Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 14th May 2011 15:42 UTC
Legal Patent trolls are evil. However, we're used to patent trolls attacking big companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple, who themselves keep the broken patent system intact - so it's kind of what goes around comes around; schadenfreude if you will. However, what if a patent troll carefully threatens to sue a number of smal-time iOS developers, knowing full well that these small developers cannot fight back due to the iOS developer agreement? What kind of low-point have we hit then?
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v Shouldn't it be?
by windowshasyou on Sat 14th May 2011 16:15 UTC
RE: Shouldn't it be?
by Priest on Sat 14th May 2011 16:37 UTC in reply to "Shouldn't it be?"
Priest Member since:
2006-05-12

I think most people paying attention would say Apple is way more iron fisted in that regard than MS ever was.

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: Shouldn't it be?
by MOS6510 on Sat 14th May 2011 18:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Shouldn't it be?"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Apple appears to use legal action when someone, company or person, poses a threat to their brand, image or products.

A number of Android phones are iPhone rip-offs, yet they only sued Samsung which put a lot of effort in to duplicating the iPhone, including the packaging.

What I consider patent trolls are companies (most you never heard off) that somehow got hold of a patent, with no intent ever do anything with it and then sue companies like Apple or Microsoft hoping to settle for a nice amount of money.

Sure when companies like Apple sue they use patents must of us consider silly, hence some are inclined to call Apple a patent troll, however these silly patents are just small ammunition in a bigger picture.

Don't forget Apple is a publicly owned company. They have to explain to the shareholders why other companies ripped them off and they did nothing. Even if they lose the case they can still show they tried to do something, only the judge couldn't be convinced.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Shouldn't it be?
by Alfman on Sat 14th May 2011 21:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Shouldn't it be?"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

MOS6510,

"A number of Android phones are iPhone rip-offs, yet they only sued Samsung which put a lot of effort in to duplicating the iPhone, including the packaging."

Well then they should be stopped through copyright and trademark infringement or "design patents".

Too many of these patents are notoriously unworthy of patent protection. The USPTO granted monopolies are being used to stifle competition. For software at least, they don't encourage innovation.

It is useless to blame the CEOs, whose job is to maximize shareholder ROI using whatever means possible - even if it hurts society. The blame lies with the inadequate laws and lawmakers who fail to represent the public's interests.

Edited 2011-05-14 21:16 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Shouldn't it be?
by MOS6510 on Sun 15th May 2011 16:27 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Shouldn't it be?"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Well, I guess the patent stuff is just added bonus to the main case.

I agree most patents are so silly that a whole bunch of them might provoke a giggle.

When Samsung copies the iOS icons, the UI look 'n' feel and the style of the boxes I can understand Apple being upset, because Apple put time and effort in this and someone else takes a short cut.

In this case it's apparently a company whose soul business is getting hold of patents and suing companies, hoping to settle. This is ridiculous. They have no intent to ever to anything with those "patents" but sue. How are they hurt?

This is about upgrading from within an application. It's not even a detailed process, it's not how it looks or even smells. It's just starting an upgrade from within an app. How stupid is that?

It's something trivial and I can't think of anyway around it, except not upgrading from within the app. I don't think you should be able to patent that.

So this company wants to have millions? And what are they going to do with that money? Perfect their "in app upgrade" skill? Make apps that upgrade? Of course not, the money goes to their bank accounts.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Shouldn't it be?
by robojerk on Mon 16th May 2011 02:17 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Shouldn't it be?"
robojerk Member since:
2006-01-10

When Samsung copies the iOS icons, the UI look 'n' feel and the style of the boxes I can understand Apple being upset, because Apple put time and effort in this and someone else takes a short cut.

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, disagrees with you.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW0DUg63lqU

Edited 2011-05-16 02:17 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Shouldn't it be?
by MOS6510 on Mon 16th May 2011 08:46 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Shouldn't it be?"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Well, he's talking about ideas. A smart phone, touch screen, icons, boxing, those are ideas. It's fine to build your own phone create a touch screen, make a UI with icons and put it in a nice box. What Samsung did was copy it so such an effect that it became easy to mix an iPhone and a Samsung up.

And of course it's fine to steal, but not be stolen from. ;-)

Reply Score: 1

Legal Precident
by Priest on Sat 14th May 2011 16:35 UTC
Priest
Member since:
2006-05-12

Sometimes patent trolls target smaller less well funded companies because they are easier targets to establish legal precedent for their patent. If the ruling favors them there they have a much easier case when they bring their patent fight to bigger companies.

Reply Score: 9

Trolling
by timalot on Sun 15th May 2011 02:31 UTC
timalot
Member since:
2006-07-17

In cases like this it seems to me the trolling begins when the "inventor" files the patent. Honestly they know that method is trivial, so it's really the lawyer (i guess) who writes it up in such away to seem unique, who is doing any work.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Trolling
by steogede2 on Mon 16th May 2011 13:42 UTC in reply to "Trolling"
steogede2 Member since:
2007-08-17

In cases like this it seems to me the trolling begins when the "inventor" files the patent. Honestly they know that method is trivial, so it's really the lawyer (i guess) who writes it up in such away to seem unique, who is doing any work.


