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Google Sues Apple, Seeks To Block iPhone, iPad & Mac Imports To U.S. (techcrunch.com)
233 points by kunle on Aug 17, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 206 comments

Seriously, I hope everyone manages to block everybody's imports.

Then lawmakers will be forced to actually overhaul the patent system.

Because judging from progress so far, it seems like only a meltdown would do it.

This would force a settlement. Which would be bad because no actual patent reform would actually be achieved and a few large tech companies would be able to lock-out new entrants into the field.

Friend of mine has a theory that that's what Google is trying to do. Show how absurd the current patent system is and force a meltdown.

Some of the lawmakers wouldn't overhaul patent law even if you had a global supply of universal replicators that were powered only by the sound of happy laughter.

Does anybody else feel all the tech giants standing around with their patents in hand is like all the characters standing around with guns like at the end of Reservoir Dogs?

"Nobody innovate or we'll shoot!"

It's intriguing at first, but you can only keep it up so long before the plot line gets annoying because no one is doing anything (or innovating), or someone gets shot.

IIRC, big companies used to claim they were gathering these patents to _prevent_ this situation from happening, using a similar logic to that of hoarding nuclear weapons to mutually assured destruction.

But it appears that something in the balance has changed, and I'm not really sure what. Are the lawyers just doing a bad job of agreeing on the licensing fees (i.e. penalty for having less cross-targeted bombs for a given opponent)? It's hard to know what to make of it all, putting myself in the shoes of an exec at one of these large companies. At least when I was at MSFT, we used to worry about this thing called "bad press" around lawsuits of this kind...

What changed was that Nokia was on the rocks, so they launched their missiles. And, as is the way with mutually assured destruction scenarios, Apple responded, and everyone else got dragged in one way or another.

Yep, MAD only works until the first guy pulls the trigger.

Ref: World War One

I think the destabilizing thing was how long Google _didn't_ play the MAD game. So Apple went on the warpath feeling safe. But Google militarized really fast.

But it appears that something in the balance has changed, and I'm not really sure what.

Google are trying to stop software patents by actually using the ones they have? Force a meltdown?

let's be clear. this war is apple's doing, not "all the tech giants".

Nokia and Motorola pulled the trigger. Everyone is responsible.

Motorola only pulled the trigger after being approached by Apple and a lawsuit from Apple was imminent (as in days away). Filing first allows pick of the location & other benefits.

That's a separate battle. This is a new round in the war Steve Jobs started to destroy Android.

Doesn't matter what round it is, or ultimately who started. They are all acting like spoiled children.

They're acting like big companies with huge legal war chests that will do what it takes to succeed in a very lucrative and important market.

The broken patent system has created all the wrong incentives here. Hopefully lawmakers will take notice and fix the problem and we won't have to go on bickering about the symptoms.

I disagree. It's more about money than innovation. The non-copy arrangement that Microsoft & Apple have led to Windows Phone which I think most would agree is the most unique and maybe the most innovative platform. Would consumers be better off if Microsoft could have puked out an iOS/Android clone instead? Arguably Windows Phone as we know it may be suffering commercially because it is a departure from the iOS/Android model. So in this case is being less innovative actually a smarter business move? If so that's really troubling. We are not seeing small companies getting stomped out over patents but instead giants fighting over who gets the most money selling essentially the same basic products.

> Would consumers be better off if Microsoft could have puked out an iOS/Android clone instead?

No, and I'll tell you why: if Microsoft felt they could have made an UI that followed the new design language that is about to become canonical for smart phones, more consumers would be tempted to buy Windows Phones. If Microsoft were to make a comeback and become a dominant player it is 100% guaranteed to result in zero innovation. Microsoft NEVER innovates when in a dominant position.

So in a sense, Microsoft condemning themselves to irrelevance by having to desperately invent new designs that don't actually work IS good for the consumer. In a roundabout sort of way.

