Former Apple engineer claims idea for Qualcomm patent, does not seek inventor status

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in iPhone
Former Apple engineer Arjuna Siva testified on Monday in the ongoing Qualcomm v. Apple patent trial, saying he came up with the idea for a Qualcomm patent-in-suit.

iPhone 8 Plus


Siva described a system boot-related patent as "my idea," according to CNET. The engineer, now an employee of Google, added that he was "surprised" and "upset" when he learned Qualcomm had filed a patent application based on his input.

Apple argues that Siva should be named a co-inventor of U.S. Patent No. 8,838,949. Following Siva's testimony, lawyers for the company called U.C. San Diego professor Bill Lin to the stand, who backed that position.

Siva was a reluctant witness for the defense. On Thursday he suddenly dropped out of Apple's lineup, which prompted a war of words with Qualcomm. One Apple lawyer accused Qualcomm of witness tampering, even claiming she wouldn't try to bring Siva back since he was a "tainted witness." That angered the lead attorney for Qualcomm, who called the accusation a "personal attack."

Apple quickly backtracked, though, subpoenaing Siva to share testimony in court.

Asked why he remembers dealings dating back to 2010, when Apple was working with Qualcomm to bring the company's modems to iPhone, Siva said he was "proud" that his idea made it into a shipping product.

"It's something I really remember, and look back with fondness," Siva said. "I was a kid two and a half years out of college. I thought it was a pretty big deal for me."

All three patents in the case are power-related, the other two involving graphics processing and transferring data between a CPU and a modem.

Qualcomm is seeking about $31 million in damages, based on a fee of $1.40 per infringing device. Specifically the chipmaker is targeting iPhones with Intel modems -- Apple began migrating away from Qualcomm once an exclusivity deal ended in 2016.

A pro-Qualcomm ruling could impact other ongoing cases, such as the lawsuit Apple launched in January 2017, finally set to go to trial next month. Apple accused Qualcomm of withholding nearly $1 billion in rebates as retaliation for cooperating with antitrust investigators, and decried its business practices in general. The chipmaker is known to pressure parts buyers into signing patent licenses at the same time.

That was just the beginning of a range of suits and countersuits, as well as government investigations of Qualcomm, in some cases resulting in millions of dollars in fines. A trial brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission with Apple's help concluded in January, though a verdict has yet to be published.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,430member
    But is there proof? Words don't mean anything without proof.

    I hope Silva's testimony changes the balance in Apple's favour because this would show that Qualcomm has played dirty, stealing ideas and taking credit for them.

    chasmleavingthebigg3drenderingindiajony0
  • Reply 2 of 35
    But is there proof? Words don't mean anything without proof.

    I hope Silva's testimony changes the balance in Apple's favour because this would show that Qualcomm has played dirty, stealing ideas and taking credit for them.

    There are probably emails or other people who were in the meeting. 

    That said Qualcomm has already been shown being dirty AF. They’re trying to make a boat load off the iPhone even though they contributed very little to it, and what they contributed was for the purposes of Apple being able to use their chipsets. Which Apple was happy to do until Qualcomm wanted to charge them not based on the Qualcomm hardware in the phone but based on how much the end product cost. 
    ivanhAppleExposedchasmwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 35
    ivanhivanh Posts: 295member
    Employee’s intellectual property rights should be a fundamental subject in every IT curriculum. Frankly I didn’t know that I could claim any IP rights from my ideas. Even now, I have no idea how to claim the rights of my ideas.
    edited March 11 jkichlinerandominternetperson
  • Reply 4 of 35
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,498member
    But is there proof? Words don't mean anything without proof.

    I hope Silva's testimony changes the balance in Apple's favour because this would show that Qualcomm has played dirty, stealing ideas and taking credit for them.

    I want to think there is/are documents to prove just that.  Meeting minutes, emails, etc... I don't think Apple would have resorted to having to subpoena the guy unless it was legit.  He's being humble, but if he did in-fact come up with the idea, why he doesn't want his name as contributor to a patent is beyond me.  It adds legitimacy to his background I would think.  

    Either way, just goes to that QC is not beyond similar stunts that other shops like Samsung and Chinese-brands would would do by ripping-off other's IP and contributions.  I really hope QC get's thrown in the lion pit.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 35
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,288member
    But is there proof? Words don't mean anything without proof.

