Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Patents Cellphones Displays Handhelds Iphone The Courts Apple

Apple Counter-Sues Motorola Over Touchscreen Patents 201

Posted by Soulskill
from the round-and-round-we-go dept.
Earlier this month, we discussed news that Motorola had sued Apple, alleging infringement of 18 patents involving the iPhone, iPad, and other Apple devices. In response, Apple has now launched a pair of lawsuits alleging that Motorola is the infringing party, pointing to a number of patents involving touchscreen displays and multi-touch technology, and also methods for interacting with settings and data on a device. Apple wants the court to award them damages and prevent Motorola from continuing to sell the offending devices, which include the Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, BackFlip, Devour i1, Devour A555, Cliq, and Cliq XT.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple Counter-Sues Motorola Over Touchscreen Patents

Comments Filter:
  • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @01:17AM (#34077796) Homepage

    (n/t)

  • by TheNarrator (200498) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @01:26AM (#34077838)

    This whole patent war reminds me of the famous computer science analogy: the dining philosophers [wikipedia.org].

    If each fork represents a patent, all the philosophers have picked up a fork and now are unable to eat because they don't have enough forks to make a smartphone.

    • by polar red (215081)

      forks down !

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by alexhs (877055)

      all the philosophers have picked up a fork and now are unable to eat because they don't have enough forks to make a smartphone.

      Well, that's a problem in closed-source land. In FOSS land, forks appear spontaneously !

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by t2t10 (1909766)

      Ah, but things work out once a bunch of them use the fork they have to stab their neighbors and steal their forks.

    • by Headius (5562)

      This would almost be funny, except that it's not forks, it's chopsticks...and you can eat perfectly well with ONE FUCKING FORK.

      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        The original analogy is forks and spaghetti (which is apparently difficult to eat with one fork - I've personally never used more than one fork and never had a problem).

        Chopsticks and rice makes the problem more obvious.

        More importantly, though, is that the analogy makes absolutely no sense in this context. The problem only occurs in mutual exclusion environments with no communication (i.e. computers). The only reason two vendors wouldn't cross-license is because they were pissed at each other and both be

    • by Dogtanian (588974) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @06:09AM (#34078522) Homepage

      If each fork represents a patent, all the philosophers have picked up a fork and now are unable to eat because they don't have enough forks to make a smartphone.

      Er.... yeah.

      Unfortunately, you're likely to get sued because BadAnalogyGuy [slashdot.org] owns the patent on making very bad analogies on Slashdot. :-)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Unfortunately, you're likely to get sued because BadAnalogyGuy owns the patent on making very bad analogies on Slashdot. :-)

        Hey! Your not allowed to just add "on Slashdot" to some widely used technique and then patent it!

        • by dudpixel (1429789)

          Unfortunately, you're likely to get sued because BadAnalogyGuy owns the patent on making very bad analogies on Slashdot. :-)

          Hey! Your not allowed to just add "on Slashdot" to some widely used technique and then patent it!

          hmm, actually, it would seem that you are allowed to.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        If each fork represents a patent, all the philosophers have picked up a fork and now are unable to eat because they don't have enough forks to make a smartphone.

        Er.... yeah. Unfortunately, you're likely to get sued because BadAnalogyGuy [slashdot.org] owns the patent on making very bad analogies on Slashdot. :-)

        This being a reasonable good (even if not perfect) analogy, it doesn't fall under the patented method.

    • by russotto (537200) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @09:27AM (#34079258) Journal

      If each fork represents a patent, all the philosophers have picked up a fork and now are unable to eat because they don't have enough forks to make a smartphone.

      Fortunately they've learned they can stab each other with the forks, which doesn't make a smartphone but does provide entertainment value.

  • Poor lawyers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thegarbz (1787294) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @01:28AM (#34077844)
    Clearly someone thought of the poor struggling lawyers. They needed some love too. There can only be one winner here, and it won't be companies who are suing each other.
    • Re:Poor lawyers (Score:4, Insightful)

      by countertrolling (1585477) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @01:53AM (#34077932) Journal

      The companies are doing fine. Now you know why iPads are 500 dollars. The only loser is the customer.