Not to forget that Microsoft is pushing metro everywhere. If somehow Windows 8 becomes a success with the consumer market, I see limitless demand for Metro tablets and consequently metro phones.

Incorrect. Microsoft invented XmlHttpRequest during the time that they had the dominant browser.

They also brought Windows from 95 to NT, 2000 and 7, with plenty of innovation, during the time that they had the dominant operating system.

Microsoft invented XmlHttpRequest during the time that they had the dominant browser.

Ability to make HTTP requests from JavaScript can hardly be described as innovation -- all the other languages had this far earlier. The innovation, though, was using XHR to create highly dynamic web applications without refreshing page, and it wasn't Microsoft that started doing it at large scale.

Yeah, that really moved the goalposts further afield.

What non-copy arrangement? AFAIK Microsoft and Apple have fairly broad cross-licensing agreements, and that some of the items that Apple has been suing Android for infringing are implemented on Windows Phone as well.

It seems to have emerged that:

1) Microsoft has a cross license deal with Apple. Samsung's license 'offer' from Apple included discounts when using licensed OSes and the example was MS provided OSes.

2) Said deal include terms requiring Microsoft to make products that aren't too similar to the iPhone although I'm not sure how that is defined.

There is a phrase common in patent law called "dancing with the gorilla." This is what we are seeing. It is not limited to just software tech patents, this occurs in other areas as well.

Just to be clear, this Motorola suing Apple, and it's not the first time they've done so. I think The Verge has a much less linkbait-y headline for this: "Motorola files new patent case against Apple with ITC, wants import ban on iPhone and iPad" [1]

[1]: http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/17/3250656/motorola-files-new...

It's Motorola, a subsidiary of Google, suing Apple. Yes, Motorola sued Apple before. But this is after Google acquired Motorola, so Google is now in charge, and it's relevant to put Google in the title - this is now all part of the battle between Google and Apple.

I agree, see my comment to the above poster.

Yes. It's Motorola suing Apple and Not Google. Google, the current owner of Motorola has nothing to do with this. Just like Romney had nothing to do with what the other executives at Bain Capital did.

I'm not trying to suggest that Google has nothing to do with this, they obviously do, but I think saying that Motorola is suing them using Motorola patents is more accurate. Anyone paying attention to this field would know that Motorola is a Google subsidiary these days, and the verge even states that in the article.

Anyways, the "Google sues Apple" headline just seemed picked because it would draw more clicks rather than for accuracy.

It is very relevant that it is Google suing here. Many people believe that Google bought Motorola mainly for its patents. So if Motorola's new CEO, a long time Googler, decides to bring a patent case against Apple, the headline would be outright misleading if Google wasn't mentioned.

Motorola (Mobility) doesn't exist as a separate entity anymore. It is part of Google now, and as such Google is technically the one doing the suing. Google owns Motorola.

It does still exist, just as a subsidiary of Google.

note that i said "... as a separate entity"

There are a lot of 'Apple deserves this' type of comments in this thread that I'd like to address.

The patent system is probably flawed (IANAL), but companies do need to have a way to defend their innovations. Apple did re-invent the smart phone in 07, and has been the design leader since then.

Android has followed in their footsteps - witness the design shift from their pre-iphone roadmap which consisted of blackberry-look-alike designs.

Further, there have been no bold re-imaginings of the smartphone in Android-land (sorry, a better notification system doesn't really qualify). They are taking Apple's innovations and applying a different business model to achieve success.

Google and Apple are both amazing companies, but I have a hard time finding fault with Apple's decision to sue Google's partners. If the tables were turned, and Google came out with an Android phone first, I would support Google suing Apple for the same reasons.

Apple iterated, but they didn't re-invent the smartphone. See the LG Prada, announced in December 2006. It was the first full-screen capacitive touch phone. Its form factor was strikingly similar to the iPhone, and LG even accused Apple of ripping off the design (though they never followed through in court).

What Apple did do was market this newer form factor very successfully, effectively tying the iPhone form factor to their brand in view of public opinion, but it's revisionist to claim that they reinvented the smartphone into the design that we know and love today.

