Patent holder takes aim at Apple for iPhone's ability to search & receive ads

in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple this week was hit with a new patent infringement lawsuit, as the iPhone maker joins 31 other defendants accused of violating a patent related to Internet-connected phones with search functionality and mobile advertising.

The lawsuit was filed this week by H-W Technology LC, the owner of U.S. Patent No. 7,525,955, entitled "Internet Protocol (IP) Phone with Search and Advertising Capability." The invention was filed in 2004, and granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in April of 2009.

The patent from H-W Technology describes a handset that is "able to converge voice and data within a single terminal." The advertising-related invention describes the ability of users to "receive information and offers from merchants and to complete a transaction with one of said merchants without having to generate a voice call."

Apple is included in the lawsuit alongside a long list of other technology companies, ranging from partners to rivals. Other defendants include Microsoft, Google, Nokia, Amazon, Research in Motion, HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Sony and Verizon. In all, 32 defendants are named in the lawsuit.

The suit accuses Apple of infringing on the '955 patent by creating "a multi-convergence device having a domain specific application" allowing users to make transactions relying on a data connection alone. Specifically cited in the suit is the iPhone.

H-W Technology seeks a permanent injunction preventing Apple and the other defendants from selling products it believes to be infringing upon the '955 patent. The complaint dated March 30 was filed in a U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division.


  • Reply 1 of 15
    I love how the list of defendants is not even alphabetized, is there any reason for this ?
  • Reply 2 of 15
    povilaspovilas Posts: 473member
    Good lord
  • Reply 3 of 15
    ddawson100ddawson100 Posts: 481member
    Very interesting analysis at If I had some original idea and patented it I'd be diligent in guarding it. I don't have any opinion on this issue since I don't understand enough of the intricacies. If there is some infringement it's good to get it before the courts (or jury as in this case). If there's not then it's good for everybody to get beyond. It's business, yo.
  • Reply 4 of 15
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Are lawsuits such as this part of the reason why perhaps that functions such as search are not included in the first place? Or am I reaching too far and the real reason is you don't have an infinite number of monkeys generating an infinite number of lines of code at no cost to bring a product to market?

    not being very familiar with this at a glance it does seem to be like so many others - where there is some obscure idea that if you squint just right resembles what someone else is doing.

    My opinion with software is that you should have to show identical lines of code or algorithms or maybe visual elements that are exactly the same for there to be infringement. Oh, wait, what's that, your patent is on a general concept of how something might possibly be done and you are suing because someone else independently arrived at actual implementation of how to achieve something roughly similar to your idea, well why didn't you say so.
  • Reply 5 of 15
    Whenever I read about one of these silly patent infringement claims, I wonder who is paying for the court costs? Is the party that loses a civil case required to pay all the cost incurred by the court? At the very least, when a plaintiff loses, the plaintiff should be required to pay all the costs incurred by the court. Perhaps this is how it works. I don't know, but this should be how it works, and that sill leaves the problem of the public having to pay the bill when the defendant loses.

    I read the blog referenced in the prior post. It makes no sense to me. There just isn't anything there that comes within a light year of being something that my common sense tells me should be patentable. The patent seems to hinge on the idea of using a phone to do something that would not be doable in an ordinary phone that has only a voice connection, not a data connection. So if this is patentable, it seems that anything that any ordinary computer is capable of doing, via a network connection, and that you can describe using the appropriate language, is patentable when it is done via a mobile phone. This just makes not sense at all to me, and if this is what it comes down to, I certainly hope that the courts have sense enough to throw it out. And if it does get thrown out, or if the defendants prevail after going to court, then I hope that the plaintiffs are required to pay all the cost and even additional penalties. Otherwise, there is no end to this sort of thing.
  • Reply 6 of 15
    mrstepmrstep Posts: 484member
    So let me get this straight, the patent is using an IP connection to browse and then buy stuff online. Oh, no, it's because you can do it on a phone - but without even using the phone part. Which then is... a computer? WTF is with stuff like this?

