Apple latest to settle lawsuit with e-Watch over iPhone camera technology

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2017
Apple has reached a settlement with a San Antonio, Tex.-based firm called e-Watch, which claimed that the company was violating two U.S. patents related to cellphone cameras.




A joint motion to dismiss the suit was filed in a Texas court on Friday, Law360 said. The terms of the settlement weren't immediately clear.

The two patents, 7,365,871 and 7,643,168, both cover "capturing, converting and transmitting a visual image signal via a digital transmission system."

e-Watch launched a flurry of related complaints against electronics manufacturers in 2013, some other targets being Sony, Sharp, Nokia, BlackBerry, and Kyocera. Apple is simply the latest to settle in the matter, and was accused of infringing through devices like the iPhone 4S.

The new settlement likely involves a one-time payment, since Apple is normally eager to avoid increasing royalties on its products. In fact the company is now in the middle of a lawsuit against chip supplier Qualcomm, arguing that some $1 billion in rebates were unfairly withheld because it decided to cooperate with South Korean antitrust regulators.

Qualcomm for its part has called Apple's claims "baseless," and even suggested that the iPhone maker provoked "regulatory attacks" by "misrepresenting facts and withholding information."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,105member
    Apple has reached a settlement with a San Antonio, Tex.-based firm called e-Watch, which claimed that the company was violating two U.S. patents related to cellphone cameras.




    A joint motion to dismiss the suit was filed in a Texas court on Friday, Law360 said. The terms of the settlement weren't immediately clear.

    The two patents, 7,365,871 and 7,643,168, both cover "capturing, converting and transmitting a visual image signal via a digital transmission system."

    e-Watch launched a flurry of related complaints against electronics manufacturers in 2013, some other targets being Sony, Sharp, Nokia, BlackBerry, and Kyocera. Apple is simply the latest to settle in the matter, and was accused of infringing through devices like the iPhone 4S.

    The new settlement likely involves a one-time payment, since Apple is normally eager to avoid increasing royalties on its products. In fact the company is now in the middle of a lawsuit against chip supplier Qualcomm, arguing that some $1 billion in rebates were unfairly withheld because it decided to cooperate with South Korean antitrust regulators.

    Qualcomm for its part has called Apple's claims "baseless," and even suggested that the iPhone maker provoked "regulatory attacks" by "misrepresenting facts and withholding information."
    For what it's worth those Qualcomm rebates may have been withheld because Apple was not longer single-sourcing their iPhone modems with Qualcomm, using Intel for some number of iPhone 7 units. If the reports were accurate that was the basis for the rebates in the first place, an agreement that Qualcomm would be the sole provider. 
    radarthekat
  • Reply 2 of 11
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,311member
    gatorguy said:
    Apple has reached a settlement with a San Antonio, Tex.-based firm called e-Watch, which claimed that the company was violating two U.S. patents related to cellphone cameras.




    A joint motion to dismiss the suit was filed in a Texas court on Friday, Law360 said. The terms of the settlement weren't immediately clear.

    The two patents, 7,365,871 and 7,643,168, both cover "capturing, converting and transmitting a visual image signal via a digital transmission system."

    e-Watch launched a flurry of related complaints against electronics manufacturers in 2013, some other targets being Sony, Sharp, Nokia, BlackBerry, and Kyocera. Apple is simply the latest to settle in the matter, and was accused of infringing through devices like the iPhone 4S.

    The new settlement likely involves a one-time payment, since Apple is normally eager to avoid increasing royalties on its products. In fact the company is now in the middle of a lawsuit against chip supplier Qualcomm, arguing that some $1 billion in rebates were unfairly withheld because it decided to cooperate with South Korean antitrust regulators.

    Qualcomm for its part has called Apple's claims "baseless," and even suggested that the iPhone maker provoked "regulatory attacks" by "misrepresenting facts and withholding information."
    For what it's worth those Qualcomm rebates may have been withheld because Apple was not longer single-sourcing their iPhone modems with Qualcomm, using Intel for some number of iPhone 7 units. If the reports were accurate that was the basis for the rebates in the first place, an agreement that Qualcomm would be the sole provider. 
    We can always count on Gatorguy to explain to us why everything is always Apple’s fault and the companies it does business with it’s innocent victims.
    StrangeDayscornchipbestkeptsecretnhtwatto_cobrabadmonk
  • Reply 3 of 11
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,105member
    lkrupp said:
    gatorguy said:
    Apple has reached a settlement with a San Antonio, Tex.-based firm called e-Watch, which claimed that the company was violating two U.S. patents related to cellphone cameras.