"What Apple did do was market this newer form factor very successfully"

No, what Apple did was to bring its 20 years of experience making OSs to a mobile phone. Most of the iOS libraries are the same that in macOS.

Those are incredible low level-very efficient and smart work tested by millions of people on the real world for years, and very good designed.(Apple have really great designers not only on the outside)

The quality of this thing was(and is, Windows internals are sh*t, I had disassembled both, it always was about shipping fast and rough, fix later attitude) much bigger than anything else in the market at this time.

Google did the same porting Linux to mobile.

Say what you may about operating systems then and now, but with experience I can tell you this, these devices were phones first and computers second. They are computers first and phones second now.

[Warning - Personal anecdote. #include<grain of salt>] Even in Nokia land, SonyEricsson land, what ever crap may have happened on the system you were ALWAYS able to attend phone calls. Even if the whole damn os came crashing down because of a rogue game, an incoming call was never missed or cut off. Once phone functionality became 'just an app', there are a lot more cases (personally) of the incoming phone calls flat out not responding because of some random rogue app. Both iOS and Android (early revisions) are equally guilty of this. Note, I'm not talking about dropped call or poor reception which may be a network issue. I'm specifically addressing the "code" part of the phone where functionality just did a 180.


You bring up an excellent point, which accurately describes my first experience with a windows smart phone. I didn't get back onto smart phones for a while (buying my next only three years ago), once the crop of non-smart phones finally hit rock bottom for my personal tastes.

I do despise how often my phone fails to act as an actual phone. I also despise the lack of hardware buttons to answer calls. The most frustrating aspect of a smart phone, is trying to answer a call while an app is going nuts, the screen won't swipe, or the damned buttons that aren't really buttons don't work.

I'm generally the bastion for cutting edge tech whenever I buy any gadget. I don't mind spending ridiculous amounts of money for that _one_ specific feature or niche that I want, because I'm not going to spend money again for a very very long time.

Believe it or not, my first Android smartphone was only bought last year, and that too, because there weren't premium dumbphones. Most of them were cheap plasticky crap. Even Nokia seemed to have lost focus so I thought, "Hey why not?" and jumped in. It was hard to transition from blind messaging and blind dialing to actually giving a damn to what's going on, on the screen. I mean, it's just a slab of glass. They could've atleast had hardware Send and End keys like the HTC HD2... Otoh Google wants to go completely buttonless.

>> What Apple did do was market this newer form factor very successfully

Marketing had a lot to do with it, but so did the quality of the OS.

Having gone through several iterations of Windows Mobile devices prior to the first iPhone, the iPhone was the first smartphone that I used that I didn't want to slam on the floor and stomp on repeatedly.

Sure, I'll buy that the iPhone was an improvement. Apple took an idea that was already out in the market, and made it not suck (as much).

Is that enough justification for them to sue everyone else in an attempt to lock them out of the market?

>> Is that enough justification for them to sue everyone else in an attempt to lock them out of the market?

To be clear, I don't agree with Apple's lawsuit, I think it's a waste of time/money related to one of Steve Job's personal grievances.

Keep in mind, however, that Apple is not suing everyone else. They aren't suing over Windows Phones. They didn't sue Palm/HP over WebOS. They also didn't sue RIM over the Playbook UI (although Palm should have sued them for knocking off WebOS). WP and WebOS do not look like knockoffs of iOS, unlike some of the disputed Samsung models.

Also remember that MS sued (and got lucrative settlements from) many of the same players that Apple is currently tangling with.

Keep in mind, however, that Apple is not suing everyone else.

No, they're only suing their only serious competitor, which should tell you all you need to know about how much this is about protecting innovation vs locking out a legitimate alternative and reducing consumer choice.

I'm sure they could find plenty of bogus patents to use against MS and WebOS if they felt threatened by them at all.

They are suing their biggest competitor, yes, but I'm not the only one who thinks Samsung made a few models with a UI that looks like they knocked off iOS.

