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  1.    #1  
    You see it a lot on the technology new websites about Apple suing various companies over patent infringement. A question to ask is why didn't Apple sue Palm/HP? Some would argue that webOS doesn't serve a threat to Apple so why should they waste their time. Would Palm/HP even have a case to defend themselves?

    Here are the newest patents that Apple claims that Android 4.0 has violated:

    US Patent No. 5,946,647 - this patent was filed in 1996 (issued 1999) and covers detecting data, such as a phone number, in an email or web page, creating a link to that data, and initiating an action like calling the phone number when the user selects the link. The data could also include addresses, dates, etc.
    This is already implemented all throughout webOS. Just go ahead and type a phone number and watch it turn into a link where it automatically opens your phone app when tapped.

    US Patent No. 8,086,604 - this patent claims priority back to 2000 (issued Dec. 2011) and covers searching multiple sources of information (on device and elsewhere) through a single search interface, such as Siri. Apple specifically touts Siri in its injunction request, but also argues that a unified text search is covered by the patent as well.
    Just Type? Before this we had universal search.

    US Patent No. 8,046,721 - this patent claims priority back to 2005 (issued Oct. 2011) and covers Apple's signature slide-to-unlock feature. While Apple already has patent coverage on an image unlock feature, this newest patent is obviously intended to be a bit broader likely addressing potential workarounds implemented by Google and OEMs over the last couple of years.
    The drag to unlock of webOS could fall under this, but the patent could be too different.

    US Patent No. 8,074,172 - this patent was filed in 2007 (issued Dec. 2011) and covers providing word suggestions while the user types on a touchscreen keyboard, where the suggestions can be accepted or rejected by the user.
    Type Assist? What OS doesn't have this?

    What do you guys think?

    Source:
    Apple seeks to ban Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, but it's really going after Android 4.0 | The Verge


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  2. #2  
    The generally assumed reason for this is that palm holds many smart phone patents and would retaliate.
    Palm has been making smart phones since 02(well handspring). So there is probably a chest of patents that have been generated over the years.
    Plus right now webos has a small percentage of the market. Its not worth it to apple to spend the money on lawyers to sue webos/hp.

    There in an old engaget article when the pre came out that shows some of the patents that palm owns that could be used against the apple if apple decided to sue:
    http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/28/a...epth-analysis/
    Last edited by theinnkeeper; 02/12/2012 at 11:28 PM. Reason: date problems
  3. #3  
    Well I guess Ruby had some residual protection from Apple since he brought millions/billions to Apple through ipod. Yeah the Pre/iTunes integration was laughably brave thing to do though it was immediately plugged up in the first update Apple pushed out.
  4. #4  
    Palm had been in the smartphone buisness long before Apple, and they held many patents that Apple themselves were infringing upon, simple as that.

    Also, rumor is that a) because of all the ex-Apple employees at Palm and b) the intuitive nature of webOS and c) it using Apple created webkit, Steve Jobs was fairly quite fond of webOS.
  5. #5  
    This is always an interesting topic. In December, the topic was "Why doesn't HP sue Apple."
    http://forums.webosnation.com/hp-pal...nt-hp-sue.html
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  6. #6  
    I'm pretty sure the ideas above are correct - not worth it, potential counter-suit with Palm/Access patents (auto-dim, smartphone, etc), personal relations.

    There is also another reason- fear of having your patents invalidated. What if Apple sued Palm, and the court found the Apple patent was invalid in the first place (prior art, etc.). For instance, dialing embedded phone numbers when you tap on them. Not totally sure on dates, but Handspring had this in Sept, 2000, Thune they were bought by Palm. So if this predates Apple's tap-dialing, or a patent does, then Apple could lose their patent, the one they are how using against HTC and Android.