    A joint motion to dismiss the suit was filed in a Texas court on Friday, Law360 said. The terms of the settlement weren't immediately clear.

    The two patents, 7,365,871 and 7,643,168, both cover "capturing, converting and transmitting a visual image signal via a digital transmission system."

    e-Watch launched a flurry of related complaints against electronics manufacturers in 2013, some other targets being Sony, Sharp, Nokia, BlackBerry, and Kyocera. Apple is simply the latest to settle in the matter, and was accused of infringing through devices like the iPhone 4S.

    The new settlement likely involves a one-time payment, since Apple is normally eager to avoid increasing royalties on its products. In fact the company is now in the middle of a lawsuit against chip supplier Qualcomm, arguing that some $1 billion in rebates were unfairly withheld because it decided to cooperate with South Korean antitrust regulators.

    Qualcomm for its part has called Apple's claims "baseless," and even suggested that the iPhone maker provoked "regulatory attacks" by "misrepresenting facts and withholding information."
    For what it's worth those Qualcomm rebates may have been withheld because Apple was not longer single-sourcing their iPhone modems with Qualcomm, using Intel for some number of iPhone 7 units. If the reports were accurate that was the basis for the rebates in the first place, an agreement that Qualcomm would be the sole provider. 
    We can always count on Gatorguy to explain to us why everything is always Apple’s fault and the companies it does business with it’s innocent victims.
    The comment I made came directly from Apple's legal filing. 
    "It was only with the iPhone 7, released in September, that Apple was able to use a competitor's chipsets (Intel's) as well as Qualcomm chipsets," write Apple lawyers. That choice cost Apple, which didn't get its usual exclusivity "rebate" from Qualcomm." The amount was redacted. 

    So if facts don't suit you make anything up you wish, as long as it makes you happier.
    edited January 2017 singularityelijahgdasanman69
  • Reply 4 of 11
    gatorguy said:
    Apple has reached a settlement with a San Antonio, Tex.-based firm called e-Watch, which claimed that the company was violating two U.S. patents related to cellphone cameras.




    A joint motion to dismiss the suit was filed in a Texas court on Friday, Law360 said. The terms of the settlement weren't immediately clear.

    The two patents, 7,365,871 and 7,643,168, both cover "capturing, converting and transmitting a visual image signal via a digital transmission system."

    e-Watch launched a flurry of related complaints against electronics manufacturers in 2013, some other targets being Sony, Sharp, Nokia, BlackBerry, and Kyocera. Apple is simply the latest to settle in the matter, and was accused of infringing through devices like the iPhone 4S.

    The new settlement likely involves a one-time payment, since Apple is normally eager to avoid increasing royalties on its products. In fact the company is now in the middle of a lawsuit against chip supplier Qualcomm, arguing that some $1 billion in rebates were unfairly withheld because it decided to cooperate with South Korean antitrust regulators.

    Qualcomm for its part has called Apple's claims "baseless," and even suggested that the iPhone maker provoked "regulatory attacks" by "misrepresenting facts and withholding information."
    For what it's worth those Qualcomm rebates may have been withheld because Apple was not longer single-sourcing their iPhone modems with Qualcomm, using Intel for some number of iPhone 7 units. If the reports were accurate that was the basis for the rebates in the first place, an agreement that Qualcomm would be the sole provider. 
    Please provide a link to the Apple legal filing.

    From what I have gathered from this dispute is Apple was legally bound to source exclusively from Qualcomm from some time in 2011 until some time in 2016.

    Since it appears Apple honored that exclusivity, Qualcomm appears to be in the wrong by withholding accrued rebates from January until the day the iPhone 7 units shipped to customers.

    According to supposed quotes by Apple, Qualcomm chose to hold rebates due to Apple responding truthfully to the South Korean government's questions about Qualcomm's business practices. Qualcomm was charged $800+ million for its business practices in South Korea.

    Keep in mind I wrote appears if you choose to respond.
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 11
    San Antonio must be a hotbed of tech innovation. Oh wait, it's not. Nothing but P.O. Box addresses for leeches living off the blood of said innovation elsewhere. Thanks again, Texas. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 11
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,105member
    gatorguy said:
    Apple has reached a settlement with a San Antonio, Tex.-based firm called e-Watch, which claimed that the company was violating two U.S. patents related to cellphone cameras.