WP and WebOS might be bit players, but they have novel UIs that are actually good and arguably better than iOS. In particular, WebOS had the best notifications.

WP and WebOS prove Apple's notion that it is possible to compete without an 'iPhone Skin'.

Apple does not sue Palm/HP or RIM, because they are not threat. They are almost non-players.

The only lawsuit Microsoft had against Android vendor was Barnes and Noble. Which was settled out of court (by investing into B&N to shut them up). Other vendors license things like exFAT and ActiveSync. Some vendors (notably Motorola and Sony) do not pay anything to Microsoft.

Apple isn't currently suing HTC, LG, or other manufacturers of Android phones.

I guess that arguably trying to get HTC banned from importing any of their phones into the US isn't "suing" them, but it's still pretty damn hostile to both them and to competition in the smartphone market: http://www.bgr.com/2012/06/06/apple-htc-patent-lawsuit-us-ba...

Then again, Samsung is a much more significant competitor than all of them.


They are suing at least Samsung (the most successful Android vendor) all over the world.

I meant aside from Samsung.

IIRC, HTC settled up and is paying a license fee. There is no way for Barnes and Noble to be the only one paying, since it is widely known that MS makes more from Android makers than it does from Windows Phone.

I wrote "lawsuit", not "licensors".

There was only one lawsuit, and it was settled before information was leaked. Others license voluntarily, but we still don't know, what exactly. It is just educated guess that it is exFAT and ActiveSync, because exact licensing conditions are under NDA.

And if it is, does HTC get to sue over all of the bits of their Windows Mobile phones that didn't suck (even with all of its issues, there were more than a few)?

I'm sick of that "LG Prada was there before" meme. The fully functioning iPhone was presented by Jobs on January 7, 2007, and "accidentally" LG announces the same design less than a month before? It's simply impossible that LG didn't actually have to produce something for the coming iPhone and in parallel just made their clone. That's the reason LG remained quiet afterwards.

Accidentally announced 1 mth before? Reference please. I believe it was longer than that, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LG_Prada#iPhone_controversy

The reason this IS so important is because it re-enforces the "emergent technology" argument that many forget, which is the antithesis of what many argue...

Do you recall Knight Ridder had something looking almost the same as the iPad... In the video from 94, the speaker talks of emergent technologies enabling the future, not "first to market".

Society should outright reject any notion that emerge t technology is patentable, regardless if the "evil corporation" driving the insanity is Apple, Samsung, Google, etc

Did you ever hold the LG KE850 (Prada) in your hands or even tried to use it for extended periods of time? I developed for it at that time (J2ME) and let me tell you it was not in the same league as the iPhone.

Did you ever use an LG Prada? Worked nothing like iOS. And yes, they did reinvent the smartphone. The first smartphone that had a full unix-based operating system. The first to use multitouch. The first to use accelerometers. A lot of firsts. The individual tech might have existed before (excepting multitouch which Apple invented,) but the application of those technologies into a phone was entirely new. Stop trying to Apple-bash after the fact. Apple's genius wasn't 'marketing' it was design. The iPod wasn't the first MP3 player -- it was the first that let you have 1000 songs in your pocket. Stop short-changing Apple. After all, you certainly haven't invented anything of note. You build something innovative that consumers love to use and then you can call Apple's genius one of marketing. Every Home Depot has the tools and supplies to build the White House, that doesn't mean that architects are just really good at marketing because they didn't think of wood and paint first. Ignoring the synergy is to ignore the nature of creativity.

> Further, there have been no bold re-imaginings of the smartphone in Android-land (sorry, a better notification system doesn't really qualify).

That just shows how little you know about Android. To take one example, Android's Intent system is amazing. It is one of the big things that makes Android so customizable and flexible. It enables wonderful features like generic sharing (and, impressively, replacing the share menu itself). Intents have worked so well that Google and Mozilla (among others) are bringing them to the web.

