Patent troll targets Apple in touch screen patent infringement case

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2020
An infamous patent troll has resurfaced, and is suing Apple and many others over the infringement of four patents dealing with capacitive keyboards and sensors used in the iPhone 11, third-generation iPad Pro, and similar products by other vendors like Microsoft and Samsung.

Patent troll targets Apple in touch-screen patent infringement case


Two of the patents in question deal with various functions of capacitive keyboards. Specifically, they claim that Apple has used their keyboard technology in the design of the iPhone 11. They claim their keyboard patents were registered in October of 2010 and March of 2011.

The other two are focused on touch sensors and, according to Neodron, exists illegally in Apple's iPhone 11 and the third generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The proximity sensor and touch sensor patents were filed with the U.S. Patent Office in June of 2014 and June of 2016 respectively.

Neodron had also opened lawsuits against Amazon, ASUS, LG, Microsoft, Sony, and Samsung on the same day, involving the same patents.

Neodron, an Irish shell company formed in late 2018, has been in the news for suing tech companies in the past. In 2019, they'd claimed that most of the big name consumer electronics companies -- such as Amazon, Dell, HP, and Samsung -- had infringed on many of its patents.

The act, often referred to as "patent trolling" involves actors who buy cheap patents in bulk and scan them for any similar concepts that may exist in profitable, well-known technology produced by large companies. The patent trolls then try to manipulate patent law in hopes of forcing companies to pay a large settlement.

According to the Washington Times, had Neodron won their 2019 lawsuit, they'd have been able to ban 80 percent of Android tablets and 97 percent of premium Android smartphones if companies were not willing to pony up the cash.

The patents in this new case were purchased from Amtel Corporation, who had been acquired by Microchip Technology in 2016.

Apple has long been outspoken about the target on its back. In January, Apple had urged the European Union Commissioner to take action against patent trolls. They'd argued that it was too costly -- in both time and money -- to be dragged to court over frivolous issues.

Neodron Versus Apple by Mike Wuerthele on Scribd

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    Profiteers. Plain and simple. What a waste of everybody's time and money.

    That said, this does keep pressure on companies to make sure they are staying on the 'clean' side of the line with regards to patent infringement.

    pslice
  • Reply 2 of 21
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,095member
    Someone is trying to enforce a patent that they own?

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
  • Reply 3 of 21
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,214member
    MAKE PATENTS NON TRANSFERABLE Poof, problem solved. The original inventor and any company they work with, or the company that patents something, can make a profit. but the inventor dies or the company goes bankrupt and instantly the patent is public. One change to the law could make all of this BS go away literally overnight.
    cornchipgilly33
  • Reply 4 of 21
    65026502 Posts: 379member
    DAalseth said:
    MAKE PATENTS NON TRANSFERABLE Poof, problem solved. The original inventor and any company they work with, or the company that patents something, can make a profit. but the inventor dies or the company goes bankrupt and instantly the patent is public. One change to the law could make all of this BS go away literally overnight.
    It is intellectual property. The inventor has the right to enforce the patent it or sell it if they so choose. Do you know how many companies Apple has bought just for their intellectual property? All patents enter the public domain in 20 years anyway, so either pay up or wait 20 yrs.
  • Reply 5 of 21
    Ya know, I wonder if any of these patent trolls are dumb enough to go after the Pablo Escobar brand. If one of these infamous patent troll were to disappear while attempting to sue in the eastern district of Texas, and his dismembered and mutilated corpse, that was clearly tortured before death, was found in a bag outside of the courthouse... I wonder if that would produce an adequately chilling effect.
    edited February 2020 ktappe
  • Reply 6 of 21
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,913member
    6502 said:
    DAalseth said:
    MAKE PATENTS NON TRANSFERABLE Poof, problem solved. The original inventor and any company they work with, or the company that patents something, can make a profit. but the inventor dies or the company goes bankrupt and instantly the patent is public. One change to the law could make all of this BS go away literally overnight.
    It is intellectual property. The inventor has the right to enforce the patent it or sell it if they so choose. Do you know how many companies Apple has bought just for their intellectual property? All patents enter the public domain in 20 years anyway, so either pay up or wait 20 yrs.

