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Top chipset maker VIA Technologies claims Apple ripped off its intellectual property to make the iPhone and iPad.  (Source: Hornberger Worstell)

VIA has aligned itself with the Android handset makers in their global patent conflict with Apple.
Apple could soon find itself in a similar situation to rival Samsung

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) is currently riding high on its victory over rival Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (SEO 005930) in Germany.  German courts sided with Apple and banned sales of Samsung's tablets, as they say Apple owns exclusive rights to minimalist tablet designs.  As reports indicate that Samsung is currently the only major Android company currently coming close to rivaling Apple in sales, Apple for now enjoys a court-enforced monopoly on the tablet market for the time being.

Now, Taiwanese motherboard, CPU, and chipset maker VIA Technologies, Inc. (TPE:2388) has just filed suit in U.S. Federal Court in Delaware, seeking to ban sales of Apple's iPad and iPhone, which it says infringe upon three of its U.S. patents.  VIA is also seeking damages and has asked for a trial by jury.

VIA writes, according to a copy of the complaint 
obtained by Bloomberg, "The products at issue generally concern microprocessors included in a variety of electronic products such as certain smartphones, tablet computers, portable media players and other computing devices."

The company seems in good position to see success.  The Delaware court is known as a plaintiff friendly region, akin to the Eastern District Federal Court of Texas.

For VIA the suit is somewhat personal, as the company has close ties to "patent poor" HTC Corp. (
SEO:066570), a recent target of Apple's intellectual property aggression.  VIA recently sold its S3 Graphics subsidiary to HTC for $300M USD.  VIA had already won a lawsuit against Apple for patents held by S3 -- HTC is now using that victory to try to force Apple to cross license the IP that would allow it to continue to sell Android tablets and smartphones in the U.S. and other regions.

Unlike with Samsung, HTC, Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V),or Google, Inc. (GOOG) subsidiary Motorola Mobility, VIA likely does not make any products that Apple can target in countersuits.

Apple started the patent war last year 
by suing HTC claiming infringements on various technology patents (such as interrupt-based processor undervolting) and its iPad/iPhone design patents.  Since then the war has swept the globe, reaching WWII-esque proportions.  On one side sits Samsung, Google, and HTC (and effectively, VIA); on the other side sits Apple.  

The Android team has been arming themselves.  Aside from the S3 acquisition, Google's
purchase of Motorola served to consolidate the manufacturers patents for use by the greater Android coalition.  And Google recently purchased 1,000 patents from International Business Machines, Inc. (IBM) to further aid in the defense of Android.

The escalation poses significant risk to Apple's bottom line.  While there's a small chance the company will be able to leverage the lawsuits to retain tablet market dominance and regain dominance in the smartphone sector, there's a strong possibility that the plan make backfire.  If the Android allies win their countersuits [
1][2], Apple may see its own products banned.  Furthermore, many have suggested that Apple's campaign may be hurting Apple's "cool" brand image.  After all, as one top blogger told DailyTech, "It's hard to seem cool when you're suing everybody."



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Yay Capitalism!
By johnsmith9875 on 9/22/2011 3:31:12 PM , Rating: 5
Thank god government doesn't work like a capitalist society, otherwise General Dynamics would be suing Northrop because their 500 pound bombs for the F-16 also will work in the B-2 without any special cross-licensed adapter hardware, and the Army would sue the Marines for wearing "similar" uniforms.




RE: Yay Capitalism!
By wordsworm on 9/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: Yay Capitalism!
By MrTeal on 9/22/2011 5:41:18 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
On the other hand, at least Apple isn't getting ready to launch tanks and fighter jets at their competition. Also, they don't drop agent orange on villages. They also don't put people in jail for smoking a little herb, even if that herb helps sick people feel better.


Yet.


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By mindless1 on 9/22/2011 6:44:10 PM , Rating: 3
... and they don't contract to a company that treats their slaves bad enough that they jump off buildings to end it all.

wait. Now there's nets. Everything is a-ok in Apple's world now.


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By Tony Swash on 9/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: Yay Capitalism!
By mindless1 on 9/22/2011 7:28:43 PM , Rating: 2
It's strange how your "actual data" is propping up a misconception.

I think you'll find that most people who commit suicide, don't opt to bother going to work to do it.

Also, you don't have data on how many Foxconn employees committed suicide but didn't do it at work! With the numbers already so close, 7 vs 9.9, it's almost a certainty that Foxconn employees did commit suicide at a higher rate.


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By Tony Swash on 9/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: Yay Capitalism!
By dark matter on 9/23/11, Rating: -1
RE: Yay Capitalism!
By mindless1 on 9/23/2011 3:34:30 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, the closer something comes to certainty, the less need there is for further data when we are only making generalizations.

Your supposed "data" supports my statement more than your own so for me to then provide data seems redundant.


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By DeluxeTea on 9/23/2011 2:07:12 AM , Rating: 1
Yet when you think about, 7 out of the supposed 9.9 suicides per 300,000 people came from Foxconn.


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By Tony Swash on 9/23/11, Rating: -1
RE: Yay Capitalism!
By acer905 on 9/23/2011 12:44:37 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that the problem requires much more data, specifically, the employment status of all those who commit suicide. How many people in the average are unemployed. How many work for other companies.

Yes, ignoring all other factors 7 is less than 9.9, but the world doesn't work that way. Its like the facts about marriage and divorce rates. People freak out about the "50%" divorce rate without ever looking at the rest of the needed info. The percentage of marriages that end in divorce include people who have been married any number of times.

Two people can have one lifelong marriage, while another two can have six all end in failure (2 people married 3 times each, all failing because the 2 people cannot be happy in a marriage). That leads to four people having an 85% divorce rate!