Android still isn't as polished as iOS but unlike iOS it isn't partying like it's still 2007.

And letting other devs take a crack at improving some of the core functionality has helped Android leapfrog Apple in some very important ways. Just look at the innovation going on in third-party keyboards. After using Swype or Swiftkey going back to an iPhone keyboard is like pulling teeth. But Apple's paternalistic software model precludes this kind of thing which is why it's so important that they're not allowed to use the legal system to destroy competition in the smartphone space.

Attack the argument, not the author. Intents are a great idea. Does that mean they are a bold re-imagining of a smartphone? Not at all.

If the tables were turned

I'm sure there are examples of Apple following the pack. For example, an App Store is similar to apt (or other package managers) in Linux-land. Podcasts where included in iTunes after someone else invented them (I think). Apple produce Unix servers after other people were selling unix servers.

That's how the tech industry works, we all copy each other, to some degree.

As far as I can see, this is too bad for consumers AND start-ups.

Consumers lose - For example, I lost a very important feature on my phone due to a ridiculous patent threat by Apple (Universal Search).

Start-ups lose - I know atleast a couple of friends who were working on an innovative Adreno-Android based project that they left off only because of the fear of being sued (also,they were bootstrapping and they didn't have the money to afford a counter-suit, in case of a legal threat).

Now this is exactly the kind of behavior these patent wars are driving us to. Everyone is to blame here, but I personally have a heavy bias against Steve Jobs because he was a man who invented nothing useful except these patent wars. And boy, people keep praising him instead for his innovation...Seriously, we need more articles on how much innovation this man has ruined more he has contributed ever.

I believe that this may end up being Steve Jobs legacy. He became so focused on destroying android that it consumes everyone. Sure android was an iPhone rip off, google may acted in bad faith by ripping it off. So what? Anyone who makes something enviable should expect the copies to follow them. I am at my saturation point with IP lawsuits. I lack much empathy for any party at this point, consumers are the ones that lose.

What makes Android an Iphone rip off. Google bought android in 2005, was the iphone out in 2005? http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2005-08-16/google-buys-a...

Can we try not to revise history.

"Android" in 2005 was a Symbian/BlackBerry-style OS that was being prototyped on a QWERTY device with no touch screen.

Reference please. My understanding is that Android was always intended to be hardware independent, including supporting touchscreen "before iPhone" came out. The claims of a sudden change in direction are revisionist history to suit some people's agendas, http://www.osnews.com/story/25264/Did_Android_Really_Look_Li...

I am grateful for the competition between both groups (Android and IOS). This competition forces organizations to compete on merit, or the market votes with its feet.

You just gave me my reference. The video in that article was released almost a year after the iPhone. It's pretty obvious that the touch UI in it is also a very early version of the Android we have today. Just one glaring example is how the application menus are navigated by using the hardware keys on the device and not by touch. The touch targets are tiny. The UI is embarrassingly laggy. It probably isn't a coincidence that these BlackBerry-style Android devices never actually got released, either.

I have no "agenda". I'm an Android developer and I've owned one Apple device in my lifetime (and have no plans to buy new ones ever because of their business practices). I own multiple Android devices. I just realize that the iPhone truly did change touch devices forever because the UI was something new.

I own five Apple devices, and no Android devices :)

From the article, QUOTE The interesting thing here is that the release of the SDK with support for touch and large screens, as well as the release of this video and hardware reference design took place one month before the infamous photograph of the BlackBerry-esque device. This means that Google wasn't working with just one prototype, but several, which really shouldn't be a surprise at all, if you think about what Google wanted Android to be.

Android was never intended to run on just one form factor. Android runs on everything from candybar touch screen phones to qwerty-phones, and everything in between. Heck, there was a race to get Android running on laptops, and even before Android was well and ready for it, it was dumped on tablets. UNQUOTE Emphasis on blackberry and touchscreen appearing at the same time, and that Android was always intended to be form factor independent.

How does this equate to "in 2005, Android was blackberry"? Reference please.

