Lawsuit accuses Apple of violating patented Wi-Fi antenna designs

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  • Reply 21 of 36
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,580member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post


    Are we just seeing an increase in the level of reporting of patent disputes, especially involving Apple, or are the patent trolls really ramping up their efforts?



    It's the Willie Sutton effect.
  • Reply 22 of 36
    wtbardwtbard Posts: 42member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post


    What? Multiple antennas is a patentable idea?



    Diversity has been around for a while. The only way they would win is if they patented a special way to use diversity with spread spectrum signals. The military has used this for a long time as well so there could be prior art and the patent invalid.
  • Reply 23 of 36
    sevenfeetsevenfeet Posts: 398member
    Patents for spread spectrum communication date all the way back to World War II when actress Hedy Lamarr (a mathematician) and her husband George Antheil (a musician) came up the basic concept to keep communications secret based upon using 88 frequencies keyed by data written to a piano roll (the punched paper used to play player pianos of the era). Ironically technology of the day couldn't make the concept work until computers and transistor technology made it possible in the early 1960s. Today, WiFi, your cell phone, cordless phones and many other kinds of wireless tech all use it.



    This patent seems to be specifying a specific way to design an spread spectrum antenna, which might be patentable in of itself. The real question is why this isn't a part of the WiFi 802.11n standard which specifically deals with MIMO transmissions. Unless Apple is really doing something different than everyone else with WiFi (and that doesn't seem to be the case since others are being sued too), I'm thinking that prior art with the creation of the 802.11n standard is the first place I'd look for a strong defense.
  • Reply 24 of 36
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post


    Are we just seeing an increase in the level of reporting of patent disputes, especially involving Apple, or are the patent trolls really ramping up their efforts?



    A combo of both. They are ramping up and blogs etc are figuring out that if Apple is in the headline it gets more hits for those ad payments.



    As for the patent.



    1. Two wires when there are two systems in use is just natural progression. So they could lose due to that notion



    2. I firmly believe that there should be a limit to how long a company can wait while someone violates their patents to file a complaint. Like say 60 days from the first evidence of possible offense. This caca of waiting 10 years for someone to make money off 'your' patent is junk. It should be like trademarks. If you ignore it then you clearly don't care so you get nothing. In which case, all those products have been out for months in current form and years with wifi but not a peep so clearly these folks don't care that much so good bye



    And I agree that idea only patents with no tech should be banned or limited to say 2 years. If after that point, the idea creator can't put tech on it they lose the idea completely. If they can they get that tech protected for the remainder of 20 years. But only if they abide by #2 above. Which goes triple if the tech is software since software inventions are actually a combo of copyright, trademark and patent issues.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Patents are not given on ideas but on methods and implementations.



    Not true. Patents are indeed given just for ideas as ideas are inventions. Of late the rule has been that they must be particularly specific and unique but that only came about in the last 5-6 years.
  • Reply 25 of 36
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    My brain is a little mushy from going through 2 hours straight of Google I/O videos... So pardon me...



    But is this lawsuit about 802.11n and MIMO? These routers, laptops whatever have been around for years now. What happened previously with Belkin, etc? Isn't 802.11n MIMO like, everywhere? Why target Apple?



    Ah whatever time for some sleep.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fecklesstechguy View Post


    But I'm willing to bet that there is a significant amount of prior art that will allow this to be dismissed. It looks like there are multiple patents relating to the kind and type of diversity and coding they reference in these patents. Usually they try to drive a settlement rather than go to court where a rather large pile of counter-patents or prior art or even common art will demonstrate the untenability of the claims. The problem with going after Apple, who while they have the deepest pockets, also means they have the most "practiced" legal team for this stuff.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Or you!



    Seriously though, even though it's possible (likely?) that this guy is another troll I'm a bit alarmed about how quickly everyone is to judge without any evidence whatsoever. On the face of it, this looks like a patent on the use of multiple antennas to receive and send wireless signals and the code for the processing that goes on to enable that.



    It is a unique situation and it is possible that someone patented those methods before Apple and HP. Patents are not given on ideas but on methods and implementations. All the jokes about patenting the number 5 or whatever are not relevant here. Right or wrong, it seems like the argument is about the particular methods in software that pertain in a very limited set of circumstances.



  • Reply 26 of 36
    dannshdannsh Posts: 24member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PXT View Post


    Given the carelessness with which the patent office accept submissions, this will be a description of the "two wires in a box" idea.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tawilson View Post


    Ideas can't be patented, only specific implementations of an idea.



    For example:



    You could not receive a patent for "sorting an array of strings into alphabetical order".

    You could receive a patent for "bubble sorting an array of string into alphabetical order".



    Where a bubble sort is a specific implementation of sorting.