    I hope Silva's testimony changes the balance in Apple's favour because this would show that Qualcomm has played dirty, stealing ideas and taking credit for them.

    There are probably emails or other people who were in the meeting. 

    That said Qualcomm has already been shown being dirty AF. They’re trying to make a boat load off the iPhone even though they contributed very little to it, and what they contributed was for the purposes of Apple being able to use their chipsets. Which Apple was happy to do until Qualcomm wanted to charge them not based on the Qualcomm hardware in the phone but based on how much the end product cost. 
    Qualcomm has ALWAYS charged royalties based on the phone cost AFAIK. They didn't suddenly change it because Apple was involved.

    FWIW Apple has never paid royalties at the same high percentage of the device cost as some other licensees have. Because they're Apple and have such a volume they've negotiated reduced royalty rates compared to some of the smaller OEM rivals who didn't have the same bargaining power.

    Personally I think the driver now is that Apple want's to dump both QC and Intel to produce their own chips (and soon) so IP licensing sans chip purchases now becomes a much bigger business priority. 
    fotoformat3drenderingindiamuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 35
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,481member
    Just as I thought this engineer's boss took his idea and never told him he plan to apply for the patent. QCOM had and environment of you must patent or you would not go anywhere in the company. When you walk in their front door they have all their patent on display and who invented them.
    chasm
  • Reply 7 of 35
    maestro64 said:
    Just as I thought this engineer's boss took his idea and never told him he plan to apply for the patent. QCOM had and environment of you must patent or you would not go anywhere in the company. When you walk in their front door they have all their patent on display and who invented them.
    I think the point is that QC took his idea and patented it whilst Apple and QC were working together. The engineer in question was working for Apple.
    chasmleavingthebiggrandominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 35
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,215member
    command_f said:
    maestro64 said:
    Just as I thought this engineer's boss took his idea and never told him he plan to apply for the patent. QCOM had and environment of you must patent or you would not go anywhere in the company. When you walk in their front door they have all their patent on display and who invented them.
    I think the point is that QC took his idea and patented it whilst Apple and QC were working together. The engineer in question was working for Apple.
    That was my understanding, too. Many companies have their employees sign agreements that assign the rights of patents and inventions developed while they are employed to the company. If this were the case, and Apple can show the engineer developed the idea while employed at Apple, would Apple then have the right to the patent?
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 35
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,277member
    You can rest assured that if there isn't a paper trail supporting his testimony, Qualcomm's attorneys will rip him to shreds on cross. I would expect those documents have already been entered into evidence, but perhaps Apple is laying a trap for Qualcomm. It's a bit mysterious as to why Siva wouldn't come voluntarily, unless Qualcomm really was witness tampering. This is his only chance to get his name on the patent and reclaim his rights away from Qualcomm, who (according to Apple and him) stole the idea.

    Assuming his claims hold up, I can't wait for Apple to call the guy who's name is on the "stolen" patent to the stand.
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 35
    To correct inventorship, clear and convincing evidence is required. I hope Apple has it. 

    https://www.nutter.com/ip-law-bulletin/its-never-too-late-to-file-an-inventorship-dispute
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 35
    gatorguy said:
    But is there proof? Words don't mean anything without proof.

    I hope Silva's testimony changes the balance in Apple's favour because this would show that Qualcomm has played dirty, stealing ideas and taking credit for them.

    There are probably emails or other people who were in the meeting. 

    That said Qualcomm has already been shown being dirty AF. They’re trying to make a boat load off the iPhone even though they contributed very little to it, and what they contributed was for the purposes of Apple being able to use their chipsets. Which Apple was happy to do until Qualcomm wanted to charge them not based on the Qualcomm hardware in the phone but based on how much the end product cost. 
    Qualcomm has ALWAYS charged royalties based on the phone cost AFAIK. They didn't suddenly change it because Apple was involved.

    FWIW Apple has never paid royalties at the same high percentage of the device cost as some other licensees have. Because they're Apple and have such a volume they've negotiated reduced royalty rates compared to some of the smaller OEM rivals who didn't have the same bargaining power.

    Personally I think the driver now is that Apple want's to dump both QC and Intel to produce their own chips (and soon) so IP licensing sans chip purchases now becomes a much bigger business priority. 
    I think this whole thing was planned by QC to force Apple into buying their chips again. Perhaps at a better price, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on it. 