Well, I certainly can't say that as a fact since only the Android team would know the truth. However, from the video in question it's pretty obvious that if a touch-screen version of Android was in development at the same time in 2005, the UI was not anything like the touch UI we have on Android or iPhone today. It was the same unintuitive, clunky and slow trash we had on resistive screens for ages.

That is where the "iPhone ripoff" claim comes in. Ripoff is too strong of a word, but it certainly had a huge influence on the direction of Android.

I stopped buying Apple products because of this patent nonsense, so I guess that means I can't buy that Nexus 7 I was eyeing either. Why is it that giant companies consistently act so evil?

While I would obviously prefer to see no patent lawsuits, Motorola's lawsuit here is very different from Apple's against Samsung.

Apple refuses to license their patents - Samsung et. al. went to Apple and said "won't you please allow us to pay you to use your technology?" to which Apple emphatically answered "NO!". Here, Apple is using Motorola's technology and Motorola said "Apple, will you please pay us if you're going to use our technology?" and Apple's reply was the same: "NO!"

Apple is essentially doing the same thing that they're accusing Samsung of, except that Samsung really wanted to pay Apple, whereas Apple emphatically does not want to pay Motorola.

That's what people said about Apple/Samsung until the trial reviled Apple did offer licensing terms which Samsung rejected. We have no way of knowing if Apple offered similar licensing terms to Motorola.

Actually, prior documents released from Motorola and Apple show that Motorola wanted 2.25% of Apple's revenue for its patents[1] - on a $500 device, that's $1.50. Apple rejected those terms. Compare that to Apple's demand of $40/device from Samsung - it's not favorable.

[1] http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/02/04/what-motorola-wants-2...

2.25% of $500 is $11.25

.. and that makes up a pretty hefty hit on the bottom line. A 2.25% drop in revenue could very well cause a >10% drop in profits, even with Apple's large margins.

I think this is an issue of FRAND vs. non-essential patents. Motorola has to license certain patents at reasonable costs. Apples design and non-essential patents have no price controls. They can ask for whatever they want. It's more similar to Microsoft's licensing deal where they get $10-$15 per handset for a handful of non-essential patents. If Apple has more of these non-essential patents that OEMs want to use $30-$40 might be the going market rate for them.

Pretty sure it was revealed recently that Apple approached Samsung and gave them the opportunity to license a bunch of stuff. That is pretty rare, Samsung refused and Apple sued.

In a sense, you're right. Apple offered to license it's tech to Samsung in 2010 for a whopping $40/device - personally, I don't think that a fee that exorbitant counts, but that's personal opinion. I thing Apple knew they were offering an untenable fee and that Samsung would have no choice but to refuse.

Apple doesn't need to support the bottom-feeders. If Samsung can't pay Apple, that means they're not making enough money on their phones.

Samsung and all Android phone makers are fighting a losing battle as long as they keep such low profit margins. It's the failure of the licensing of one common OS for all phones. Nothing distinguishes these phones enough to allow one company to raise above the rest.

Samsung and the other Android phone makers can't count on anyone's loyalty. The Android user is only interested in the freest phone, regardless who makes it. Today Samsung, tomorrow X (fill in the mark).

Why does Apple have to support that?

> Samsung and all Android phone makers are fighting a losing battle as long as they keep such low profit margins. It's the failure of the licensing of one common OS for all phones. Nothing distinguishes these phones enough to allow one company to raise above the rest.

Apple is fighting a losing battle trying to protect their exclusive, high-end slice of the smartphone world. They've already conceded the future (e.g. India, China and the rest of the developing world). Now they're just haggling over how long the present is going to last.

Apple doesn't need to support it.

At the same time, patents were created as a mechanism to distort the free market in order to promote progress and innovation, not to be used as a weapon against it.

Apple's profit margins clearly demonstrate that these protections are not necessary for the kind of innovation that drives the mobile market these days.

Society doesn't need to support Apple's destructive war when it is working directly counter to the purpose of the patents used to wage it.