    Aren't patents for implementations not ideas. Just require a working example before it can be licensed, sold or sued against. After all if they can't product a working example while the defendant can maybe their implimentation just doesn't work in the first place. 
  • Reply 7 of 21
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    6502 said:
    DAalseth said:
    MAKE PATENTS NON TRANSFERABLE Poof, problem solved. The original inventor and any company they work with, or the company that patents something, can make a profit. but the inventor dies or the company goes bankrupt and instantly the patent is public. One change to the law could make all of this BS go away literally overnight.
    It is intellectual property. The inventor has the right to enforce the patent it or sell it if they so choose. Do you know how many companies Apple has bought just for their intellectual property? All patents enter the public domain in 20 years anyway, so either pay up or wait 20 yrs.
    You’re right. If patents were non-transferable then, to start with, there’d be no TouchID. 
  • Reply 8 of 21
    Bring in a patent transfer licence..  the original inventor has the rights to use/sue if infringed. If another company purchases said company/patent, then the transfer licence is only valid if the new company manufactures a commercial viable product using said patent. If they don’t, then the transfer licence is void! That way companies like Apple/google who purchase smaller companies for their patents have to USE it or it becomes void. Patent Trolls will be stopped overnight. Even a dumb ass like me can see an easy fix.
    kurai_kage
  • Reply 9 of 21
    yuck9yuck9 Posts: 112member
    DAalseth said:
    MAKE PATENTS NON TRANSFERABLE Poof, problem solved. The original inventor and any company they work with, or the company that patents something, can make a profit. but the inventor dies or the company goes bankrupt and instantly the patent is public. One change to the law could make all of this BS go away literally overnight.
    Lol. So the Inventor dies and his family gets nothing ? If that is the case then every holder will form some type of company. Not going to work.
    muthuk_vanalingamktappe
  • Reply 10 of 21
    Pretty simple solution, actually. Require the transfer of patent ownership to be purchased by a company who plans to actually use the patent. If the patent in question doesn't show up in a working device within, say 5 years, the patent goes public. It's a waste of everyone's time for a patent to be granted with no intentions of putting it to good use.
    montyburns
  • Reply 11 of 21
    DAalseth said:
    MAKE PATENTS NON TRANSFERABLE Poof, problem solved. The original inventor and any company they work with, or the company that patents something, can make a profit. but the inventor dies or the company goes bankrupt and instantly the patent is public. One change to the law could make all of this BS go away literally overnight.
    Are you insane? That would be plainly unconstitutional.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 21
    An infamous patent troll has resurfaced, and is suing Apple and many others over the infringement of four patents dealing with capacitive keyboards and sensors used in the iPhone 11, third-generation iPad Pro, and similar products by other vendors like Microsoft and Samsung.

    Patent troll targets Apple in touch-screen patent infringement case


    Two of the patents in question deal with various functions of capacitive keyboards. Specifically, they claim that Apple has used their keyboard technology in the design of the iPhone 11. They claim their keyboard patents were registered in October of 2010 and March of 2011.

    The other two are focused on proximity and touch sensors and, according to Neodron, exists illegally in Apple's iPhone 11 and the third generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The proximity sensor and touch sensor patents were filed with the U.S. Patent Office in June of 2014 and June of 2016 respectively.

    Neodron had also opened lawsuits against Amazon, ASUS, LG, Microsoft, Sony, and Samsung on the same day, involving the same patents.

    Neodron, an Irish shell company formed in late 2018, has been in the news for suing tech companies in the past. In 2019, they'd claimed that most of the big name consumer electronics companies -- such as Amazon, Dell, HP, and Samsung -- had infringed on many of its patents.

    The act, often referred to as "patent trolling" involves actors who buy cheap patents in bulk and scan them for any similar concepts that may exist in profitable, well-known technology produced by large companies. The patent trolls then try to manipulate patent law in hopes of forcing companies to pay a large settlement.