    Just an example, maybe not accurate, but sometimes the last thing a company wants is an actual court case - too much to lose.
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  7. #7  
    Because the only people who would win would be HTC, Motorola, everyone but Palm and Apple.
    Palm didn't have the money to power such a large scale lawsuit, Apple didn't have much to gain since Palm wasn't that big of a threat at the time and they didn't have money.
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  8. #8  
    This is why software patents suck. There are only so many ways to do some of these things. By trying to prevent anyone else from doing something similar, Apple is trying to force the user experience to suck for every non-Apple device.. Of course it's in their best interest, but it's abuse of patent law.
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    #9  
    To obtain a patent, an invention must satisfy three statutory requirements: utility, novelty and non-obviousness. It was never the intent of the original framers of patent law that "inventions" that would be obvious to anyone familiar with the prior art should receive patent protection. If Apple makes some small incremental improvement to a widely-used process or interface in one of their products, it may be useful and novel, but entirely obvious. The entire patent process needs a healthy dose of re-education on the "obvious" clause.

    Of the patents cited above, the only one which should receive any consideration is the slide-to-unlock on a touchscreen. There's a hundred ways to unlock a touch screen, and sliding a symbol is useful (only one touch), novel (if Apple was the first to use it), and not entirely obvious (why not touch multiple points, either in succession or all together?).
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by Abyssul View Post
    You see it a lot on the technology new websites about Apple suing various companies over patent infringement. A question to ask is why didn't Apple sue Palm/HP? Some would argue that webOS doesn't serve a threat to Apple so why should they waste their time. Would Palm/HP even have a case to defend themselves?

    ...
    What do you guys think?
    a couple possible reasons and things to think about:

    Invention vs. Idea. There is a general rule in intellectual property that "you can't patent an idea." This is often lost on 99% of the tech fan public screaming on Gizmodo message boards. Now where that line is isn't absolute and it's why we have patent judges and litigation. But generally you can protect an invention. You cannot protect an idea. You can only protect the tangible expression of an idea: the invention or in copyright law the actual written idea.

    duration. design patents have a duration of 14 years, i think, from the date of issuance. Some older patents palm has may have expired. I'm speaking generally not about the ones you've listed.

    scope. The patent you hold must be directly applicable to and actually used in the. For example if you Apple patents the special iphone cable socket and your android phone uses microusb you can't sue them for violating your special iphone plug. So if Palm has some tech that's patented it has to actually be used in the violating device. It's not enough to just have patents on similar stuff.

    It's possible to violate the patents you listed but the parts you quote don't tell much about the important stuff. THe devil is truly in the details. There's a reason why these patents tend to have tons of pages of technical descriptions and engineering diaphragms. The general description is merely a description. For example if a company invents a drug that is designed to prevent a runny nose and sinus congestion like Claritin did a description may read, "Drug that stop nasal congestion and runny nose." That doesn't prevent other companies from making another different drug that "stops nasal congesting and runny nose" like allerest or something. Because it's the formula of the drug that's getting patented not the idea of the drug stopping runny noses. A company can make another chemical that does the exact same thing and not violate any Claritin patent. Claritin patent has long expired by the way (I have allergies lol.) But in the same vain it's possible for many other companies to invent something that does the exact same thing as the description without violating the patent. But the point is that just looking at that little description doesn't remotely tackle this issue. People do it on blogs but it's a gross oversimplification of an extremely complex area of law that can't be simply boiled down to reading a few general descriptions of the patent without reading and evaluating the engineering specifics of the entire patent.

    For example one of the patent descriptions is about Siri and you ask about just type. Well right there my cursory evaluation is the fact that Siri is voice and just type is text base is likely a material difference making one patent not applicable. But as I said above the devil is in the detail; there's really no way to know without actually reading the particulars of the patent and comparing them to the actually devices someone claims is guilty of infringing. And that's why now many patent attorneys now are also engineers and software engineers, scientists, and other highly technical professionals. They need some of that background to make sense of the documents.