Perhaps it is time to force Apple to actually compete on free market terms.

Why is Apple evil for defending itself from companies who are copying much of the look and feel of their phones?

If you invented a new approach to smartphones that became really successful and changed the industry, wouldn't you want to protect your hard work from others who copied it?

Uh, Apple has copied android. iOS'es most fundamental feature, notifications, was ripped off from android.

>> iOS'es most fundamental feature, notifications, was ripped off from android.

I won't dispute whether notifications was ripped from Android, but calling Notifications the "most fundamental" feature of iOS is an incredibly huge stretch.

If you ask 10 iPhone users what the most fundamental feature of iOS was, you'd probably get 6 or 7 different answers.

It's the centerpiece for interacting with apps. It's key. In fact, I'm betting it contributed to people confusing android with ios, it's that similar and pervasive. Before they were ripped off the biggest complaint about the iphone was it didn't have android-style notifications. There were many different knockoff apps since people disliked ios notifications so much and apple ended up hiring the lead dev from one of them(mobile notifier) So Apple greatly benefited from ripping off android as this allowed them to close an obvious gap.

If you asked me, Safari is the centerpiece of the iPhone and always has been. It's even more important than the ability to run third party apps.

It was the first phone browser done right, and is still arguably the best. Outside of the phone operations, I would trade away every possible feature of iOS for Safari.

Notifications is an annoying piece of crap for a lot of people including me. That isn't to say the previous generation of alerts were not worse, they were.

But I highly doubt that many people think it is THE cornerstone feature. For some, like me, it's Safari. For others, it's FaceTime, others the camera, etc.

Really? I always found Safari on iOS frustrating to use. Chrome/Firefox/Opera on Android all seem like better mobile browsers to me.

I think Safari still doesn't auto-highlight the text in the search box (my most used browser function besides actually scrolling a page), so annoying to start typing a new search time and realize it's just adding on to the last search time until I hit the x. I guess Safari now at least syncs tabs and bookmarks with the desktop version, but still it's a stretch to say it even competes as a top mobile browser IMO.

I think notifications are only annoying on older iOS versions. In Android they've always been unobtrusive, and with Android 3.0+ (and especially in 4.1) they've got a lot of added useful functionality.

But to get back to the point I would say the defining feature on iOS is proper group texting. So, yeah, that's a lot of quibbling words to basically agree with your point.

Looks like there can be multiple things that are important to a phone's operation.

Mobile Safari cannot reflow Text on zoom. So it is useless for me.

Apple has sold over a hundred million iPhones and has sewn up a large chunk of the most profitable market segment.

That should be enough of a reward.

Apple defined the landscape that all Android phones now inhabit.

Your view doesn't make sense to me. If you buy a nice car by working hard, should I be allowed to take it from you after you have had 'enough' time to drive it?

Patents should be granted only on IP that would otherwise risk being locked up indefinitely as a trade secret. Otherwise, they aren't promoting the "progress of Science and the useful Arts" but instead feathering the nests of incumbent producers at consumers' expense.

The patents being lobbed about like grenades don't fall into that category, IMO. No one would ever need to read a patent to see how to implement "slide to unlock."

Apple built a product that was innovative but clearly derivative of what Motorola had been selling for decades, why shouldn't Motorola defend itself in the market it created?

They can. So long as they don't try and license their FRAND patents using non-FRAND terms.

FRAND does not mean that everyone pays the same absolute amount.

It does mean that they are Fair and Reasonable. 2.25% of the total sale value is neither.

This is a terrible analogy. If you take my car, now you have one car, and I have none. That's a zero-sum game.

The smartphone market is not zero-sum. There is plenty of room for multiple similar products.

That's the wrong way to think about it. Now that they're equally evil, you can buy whichever one you want. Or else you can't buy any and you might as well go out and play in the sun. Either way, you win.

But if you are planning on buying something, do it now. Soon you might not be able to buy anything.

