ITC ruling against HTC may spell trouble for other Android makers

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
An examination of the two patents the U.S. International Trade Commission found handset maker HTC infringed upon in an initial ruling on Friday has revealed that the patent claims in question may apply to "every Android device out there."



Apple won a skirmish on Friday in its ongoing dispute against HTC when a judge for the ITC ruled that the Taiwanese company had infringed upon two patents.



"HTC will vigorously defend these two remaining patents through an appeal before the ITC commissioners who make the final decision," Grace Lei, general counsel for HTC, was reported as saying. "This is only one step of many in these legal proceedings."



The judge's findings are subject to review, with a target date for the final commission decision set for December 6, 2011, according to patent expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents.



The commission has the power to ban imports of products deemed to be in violation of patents, a move that would devastate Google's Android mobile operating system platform if multiple handset manufacturers were blocked.



The patents HTC was found to have violated are 5,946,647, "System and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data" and 6,343,263, "Real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data."



An in-depth analysis by Mueller of the specific patent claims HTC has been found guilty of violating suggests that the infringing technologies are part of the Android architecture, rather than unique enhancements made by HTC. As such, competing Android vendors such as Motorola and Samsung may also be at risk.



Apple's '643 patent appears to relate directly to the iPhone's practice of detecting contact information, such as phone numbers and email addresses, and forming a link that, when clicked, performs contextualized actions. Documents submitted by Apple accuse HTC of violating this patent through Android's "Linkify" functionality.



According to Android's own developer reference site, which is cited in the documents, Linkify takes "a piece of text and a regular expression and turns all of the regex matches in the text into clickable links."



Given that, according to Mueller, the feature is "most probably built into each and every Android device out there," a final ITC ruling upholding Friday's ruling would pose a serious threat to all U.S. Android vendors.



Apple's '263 patent describes "the use of real-time application programming interfaces (APIs) interposed between application software or driver software and the real-time processing subsystem."



In spite of HTC's claims that it has "alternate solutions" for the issues, Mueller believes the signal-processing patent will be "extremely hard" to work around. "In Android's case, it's possible that working around this patent requires a fundamental change to Android's architecture, and possibly even to the architecture of the underlying Linux kernel," he wrote.



In fact, prominent Android smartphone and tablet maker Motorola Wireless seems to have recognized the danger of these patents, as the company preemptively sought to have them invalidated last October after filing suit against the iPhone maker. Apple subsequently added the patents to a countersuit against Motorola.



AppleInsider uncovered job listings on Friday that indicate Apple is shopping for lawyers for litigation team in preparation for the coming intellectual property showdown between Apple and its rivals, namely HTC, Motorola and Samsung.



For their part, HTC and Samsung have accused Apple of resorting to litigation instead of competing fairly in the market.
«13456711

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 209
    madgoatmadgoat Posts: 21member
    As much as I dislike Android and all the other iPhone knockoffs. It seems that Apple is becoming the big patent troll these days.



    I would love to see all the android devices fall off the face of the earth, but not like this.
  • Reply 2 of 209
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MadGoat View Post


    As much as I dislike Android and all the other iPhone knockoffs. It seems that Apple is becoming the big patent troll these days.



    I would love to see all the android devices fall off the face of the earth, but not like this.



    wtf

    apple warned these dudes years ago .



    There are thousands of cross lic#,s that every one for decades has paid each other .



    Ever wonder how qualcomm got so rich ??





    9
  • Reply 3 of 209
    firefly7475firefly7475 Posts: 1,502member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MadGoat View Post


    As much as I dislike Android and all the other iPhone knockoffs. It seems that Apple is becoming the big patent troll these days.



    I would love to see all the android devices fall off the face of the earth, but not like this.



    A patent troll is a company that sues for patent infringement without ever having the intention to make a device that utilizes the patent themselves.



    What Apple are doing is something entirely different because they make devices which use their patents.
  • Reply 4 of 209
    orlandoorlando Posts: 601member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    According to Android's own developer reference site, which is cited in the documents, Linkify takes "a piece of text and a regular expression and turns all of the regex matches in the text into clickable links."



    That is patentable? But this is trivial and obvious code. In most modern high level programming languages it is a single line of code. This is as bad as the Amazon one click patent. I'm actually surprised there isn't plenty of examples of prior art.



    All this makes me think is the entire patent system is a joke and should be scrapped.
  • Reply 5 of 209
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MadGoat View Post


    As much as I dislike Android and all the other iPhone knockoffs. It seems that Apple is becoming the big patent troll these days.



    I would love to see all the android devices fall off the face of the earth, but not like this.



    Have you considered that the only troll here is yourself?
  • Reply 6 of 209
    orlandoorlando Posts: 601member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    In spite of HTC's claims that it has "alternate solutions" for the issues, Mueller believes the signal-processing patent will be "extremely hard" to work around. "In Android's case, it's possible that working around this patent requires a fundamental change to Android's architecture, and possibly even to the architecture of the underlying Linux kernel," he wrote.



