple is frightened of Android growth" isn't reading the news right. If Nokia and Apple had settled this year, the HTC suit would never have happened. Moreover, if there is ANY COMPANY trying to sue Android into oblivion... its Microsoft, and their CEO has officially gone on record saying Android "isn't free" and that Android manfucturers will have to pay for patents. Moreover... Google has turned around and said that the mere existence of Windows Phone 7 is simply "political" and suggested Microsoft should just use Android (via Andy Ruben).



    Apple is mostly offended by people that are attempting to create a false narrative in the media (from their perspective). Whether its "Thoughts on Flash" or an Earnings Call feature Steve Jobs saying 7" tablets are DOA. Apple has a strategy, and they're willing to map out their vision in the public, so people don't keep thinking they have their heads in the sand (they just have a different strategy).



    Meanwhile, Google has a string of high profile failures other than its search engine and its Ad network. Google Wave is a failure. Google TV will be a failure. Android will live on, because it has neat features, but is so "open" as to present an apocalyptic fragmentation footprint beginning next year (when this years explosive growth takes it toll). I have no doubt, Google is trying to figure out how to spin next years' fragmentation crisis. By only measuring it by those able to access the Android Market (and filtering out everyone else who's unauthorized... official UA strings), I feel like Google is hiding a lot of data about its meta-platform.



    ~ CB
  • Reply 17 of 66
    How many lawsuits are going on at once with Apple? Lawyer fees must cost a ton!
  • Reply 18 of 66
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JakeBarnes View Post


    A competitor steals your innovations for use in a competing product and you should do nothing.



    Excellent point, sir.



    My post was undeniably worded poorly.



    But let me be more specific.



    While I think Google and the hardware manufacturers alike owe Apple a huge chunk of change, I have no interest in seeing the platform close down--which, as is evinced by the general disposition of this and other boards, seems to be the most popular course of action suggested by Apple fanatics (not to be confused with "fans," of which I consider myself a pretty good example).



    I hope nobody would be blind enough to ignore the implementations of voice controls, notifications, cloud-computing, and other small but notable virtues of the Android platform. They are ideas--good ideas--that I would like to see in as many products as possible, chief among them, Apple's incredibly sexy hardware.



    In short, of course I don't agree with others stealing your product. These companies should be funneling cash into Apple's bank account just as fast as they're throwing phone after phone into the market. But I don't agree with the attitude that they should be shut down -- which might be the case, if Apple refuses to license their patents to these companies.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Onhka View Post


    Are you suggesting that Apple is not beating the competition and/or is not being better?



    No.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Onhka View Post


    Trolls are like monkeys. They have no imagination. They just ape each other.



    Name-calling is not discussion. If you have a difference of opinion, why not expound on it, rather than behaving like the base simian creatures you accuse others of being?
  • Reply 19 of 66
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chronster View Post


    Monkeys do have imagination. They dream like any other animal. What are you talking about?



    You .....
  • Reply 20 of 66
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sacrilegend View Post


    My post was undeniably worded poorly.



    But let me be more specific.



    While I think Google and the hardware manufacturers alike owe Apple a huge chunk of change, I have no interest in seeing the platform close down--which, as is evinced by the general disposition of this and other boards, seems to be the most popular course of action suggested by Apple fanatics (not to be confused with "fans," of which I consider myself a pretty good example).



    I hope nobody would be blind enough to ignore the implementations of voice controls, notifications, cloud-computing, and other small but notable virtues of the Android platform. They are ideas--good ideas--that I would like to see in as many products as possible, chief among them, Apple's incredibly sexy hardware.



    You have mentioned 'notifications' a couple of times.



    What do you see as Apple's problem with their solution, e.g., as outlined here http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-9964040-2.html ?
Sign In or Register to comment.