    I'd like to patent a new portable device right now - it could communicate, it could send data, and it can be used to execute medical testing functions. Boom! Genius! Now if anyone ever integrates a heart rate monitor, diabetes tester, or whatever into a phone or other portable electronic device, they're violating my patent.

    And please don't argue that Star Trek had tricorders that could send data back to the ship years ago! And don't argue that miniaturization will inevitable lead to the combining of functions either! Logic has no place here!

    Wow, these things just are so irritating...
  • Reply 7 of 15
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,709member
    The way this is described in the article above it comes across as ridiculous. If you take out a patent on something like this, and you never produce any hardware or software to demonstrate its true functionality, how detailed does your patent application have to be? It seems to me that people/ companies are able to patent general ideas of future visions of how things might one day work. I looked at the documentation and even though I am no expert it looks to me like there is a very long way between what is described and actually producing the described abilities in a phone in a meaningful way. I am just curious about the criteria for granting patents.
  • Reply 8 of 15
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    The idea seems very generic. And if this is the same function as every computer in the world with a web browser can perform, is that fact that I'm now on a smartphone really make it new.

    So the question is, what is the implentation of the idea? They seem to be claiming that every single one of those companies is using their particular implementation. Highly unlikely.

    Of course, I'm basing this on the notion that you shouldn't be able to patent a concept. It should require specific designs for the implentation. Otherwise I could patent any idea I had and if in the next 20 years someone smarter than me came up with a way to actually implement it I could sue them!

    You also shouldn't be able to use the courts for a fishing expedition. Do they have any actual evidence that any of those companies is using their implemenation of the concept? Or are they just hopeful that they'll stumble across one or two that do and wasting the court's time and resources because they didn't do any investigation of their own before filing the lawsuit?
  • Reply 9 of 15
    Make the frickin product first then patent it. Also anything that is an obvious process should not be patentable ie the one click shopping button. Although I don't feel sorry for these tech giants. They brought this upon themselves when they started patenting all kinds of crazy s*&t. Reap what you sow.
  • Reply 10 of 15
    'nother week, 'nother lawsuit.
  • Reply 11 of 15
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Originally Posted by heavydevelopment View Post

    Make the frickin product first then patent it.

    I wouldn't go so far as saying you have to make the product. That would put a small, independent inventor at a serious disadvantage. But you should certainly have to show specific designs of how you'd make the product if you did. Otherwise all you have is a concept, not a product.

    There's actually a law pending in Congress right now to reform the patent law. A lot of good changes, but also one bad one, in my opinion. The US patent system would change to a "first to file" instead of a "first to invent" basis. This is to match most of the rest of the world. But I think it's a bad idea.

    What if I invent something but don't want to patent it, with the intent of letting anyone use my idea if they want to. Then someone comes along and patents it preventing anyone else from using it. It seems to muck up the whole concept of prior art, becuase that concept now becomes "prior patented art", which will just make it easier for the big boys to stomp all over the little guys who don't have full legal departments cranking out patent applications for everything under the sun.

    There will be a whole new legal industry that pops up to search the planet for ideas that people are using but just haven't been patented yet. Not to mention a whole new target for industrial espionage. If Apple wants to keep their new inventions secret, and thereby not yet file a patent for them, if someone gets wind of it they could file a patent and prevent Apple from bringing it to market.
  • Reply 12 of 15
    cubertcubert Posts: 728member
  • Reply 13 of 15
    kyle172kyle172 Posts: 64member
    Really. How low can you go?!
  • Reply 14 of 15
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,022member
    April Fools!
  • Reply 15 of 15
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

    The idea seems very generic. And if this is the same function as every computer in the world with a web browser can perform, is that fact that I'm now on a smartphone really make it new.

    THat is probably exactly how they will defend it. THat this is just the natural progression of things and that a smart phone is really more like a computer with phone functions
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