    If it might require a change to the architecture of the underlying Linux kernel does this mean every device using Linux from major servers to embedded systems could potentially be in violation of this patent?
  • Reply 7 of 209
    It's sort of obvious that Apple had stuff taken, but I wonder if it would be such as big deal if it was another company? The question that remains is will Apple allow a reasonable settlement or is the Federal government going to have to step in because they force their competitors out of business. Hopefully, not the latter. If a company steals another's patent, they should have to pay, but in the same way, a company who holds all the patents for the ideal device, shouldn't be able to keep patents away their competition and hence have no competition. Apple is already huge and we really don't want them being the only major mobile device maker and operating system.
  • Reply 8 of 209
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,770member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by robbydek View Post


    It's sort of obvious that Apple had stuff taken, but I wonder if it would be such as big deal if it was another company? The question that remains is will Apple allow a reasonable settlement or is the Federal government going to have to step in because they force their competitors out of business. Hopefully, not the latter. If a company steals another's patent, they should have to pay, but in the same way, a company who holds all the patents for the ideal device, shouldn't be able to keep patents away their competition and hence have no competition. Apple is already huge and we really don't want them being the only major mobile device maker and operating system.



    I don't think you quite understand the point of having a patent in the first place.
  • Reply 9 of 209
    tofinotofino Posts: 697member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Orlando View Post


    That is patentable? But this is trivial and obvious code. In most modern high level programming languages it is a single line of code. This is as bad as the Amazon one click patent. I'm actually surprised there isn't plenty of examples of prior art.



    All this makes me think is the entire patent system is a joke and should be scrapped.



    I think among the early 'prior art' you would find 'apple data detectors' built into system 8 (maybe even earlier - system 7.6 pro?) and probably the basis of this patent. Just because it's obvious now doesn't mean it wasn't an original concept at one point.
  • Reply 10 of 209
    pokepoke Posts: 506member
    The patent system is messed up. But the case of Apple shows that it's not just patent trolls using patents to extract money that's the problem, it's also the ins and outs of using patents to protect genuine innovation. Android is a clear a case of something IP law should be trying to stop. A company, Google, bought another company, Android, and got them to copy Apple's new phone for the sole purpose of giving it away for free so they could stop Apple from becoming the dominant player in the mobile market and thereby ensure there wasn't gatekeeper between them and the mobile ad market. That's exactly the kind of behaviour IP law should be stopping. Yet Apple has to defend themselves using these bizarre patents that really aren't related to the real issue. Legal issues are always like that - you have to get the right outcome but arguing over a lot of tangential issues - but with IP law it's especially messy.
  • Reply 11 of 209
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brucep View Post


    wtf

    apple warned these dudes years ago .



    There are thousands of cross lic#,s that every one for decades has paid each other. Ever wonder how qualcomm got so rich ??



    I agree with Qualcomm poit + this point: Cross Licensing instead of Law Suits!!!



    My assumption is that Apple suggested Licensing or and Cross Licensing in each case, and the competitors thought that they might win in court, and not have to pay anything... Obviously, none of us know what really, actually happens! We just read the spin... Android seemed like a Variation on Themes by Apple! That whole Biz Model of them "giving away" Android seems like a PR Stunt to sell ads...



    I would have preferred Google working with Apple, and they would have ruled the world. But, maybe they did this to avoid Anti Trust issues... Oops, I am getting off topic!



    Ideally, Android should have offered a very Unique Thing of it's own, not a Me Too Imitation!!! Obviously, I am biased towards Apple, because I am big Apple fan... Also, Apple Stores, as part of Apple's Holistic Approach, tied with Hardware etc, that makes more sense too me than Catch Me If You Can "Tech Support" for Android, based on Hear Say BS I've seen at Cell Carriers' Stores "Tech Support", which are a joke, compared to Apple Stores!!! To me, it all boils down to Support!!!! I don't want to ever again go back to the Free For All Days of Palm blaming Apple, and vs., with Cell Carriers in the middle, pointing fingers, as the phone crashes, and data loss, playing tech support detective to restore data!!!! Apple's Whole Echo System, with Apple Stores, Apple Care, dwarfs all others!!! No wonder MSFT is trying to build its own stores - Me Too Imitation!!!
  • Reply 12 of 209
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tofino View Post


    I think among the early 'prior art' you would find 'apple data detectors' built into system 8 (maybe even earlier - system 7.6 pro?) and probably the basis of this patent. Just because it's obvious now doesn't mean it wasn't an original concept at one point.



    Back in 1977 a programming language called AWK was written specifically to make it easy to programs that detected regular expressions in text and then executed bits of code appropriately.