Correct me if I am wrong, but it would be quite unusual for a lawyer to write a patent. More likely it would be written by a patent attourney, who might be an inventor or a lawyer, but generally isn't.

As I understand it, patent attourneys tend to come from a technical background and often do a small amount of training, to be able to read and write legalese competently.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Trolling
by Alfman on Mon 16th May 2011 14:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Trolling"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

steogede2,

"Correct me if I am wrong, but it would be quite unusual for a lawyer to write a patent. More likely it would be written by a patent attourney, who might be an inventor or a lawyer, but generally isn't."


What is the difference between a lawyer and an attorney?
Honestly I don't know. I've looked them up and they come up as synonyms.


Anyways, have you ever seriously tried to read a patent filing to extract relevant information? It's like reading raw assembly dumps without recognizable labels or comments. No engineer faithful to their profession would ever share information that way.

Reply Score: 2

Adam Engst is a lawyer?
by JAlexoid on Sun 15th May 2011 02:53 UTC
JAlexoid
Member since:
2009-05-19

Sorry. But iOS developer agreement does not prevent any developer from settling with Lodsys. It only states that you can't blame Apple in such a settlement. And it all comes from misunderstanding who a patent holder may sue in case of patent infringement.

Compare that to the Nokia's suit against Apple. The GSM/UMTS components are designed and manufactured by a third party and Apple packages and sells the end product. Now change the GSM/UMTS components to iOS SDK API/iOS library, "third party" to Apple and Apple to iOS developer.
So Lodsys are in within their legal limits when they sent their demands to the developers of apps.


Other examples include:
- Microsoft going after Motorola over Android, though Google is the source of Android
- Apple going after HTC over Android
- Oracle going after Goole as the source of Android

Reply Score: 2

What? ... Has nothing to do...?
by SpeechManiac on Sun 15th May 2011 10:19 UTC
SpeechManiac
Member since:
2008-03-27

Are you kiddin' me?

Firstly, this guy files for an insane patent - he could not possibly have thought he was the 1st one to come up with that stuff... "Upgrade", what a new idea, gimme a break.

Secondly, he sells it to - a troll. For money. Thinking, they'd never use that in any way, because... it was useless in the 1st place? Uh-huh, how dumb can anybody be?

It's almost like thinking, let's give the government special rights that undermine any well earned civil rights to fend off terrorist threats, knowing they're only useful in exceptional cases, thinking the government would never use it... oh, wait...


To me it seems like, the human race is stupid by default, any kind of civilization happened purely by accident and we're all working to "correct" that mistake...

Reply Score: 2

RE: What? ... Has nothing to do...?
by viton on Mon 16th May 2011 15:16 UTC in reply to "What? ... Has nothing to do...?"
viton Member since:
2005-08-09

Firstly, this guy files for an insane patent - he could not possibly have thought he was the 1st one to come up with that stuff... "Upgrade", what a new idea, gimme a break.


http://techcrunch.com/2007/12/12/ebay-takes-a-30-million-hit-over-b...

Reply Score: 2

Go on the offensive
by rdean400 on Sun 15th May 2011 17:35 UTC
rdean400
Member since:
2006-10-18

Before the troll gets to sue in their choice of venue, the small shops should pool their resources and get a lawyer to file a lawsuit for a declaration of non-infringement.

Reply Score: 1

They are...
by fretinator on Mon 16th May 2011 02:00 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

Sunny Beaches

Reply Score: 2

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Mon 16th May 2011 15:44 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

> the original inventor behind Lodsys' patents, Dan
> Abelow, was unaware of his patents being used by
> Lodsys in this way. He had sold them to the patent
> troll years ago, and he was surprised about the news.

Very good point, why the original developers should NOT agree to any patents on their work.

Reply Score: 2

keyboard tech
by Gena777 on Tue 17th May 2011 00:05 UTC
Gena777
Member since:
2011-05-17

Since keyboard technology is in dire need of new advances, it's smart for Apple to patent such developments. However, ultimately it seems to me that it would make much more sense to ultimately incorporate keyboards into monitors; this would be a convenient space-saver.
http://smallbusiness.aol.com/2010/05/10/how-to-file-a-patent/

Reply Score: 1

bleeding a stone?
by Gena777 on Tue 17th May 2011 00:06 UTC
Gena777
Member since:
2011-05-17

From the language used in this patent enforcement action, it sounds like Lodsys just wants to settle and nab some licensing deals. Honestly, it probably would have been smarter for them to go after Apple and/or other deep pockets, if money's all they want, instead of pursuing one-man development shops; after all, you can't bleed a stone.
http://www.industryweek.com/articles/patent_enforcement_21538.aspx?...

Reply Score: 1