Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 29th Jan 2009 16:10 UTC
Legal There has been a bit of a buzz lately surrounding some indeterminate patent threats going back and forth between Apple and Palm. Palm is about to launch the Pre, which supposedly could infringe on a number of iPhone patents. Both companies have stated that they will defend themselves against any possible patent infringements. Engadget enlisted the help of two patent attornies, and they took a good look at both sides and came up with some interesting results: while Palm could be infringing on Apple's patents, Apple sure as water is also infringing on a number of Palm patents. Still, that doesn't have to mean anything.
Order by: Score:
Waiving or waving?
by boudewijn on Thu 29th Jan 2009 16:32 UTC
boudewijn
Member since:
2006-03-05

I'm not quite sure you really meant "waiving" -- which means "giving up on, throwing away", not brandishing, which would make more sense from the context.

Reply Score: 2

Cross-Licensing Agreement More Likely
by asupcb on Thu 29th Jan 2009 16:51 UTC
asupcb
Member since:
2005-11-10

I think the most likely thing to occur will be a cross-licensing agreement between Apple and Palm. It just makes a lot more sense than risking their patent portfolios and spending a ton of money on a patent lawsuit in a bad economy. I just don't see Palm as being a huge threat to Apple, even in the long term. Also the agreement could contain a provision, that would require a new agreement in the event that Palm was bought out or merged with another company (and vice-versa for Apple).

Reply Score: 2

JoeBuck Member since:
2006-01-11

Yes, that's essentially it. There's no way either Apple or Palm can win patent litigation, because if their patents are valid, both have products that infringe patents the other holds, and both sides risk having many of their patents held invalid. But a cross-licensing deal means that both sides can continue to threaten smaller players and new entrants into the market. That's what software patents are mostly good for -- keeping innovators out of the market, which is precisely the opposite of what patent advocates often claim.

Reply Score: 7

Reposted
by bandido55 on Thu 29th Jan 2009 20:22 UTC
bandido55
Member since:
2006-10-02

I posted this response to a previous article on OSNews regarding this subject. The author mirrors some of my original comments from my previous posting.

bandido55
Member since:
2006-10-02

Apple is making noise to scare away some potential competitors but the chances of them suing and succeeding in stopping Palm Pre are close to zero.
1. Large corporations almost never sue other corporations for patent infringement. They sue the small fish. Update: Usually the small fine is the one that sues the bigger fish. End of Update
2. Palm holds hundreds of patents (a Google patent search shows a list of PAGES and PAGES of different patents, http://www.google.com/patents?lr=&q=%22PALM+inc%22&sa=N&sta.....), almost all of them in their line of business (PDAs and Phones).
3. If Apple sues, they run the big risk of getting this ridiculous patent invalidated due to tons of prior art that dates from the 80's and 90's. See http://www.billbuxton.com/multitouchOverview.html
4. Palm will certainly countersue with their own patent infringement lawsuit. Since they have a huge PDA/phome patent portfolio it is almost certain that the iPhone infringes one or more of their patent, and that is all that will be required to get the iPhone off the market. In the jargon of patent it's called MAD (mutually assured destruction). Who will loose more in scenario like that? It will certainly be Apple.
5. If Apple presses Palm, Palm can look for a white knight bringing Microsoft to the picture by buying Palm, Microsoft will use their muscle and financial resources to beat back Apple and gain a door opening to a very attractive smartphone. Will Apple risk pushing Palm into their archenemy's hands? HP or even IBM can potentially become white knights and help Palm.
6. Most likely and to save face they will reach and agreement for licensing each other patent portfolio.
7. YAWN, we will see Palm Pre whether Apple likes it or not.

Reply Score: 2

MAD
by nevali on Thu 29th Jan 2009 20:47 UTC
nevali
Member since:
2006-10-12

Patent portfolios are the business equivalent of a nuclear deterrent. You're generally insane to use it, and run the risk of retaliation in kind by the other guy. Of course, your competitors are in exactly the same boat.

Of course, in neither case does this help the little guy who just wants to get on with it…

Reply Score: 3

Long live WebOS. It reminds me of BeOS. :-)
by _yc_ on Thu 29th Jan 2009 23:36 UTC
_yc_
Member since:
2007-04-03

I like Palm's WebOS and hope they can amicably cross license patents with Apple. Although of the patents listed on Engadget, I think Apples' patents are stronger because they cover new, clever and unique multi-touch methodologies while Palm's patents cover menu layout/options and other Ambient lighting techniques that are used freely by many others today. I think Palm's patents would be easier to invalidate.

I am iPhone owner and I don't think the pre is a threat to the iPhone. WebOS is new, its API is not as mature as OS X and it does not have nearly the "ecosystem support" that the iPhone has etc... WebOS reminds of BeOS because of its fast multi-threaded bang wiz aspect. It reminds me of the legendary BeOS demos of the early 90's. I am sure Eugenia remembers the good old days. ;) I have always liked Palm and I wish them all the best with WebOS.