Got a bit off topic... but the point is valid. If everyone who commits suicide in China are unemployed, except those working at Foxconn, then there is a big problem with Foxconn.


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By Tony Swash on 9/23/2011 1:34:16 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The problem is that the problem requires much more data, specifically, the employment status of all those who commit suicide. How many people in the average are unemployed. How many work for other companies.

Yes, ignoring all other factors 7 is less than 9.9, but the world doesn't work that way. Its like the facts about marriage and divorce rates. People freak out about the "50%" divorce rate without ever looking at the rest of the needed info. The percentage of marriages that end in divorce include people who have been married any number of times.

Two people can have one lifelong marriage, while another two can have six all end in failure (2 people married 3 times each, all failing because the 2 people cannot be happy in a marriage). That leads to four people having an 85% divorce rate!

Got a bit off topic... but the point is valid. If everyone who commits suicide in China are unemployed, except those working at Foxconn, then there is a big problem with Foxconn.


The problem is that if someone claims that the Foxconn suicide rates are unusual the onus is on them to prove that or at least offer some data, a few facts perhaps, to back up such a claim.

Suicide data for China is hard to come by and scarce. The data I have found does not support the proposition that the suicide rate at Foxconn is unusually high. If anyone thinks it is unusually high then it's up to them offer some supporting evidence otherwise it just speculative piffle. I could claim that Elvis is alive and well and living in my loft and every time some argues against say ' but there is no evidence that my claim is false and I believe it strongly'. It's still speculative piffle.


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By acer905 on 9/25/2011 3:45:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The data I have found does not support the proposition that the suicide rate at Foxconn is unusually high.


The data that you have found does not support anything, other than the notion that Chinese people at times will commit suicide. Nothing else can be properly inferred from such limited data. Therefore, it has no basis on a discussion about whether or not the suicide rate at Foxconn is abnormal.

If the burden of proof is on the person making a claim that the rate of suicide at Foxconn is abnormal, the same is true for the person saying that its perfectly normal. Your data does nothing to prove this, because it must make the assumption that every suicide happens with nothing driving it but being an average Chinese person.

quote:
The data I have found does not support the proposition that the suicide rate at Foxconn is [or is not] unusually high [because it fails to include any variables related to Foxconn in the least]


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By mindless1 on 9/23/2011 5:43:28 PM , Rating: 2
... and yet, this is yet another way your thinking is wrong.

If the "general population" rate is 9.9, that would INCLUDE the Foxconn workers as part of the general population (you cannot subtract random company employees as they are comprising the population)!

It would mean 71% of all suicides were Foxconn workers. I do not think 71% of all suicides were Foxconn workers, but this does show just how contrary to your argument that your supposed "data" and speculations are.

It would not surprise me at all if some other nearby manufacturer had even higher suicide rates by %, but that is immaterial to the current argument we're wasting time on.


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By Tony Swash on 9/23/11, Rating: -1
RE: Yay Capitalism!
By mindless1 on 9/23/2011 11:12:06 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, I realize you have no idea WTF I am talking about.

You want to over simplify and that does not work when it ignores the relevant variables.

Your mistake was assuming that Foxconn employees are not ALSO a subset of the general population, that if you try to contrast their suicide rate, you also have to include that rate as part of the general population rate.

Believe what you like. Outsourcing aside, none of the companies I do business with have to install nets to try to save suicidal employees.

Ponder that.


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By Tony Swash on 9/24/11, Rating: -1
RE: Yay Capitalism!
By DeluxeTea on 9/23/2011 2:20:13 AM , Rating: 2
But seriously, Tony:

That is a gross misuse of statistics. You cannot just use the general populace suicide rate and compare it with the Foxconn suicides. It should be compared to the suicide rates of the pertinent demographic - working age people that are employed. If you want to be more consistent, all working age people that are employed in the factories of electronic manufacturers. Find out the suicide rates among the people covered by this demographic. After you have gotten this data, only then the comparison will hold weight.

Or simpler yet, find out the suicide rates of Hua Wei and ZTE and compare it to Foxconn.


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By Tony Swash on 9/23/11, Rating: -1
RE: Yay Capitalism!
By Tony Swash on 9/23/11, Rating: -1
RE: Yay Capitalism!
By Invane on 9/23/2011 12:29:29 PM , Rating: 2
This is absolutely correct. It is not an apples to apples comparison. This is also why you can make a statistical argument to support almost anything sound reasonable.


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By deathwombat on 9/23/2011 10:17:16 AM , Rating: 1
It's bogus to compare the suicide rate at Foxconn with the suicide rate of the general public. A significant percentage of the general public are poor and unemployed . 100% of Foxconn employees have jobs, and they ought to be good paying jobs relative to the Chinese job market. If you want to make a fair comparison, compare the suicide rates at Foxconn with other major employers in China, particularly in the high tech sector.


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By Bad-Karma on 9/23/2011 3:44:37 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Also, they don't drop agent orange on villages.
You left out the better quote....."Napalm, it sticks to kids!"


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By sorry dog on 9/23/2011 10:02:10 AM , Rating: 1
...but they do think it's their moral obligation to keep you from watching porn on the devices they sell to you.


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By Bad-Karma on 9/23/2011 3:50:05 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
nd the Army would sue the Marines for wearing "similar" uniforms.


Strangely enough the US Marines did put a patent on their current digital camouflage design. Apparently the globe and anchor is inked into the design every so often, but the pattern is off limits as well. Wouldn't even let the Navy use it. The US Navy wound up with the weird dark blue and black getup.


RE: Yay Capitalism!
By smokedturkey on 9/23/2011 11:03:56 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, it would be the Marine Corps suing the Army for infringing on the digital camo pattern... they came up with it first! I suspect the BDU in general as it stands as well.


"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs














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