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  (Source: The Week)
Appeals are undoubtedly in the works

Apple has been involved in a legal battle with a company called VirnetX over alleged patent infringement involving FaceTime video calling features. VirnetX is the same company that won $200 million in a settlement from Microsoft in 2010.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas heard the case. This district court is commonly used for patent infringement suits in the tech world, and in this case, VirnetX alleged that FaceTime was violating four of its patents relating to private networks. The case specifically targeted the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad along with Mac computers.

The patents at the core of the case have to do with the use of a domain-name service to set up virtual private networks allowing website owners to interact with customers securely. VirnetX was seeking $708 million in damages.
 
The company was awarded damages in the amount of $368.2 million.

“For years Apple refused to pay fair value for the VirnetX patents,” Doug Cawley, a lawyer with McKool Smith in Dallas who represents VirnetX, said in closing arguments. “Apple says they don’t infringe. But Apple developers testified that they didn’t pay any attention to anyone’s patents when developing their system.”

“Apple does not owe money to VirnetX,” Danny Williams, a lawyer with Williams, Morgan & Amerson in Houston who represents Apple, told the jury. “VirnetX is not entitled to money for things they did not invent. The VirnetX technology, if used, is a small part of very large, complex products.”

VirnetX and Apple have another case pending before the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington. VirnetX also has claims pending against Cisco Systems, Avaya Inc. and Siemens Enterprise Communications that will begin in March.

Source: Bloomberg



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No suprise
By Gio6518 on 11/7/2012 9:56:54 AM , Rating: 5
No suprise Apple is the biggest IP theif on the planet




RE: No suprise
By kleinma on 11/7/2012 10:04:19 AM , Rating: 2
I am no Apple fan, but this is the same company Microsoft paid 200 million too a few years ago over patents as well.

I like Apple getting a taste of its own medicine, but this medicine is really starting to taste like shit for the rest of us. The consumers end up being the biggest losers in all these patent wars.


RE: No suprise
By xti on 11/7/2012 10:05:37 AM , Rating: 3
same here... sadly as long as apple is getting the blunt end, people will think its ok.

patent system is in full abuse mode, thats the story.


RE: No suprise
By Motoman on 11/7/2012 10:47:15 AM , Rating: 5
Yes, the whole patent system and related judicial system needs to be completely rebooted.

Having said that, the karma when Apple is getting their a$$ handed to them is just awesome.


RE: No suprise
By bupkus on 11/7/2012 1:26:57 PM , Rating: 2
I find it humorous to hear Apple described as the target of patent trolling and those who would say there are others who will think it okay since Apple is the victim.

Colonel (Tim Cook) Kurtz: The Irony... The Irony...


RE: No suprise
By RufusM on 11/7/2012 1:49:57 PM , Rating: 2
While it's ironic Apple is now the victim of software design patents instead of the aggressor, software patents are still a horrible idea. I fear this will get much, much worse before it gets any better.

Software is written like a book and should be copyrighted. Like a book, software should not be patentable. Just imagine if someone patented a black rectangular book then started suing everyone who published a black book. It's not the design which makes software unique, it's the underlying code and implementation.


RE: No suprise
By hiscross on 11/7/2012 3:06:19 PM , Rating: 2
The US Patent and Copy Weite offices are operated by the government. The government doesn't make anything, but policy and laws. Both of which are created by people who can't nor will ever be able to make anything. Music and movies are copy write protected by the law, but are stolen at will.The best way for any company to stop the thief of their products is to spot making them. Then let the non-thinkers (47%) or anyone who can't create or build anything make things work.


RE: No suprise
By Manch on 11/7/2012 3:08:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's not the design which makes software unique, it's the underlying code and implementation.


huh?


RE: No suprise
By RufusM on 11/7/2012 5:11:28 PM , Rating: 2
My point is that two software applications performing the same function could look the same, but the code underneath can be completely different. It's code that makes the implementation of a given design unique when it comes to software. Code is written in a language so it should fall under copyright law, not patent law.

For example, if I wrote application scrolling software from scratch that performs a bounce back animation when it reaches the end of the scroll section, my code would be be very different from, say, Apple's code. The effect would be the same but my implementation would be completely different from theirs.


RE: No suprise
By Manch on 11/8/2012 4:11:05 PM , Rating: 2
Ahh OK, That makes more sense.


Fun with words
By Paladin21 on 11/7/2012 10:00:28 AM , Rating: 3
“Samsung does not owe money to Apple,” Danny Williams, a lawyer with Williams, Morgan & Amerson in Houston who represents Samsung, told the jury. “Apple is not entitled to money for things they did not invent. The Apple technology, if used, is a small part of very large, complex products.”

