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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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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.


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