    The timing of this lawsuit, the big push for 5G when clearly, the carriers aren’t ready, the intimidation to the Android manufacturers like Samsung who had made its own chipset that outperformed QCs but never allowed to sell it here (wonder why). Now for some strange reason QC’s chipset is faster than Exynos. 

    My take is Apple is the last holdout that they are trying to crush. Even though other manufacturers sided with Apple about abuse by QC, none of them have the balls to take them on, except Apple. 


    command_fwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 35
    Wake up people.

    You cannot patent an idea. You can only patent the way in which the idea is implemented.

    Unless the star witness detailed his "idea" step by step and documented it, neither him nor Apple can claim to have any patent right in it.

    This is Intellectual Property 101.

    MC
    AppleFanBoy
    edited March 12
  • Reply 13 of 35
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 342member
    But is there proof? Words don't mean anything without proof.

    I hope Silva's testimony changes the balance in Apple's favour because this would show that Qualcomm has played dirty, stealing ideas and taking credit for them.

    It’s evidence. Proof is what, after all the evidence is in, the jury believes is true. 

    Now, the burden of proof is more probable than not — that’s all. Not beyond reasonable doubt, or clear and convincing. 

    Moreover, if Qualcomm does not counter this testimony, the jury must take the testimony as having been proved as true, without further evidence to support it.

    That is all the proof necessary. No “hard” evidence is required for something to be proved. It depends on the weight of evidence. More evidence would be required if Qualcomm disputes the testimony. 
    mld53a
  • Reply 14 of 35
    sflocal said:
     He's being humble, but if he did in-fact come up with the idea, why he doesn't want his name as contributor to a patent is beyond me.
    It might be something as simple as "Doh! Why didn't I think of that before. It is so obvious that is it funny!"

    I've had several of those moments in my software development career. Solutions that were so blindingly obvious I was amazed that no one else had thought of them before. Could I have gotten a patent on them? Probably but then people would wonder why I'd patented something so stupidly obvious.
    Instead, I just shared them with anyone who was interested.
    Many years before I had two patents for a bit of hardware. It was totally useless but my name was mentioned in other patents some years later which was kudos enough for me.
    It isn't all about the $$$$ you know.

    Mind you, having two patents looked good on my resume.
    command_fmld53awatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 35
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,288member
    FWIW quoting: “I don’t think I’m claiming to be an inventor" said Siva in court testimony....
    As a long-time engineer I would assume he knows the difference.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 35
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 667member
    MrCayman said:
    Wake up people.

    You cannot patent an idea. You can only patent the way in which the idea is implemented.

    Unless the star witness detailed his "idea" step by step and documented it, neither him nor Apple can claim to have any patent right in it.

    This is Intellectual Property 101.

    MC
    AppleFanBoy
    You can't patent a generic idea like... A car that can fly to the moon.

    But patents are, essentially, ideas. How specific they need to be when it comes to how the invention works depends in part on the nature of the invention. At core a patent protects the combination of elements (which may be many or few) which are specified in the patent claims.

    In this case Apple asserted that Mr. Siva conceived of specific elements (which Apple specifically referred to) of the asserted patent claims. If that's true, then he likely is rightfully the inventor or a joint inventor.
    randominternetpersonstompylarryjw
  • Reply 17 of 35
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,288member
    carnegie said:
    MrCayman said:
    Wake up people.

    You cannot patent an idea. You can only patent the way in which the idea is implemented.

    Unless the star witness detailed his "idea" step by step and documented it, neither him nor Apple can claim to have any patent right in it.

    This is Intellectual Property 101.

    MC
    AppleFanBoy
    You can't patent a generic idea like... A car that can fly to the moon.

    But patents are, essentially, ideas. How specific they need to be when it comes to how the invention works depends in part on the nature of the invention. At core a patent protects the combination of elements (which may be many or few) which are specified in the patent claims.

    In this case Apple asserted that Mr. Siva conceived of specific elements (which Apple specifically referred to) of the asserted patent claims. If that's true, then he likely is rightfully the inventor or a joint inventor.
    So if he himself says he is not one of the inventors then the presumption would be that while he may have had some ideas they did not extend into deriving a method(s) to put those ideas into practice. As an engineer he would understand the difference between one and the other. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 35
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 667member

    gatorguy said:
    FWIW quoting: “I don’t think I’m claiming to be an inventor" said Siva in court testimony....
    As a long-time engineer I would assume he knows the difference.
    Being an engineer doesn't mean that someone understands patent law. Surely some do, but surely many don't.

