Apple, other retailers target of patent infringement suit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A newly filed lawsuit accuses Apple and numerous other online retailers for violating a 14-year-old patent claiming ownership of randomly generated encryption keys for security.



The complainant, TQP Development, owns a patent titled "Encrypted Data Transmission System Employing Means for Randomly Altering the Encryption Keys" filed in 1995. Along with Apple, the suit names Ticketmaster, Fandango, Live Nation, UPS, CVS, DHL, MetLife, Broadcast Music, eBay, Half.com, MicroPlace, Viva Group, ProStores, PayPal, and BillMeLater.



"When Apple and/or Apple's customers connect to Apple's Web site, a communication link is established between host servers and the client computer," the suit reads. "Data transmitted over this communication link comprises a sequence of blocks, and is transmitted as packets in a sequence over the communication link. Certain data transmissions (both from the client computer to the host server, and from the host server to the client computer) are encrypted according to the claimed method."



The complaint goes on to say that Apple generates, or instructs client computers to create, numerous pseudo-random key values for encryption of data transmitted. It specifically mentions the Apple Store at store.apple.com, alleging that it and "various" Web sites owned by the Cupertino, Calif., company infringe on U.S. Patent No. 5,412,730.



This isn't the first time TQP has sued a number of companies for its encryption methods. Last year, the company targeted Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Capital One and a number of other financial institutions in a similar suit.



The latest lawsuit targeting Apple was filed Wednesday in a U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, where patent suits are often filed for favorable rulings. It requests a jury trial, and alleges that TQP Development is entitled to "damages, costs, expenses, prejudgment and post-judgment interest" from the list of defendants.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    Oh for frigs sake...
  • Reply 2 of 39
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Not again... How many people are gonna sue Apple for using small bits of their tech that could have been gotten by Apple through their own research. I say we put a limit on suing, so that only if the source code is 80% ripped off then you can sue. Just a suggestion...
  • Reply 3 of 39
    There should be a whole sub-section of this forum for the amount of times Apple is in a lawsuit. And garbage ones at that
  • Reply 4 of 39
    Good luck with this one:



    United States Patent 5412730



    Abstract:



    A modem suitable for transmitting encrypted data over voice-grade telephone line. The modem is implemented by the combination of integrated circuit components including a microprocessor, a serial communications controller which communicates with connected data terminal equipment, and a modulator/demodulator for translating between voice band tone signals and digital data. Pseudo random number generators are employed at both the transmitting and receiving stations to supply identical sequences of encryption keys to a transmitting encoder and a receiving decoder. An initial random number seed value is made available to both stations. The random number generators are advanced at times determined by predetermined characteristics of the data being transmitted so that, after transmission has taken place, the common encryption key can be known only to the transmitting and receiving stations.
  • Reply 5 of 39
    The first post in each of these threads should be, "The following people know nothing about the patents involved or the law, but have strong opinions about them nonetheless."
  • Reply 6 of 39
    Switching keys during the conversation has been standard since *long* before 1995 (although the most common protocol that uses that technique - IPSEC - wasn't a standard until 1998)



    If they're talking about the existance of random keys as being in violation.. well SSH does that, which may or may not be prior art, depending on the date of filing.



    I don't see what apple has to do with this. They're in violation for using HTTPS? Then so am I, and so are.. half the companies in the world?



    Of course it's just a Patent Troll.. that's why they filed in Texas.
  • Reply 7 of 39
    This is great, just found my patent of the Wheel. You people owe me big!!!
  • Reply 8 of 39
    You know what I wish? I wish that AI would make it automatic that once they inform us about one of these suits that they be required to follow up on it to its conclusion. It seems I read a lot more reports about the filing of such suits than I do about their dispositions. The Psystar matter is about the only one that gets updated.
  • Reply 9 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    The first post in each of these threads should be, "The following people know nothing about the patents involved or the law, but have strong opinions about them nonetheless."



    For the record, my father-in-law is a patent attorney at the largest IP law firm in the Midwest. While not knowing anything specifically about patent law, I understand the industry (for lack of better word) and how things work. For one, filing in the Eastern District of Texas usually says something, unless they're miraculously located there. And having a college education, I'm able to look up and read a patent and comprehend it.



    So before making assumptions on what me (or anyone else) knows, I'd keep my snide comments to myself.
  • Reply 10 of 39
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post


    For the record, my father-in-law is a patent attorney at the largest IP law firm in the Midwest. While not knowing anything specifically about patent law, I understand the industry (for lack of better word) and how things work. For one, filing in the Eastern District of Texas usually says something, unless they're miraculously located there. And having a college education, I'm able to look up and read a patent and comprehend it.



    So before making assumptions on what me (or anyone else) knows, I'd keep my snide comments to myself.



    May I pick your brains please as I know nothing about this subject and admit it. Why is it so often that, shall we say, 'dubious claims' (not saying this one is or isn't) are so often filed in Texas? Is there no uniformity of standards in the US? Is there some central body that should check why this is the case or is it a State issue not Federal? Thanks.
  • Reply 11 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post


    For the record, my father-in-law is a patent attorney at the largest IP law firm in the Midwest. While not knowing anything specifically about patent law, I understand the industry (for lack of better word) and how things work. For one, filing in the Eastern District of Texas usually says something, unless they're miraculously located there. And having a college education, I'm able to look up and read a patent and comprehend it.



    So before making assumptions on what me (or anyone else) knows, I'd keep my snide comments to myself.