    A joint motion to dismiss the suit was filed in a Texas court on Friday, Law360 said. The terms of the settlement weren't immediately clear.

    The two patents, 7,365,871 and 7,643,168, both cover "capturing, converting and transmitting a visual image signal via a digital transmission system."

    e-Watch launched a flurry of related complaints against electronics manufacturers in 2013, some other targets being Sony, Sharp, Nokia, BlackBerry, and Kyocera. Apple is simply the latest to settle in the matter, and was accused of infringing through devices like the iPhone 4S.

    The new settlement likely involves a one-time payment, since Apple is normally eager to avoid increasing royalties on its products. In fact the company is now in the middle of a lawsuit against chip supplier Qualcomm, arguing that some $1 billion in rebates were unfairly withheld because it decided to cooperate with South Korean antitrust regulators.

    Qualcomm for its part has called Apple's claims "baseless," and even suggested that the iPhone maker provoked "regulatory attacks" by "misrepresenting facts and withholding information."
    For what it's worth those Qualcomm rebates may have been withheld because Apple was not longer single-sourcing their iPhone modems with Qualcomm, using Intel for some number of iPhone 7 units. If the reports were accurate that was the basis for the rebates in the first place, an agreement that Qualcomm would be the sole provider. 
    Please provide a link to the Apple legal filing.

    From what I have gathered from this dispute is Apple was legally bound to source exclusively from Qualcomm from some time in 2011 until some time in 2016.

    Since it appears Apple honored that exclusivity, Qualcomm appears to be in the wrong by withholding accrued rebates from January until the day the iPhone 7 units shipped to customers.

    According to supposed quotes by Apple, Qualcomm chose to hold rebates due to Apple responding truthfully to the South Korean government's questions about Qualcomm's business practices. Qualcomm was charged $800+ million for its business practices in South Korea.

    Keep in mind I wrote appears if you choose to respond.
    Page 24, beginning line 22 (paragraph 94)
    https://www.scribd.com/document/337128944/Apple-v-Qualcomm-Lawsuit

    One other note: Qualcomm didn't call the payments to Apple "rebates". That's Apple's wording as they explain on the next page of the complaint. 

    Don't misconstrue the mention as my saying its "Apple fault" and Qualcomm is "an innocent victim". Qualcomm has been a patent bully for years. Keep in mind tho thjat what we've been reading are the claims that Apple wishes to build a case with. Not all might be facts but instead opinion. That's why there's judges and juries tasked with determining which is which. 

    But with regulators on three continents finally recognizing the aggressive anti-competitive patent assertion efforts they use it looks like an ideal time for Apple to attempt to cut licensing costs by reducing the very high royalties that Qualcomm would claim. Apple may not win but I think it's well worth a shot. In any event Qualcomm will not be able to continue with their current licensing policies much longer IMO. 

    Sorry for the distraction from the e-Watch settlement but to be fair it was writer of the AI article that brought up Qualcomm. 
    edited January 2017
  • Reply 7 of 11
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    Apple has reached a settlement with a San Antonio, Tex.-based firm called e-Watch, which claimed that the company was violating two U.S. patents related to cellphone cameras.




    A joint motion to dismiss the suit was filed in a Texas court on Friday, Law360 said. The terms of the settlement weren't immediately clear.

    The two patents, 7,365,871 and 7,643,168, both cover "capturing, converting and transmitting a visual image signal via a digital transmission system."

    e-Watch launched a flurry of related complaints against electronics manufacturers in 2013, some other targets being Sony, Sharp, Nokia, BlackBerry, and Kyocera. Apple is simply the latest to settle in the matter, and was accused of infringing through devices like the iPhone 4S.

    The new settlement likely involves a one-time payment, since Apple is normally eager to avoid increasing royalties on its products. In fact the company is now in the middle of a lawsuit against chip supplier Qualcomm, arguing that some $1 billion in rebates were unfairly withheld because it decided to cooperate with South Korean antitrust regulators.