    Yes this was obvious in 1995 when the patent was filed.
  • Reply 13 of 209
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macologist View Post


    My assumption is that Apple suggested Licensing or and Cross Licensing in each case, and the competitors thought that they might win in court, and not have to pay anything...



    That's a really big assumption, and there's no evidence for it. Apple is stating in the lawsuit that they require an injunction because allowing HTC to continue to import is doing damage to Apple's market share that cannot be financially remedied. If Apple was looking for license fees that wouldn't make sense.



    We don't know what Apple's aim is here, and we won't find out until they win, if they win.
  • Reply 14 of 209
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MadGoat View Post


    As much as I dislike Android and all the other iPhone knockoffs. It seems that Apple is becoming the big patent troll these days.



    I would love to see all the android devices fall off the face of the earth, but not like this.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by indiekiduk View Post


    Have you considered that the only troll here is yourself?



    Although his statement is erroneous, calling him a troll is silly. Some of you treat any opinion that is not pro-Apple as hostile. Invest some of that passion in a real life.
  • Reply 15 of 209
    cloudgazercloudgazer Posts: 2,161member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post


    I don't think you quite understand the point of having a patent in the first place.



    Actually he's closer to being right than you think. The supreme court recently changed the game here and made it far harder to get an injunction from the court system, because courts were required to consider public interest as well as the patent holders rights. Absent an injunction the best a patent holder can do is extract court awarded damages and license fees going forwards.



    The ITC however isn't bound by that ruling, so injunctions are still plausible.
  • Reply 16 of 209
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post


    That's a really big assumption, and there's no evidence for it. Apple is stating in the lawsuit that they require an injunction because allowing HTC to continue to import is doing damage to Apple's market share that cannot be financially remedied. If Apple was looking for license fees that wouldn't make sense.



    We don't know what Apple's aim is here, and we won't find out until they win, if they win.



    Whatever their intentions may be, Apple has broken a golden rule in the telecom industry - I don't sue you if you don't sue me, whether infringement is real or not. Everyone collects his own patent trove as a defensive measure, akin to how the USSR and the USA built up their respective nuclear arsenal as a deterrent. Apple enters this scene like a bull in a china shop and is showing no fear of countersuits. Their interest is very different that of Microsoft, IMO. Microsoft is acting like IBM of old, trying to collect license revenue. Apple is a purist who simply resents other companies trying to copy its products.
  • Reply 17 of 209
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post


    Back in 1977 a programming language called AWK was written specifically to make it easy to programs that detected regular expressions in text and then executed bits of code appropriately.



    Yes this was obvious in 1995 when the patent was filed.



    Yet either htc failed to make that case or the judge disagreed.

    You may well be right that it was obvious in '95 but it's also an easy claim to make.
  • Reply 18 of 209
    physguyphysguy Posts: 912member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by robbydek View Post


    It's sort of obvious that Apple had stuff taken, but I wonder if it would be such as big deal if it was another company? The question that remains is will Apple allow a reasonable settlement or is the Federal government going to have to step in because they force their competitors out of business. Hopefully, not the latter. If a company steals another's patent, they should have to pay, but in the same way, a company who holds all the patents for the ideal device, shouldn't be able to keep patents away their competition and hence have no competition. Apple is already huge and we really don't want them being the only major mobile device maker and operating system.



    Why would this put HTC 'Out of business'?? For the first patent we're talking about 'data detectors' creating links contextually on information in a text stream. If Apple would be successful, and decide NOT to license, which is their right, HTC would just have to remove this feature - hardly out of business. It would put them at a competitive disadvantage but that's what R&D is all about.



    And for those that say 'This is obvious'. First, its the use of this in the UI which, I believe in 1996 (the priority date of the patent) was NOT obvious. It is now because its 15 years old!!!! but still under patent.



    This is what IP is all about and it is NOT anti-competitive. Google/HTC knew well about this patent and chose NOT to work around it and NOT to license it. Their bad.
  • Reply 19 of 209
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,167member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MadGoat View Post


    As much as I dislike Android and all the other iPhone knockoffs. It seems that Apple is becoming the big patent troll these days.







    THere's a big diff between Apple and a patent troll. Apple uses their patents, trolls don't. They just hold them and sue over them
  • Reply 20 of 209
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


    Whatever their intentions may be, Apple has broken a golden rule in the telecom industry - I don't sue you if you don't sue me, whether infringement is real or not. Everyone collects his own patent trove as a defensive measure, akin to how the USSR and the USA built up their respective nuclear arsenal as a deterrent. Apple enters this scene like a bull in a china shop and is showing no fear of countersuits. Their interest is very different that of Microsoft, IMO. Microsoft is acting like IBM of old, trying to collect license revenue. Apple is a purist who simply resents other companies trying to copy its products.



    Stop spouting overwrought, overgeneralized nonsense.
Sign In or Register to comment.