      • I thought that the iPad was $500 because there is no competition that is worthy enough to drive the price down!

      • Apple has long over charged for their hardware. Notice their massive profits? Reason is they have massive margins. They charge much higher margins than other electronics makers. They get away with it because their products are trendy, fashionable, and fashion is one area where consumers' normal price sensitivity doesn't apply. You'll notice that the iPod was not the first MP3 player, nor the first portable music device. What it was was a fashion accessory, you had to own one to be cool. The white earbuds we

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by PietjeJantje (917584)
          There is a funny thing about this argument, or better, about the response usually given to this argument. The responses usually are that Apple is in fact good value for money because you get this and that and the cheaper competition doesn't, etc. etc. Even Apple PR itself will say this when trolled.

          Now cue to Apple, corporate site, where they don't talk customer language but investor language. Why should I buy AAPL, according to Apple? According to Apple, because of their profit maximization. Funny, that.
          • Yep, investors love Apple. Part of this is just because Apple is heavily hyped and a media darling and people are influenced by that, even though they might pretend to be 100% objective. However another part is they are immensely profitable compared to the volume of sales they have and the fact that they are in consumer electronics. Normally CE companies don't make a ton of profit margin. They can still have good profits, but it is in volume, not margin. Consumers are highly price sensitive, so you have to

            • Those aren't investors. Those people are speculators. Investors are people who understand what they're putting their money in (eg Warren Buffet).

          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            by russotto (537200)

            The responses usually are that Apple is in fact good value for money because you get this and that and the cheaper competition doesn't, etc. etc. Even Apple PR itself will say this when trolled.

            Now cue to Apple, corporate site, where they don't talk customer language but investor language. Why should I buy AAPL, according to Apple? According to Apple, because of their profit maximization. Funny, that.

            What makes you think they are contradictory? Apple can provide good value for money AND make great profits.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by deathguppie (768263)

              Every piece of hardware that Apple uses, anyone else can get, minus a few tiny customizations, and the price is actually higher than their competitors for the same price. If you took a competing arm based tablet and stripped it of all of it's peripherals, and then reduced the price accordingly you'd end up with a cheaper tablet. The thing is that other tablet makers actually add more value for the money by giving you the ability to use SD cards, USB input, and mabey even a camera (or at least the ability

              • by russotto (537200)

                Your analysis assumes tablets are a commodity; they're all identical except in a few well-defined ways, so we can objectively classify Apple's tablet as "Tablet, 10" screen, ARM Based, Wifi" and assume that it is interchangeable with other tablets with the same specifications, and strictly inferior to "Tablet, 10" screen, ARM Based, Wifi, SD cards, USB input". They aren't, though.

              • Apple's value is in its OSs and software. Evidently you assume that doesn't cost any money or require any R&D. But go on with your lack of logic, this is Slashdot -- you'll get modded up as long as you hate on Apple.

        • by am 2k (217885)

          Well, yesterday I saw an article [techcrunch.com] on how Apple now has a higher total revenue than Microsoft, but much smaller profits. I guess that's the big con of being a hardware-selling company...

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Sycraft-fu (314770)

            MS has stellar profit margins because they are in software. Software has the advantage of having nearly zero unit cost. Even if you aren't just selling licenses, as MS often is, the cost of making and distributing a box is a buck or less. The unit cost of software is nothing. Means all you have are your fixed costs, your R&D, support, that kind of shit.

            With hardware, you have that too, but then you have a unit cost. This is actually higher than the raw parts you put in it because you have to deal with f

            • Another trick MS has pulled is making volume license windows sales upgrade/downgrade only and OEM ones non-transferable. So either you pay full retail upfront (few people do) or every time you replace a computer you pay for windows again even if you don't particulally want a new version (witness the number of machines that were available with vista or win7 downgraded to XP). Worse I belive OEM downgrades have now ceased so if you want XP now afaict you need to buy a machine with win7 and then buy a volume l

          • by Karlt1 (231423)

            Well, yesterday I saw an article on how Apple now has a higher total revenue than Microsoft, but much smaller profits. I guess that's the big con of being a hardware-selling company...