    And design patents and some aspects of software copyrights have been heading for a head on collision because, again you can't protect ideas. But the USPTO has begun to grant patents for everything. There is an argument that many of the things protected by samsung apple ect amount to little more then an idea that's not protectable. Like Just type, or multitouch, or pinch to zoom. Like you can patent the touchstone but should you be able to ban all wireless charging tech? You can patent the iphone but should you be able to prevent any devices using two fingers to zoom? And it goes both ways. You can patent the pre but should you be able to prevent any devices that uses text search? Because at some point you begin to stifle competition, and that means prices rise and consumers don't benefit and that defeats the purpose of patents in the first place which is to give people incentives to invent stuff. Remember when Apple didn't want anyone else to have pinch to zoom. Eventually most non apple smartphones got it. And it goes the other way, Palm probably didn't want anyone having gestures similar to cards or swipe to close. But eventually i'd bet a lot of phones have a similar system, Android 4 is getting it. QNX has it basically. But i think at some point you'll see these ideas coming to a head either in litigation or in the form of a movement to draws some limits on the scope of some of these patents so that they don't get so broad that nobody can invent anything similar to someone else's invention.

    And on that point the you ask a bunch of questions like "what OS doesn't have that." That's sort of the point with the above paragraph. Some of this stuff is becoming so utilitarian and integral to the functioning of the device i can see a court saying i'd have to ban every phone if i granted protection on that. Which reminds me of another: someone may get a patent but whether it's enforceable is another point because they can be challenged.

    In the case of why Apple didn't sue. Another reason is cost. It may not be cost effective to sue. Over three years you've got about 3.5 million users worldwide. And you're company, Palm got sold, Apple could have said, "not worth spending the millions on the suit."

    Licensing. Palm or apple or whomever may have granted licenses to companies to use certain inventions. If you grant a license to use your technology you've granted them permission and thus you're obviously not going to sue someone.
    Last edited by SnotBoogie; 02/13/2012 at 04:47 PM.
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  11. #11  
    Palm/HP own the patent #7555727: Integrated Handheld Computing and Telephony System and Services. Apple cant afford to sue them. If Palm/HP counter-sued Apple would be screwed, to put it lightly.
    Last edited by geeksquadkid; 02/14/2012 at 05:50 PM.
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  12. gbp
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    #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by geeksquadkid View Post
    Palm/HP own the patent #7555727: Integrated Handheld Computing and Telephony System and Services. That Apple cant afford to sue them. If Palm/HP counter-sued Apple would be screwed, to put it lightly.
    That was one big patent.
    Nobody can afford to go at Palm without being counter sued by them.
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    #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by Abyssul View Post
    US Patent No. 5,946,647 - this patent was filed in 1996 (issued 1999) and covers detecting data, such as a phone number, in an email or web page, creating a link to that data, and initiating an action like calling the phone number when the user selects the link. The data could also include addresses, dates, etc.

    This is already implemented all throughout webOS. Just go ahead and type a phone number and watch it turn into a link where it automatically opens your phone app when tapped.
    Actually this patent covers popping up a list of options. Simply going directly to the most obvious function (e.g. click on a phone number, open the phone app with that number) is not actually covered. It's only if you give the user a choice of what to do with it.

    Aside from all the strategic interests that go into patent suits, you really have to look not just at the details of the patent, but also the details of other overlapping patents. You can't assume that there are no other patents covering related inventions, alternate ways of doing the same thing, heck even patents for basically the same thing. Before you file suit you have to research all of that, and then it's only worth going forward if you think there is a good chance the courts will side with your interpretations and not invalidate your patents.
    SnotBoogie likes this.
  14. #14  
    Having this patent #7555727 as immunity,
    why not abusing all patents available from other OS?
    i think there is a red line each player has drawn for the other player not to cross.
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by geeksquadkid View Post
    Palm/HP own the patent #7555727: Integrated Handheld Computing and Telephony System and Services. Apple cant afford to sue them. If Palm/HP counter-sued Apple would be screwed, to put it lightly.
    What?!?!?

    Why would Apple waste their time going after webOS in it's current state? Even at their peak, webOS was not a competitive threat to Apple.

    It would be the equivalent to an adult suing a three yo child for assault because the child hit the adult.

    I think you were reaching way too far there.
  16. #16  
    The real question is - why was any of that patentable in the first place?

    The USPTO is a bad joke that rubber stamps about everything that anybody cares to file.

    The original intent of patent laws is to further innovation.
    But in practice patents now serve to hinder innovation as smaller startups can always be pressured by larger companies with the threat of patent law suits.
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