    Qualcomm for its part has called Apple's claims "baseless," and even suggested that the iPhone maker provoked "regulatory attacks" by "misrepresenting facts and withholding information."
    For what it's worth those Qualcomm rebates may have been withheld because Apple was not longer single-sourcing their iPhone modems with Qualcomm, using Intel for some number of iPhone 7 units. If the reports were accurate that was the basis for the rebates in the first place, an agreement that Qualcomm would be the sole provider. 
    Please provide a link to the Apple legal filing.

    From what I have gathered from this dispute is Apple was legally bound to source exclusively from Qualcomm from some time in 2011 until some time in 2016.

    Since it appears Apple honored that exclusivity, Qualcomm appears to be in the wrong by withholding accrued rebates from January until the day the iPhone 7 units shipped to customers.

    According to supposed quotes by Apple, Qualcomm chose to hold rebates due to Apple responding truthfully to the South Korean government's questions about Qualcomm's business practices. Qualcomm was charged $800+ million for its business practices in South Korea.

    Keep in mind I wrote appears if you choose to respond.
    Page 24, beginning line 22 (paragraph 94)
    https://www.scribd.com/document/337128944/Apple-v-Qualcomm-Lawsuit

    One other note: Qualcomm didn't call the payments to Apple "rebates". That's Apple's wording as they explain on the next page of the complaint. 

    Don't misconstrue the mention as my saying its "Apple fault" and Qualcomm is "an innocent victim". Qualcomm has been a patent bully for years. With regulators on three continents finally recognizing the aggressive anti-competitive efforts they use it looks like an ideal time for Apple to attempt to cut licensing costs by reducing the very high royalties that Qualcomm would claim. Apple may not win but I think it's well worth a shot. In any event Qualcomm will not be able to continue with their current licensing policies much longer IMO. 

    Sorry for the distraction from the e-Watch settlement but to be fair it was writer of the AI article that brought up Qualcomm. 
    The problem with your rationale is that it doesn't fit the facts - Qualcomm stopped rebates before the iPhone 7 launch, yet not prior to the iPhone 7's production. Despite Apple also meeting with Qualcomm prior, Qualcomm made no mention of their intention to stop payments. 
    Rather, Qualcomm stopped payments directly after Apple's required involvement with the KFTC. Something which their contract did not forbid. All of this information is easily accessible in the same document that you are referencing. 

    Other appleinsider readers are right to point out your misuse of information to present a story which is counterfactual. You even have the audacity to cite the document which disproves your own theory. Considering how easy it is to search that document, I consider your statements as a deliberate act to misinform.
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 11
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,105member
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    Apple has reached a settlement with a San Antonio, Tex.-based firm called e-Watch, which claimed that the company was violating two U.S. patents related to cellphone cameras.




    A joint motion to dismiss the suit was filed in a Texas court on Friday, Law360 said. The terms of the settlement weren't immediately clear.

    The two patents, 7,365,871 and 7,643,168, both cover "capturing, converting and transmitting a visual image signal via a digital transmission system."

    e-Watch launched a flurry of related complaints against electronics manufacturers in 2013, some other targets being Sony, Sharp, Nokia, BlackBerry, and Kyocera. Apple is simply the latest to settle in the matter, and was accused of infringing through devices like the iPhone 4S.

    The new settlement likely involves a one-time payment, since Apple is normally eager to avoid increasing royalties on its products. In fact the company is now in the middle of a lawsuit against chip supplier Qualcomm, arguing that some $1 billion in rebates were unfairly withheld because it decided to cooperate with South Korean antitrust regulators.

    Qualcomm for its part has called Apple's claims "baseless," and even suggested that the iPhone maker provoked "regulatory attacks" by "misrepresenting facts and withholding information."
    For what it's worth those Qualcomm rebates may have been withheld because Apple was not longer single-sourcing their iPhone modems with Qualcomm, using Intel for some number of iPhone 7 units. If the reports were accurate that was the basis for the rebates in the first place, an agreement that Qualcomm would be the sole provider. 
    Please provide a link to the Apple legal filing.

    From what I have gathered from this dispute is Apple was legally bound to source exclusively from Qualcomm from some time in 2011 until some time in 2016.

    Since it appears Apple honored that exclusivity, Qualcomm appears to be in the wrong by withholding accrued rebates from January until the day the iPhone 7 units shipped to customers.

    According to supposed quotes by Apple, Qualcomm chose to hold rebates due to Apple responding truthfully to the South Korean government's questions about Qualcomm's business practices. Qualcomm was charged $800+ million for its business practices in South Korea.