            AAPL Net Income last quarter $4.308 billion
            MSFT Net Income last quarter $5.4 Billion

            A 20% difference is not what I would call "much smaller".

            • Last I read Apple's net income last quarter was $3.25b [huffingtonpost.com], and you have to remember Q3 includes both the release of the iPad and iPhone 4.
              • by Karlt1 (231423)

                Last I read Apple's net income last quarter was $3.25b, and you have to remember Q3 includes both the release of the iPad and iPhone 4.

                Apple's fiscal year ends in September. Last quarter was Apple's fiscal fourth quarter, not their third quarter.

                http://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:AAPL&fstype=ii [google.com]

                Microsoft just released their latest quarterly results. Google Finance hasn't updated MSFT's earnings yet.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by BasilBrush (643681)

          The problem with claiming that Apple overcharge for the iPad is that in the days before the iPad launch, blogs had pretty much guessed the form factor and specification, but they were estimating the price point to be $999.

          $499 isn't overpriced. It's just that some people will say Apple products are overpriced whatever the actual price is.

          • by gmhowell (26755)

            Funny how everyone forgets the $1000 predicted sticker price when ranting about how expensive the $500 iPad is.

        • by PastaLover (704500) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @08:11AM (#34078876) Journal

          Apple doesn't overcharge for their hardware. They charge what the market can bear (i.e. what people are willing to pay). To do anything else would be ridiculous for any company.

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      There can only be one winner here, and it won't be companies who are suing each other.

      Actually I figure anywhere from 20-50 winners, but yeah Apple and Motorola won't likely be among them.

  • You scratch my back, I scratch yours.

    No wait, that's not it...

  • Got it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Sunday October 31, 2010 @01:53AM (#34077930) Homepage Journal

    1. Do something. Or perhaps nothing.
    2. Sue!
    3. Profit!!! [1]

    [1] Profit only available to lawyers and other assorted douchebags.

  • Progress (Score:5, Insightful)

    by steveha (103154) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @02:13AM (#34077958) Homepage

    I'm just glad to see another example of patents promoting the Progress of Science and useful Arts [wikipedia.org].

    Because we all know that without these patents, Apple would never have bothered to produce devices with multitouch, nor would Motorola, nor would anybody. And really, the whole idea of using compound gestures like pinching is completely non-obvious. And we wouldn't want little startup companies to make multitouch products; we only want big companies with lawyers to be able to do it.

    Can't you just feel the Progress?

    Go, Apple! Cry havoc and let slip the lawyers of litigation!

    steveha

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What's your point? Your particular "winner" didn't get picked? Patents have always been about a particular winner. The whole "advancing society" comes with the expiration of the patent much like with copyright. During the patent any benefit we gain comes from how well the patent holder executes their idea. That's the way it has always been. As for the obviousness of it, are you by any chance an expert in the particular field the patents are in? Seems that's one of the requirements, not "armchair expert" w

      • by steveha (103154)

        What's your point?

        My point is that patents are not achieving their goal of promoting Progress. Patents have been granted on things that are IMHO obvious, such as using two fingers to make a pinching motion. Only companies with lawyers, and a library of patents to cross-license, have a chance. This is stifling Progress, rather than promoting it.

        I am not calling for an end to patents. I make my living writing software, and if there were no patents, the company for which I work wouldn't have the money to p

    • Re:Progress (Score:4, Insightful)

      by devent (1627873) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @04:56AM (#34078280) Homepage

      And do you know why we see now the multi-touch technology used everywhere and every company is so aggressive to push it? Because the multi-touch technology was developed in the 1980/1990 years and now all the patents on the basic technologies are expiring. What all the companies are now doing is to improve on the expired patents and get their own patents to sue the competition.