    Oh Boy in my 33 years of mainframe programming I have violated someone's patent multiple times with bubble sorts.
  • Reply 27 of 36
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post


    This patent seems to be specifying a specific way to design an spread spectrum antenna, which might be patentable in of itself. The real question is why this isn't a part of the WiFi 802.11n standard which specifically deals with MIMO transmissions. Unless Apple is really doing something different than everyone else with WiFi (and that doesn't seem to be the case since others are being sued too), I'm thinking that prior art with the creation of the 802.11n standard is the first place I'd look for a strong defense.



    Completely agreed. If this is concept is represented in the 802.11n standard (of which, the working group commenced well over 10 years ago), it will be a very difficult defense. The standards process is slow (intentionally), and there is generally sufficient legal review of standards drafts to ensure that problems like this don't emerge after the fact.



    In fact, I remember (working at Bell Labs back in the '90s) the research on BLAST radio modes, which was a major contributing factor to the MIMO / 802.11n standard. I strongly suspect that any such innovation by Bell Labs would have been patented way back when (that is what Bell Labs "does", so to speak) and that could easily represent prior art for this concept.



    I call this a simple case of trolling.
  • Reply 28 of 36
    bsgincbsginc Posts: 78member
    Patent trolls have become the new thought police!
  • Reply 29 of 36
    trevctrevc Posts: 77member
    I wonder if I worked INSIDE the patent system, I'd understand and believe in it?



    From an outsider looking in, it's hard to imagine how they sort out some of these, but also the resources in time and money being spent!! Is there a related infograph on this?



    With hitting 7 billion people this year, I'm guessing patent trolls will be on the rise...hmmmmm... I wonder if should push my sons in the direction of a this as a profession instead of a doctor?
  • Reply 30 of 36
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,826member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post


    Patents for spread spectrum communication date all the way back to World War II when actress Hedy Lamarr (a mathematician) and her husband George Antheil (a musician) came up the basic concept to keep communications secret based upon using 88 frequencies keyed by data written to a piano roll (the punched paper used to play player pianos of the era). Ironically technology of the day couldn't make the concept work until computers and transistor technology made it possible in the early 1960s. Today, WiFi, your cell phone, cordless phones and many other kinds of wireless tech all use it.



    People often look at me with a blank stare when I try to tell them a hollywood actress is in part responsible for their iPhones and WiFi. It is a most fascinating story, with Hedy obviously far ahead of her time.

    Quote:

    This patent seems to be specifying a specific way to design an spread spectrum antenna, which might be patentable in of itself. The real question is why this isn't a part of the WiFi 802.11n standard which specifically deals with MIMO transmissions. Unless Apple is really doing something different than everyone else with WiFi (and that doesn't seem to be the case since others are being sued too), I'm thinking that prior art with the creation of the 802.11n standard is the first place I'd look for a strong defense.



    Yeah it sounds like they are of the Rambus mold. That is frauds.
  • Reply 31 of 36
    jupiteronejupiterone Posts: 1,564member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    It is a most fascinating story, with Hedy obviously far ahead of her time.



    "It's Hedley"



  • Reply 32 of 36
    ...but, it seems to me that the "MIMO" technique -- or Spread Spectrum, has been around for quite a while in Radio Technology.



    Prior art to that, would be in techniques to squeeze more data on FAX/Modems decades ago.



    The only difference is; instead of moving signals across frequencies on a wire, you do it with radio waves.



    But who knows -- maybe this is something legitimate. And there would be a lot more defendants than just Apple and HP if that were the case, as far as wireless data hubs are concerned.
  • Reply 33 of 36
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post


    I have a patent on the number "5"... Apple's going to pay... boy, are they going to pay...



    I got 9 !!!!



    9
  • Reply 34 of 36
    srangersranger Posts: 469member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    If the loser had to pay the entire costs of both sides it may slow some of these cases. Then again I guess the little guy would always lose so perhaps that's not a good idea , sigh.



    Even better, a judge should be able to stop and case and declare it a frivolous law suit. Then the lawyer of the losing side should pay all fees. After all, they are the ones who should have known it was a frivolous law suit to start with......
  • Reply 35 of 36
    tundrabuggytundrabuggy Posts: 131member
    Wow, I just looked at the bio of Dr. Schilling. This guy is no slouch. He really has done some incredible things.



    http://www.nbcwireless.com/wireless3...Schilling.html
  • Reply 36 of 36
    eswinsoneswinson Posts: 99member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by trevc View Post


    I wonder if I worked INSIDE the patent system, I'd understand and believe in it?



    From an outsider looking in, it's hard to imagine how they sort out some of these, but also the resources in time and money being spent!! Is there a related infograph on this?



    With hitting 7 billion people this year, I'm guessing patent trolls will be on the rise...hmmmmm... I wonder if should push my sons in the direction of a this as a profession instead of a doctor?



    It's just another government agency. If you look at the great job that FEMA, INS, The TSA, The Treasury department or even congress has done recently it's not hard to imagine the same ineptitude occurring in the patent office. It probably generates less work to approve a patent than to deny it and have to defend the reason why it was denied when it is appealed.
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