    According to the Washington Times, had Neodron won their 2019 lawsuit, they'd have been able to ban 80 percent of Android tablets and 97 percent of premium Android smartphones if companies were not willing to pony up the cash.

    The patents in this new case were purchased from Amtel Corporation, who had been acquired by Microchip Technology in 2016.

    Apple has long been outspoken about the target on its back. In January, Apple had urged the European Union Commissioner to take action against patent trolls. They'd argued that it was too costly -- in both time and money -- to be dragged to court over frivolous issues.

    Neodron Versus Apple by Mike Wuerthele on Scribd

    Back to your old tricks, eh? We had a lengthy argument over the use of the biased term “patent troll” before. Patent Assertion Entity is less “partisan” and better describes the situation as a patent holder is well within their rights to sue or engage in negotiations with infringers with whatever legal means are at their disposal.

    Patent Assertion Entity, not “patent troll”. No one is the wiser until the legal dispute is resolved.
    cincyteemuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 21
    As @SpamSandwich says, patent "troll" is inappropriate, as is "infamous." (Son of Sam is infamous; these folks are just disreputable.) Your dislike of collecting and aggressively defending patents as a business model is understandable, and I agree that patents should be used for creating actual products, not holding other companies ransom. Still, IP does deserve to be defended; it represents real work and creativity, which has tangible value in the marketplace. 
    edited February 2020 SpamSandwich
  • Reply 14 of 21
    65026502 Posts: 379member
    mattinoz said:
    6502 said:
    DAalseth said:
    MAKE PATENTS NON TRANSFERABLE Poof, problem solved. The original inventor and any company they work with, or the company that patents something, can make a profit. but the inventor dies or the company goes bankrupt and instantly the patent is public. One change to the law could make all of this BS go away literally overnight.
    It is intellectual property. The inventor has the right to enforce the patent it or sell it if they so choose. Do you know how many companies Apple has bought just for their intellectual property? All patents enter the public domain in 20 years anyway, so either pay up or wait 20 yrs.

    Aren't patents for implementations not ideas. Just require a working example before it can be licensed, sold or sued against. After all if they can't product a working example while the defendant can maybe their implimentation just doesn't work in the first place. 
    That's a myth, it's the opposite, actually. You patent the idea, implementation has little to do with it. In fact, if you come up with an idea and hire a 1000 engineers to implement it, and if they implement it using standard, known to the art techniques, only the person that came up with the idea can be listed as an inventor on the patent. Inventorship is a legal interpretation and getting this wrong can invalidate a patent.

    I'm an inventor on several unimplemented and even prophetic granted patents. However, you can't patent the impossible such as a perpetual motion machine. If you do patent an idea that turns out to be impossible, it can be challenged and invalidated.

    Intellectual property is big business. This is why big companies have hundreds of patent lawyers on staff and why patent lawyers make big money.

    Apple patents many things they never implement. Would you say the same thing if Samsung implemented one of Apple's unused patents that Apple cannot sue over it?
  • Reply 15 of 21
    65026502 Posts: 379member
    Pretty simple solution, actually. Require the transfer of patent ownership to be purchased by a company who plans to actually use the patent. If the patent in question doesn't show up in a working device within, say 5 years, the patent goes public. It's a waste of everyone's time for a patent to be granted with no intentions of putting it to good use.
    No it doesn't. If it is such a great idea but you don't have the means to implement it, I'm sure you'd be willing it license or sell it.
  • Reply 16 of 21
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,516administrator
    Regarding the use of the term "Patent Troll." This has been discussed before, on multiple occasions, and as we have said before, we will continue to use the term as we see fit.

    Further complaints or arguments about it will be deleted.
    edited February 2020 montyburns
  • Reply 17 of 21
    6502 said:
    mattinoz said:
    6502 said:
    DAalseth said:
    MAKE PATENTS NON TRANSFERABLE Poof, problem solved. The original inventor and any company they work with, or the company that patents something, can make a profit. but the inventor dies or the company goes bankrupt and instantly the patent is public. One change to the law could make all of this BS go away literally overnight.
    It is intellectual property. The inventor has the right to enforce the patent it or sell it if they so choose. Do you know how many companies Apple has bought just for their intellectual property? All patents enter the public domain in 20 years anyway, so either pay up or wait 20 yrs.