      It's like why the price for pills and medicine is dropping significant after the patents expired and you start to see only slightly different pills and medicine in the pharmacy to buy instead of the generics. That's also the reason why the pharmacy industry put so much money into advertising the new pills, so the people think that the slightly different pills are so much better instead of the now really cheap generics. For more information visit Wikipedia on Generic Drugs [wikipedia.org]

      What patents basically did was to make the multi-touch technology so expensive that the devices were on hold for about 20 years.

      • I'm not entirely sure that's right. I very much doubt you could bring out a multitouch device in the 90s that had a battery life of more than an hour. There was also not really much of a point. The reason we like these touch screens now is that we need lots of screen space for our browsers and games, something else you wouldn't really be running on something of this form factor in the 90s.

        I think patents do hamper progress a lot, but a lot of technology takes a while to make the jump from the lab to real wo

        • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

          He's saying the core tech and patents are that old, not that there were any devices then. Patents expire based on the date they were filed, it doesn't matter how long it takes to get a product to market. 17 years from the initial filing and it's done.

      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        If it happened before 1993, it dun expired already.

  • Yawn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Macman408 (1308925) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @02:42AM (#34078008)

    A sues B
    B countersues A
    A and B settle
    A and B issue press releases that they have cross-licensed their technology

    Is there a reason this still makes the news every time?

    When was the last time some major company was sued to stop production of a product, and they were actually stopped? Never, of course; patent holders just want money. Sometimes the price might be too high, of course. But there's always a price.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That happens all the time.Not to the Apples and Motorolas of course, but for small to medium size companies a patent lawsuit can be a huge deal: It's not just license, it's also the legal costs. The price can easily be large enough that the only sane option is to abandon that technology..

      In a lot of cases the patents seem to only function as barriers to market entry.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Under the current formulation patents in this space are a definite loss. As long as patents are allowed to be used in this fashion you're going to see stifled innovation. Certain categories of patents ought to be discarded completely, such as patents there solely to reserve areas of research and ones based upon vague ideas which may or may not mean anything.
        • The US patent system does, indeed, appear to be fucked up beyond belief. But the fact remains that the ultimate sanction is there and has been used (didn't RIM come close to having its US email system shut down?). To assume that it will all end in a cross-licensing deal is very dangerous.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by t2t10 (1909766)

      When was the last time some major company was sued to stop production of a product, and they were actually stopped? Never, of course; patent holders just want money.

      Large companies often have to pay penalties and modify their products. Small companies, however, go out of business when this happens. The patent system basically creates an oligopoly where only companies with lots of lawyers and resources (=tons of money) manage to survive the inevitable patent lawsuits.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      When was the last time some major company was sued to stop production of a product, and they were actually stopped? Never, of course;

      Kodak by Polaroid over instant film.

    • That's now completely wrong; Cross-licensing is the old way. The new way goes

      A develops something; hives half the patents to a holding company (C)
      B develops something;
      A sues B
      B countersues A
      A and B settle
      A and B issue press releases that they have cross-licensed their technology
      C sues B anyway.
      B goes bankrupt,.

      Cross licensing deals are no longer trustworthy with companies like Microsoft. The only way is a true deathmatch and even that isn't certain. Hive off your patents into a NPE and sue bab

    • by russotto (537200)

      When was the last time some major company was sued to stop production of a product, and they were actually stopped?

      Microsoft's XML dispute with i4i.

      Kodak's instant cameras.

      It happens all the time with smaller companies which are crushed out of existence, you just don't hear about it.

  • Oooh! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Sunday October 31, 2010 @03:05AM (#34078044) Homepage

    Will this add a Hamilton cycle to the who-sues-whom graph of smartphone makers?

  • by t2t10 (1909766) on Sunday October 31, 2010 @05:02AM (#34078298)

    Multitouch is a gimmick, something Apple can use to distinguish themselves from the rest. It's like their menu bar and their Finder.

    Anybody who thinks that multitouch helps usability hasn't tried explaining it to their mother. And even for experienced users, it's an exercise in frustration: it works in some apps and not in others, it does different things, and you need to cover up even more of the screen with your hand. Furthermore, it doesn't carry over to pen-based input, and as the number of handwriting and drawing apps on App Store shows, people want pens.

