Google cites quote from Steve Jobs biography in attempt to win iPhone import ban

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
In its attempts to garner an iPhone import ban from the U.S. ITC, Google continues to assert the viability of a Motorola utility patent regarding proximity sensors despite having the argument denied twice by an administrative law judge.

As noted by FOSS Patents, Google's latest attempt to salvage the patent, and with it an attempt to win an import ban against Apple's iPhone, came in a public redacted version of the company's opening brief filed with the ITC, which looks to narrow claims to prove the property valid. More specifically, Google is looking to validate Motorola's U.S. Patent No. 6,246,862 relating to an infrared proximity sensor system that detects when a user brings a handset up to their ear, which in turn disables screen input to avoid errant touches.

Motorola Patent
Illustration from Motorola's '862 patent showing a hidden IR proximity sensor (134, 136) located near the speaker.


The internet search giant is asserting primary considerations to the Commission that the property in question is of a "non-obvious" nature, as well as secondary considerations relating to the patent's usefulness.

In April, Judge Thomas Pender found that Apple violated Motorola wireless technology patents, but deemed the IR property invalid due to indefiniteness. Following a review of the ALJ's decision, the Commission reversed the indefiniteness finding and sent the case back to Judge Pender. After looking at the patent for a second time, the jurist issues a remand initial determination in December, once again finding the Motorola patent invalid for "lack of novelty." Following the decision, the six-member head of the ITC announced in February that it would once again be reviewing the ALJ's findings.

In its filing, the Mountain View company also pointed to a quote from late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, as seen in the tech guru's biography written by Walter Isaacson:
Here, the technology of the '862 patent was recognized as a 'breakthrough' by none other than Apple's former CEO (Mr. Steve Jobs). On cross examination, Apple's expert, Mr. Lanning, could not deny that Mr. Jobs himself characterized the incorporation of a proximity sensor into the iPhone as a 'breakthrough' to his biographer, Walter Isaacson: '[a]nother breakthrough was the sensor that figured out when you put the phone to your ear, so that your lobes didn't accidentally activate some function.' [...] The sensor described by Mr. Jobs is the very technology that the ALJ found to infringe. [...] And there can be no doubt that this passage refers to the technology of the '862 patent: it describes a sensor that prevents the inadvertent actuation of the phone when it is put to the user's ear. The recognition that the invention of the '862 patent was a 'breakthrough' weighs heavily against a finding of obviousness, particularly since it came from Apple itself.
According to the quote, Jobs showed interest in the feature which allowed a smartphone to determine when it was close to a user's ear, however Motorola's patent mentions basic infrared technology that it did not invent, possibly weakening the Google-owned telecom's case.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I can't wait for the spin doctors to come running from the Samsung thread to this one¡
  • Reply 2 of 47
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member
    Didn't Apple buy a proximity sensor that was offered by another mfg? If so, then Google needs to talk to this component mfg instead of Apple.

    Google's reaching on this one.
  • Reply 3 of 47
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,558member
    Unleash hell, Apple!
  • Reply 4 of 47
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,435member
    If one judge denies quotes from the bio, shouldn't that be denied on all cases against Apple? Or can one judge do one thing and another judge do another?

    Besides, that phone doesn't look like a touchscreen rather the IR on this phone would simply turn the screen off to save power. But I didn't read the patent, so I could be wrong, obviously.
  • Reply 5 of 47
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member


    So much for Google not using patents aggressively.

  • Reply 6 of 47
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    I can't wait for the spin doctors to come running from the Samsung thread to this one¡

    Who, these guys?

    [VIDEO]
  • Reply 7 of 47
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by drblank View Post



    Didn't Apple buy a proximity sensor that was offered by another mfg? If so, then Google needs to talk to this component mfg instead of Apple.



    Google's reaching on this one.


    I don't think it matters that they bought the sensor form a third party. They combined a cell phone and an IR sensor for the specific purpose to achieve the same end result that is claimed in the Motorola patent.