Time will tell.

ciao
yc

Reply Score: 1

Why are patients granted?
by mweichert on Fri 30th Jan 2009 00:12 UTC
mweichert
Member since:
2006-03-23

I cannot understand the purpose of patents. I can understand the idea behind copyright infringement.

Can someone give me an good example in which patents have a good merit?

Because as far I can see, they should never have been granted in the first place. I'm not trying to be ignorant, but I'm having a hard time understanding their use-case.

Thanks,
Mike

Edited 2009-01-30 00:13 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Why are patients granted?
by waffer on Fri 30th Jan 2009 00:37 UTC in reply to "Why are patients granted?"
waffer Member since:
2009-01-30

Patients are very useful. Imagine you are a drug company and you spend $200 million developing a drug. You put it on the market with no patent and 15 other companies copy your formula. Now you have other people getting rich of off your huge investment and you see no return. Now, you decide not to develop drugs anymore because anyone can just copy your formula. No new drugs are developed ever again.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Why are patients granted?
by capricorn_tm on Fri 30th Jan 2009 18:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Why are patients granted?"
capricorn_tm Member since:
2005-12-31

Patients are very useful. Imagine you are a drug company and you spend $200 million developing a drug. You put it on the market with no patent and 15 other companies copy your formula. Now you have other people getting rich of off your huge investment and you see no return. Now, you decide not to develop drugs anymore because anyone can just copy your formula. No new drugs are developed ever again.


Mate, as much I appreciate it that you try to put it that simple for the sake of explaining this complex task, what you said is plainly WRONG.

In Europe we have a system of brevets and nobody can steal your things in any way, patents do not work like that.

Patents do work in the following way, I have an idea, I write it down, I get it patented and from that moment on NOBODY can use it unless paying me royalty.

Mind me, you never did any R&D, you can have a patent simply on the idea, you do not have to have done anything but having the idea and, if you are granted the patent, you will be able to sow the fruit of SOMEONE ELSE doing the R&D for you.

This is what a patent is about and it is THE cart of bullshit.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Why are patients granted?
by Bounty on Fri 30th Jan 2009 20:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why are patients granted?"
Bounty Member since:
2006-09-18

*hmmm* Not sure I understand your lament. If I had the idea and patent it. Then why should someone else be able to R&D it and sell it? Surely if they had thought of it before me, they would have patented it? Is your argument that the first to a working prototype should get the patent... first to market or something else?

[EDIT: spelling / grammar]

Edited 2009-01-30 20:44 UTC

Reply Score: 1

capricorn_tm Member since:
2005-12-31

*hmmm* Not sure I understand your lament. If I had the idea and patent it. Then why should someone else be able to R&D it and sell it? Surely if they had thought of it before me, they would have patented it? Is your argument that the first to a working prototype should get the patent... first to market or something else?



Because in the patent system it is not necessary to bring a working prototype at all, you just come with an idea.

If tomorrow I patent the idea of a microchip based on neural synaptic connections ( I'ma ST fan) and they grant me the patent, if someone else creates somethig like that he has to pay me royalties.

Mind me, I did not bring a Chip, I just patented the idea that is how patents work.

For a brevet you have to bring a working prototypes and that stops the scamming.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Why are patients granted?
by nevali on Sat 31st Jan 2009 22:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Why are patients granted?"
nevali Member since:
2006-10-12

You don't have to build a prototype, but you are supposed to give clear instructions such that "somebody skilled in the art" can build whatever your thing is.

Unfortunately, patent examiners can't exactly be hugely knowledgeable across all of the fields things can be patented in, so what happens is that the whole thing gets dealt with in courts instead.

As a result, what was a relatively fair system when it applied solely to mechanical inventions is now a hugely unfair system tilted in favour of those with the best lawyers.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by majipoor
by majipoor on Fri 30th Jan 2009 15:27 UTC
majipoor
Member since:
2009-01-22

A safer solution for Apple would be to acquire Palm and its patent portfolio rather than suing them: with $23bn in cash, Apple could afford to buy Palm using 4% or their cash.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by majipoor
by _yc_ on Fri 30th Jan 2009 18:35 UTC in reply to "Comment by majipoor"
_yc_ Member since:
2007-04-03

Unfortunately Apple does not really need Palm because Apple already has the iPhone and OS X. Some of Palms patents are also old and could get invalidated. I think they will work out a deal for very little legal fees.

Perhaps Motorola or Research in Motion could buy Palm for it's WebOS and hardware design know how. Even that is long shot because Android is free.

Palm should be able to make it on it's own if they can deliver the Pre soon. They should not use Sprint exclusively. I am sure Verizon/Vodafone would love to market the Pre.

Edited 2009-01-30 18:42 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by majipoor
by waunko on Sat 31st Jan 2009 09:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by majipoor"
waunko Member since:
2009-01-31

"Android is free."

NO - GOOGLE101 - all google products contain tracking software, you pay to use it by letting them track you.

Obama will be able to use his Blackberry, but he'll never use an android phone.

Reply Score: 1