I wonder how much Apple would like hearing this about their stuff?




RE: Fun with words
By kleinma on 11/7/12, Rating: -1
RE: Fun with words
By Paladin21 on 11/7/2012 10:13:09 AM , Rating: 4
That wasn't really the point I was trying to make. My point is that Apple will try to argue a position that they are owed massive amounts of money for tiny design patents utilized in a competitor's product, and the position that if they inadvertently used someone else's technology in the scope of a large product that it doesn't matter because it isn't significant. It needs to be either one or the other. If they want to push patent battles, then they need to accept that they're going to be gnawed on by the trolls. If they want to innovate stuff without getting snowed under in crap, they need to grant the same privilege to other companies. The attitude of being above the system while using the system just cost them their latest lawsuit against Google, you'd think they'd learn a lesson.


RE: Fun with words
By Cheesew1z69 on 11/7/2012 10:16:07 AM , Rating: 2
It is true... they really don't invent anything. Packaging up other parts, which make up the whole, is not inventing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFeC25BM9E0


RE: Fun with words
By RufusM on 11/7/2012 2:00:12 PM , Rating: 2
There are various layers to Apple's inventions and designs. In some cases they do invent things, in other cases they design things from existing inventions. Apple also acquires companies that have invented/designed things, so they invent/design them by proxy since they then own it.


RE: Fun with words
By Cheesew1z69 on 11/7/2012 2:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree...


RE: Fun with words
By RufusM on 11/7/2012 3:20:10 PM , Rating: 2
Case in point, Apple invented their 30-pin iDevice connector. They designed it and contracted someone to manufacture it as part of an iDevice. It's a unique connector unlike any other connector. There are all kind of other connectors but none just like that one specifically.

If you don't think that's an invention maybe you can explain exactly what qualifies as an invention.


RE: Fun with words
By Motoman on 11/7/2012 3:51:14 PM , Rating: 5
The invention, in this case, was the electronic device connector itself.

Maybe the first one had 20 pins. Or just one. Whatever...doesn't matter.

If the first device had one pin, and then someone else comes along and makes a connector with 3 pins instead of one, they didn't actually "invent" anything. They made a modification to something that already existed.

When Goodyear creates a new tire with a new tread pattern, they don't run around going "look, we invented the tire!" or even "we invented a new tire!" They didn't invent anything at that point - they manufactured a tire with a new tread pattern. That's it.

An invention has to be new and novel. A tire with a different tread pattern isn't really new and novel. Neither is a connector with 30 pins instead of...what all the other bajillion types of electronic connectors have.


RE: Fun with words
By RufusM on 11/7/2012 5:02:57 PM , Rating: 1
I disagree. IMO an invention can be an improvement or change on an existing design. In the case I made, yes connectors existed before but not this connector with its specific inputs and outputs.

Like I said, this gets to the heart on the definition of invention. If a new tire was developed that could recharge a battery from road friction I would classify that as an invention. Tires existed before, but this is a new type of tire.


RE: Fun with words
By boobo on 11/7/2012 8:05:50 PM , Rating: 2
The tire that recharges the battery is an invention because it provides -innovative- functionality to the previous invention (tire).

A new connector can be as different as you want. It can have 300 triangular pins, instead of what may have been only two rectangular pins in the older model and it would not count as an invention because the change does not provide any -innovative- new functionality.

Now, if the new connector allowed transfer speeds 1000x faster than any previous connector... then! you have an invention.

Patents were not created so that companies would keep making differently shaped, incompatible connectors every week. They were created so that companies would keep making products with ever increasing performance and functionality. (and software patents... I really don't know what they were created for)


RE: Fun with words
By maugrimtr on 11/8/2012 10:29:38 AM , Rating: 2
A new tire thread is an invention by your own definition. If the thread improves performance, reliability, or durability to some degree then it is innovative. In which case, the inventor now has a novel product that imbues their business with a competitive advantage. Presumably this would be a patentable invention so the tire analogy is a poor one. Tires can vary by thread design, composition, size and width based on any number of external variables like vehicle weight, targeted road conditions, vehicle usage, etc.


RE: Fun with words
By AnemicCrayon on 11/9/2012 5:10:02 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
in·no·vate
verb (used without object)
1. to introduce something new; make changes in anything established.
2.
to introduce (something new) for or as if for the first time: to innovate a computer operating system.
3.
Archaic . to alter.

in·vent

verb (used with object)
1.
to originate or create as a product of one's own ingenuity, experimentation, or contrivance: to invent the telegraph.


There is a very real difference in the two terms, invent suggests a totally new idea brought to life while innovating suggests altering a an existing invention to improve upon.