     


     I am not an IP legal scholar so what do I know? I read the patent and it seems pretty clear. I suppose Apple would have to approach this in such a manner as to have the patent invalidated.

  • Reply 8 of 47


    Apple should turn off UDID tracking and set the default search engine to Bing on the iPhone. 75% of iPhone users would never know the difference except for the fact they would receive less targeted ads. Screw you Google.

  • Reply 9 of 47
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    Apple should turn off UDID tracking and set the default search engine to Bing on the iPhone. 75% of iPhone users would never know the difference except for the fact they would receive less targeted ads. Screw you Google.

    They'll just type 'Google' in the Bing search bar. Lol
  • Reply 10 of 47
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GadgetCanada View Post


    Apple should turn off UDID tracking and set the default search engine to Bing on the iPhone. 75% of iPhone users would never know the difference except for the fact they would receive less targeted ads. Screw you Google.



    What is wrong with targeted ads? If I'm a computer engineer, why would I want to receive ads about every other career? If you own a business that targets computer engineers why would you want to send useless advertisements to soccer moms, farmers and TV personalities. That is why they call them targeted ads, they are likely to appeal to the recipient. And BTW I thought Apple has discontinued support for UDID.

  • Reply 11 of 47
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    philboogie wrote: »
    If one judge denies quotes from the bio, shouldn't that be denied on all cases against Apple? Or can one judge do one thing and another judge do another?

    Besides, that phone doesn't look like a touchscreen rather the IR on this phone would simply turn the screen off to save power. But I didn't read the patent, so I could be wrong, obviously.

    Each case is evaluated on its own merits. The judge has to consider a large number of factors, especially in light of the hearsay rule and its 30 or so exceptions.

    It is entirely possible that something from the biographer could be admissible in one case but not in another. Exceptions to the hearsay rule are very detailed and complicated. That said, it does seem surprising that this would be admissible. It is clearly hearsay and I don't see that any of the exceptions apply. But, then, I don't think Apple has had a chance to object to this yet, so it may be ruled inadmissible, after all.

    mstone wrote: »
    I don't think it matters that they bought the sensor form a third party. They combined a cell phone and an IR sensor for the specific purpose to achieve the same end result that is claimed in the Motorola patent.

     I am not an IP legal scholar so what do I know? I read the patent and it seems pretty clear. I suppose Apple would have to approach this in such a manner as to have the patent invalidated.

    Of course it matters. If the sensor manufacturer was advertising the sensor for that purpose before Motorola applied for the patent, then the patent could be invalidated for prior art. If the sensor manufacturer was advertising the sensor for a different application but if it was obvious that you could use it in the described manner, then it could be rejected for lack of novelty.
  • Reply 12 of 47
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post



    Of course it matters. If the sensor manufacturer was advertising the sensor for that purpose before Motorola applied for the patent, then the patent could be invalidated for prior art. If the sensor manufacturer was advertising the sensor for a different application but if it was obvious that you could use it in the described manner, then it could be rejected for lack of novelty.


    Please show us the advertisement.BTW did you notice the date of the patent. Did You Read It?

  • Reply 13 of 47

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    What is wrong with targeted ads? If I'm a computer engineer, why would I want to receive ads about every other career? If you own a business that targets computer engineers why would you want to send useless advertisements to soccer moms, farmers and TV personalities. That is why they call them targeted ads, they are likely to appeal to the recipient. And BTW I thought Apple has discontinued support for UDID.



     


    Fine, then have an opt-in setting if you want Google to know all your internet habits and don't mind being tracked, they can send you targeted ads. Right now they don't even give you an option to opt-out. Apple at least is going to give users that option by getting rid of advertisers tracking the iPhone's UDID.

  • Reply 14 of 47
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GadgetCanada View Post


    Fine, then have an opt-in setting if you want Google to know all your internet habits and don't mind being tracked, they can send you targeted ads. Right now they don't even give you an option to opt-out. Apple at least is going to give users that option by getting rid of advertisers tracking the iPhone's UDID.