    Keep in mind I wrote appears if you choose to respond.
    Page 24, beginning line 22 (paragraph 94)
    https://www.scribd.com/document/337128944/Apple-v-Qualcomm-Lawsuit

    One other note: Qualcomm didn't call the payments to Apple "rebates". That's Apple's wording as they explain on the next page of the complaint. 

    Don't misconstrue the mention as my saying its "Apple fault" and Qualcomm is "an innocent victim". Qualcomm has been a patent bully for years. With regulators on three continents finally recognizing the aggressive anti-competitive efforts they use it looks like an ideal time for Apple to attempt to cut licensing costs by reducing the very high royalties that Qualcomm would claim. Apple may not win but I think it's well worth a shot. In any event Qualcomm will not be able to continue with their current licensing policies much longer IMO. 

    Sorry for the distraction from the e-Watch settlement but to be fair it was writer of the AI article that brought up Qualcomm. 
    The problem with your rationale is that it doesn't fit the facts - Qualcomm stopped rebates before the iPhone 7 launch, yet not prior to the iPhone 7's production. Despite Apple also meeting with Qualcomm prior, Qualcomm made no mention of their intention to stop payments. 
    Rather, Qualcomm stopped payments directly after Apple's required involvement with the KFTC. Something which their contract did not forbid. All of this information is easily accessible in the same document that you are referencing. 

    Other appleinsider readers are right to point out your misuse of information to present a story which is counterfactual. You even have the audacity to cite the document which disproves your own theory. Considering how easy it is to search that document, I consider your statements as a deliberate act to misinform.
    You're certainly welcome to your opinion. You are forgetting that your understanding of the "facts" is based solely upon as yet unproven claims Apple is making in their initial lawsuit filing in a case that has not been heard in a courtroom. Not all claims in lawsuits end up being true and factual. In fact some will almost certainly not be considered facts when all is finished, and I seriously doubt that you are so personally informed that you can determine now which will stand and which won't.  So dispense with the silly accusation that I'm intentionally trying to misinform as tho you know better. Unlike you claiming to "know" the truth my comment very plainly noted that it was a qualified one based on interpreting certain comments made by Apple. Quoting the Apple filing and linking directly to it would generally be considered exactly proper, as I did just as the OP requested. ArsTechnica noted the same passage I quoted in their explanation of the lawsuit in a story on their site... tho without the link.
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/01/apple-files-1-billion-lawsuit-against-qualcomm-over-patent-licensing/

    So now with that out of the way what do you think that passage means? Sounds fairly straightforward.
    edited January 2017 dasanman69
  • Reply 9 of 11
    the e-watch patent sounds like more of the same old problem -- patenting what, not how. the how is the implementation, and in computing that's hardware and software. software is code. code is protected by copyright. patents should not be granted for abstract ideas (a flying car), but rather how that idea is implemented (how your anti-grav engine works). 

    code really only needs copyright protection, which protects from copy-and-paste theft, but leaves others free to code their own solutions to the same goals.
    edited January 2017 watto_cobraration al
  • Reply 10 of 11
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,132moderator
    the e-watch patent sounds like more of the same old problem -- patenting what, not how. the how is the implementation, and in computing that's hardware and software. software is code. code is protected by copyright. patents should not be granted for abstract ideas (a flying car), but rather how that idea is implemented (how your anti-grav engine works). 

    code really only needs copyright protection, which protects from copy-and-paste theft, but leaves others free to code their own solutions to the same goals.
    Not sure I entirely agree.  I must admit, as a holder of two software methodology patents myself, I just don't get why software patents are so often considered the ugly stepsister of hardware patents. What a patent protects, at the most basic level, is the hard work and resources that go into creating a new idea. Back in the Industrial Age, machines incorporated logic in mechanical workings. Today, that logic is called software and some of the most ingenious advances of the modern world are software advances. If IBM and others couldn't protect their ideas around big data analysis, if Oracle couldn't protect ideas around super fast sorting or database mirroring, would they be motivated to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into advancing the state of the art? Not so much if anyone could simply come along and steal those technologies. 

    Patents are linear and proportional in their protection of ideas. Consider those who would argue that something like slide to unlock is silly to protect with a patent. That it's an idea that isn't worthy of patent protection. But that's a fallacious argument; if its not worth much, then surely those who would infringe such a patent could simply apply a different method to solve the same problem. If you think a patented idea has no value then you should have no difficulty coming up with an equal or better idea. 