This comment say it for all developers....
By rdhood on 11/7/2012 10:56:46 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
But Apple developers testified that they didn’t pay any attention to anyone’s patents when developing their system.”


Big hint: The vast majority of developers do not pay attention to anyone's patents. Seriously... do you think developers are fully aware and versed in millions of patents such that they can avoid infringing on any one of those patents? Thus, when someone creates an obvious patent, folks infringe all over the place. The patent system is broken.




RE: This comment say it for all developers....
By amanojaku on 11/7/2012 11:26:48 AM , Rating: 2
That's why patent attorneys exist. Ignorance is not an excuse, especially for large companies with expensive lawyers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_lawyer

And thanks to the Internet, you can search for patents pretty quickly.

http://www.google.com/?tbm=pts

Now, if you want to argue the VALIDITY of a patent, that's another story.

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/sol/notices/7...


By Theoz on 11/7/2012 1:25:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That's why patent attorneys exist.

A more apt conclusion would have been "that's why the entire court system exists." Ignorance of the law is not an excuse for ANY law in the US.


By Solandri on 11/7/2012 4:20:29 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
That's why patent attorneys exist. Ignorance is not an excuse, especially for large companies with expensive lawyers.

Actually for patents, I'd say a violation based on ignorance is a strong reason to invalidate the patent.

Patents are supposed to be non-obvious to someone skilled in the art. If some engineer or researcher ignorant of a patent manages to duplicate it, then that's a pretty good indication that it's obvious. And the patent should be invalidated.

So ignorance is better than an excuse.


By Trisped on 11/7/2012 7:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
Just because you can find a patent does not mean you are going to read all the patents to find out if your new project will infringe. If anything it is proof that the developers did not steal the IP, since they invented it without the patent or seeing anyone else do it. Sounds like an obvious solution to me.

The fact is that these patents are not new or novel, they take existing ideas and technologies which are then combine in obvious and simple ways. They did not make a new way of doing things, they just made it so no one can do that anymore.


By boobo on 11/7/2012 8:21:38 PM , Rating: 2
According to patent law, even for a valid patent, ignorance is partially an excuse. Ignorance will save you from having to pay triple damages.

Even with the Internet, you cannot search for software patents pretty quickly, since every single line you write could potentially be infringing some ridiculous, invalid patent. Clearly making an exhaustive internet search on each of the 20 million lines of code of your program and every possible combination of them is not going to be anywhere near quick or reasonable.


Um....
By Cheesew1z69 on 11/7/2012 10:13:53 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
VirnetX is not entitled to money for things they did not invent . The VirnetX technology, if used, is a small part of very large, complex products.”
Sounds familiar... I wonder why....

Oh, that's right, because Apple sues everyone for things they didn't invent!

How could I forget!




Funny
By dgingerich on 11/7/2012 11:06:18 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
VirnetX is not entitled to money for things they did not invent.


It's funny that their lawyer should say this after they've sued others for things they didn't invent, like "slide to unlock" that had been used on doors for centuries and rectangles and rounded corners and an icon interface. I could go on and on, but these are the best examples. Totally hypocritical.




OMG!
By deathwombat on 11/7/2012 10:26:05 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
“VirnetX is not entitled to money for things they did not invent. The VirnetX technology, if used, is a small part of very large, complex products.”


I can't believe an Apple lawyer just admitted that. Does that mean Apple will be withdrawing all of their patent lawsuits?




Apple Stock...
By Cheesew1z69 on 11/7/2012 11:34:57 AM , Rating: 2
Down 23 dollars as of this post... LOL




Eastern District of Texas...
By ritualm on 11/7/2012 3:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas...

Sounds awfully familiar...

Oh yeah, that place is the fast-track incubator for patent trolls.




Photo
By Justin Time on 11/8/2012 12:58:11 AM , Rating: 2
Cook needs to get himself a black robe & hood, so he can look even more like the emperor from star wars.




The sweet taste of irony
By spaced_ on 11/9/2012 12:22:34 AM , Rating: 2
I'm hoping this will actually continue to accelerate past stupidity, beyond absurdity into a parallel universe of insanity. The only people who win out of any of this garbage are the lawyers.

It's obvious this has been happening for decades and we as a society as a whole need to wake up and go: "Hey this isn't actually wise. Giving money to lawyers (who don't actually do anything useful) is quite wasteful, we should really abolish all these ridiculous rules and just get on with innovation. Oh look! A robot!"




dot
By dwighty on 11/9/2012 5:32:19 AM , Rating: 2
like Todd replied I'm taken by surprise that anybody able to make $4399 in four weeks on the internet. have you seen this webpage Fox92 d o t com




“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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