    Best solution for you is to delete all your cookies and never visit Google again. It is probably impossible to delete your account but it should greatly reduce any tracking that Google does on you. But I'm not sure you can delete an Apple ID either.


     


    By comparison Apple sends me all kinds of targeted emails about the Apple Store, and especially iTunes content. I have yet to receive any such promotional emails from Google. I white list both companies. I don't know why you think Apple isn't tracking you, your purchases and your devices. They know as much or more about you than Google and they also have no reservations about sending you targeted ads by email. I know you receive those same emails from Apple but because of your admiration for the company you don't consider it spam but it technically IS targeted advertising even though you don't want to admit it.

  • Reply 15 of 47
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    I don't think it matters that they bought the sensor form a third party. They combined a cell phone and an IR sensor for the specific purpose to achieve the same end result that is claimed in the Motorola patent..



     


    Correct, the IR manufacturer doesn't matter.  Only the claims in the patent matter.


     


    This particular patent claims an IR sensor that physically interrupts the touchscreen signal, just like having a switch in the middle.   It's quite possible that Apple instead sends the IR sensor signal to a separate CPU input that the software uses to ignore the touchscreen signal.   


     


    Same end effect, but possibly totally different methods.


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post



    Each case is evaluated on its own merits. The judge has to consider a large number of factors, especially in light of the hearsay rule and its 30 or so exceptions.



     


    These are administrative law judges at the ITC, so I don't think regular court rules apply much, if at all.


     


    Quote:


    Originally Posted by GadgetCanada View Post


    Fine, then have an opt-in setting if you want Google to know all your internet habits and don't mind being tracked, they can send you targeted ads. Right now they don't even give you an option to opt-out. Apple at least is going to give users that option by getting rid of advertisers tracking the iPhone's UDID.



     


    Go to your Google Dashboard, or if you just use Google search, click the settings icon at the upper right, and go down and click "Do not use personal results".


     


    That's the basically the same thing as the Apple opt-out button, which simply tells the advertiser to not use the phone's ad tracking id to serve up a personalized ad.

  • Reply 16 of 47
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member


    GadgetCanada, Google tells you how to opt-out of ads on iOS. It's not even hard to do..


    http://www.google.com/policies/technologies/ads/

  • Reply 17 of 47
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    I think Steve was right, it is non-obvious. If the original patent was too indefinite and fails for some legal reason, that's fine. But it shouldn't fail the test of non-obviousness. Apple should have to pay some (reasonable) royalty or come up with an alternative solution.

    And I imagine alternatives are possible today that weren't back when the original iPhone came out. For example there is a gyro in there now which may be able to detect device movement upwards towards the ear.
  • Reply 18 of 47
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    mstone wrote: »
    Please show us the advertisement.BTW did you notice the date of the patent. Did You Read It?

    What part of "IF" do you not understand?

    I simply explained why it COULD matter that Apple was buying the product from someone.
  • Reply 19 of 47
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post




     

    What part of "IF" do you not understand?


    If Apple was aware of the patent, they shouldn't have used it without permission.


     


    It also begs the question - if Jobs was so proud of the feature why did Apple not try to patent it since he said in the presentation "and boy have we patented it"?


     


    It is probably more like the situation of the iPhone name itself being owned by Intel, they clearly knew about it but just decided to use it anyway.

  • Reply 20 of 47
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    philboogie wrote: »
    If one judge denies quotes from the bio, shouldn't that be denied on all cases against Apple? Or can one judge do one thing and another judge do another?

    Besides, that phone doesn't look like a touchscreen rather the IR on this phone would simply turn the screen off to save power. But I didn't read the patent, so I could be wrong, obviously.

    One judge can't rule for all other cases. I don't think it matters why the screen gets turned off just that it does. As far as bans go I doubt they'll get it, I've never been in favor of banning something altogether because there's a small part within it that violates a patent.
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