    I think someone who sits at a desk and designs a novel software method to, say, vary the timing on an automobile engine, which can make an engine run more efficiently and produce more power without having to redesign the engine, should be offered the same protection for her idea as the same person using a CAD program to design a new and novel engine architecture that yields the same efficiency and performance boosts, the only difference being the novel engine design actually gets turned into a physical device (an engine) and therefore satisfies the notion of a utility patent better in the mind of a person who is stuck in the Industrial Age.

    Let's look at three scenarios:

    Scenario #1: the invention is implemented completely in hardware.

    Scenario #2: the invention is not able to be implemented solely in hardware, but requires a software element to control the hardware.

    Scenario #3: the invention is implemented completely in software, modifying the timing and control of existing engine components and engine monitoring and control elements that might have been used to adjust the engine's valve timing to yield sport versus economy mode, but never to adjust timing continuously.

    Let's just imagine, for the sake of argument, that any of these three means of inventing the first variable valve timing system were all possibilities. Variable valve timing clearly has value; it allows an engine to be more responsive to driver input while operating at higher efficiency.  The patent system exists to reward valuable innovation and invention. What's the argument for not providing those rewards in the second and third scenarios, above?
  • Reply 11 of 11
    nhtnht Posts: 4,496member
    the e-watch patent sounds like more of the same old problem -- patenting what, not how. the how is the implementation, and in computing that's hardware and software. software is code. code is protected by copyright. patents should not be granted for abstract ideas (a flying car), but rather how that idea is implemented (how your anti-grav engine works). 

    code really only needs copyright protection, which protects from copy-and-paste theft, but leaves others free to code their own solutions to the same goals.
    Not sure I entirely agree.  I must admit, as a holder of two software methodology patents myself, I just don't get why software patents are so often considered the ugly stepsister of hardware patents. What a patent protects, at the most basic level, is the hard work and resources that go into creating a new idea. Back in the Industrial Age, machines incorporated logic in mechanical workings. Today, that logic is called software and some of the most ingenious advances of the modern world are software advances. If IBM and others couldn't protect their ideas around big data analysis, if Oracle couldn't protect ideas around super fast sorting or database mirroring, would they be motivated to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into advancing the state of the art? Not so much if anyone could simply come along and steal those technologies. 

    Patents are linear and proportional in their protection of ideas. Consider those who would argue that something like slide to unlock is silly to protect with a patent. That it's an idea that isn't worthy of patent protection. But that's a fallacious argument; if its not worth much, then surely those who would infringe such a patent could simply apply a different method to solve the same problem. If you think a patented idea has no value then you should have no difficulty coming up with an equal or better idea. 

    I think someone who sits at a desk and designs a novel software method to, say, vary the timing on an automobile engine, which can make an engine run more efficiently and produce more power without having to redesign the engine, should be offered the same protection for her idea as the same person using a CAD program to design a new and novel engine architecture that yields the same efficiency and performance boosts, the only difference being the novel engine design actually gets turned into a physical device (an engine) and therefore satisfies the notion of a utility patent better in the mind of a person who is stuck in the Industrial Age.

    Let's look at three scenarios:

    Scenario #1: the invention is implemented completely in hardware.

    Scenario #2: the invention is not able to be implemented solely in hardware, but requires a software element to control the hardware.

    Scenario #3: the invention is implemented completely in software, modifying the timing and control of existing engine components and engine monitoring and control elements that might have been used to adjust the engine's valve timing to yield sport versus economy mode, but never to adjust timing continuously.

    Let's just imagine, for the sake of argument, that any of these three means of inventing the first variable valve timing system were all possibilities. Variable valve timing clearly has value; it allows an engine to be more responsive to driver input while operating at higher efficiency.  The patent system exists to reward valuable innovation and invention. What's the argument for not providing those rewards in the second and third scenarios, above?
    The problem is that the patent office is really bad at approving software patents that should not have been granted.  For example where scenario 3 just mimics a preexisting scenario 1.  This isn't novel and is an obvious application of the original idea in a new medium.

    That and submarine patents have been an issue that doesn't generally happen in the hardware world.  The classic example being LZW and GIF.

    I don't think much of business practice patents either.  Fortunately the bar has been raised on those post Alice v CLS Bank.
    ration al
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