    Really? You first.



    I'm not a patent attorney and neither are you (family relations don't count, sorry). Thus neither of us have anything like the expertise required to come to any educated conclusions. The difference between you and me, apparently, is that I'm prepared to admit it. I haven't got a clue about the validity of the patent or the suit. So far in the many, many similar discussions I've seen here, nobody really does -- which doesn't stop them from spouting off.
  • Reply 12 of 39
    Interestingly, SSL/TLS began in 1993 with Secure Network Programming, and was not released by Netscape until 1995 (February), so their patent is non-trivial for that date, although it seems prior art exists.



    How did it get resolved with the banks?
  • Reply 13 of 39
    I for one have to be on the side of the Patentholder. They invented randomness, so if anybody wants to do anything random again, they should get money from it. Ain't patent's great?
  • Reply 14 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Samnuva View Post


    I for one have to be on the side of the Patentholder. They invented randomness, so if anybody wants to do anything random again, they should get money from it. Ain't patent's great?



    Sorry, I hold the patent on chaos, so I've got the prior art on randomness.
  • Reply 15 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Really? You first.



    I'm not a patent attorney and neither are you (family relations don't count, sorry). Thus neither of us have anything like the expertise required to come to any educated conclusions. The difference between you and me, apparently, is that I'm prepared to admit it. I haven't got a clue about the validity of the patent or the suit. So far in the many, many similar discussions I've seen here, nobody really does -- which doesn't stop them from spouting off.



    While I think there is a good probability that NO patent attorney will read these posts, there is a better probability that people who understand the mechanisms of data encryption read these posts. In fact, seeing it is one of the core competencies of many computer sci grads, I'd say one or two will chime in soon. Furthermore, you seem to think that you need to be a patent attorney in order to understand the granted patent. But does the patent attorney understand *every* technology contained in the filing? I think not. More than one computer researcher will be called to testify because the lawyers won't know dick about any of this.



    The exchange of a random seed prior to engaging in encrypted communications is prior art, like long long long long ago prior art. I hope for the plaintiff that this is not the only peg to which they're hanging their hat.
  • Reply 16 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    May I pick your brains please as I know nothing about this subject and admit it. Why is it so often that, shall we say, 'dubious claims' (not saying this one is or isn't) are so often filed in Texas? Is there no uniformity of standards in the US? Is there some central body that should check why this is the case or is it a State issue not Federal? Thanks.



    This may answer your question:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...trict_of_Texas



    As one of the people above said, any site that use the standard HTTPS and SSL would be in violation of this patent. This is just another stupid patent squatter and of course that's why they file in Texas.
  • Reply 17 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zentec View Post


    While I think there is a good probability that NO patent attorney will read these posts, there is a better probability that people who understand the mechanisms of data encryption read these posts. In fact, seeing it is one of the core competencies of many computer sci grads, I'd say one or two will chime in soon. Furthermore, you seem to think that you need to be a patent attorney in order to understand the granted patent. But does the patent attorney understand *every* technology contained in the filing? I think not. More than one computer researcher will be called to testify because the lawyers won't know dick about any of this.



    Granted the patent is technical, but then so are most patents, in one way or another. The reality however is that the validity of this or any other patent is not wholly dependent on technical issues -- it is also heavily dependent on what can and can't be patented, prior art, and other arcane legal questions known best to specialists in this field of law.



    I take it as a joke when someone remarks that the patent holder in this case claims to own the concept of randomness, but I see similar declarations of certainly that are no more grounded in fact, but don't seem to be made in jest. All of the threads on patent lawsuits go much the same way -- a lot a people claiming to know things they don't really know.
  • Reply 18 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    Really? You first.

    ... The difference between you and me, apparently, is that I'm prepared to admit it.



    I'm not prepared to admit it? Did you read what I said? My original post wasn't meant as an expert opinion or claiming professional knowledge. It was an opinion, which last time I checked I'm allowed have. For someone who claims he knows nothing about it either, you take it a little too seriously.



    You act like whenever someone gives an opinion, they're also claiming to be an expert



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post


    ....While not knowing anything specifically about patent law....



  • Reply 19 of 39
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    The other irksome thing is the complete lack of timeliness. Did these guys just wake up last week and realize that the biggest names in ecommerce have been using these technique that they think is covered by their patent? No, of course not, they game the system to maximize the payout (if there is one).



    Suppose I see you walk across my lawn each morning on the way to school, starting the first day of the school year, and never say anything. Then at the end of the school year I sued you for the cost of having my lawn reseeded thanks to the damage you caused. The small-claims judge would, I hope, tell me to piss off since I took no reasonable steps to prevent the damage (by telling you not to walk on the lawn 9 months earlier).



    Same thing with this case. Somehow it shouldn't be in the interest of the patent holder to sit silently by while their patent is (allegedly) being violated. If you know that someone is violating your patent and you don't object promptly then you shouldn't be able to sue for damages occuring after that date.
  • Reply 20 of 39
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,672member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    The difference between you and me, apparently, is that I'm prepared to admit it. I haven't got a clue about the validity of the patent or the suit. So far in the many, many similar discussions I've seen here, nobody really does -- which doesn't stop them from spouting off.



    The difference is that you are the only one that seems to care. AI forums is a great place to spout off and I think most people frequenting these forums have the wherewithal to detect when posts are based upon factual knowledge of the matter discussed (rare) or are... well, just opinionated spouting off (common).
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