    At any rate, I'm sure Mr. Siva wasn't called as an expert witness (regarding his inventorship of the patent in question). He was called as a fact witness, in order to provide testimony as to what happened rather than what it means legally. Others will testify as experts (and this article suggests someone already has testified as such) on the issue of his inventorship.
    randominternetpersonmld53astompyericthehalfbeelarryjw
  • Reply 19 of 35
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 667member
    gatorguy said:
    carnegie said:
    MrCayman said:
    Wake up people.

    You cannot patent an idea. You can only patent the way in which the idea is implemented.

    Unless the star witness detailed his "idea" step by step and documented it, neither him nor Apple can claim to have any patent right in it.

    This is Intellectual Property 101.

    MC
    AppleFanBoy
    You can't patent a generic idea like... A car that can fly to the moon.

    But patents are, essentially, ideas. How specific they need to be when it comes to how the invention works depends in part on the nature of the invention. At core a patent protects the combination of elements (which may be many or few) which are specified in the patent claims.

    In this case Apple asserted that Mr. Siva conceived of specific elements (which Apple specifically referred to) of the asserted patent claims. If that's true, then he likely is rightfully the inventor or a joint inventor.
    So if he himself says he is not one of the inventors then the presumption would be that while he may have had some ideas they did not extend into deriving a method(s) to put those ideas into practice. As an engineer he would understand the difference between one and the other. 
    See my post in response to your own.

    As it is, the presumption is that he isn't an inventor with regard to the patent in question. The burden is on Apple to demonstrate that he is. But his own belief on that issue isn't (or shouldn't be) what's important. He's surely not being offered as an expert on inventorship.

    The issue of inventorship can be tricky to sort out. Having done a lot of work on an invention, or a patent application, doesn't make one an inventor. But, at the same time, a simple, casual - happened in an instant - contribution can make one an inventor. It's about conception. Did you conceive the invention? That doesn't mean... did you figure out every aspect of it, or how to put it in practice, or how to describe it for patent application purposes. And, of course, patented inventions can have many aspects to them - i.e., many elements to the claims. So one doesn't have to conceive of every element of a claim to rightfully be an inventor. It's more like... did you conceive of any of the novel and non-obvious elements?
    edited March 12 mld53astompylarryjw
  • Reply 20 of 35
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,288member
    carnegie said:
    gatorguy said:
    carnegie said:
    MrCayman said:
    Wake up people.

    You cannot patent an idea. You can only patent the way in which the idea is implemented.

    Unless the star witness detailed his "idea" step by step and documented it, neither him nor Apple can claim to have any patent right in it.

    This is Intellectual Property 101.

    MC
    AppleFanBoy
    You can't patent a generic idea like... A car that can fly to the moon.

    But patents are, essentially, ideas. How specific they need to be when it comes to how the invention works depends in part on the nature of the invention. At core a patent protects the combination of elements (which may be many or few) which are specified in the patent claims.

    In this case Apple asserted that Mr. Siva conceived of specific elements (which Apple specifically referred to) of the asserted patent claims. If that's true, then he likely is rightfully the inventor or a joint inventor.
    So if he himself says he is not one of the inventors then the presumption would be that while he may have had some ideas they did not extend into deriving a method(s) to put those ideas into practice. As an engineer he would understand the difference between one and the other. 
    See my post in response to your own.

    As it is, the presumption is that he isn't an inventor with regard to the patent in question. The burden is on Apple to demonstrate that he is. But his own belief on that issue isn't (or shouldn't be) what's important. He's surely not being offered as an expert on inventorship.

    The issue of inventorship can be tricky to sort out. Having done a lot of work on an invention, or a patent application, doesn't make one an inventor. But, at the same time, a simple, casual - happened in an instant - contribution can make one an inventor. It's about conception. Did you conceive the invention? That doesn't mean... did you figure out every aspect of it, or how to put it in practice, or how to describe it for patent application purposes. And, of course, patented inventions can have many aspects to them - i.e., many elements to the claims. So one doesn't have to conceive of every element of a claim to rightfully be an inventor. It's more like... did you conceive of any of the novel and non-obvious elements?
    It certainly does not help Apple's argument that Siva, and by extension Apple, should be considered to share "ownership" of the patent rights in question. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
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