    Let Jobs pursue his insane obsessions. Google should focus on usability, do everybody a favor, and eliminate multitouch from Android.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mcvos (645701)

      You're kidding, right? If multitouch is eliminated from Android, there's very little reason for me to keep using Android. The problem isn't with the apps that support it, it's with the apps that don't support it. Multitouch adds a lot of power to the UI for those apps that can make use of that power.

      • by rahvin112 (446269)

        Not arguing on the usefulness of Multi-touch but do you think it's actually an invention worthy of patents or simply a natural extension of touch screens?

        Personally I don't think apple invented anything. I think the desire to use two or more fingers was a simple modification of the original invention of touch screens. I don't think it should have ever been patented and I think if Apple foolishly keeps pursuing them one of the dozens of courts they are pursuing cases in will invalidate the patents for exactl

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BasilBrush (643681)

      The point of a multitouch screen is to create UIs which can more accurately draw on extablished metaphors. Were it not for the multi-touch screen, you'd need multiple buttons for the same purpose. So for a touchscreen device:

      How in your single-touch technology do you implement music apps, which need keyboard say on-screen keyboard, guitar or drum kit representations?

      You can't do a worthwhile DJ mixing UI without multi-touch.

      Most arcade games won't work - for example where you need to be able to move and sh

    • Er, WHAT?? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by brunes69 (86786)

      Every tried gaming on a non-multitouch phone? Since the screen can not report two locations at once, you can't hold down two virtual buttons at once - making the whole thing useless.

      Don't even get me started on pinch to zoom.

    • Anybody who thinks that multitouch helps usability hasn't tried explaining it to their mother. And even for experienced users, it's an exercise in frustration: it works in some apps and not in others, it does different things, and you need to cover up even more of the screen with your hand. Furthermore, it doesn't carry over to pen-based input, and as the number of handwriting and drawing apps on App Store shows, people want pens.

      I don't know about your mother but I never had to explain it to my mother. I just showed her once and she knew how to use it after that. That goes also for my two year old niece. I suspect the complaint you have is not that multi-touch isn't useful; it's that multi-touch isn't useful for very complicated things you need to do. Judging by the sales of iPhone and Android phones, most people don't want complicated and find it useful enough.

      There is a tradeoff between size and UI. The smaller you make the

    • Multitouch is fine. People don't want pens.

    • Your post is reminiscent of the thousands of geeks who don't get it. Pen-based input? That died along with my Palm PDA.

      You probably think Apple's success is all because of their supposed shiny marketing as well.

      Android (and the rest of the market) is right to follow Apple's lead, because Apple has nailed it.

  • a simple thing as touching something to activate something, can be 'owned' by some private party. a very basic act since stone age.

    describe me how this is not feudalism. but dont use self-fooling believer talk as ayn rand while doing it.
    • Funny you should bring up Ayn Rand. There's plenty of things wrong with her world view, but it seems to me Rand was a champion of anyone who labored to produce honest value. Patent trolls, people who compete not by offering a better value but by screwing the competition with bullshit patents or insane IP laws (Disney anyone?), those are the people Rand would class as the "moochers", leeches living off the work of others.
      • by unity100 (970058)
        it doesnt matter whether it is done through 'honest' work or not. if you allow ownership, eventually few people owns much more than the majority. this is the fault of the mechanic. no kind of 'honesty' can fix that.
    • a simple thing as touching something to activate something, can be 'owned' by some private party. a very basic act since stone age.

      [Citation needed].

      Please provide a link to a patent that says: "1. A method of activating something comprising touching the something."

      Doesn't exist. You're outraged over something you made up.

      • by unity100 (970058)
        oh geee. that fixes everything doesnt it. because there isnt a citation.

        just like how everyone has equal votes and right to get elected, and it is defined as such in the dictionary and with citations, but, somehow, the ones with the money ends up enjoying those freedoms.

        that is also something i made up.
  • It's time we the consumers start suing the companies.

    wait, the lawyers will win again, damn.

    this reality is starting to suck.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

Working...