    Aren't patents for implementations not ideas. Just require a working example before it can be licensed, sold or sued against. After all if they can't product a working example while the defendant can maybe their implimentation just doesn't work in the first place. 
    That's a myth, it's the opposite, actually. You patent the idea, implementation has little to do with it. In fact, if you come up with an idea and hire a 1000 engineers to implement it, and if they implement it using standard, known to the art techniques, only the person that came up with the idea can be listed as an inventor on the patent. Inventorship is a legal interpretation and getting this wrong can invalidate a patent.

    I'm an inventor on several unimplemented and even prophetic granted patents. However, you can't patent the impossible such as a perpetual motion machine. If you do patent an idea that turns out to be impossible, it can be challenged and invalidated.

    Intellectual property is big business. This is why big companies have hundreds of patent lawyers on staff and why patent lawyers make big money.

    Apple patents many things they never implement. Would you say the same thing if Samsung implemented one of Apple's unused patents that Apple cannot sue over it?
    And to clarify, you’ve patented the expression of an idea, process, system or mechanism. Ideas alone cannot be patented.
    edited February 2020
  • Reply 18 of 21
    6502 said:
    Pretty simple solution, actually. Require the transfer of patent ownership to be purchased by a company who plans to actually use the patent. If the patent in question doesn't show up in a working device within, say 5 years, the patent goes public. It's a waste of everyone's time for a patent to be granted with no intentions of putting it to good use.
    No it doesn't. If it is such a great idea but you don't have the means to implement it, I'm sure you'd be willing it license or sell it.
    Sure.. the 'original' inventor should have to right to 'license or sell' BUT.. if sold, the purchaser HAS to use the 'patent' in a commercially viable product, or the 'transfer is void. That way the 'original' inventor has the ability to 'license' or 'sell' to make their money ( as it should be ) but stop 'trolls' from acquiring 'patents' to sit on and then sue later.
  • Reply 19 of 21
    6502 said:
    Pretty simple solution, actually. Require the transfer of patent ownership to be purchased by a company who plans to actually use the patent. If the patent in question doesn't show up in a working device within, say 5 years, the patent goes public. It's a waste of everyone's time for a patent to be granted with no intentions of putting it to good use.
    No it doesn't. If it is such a great idea but you don't have the means to implement it, I'm sure you'd be willing it license or sell it.
    Sure.. the 'original' inventor should have to right to 'license or sell' BUT.. if sold, the purchaser HAS to use the 'patent' in a commercially viable product, or the 'transfer is void. That way the 'original' inventor has the ability to 'license' or 'sell' to make their money ( as it should be ) but stop 'trolls' from acquiring 'patents' to sit on and then sue later.
    I take it this is your fantasy scenario? Because that’s not how property rights work.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    65026502 Posts: 379member
    6502 said:
    Pretty simple solution, actually. Require the transfer of patent ownership to be purchased by a company who plans to actually use the patent. If the patent in question doesn't show up in a working device within, say 5 years, the patent goes public. It's a waste of everyone's time for a patent to be granted with no intentions of putting it to good use.
    No it doesn't. If it is such a great idea but you don't have the means to implement it, I'm sure you'd be willing it license or sell it.
    Sure.. the 'original' inventor should have to right to 'license or sell' BUT.. if sold, the purchaser HAS to use the 'patent' in a commercially viable product, or the 'transfer is void. That way the 'original' inventor has the ability to 'license' or 'sell' to make their money ( as it should be ) but stop 'trolls' from acquiring 'patents' to sit on and then sue later.
    Patents are properties that can be bought and sold like almost any other property. I'm sure Apple read the patent and decided their technology doesn't infringe on it. Conversely, I'm sure the patent holder saw Apple's technology and decided it infringed on their patent. It is now up to the courts to decide who is right. It is just the way things work today, and it is really not that bad or unfair.
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