Yep, if anyone is using legal battles to determine what they should/shouldn't buy, you're going to be drastically disappointed.

As an Apple fan, I hope Google gets their way in the courts if not for a while. Why? Well if not only to get the Android people off their high horses in regards to legal issues and the companies behind them, but it would be the perfect way for an actual debate over software patents to be brought the forefront of public debate.

Reform on patents will only ever happen if people here feel the pain of the process. As it is we're too far removed still.

> Now that they're equally evil

nuance at its finest

This is a defensive response to being sued by Apple, which seems to have been the entire point of Google purchasing Motorola.

Just think of all the money you'll save. :)

In a perfect world Apple, Google, Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Blackberry achieve what they wanted - none of them can produce or sell mobile devices anymore in any country. Meanwhile Nokia restarts production of quality hardware and puts WebOS on them with compatibility layer allowing to use legacy iOS and Android applications, taking over the leader position...

(In a Bizarro World, it's Siemens bringing back Symbian)

Nokia was at the forefront of this mess.

(In a Bizarro World, it's Siemens bringing back Symbian)


So are we going to hate on Google now, like we hated on Yahoo suing Facebook?

Was Facebook suing Yahoo when Yahoo decided to sue Facebook?

In the Motorola-Apple lawsuit saga, Motorola sued first. This is their second lawsuit, after Apple's retaliation.

Did Google acquire Motorola just to prepare its patent arsenal?

That acquisition made a lot of strategic sense for a variety of reasons.. Not the least of which is their core business in producing phones and even for that matter cable set top boxes (see Google Fiber). That being said the IP was surely a significant factor.

It's impossible to know from the outside, but there was a lot of conjecture about that.

If there was any doubt about it in the past, it should be put to rest now.


On the one hand, lawsuits are bad and innovation is good. On the other hand, I'm happy to see Google defend its ecosystem against Apple's square-with-rounded-corner lawsuits.

Google (through Motorola) is using Apple's tactics against them. Google/Motorola tried to do the same thing with Microsoft only to have Microsoft cry foul over FRAND (which isn't applicable in the case with Apple).

It is a dirty tactic but this is the system Microsoft and Apple and many other large tech companies lobbied for.

Looks like Motorola is trying with what seem to be non-FRAND related patents. (non 3G/4G related)

"Motorola Mobility unit said it filed a new patent-infringement case against Apple Inc. (AAPL) claiming that features on some Apple devices, including the Siri voice-recognition program, infringe its patents. The complaint at the U.S. International Trade Commission claims infringement of seven Motorola Mobility patents on features including location reminders, e-mail notification and phone/video players"


Yes, I know. I was referring to the earlier case against Microsoft concerning h264 patents. I didn't mean to imply the same thing would happen here. I edited the post in an attempt to make it clear.

It's about time.

Why is it okay for Google to do it but not say, Oracle? It's ridiculous no matter who does it.

Because Apple attacked first

Motorola sued Apple first

As another one wrote, apple threatened them to sue, so they sued back first.

I don't think that Apple suing to protect its intellectual property is wrong. But even if I did, I don't buy the logic that doing the 'wrong' thing is okay because the other guy did it first.

I don't think that Apple suing to protect its intellectual property is wrong.

Do you think that Lodsys suing to protect its intellectual property is also not wrong?

I don't buy the logic that doing the 'wrong' thing is okay because the other guy did it first.

Using force in self-defence is unacceptable?

You may want to re-read comatose-kid posting again. He doesn't support "others do it" as a justification.

Yeah, because "slide-to-unlock" is so innovative.

If it is, I'd like to see the size of the check Apple is writing Neonode. Oh, wait...

Wait, Apple sued Google?

Apple is waging a war by proxy on Google via attacks on Android handset manufacturers. They've mostly avoided direct engagement so far (which is smart, since Google isn't the one making money directly from Android), but it's obvious to anyone watching the overall swing of these lawsuits that Apple isn't waging war on HTC or Samsung as much as they are on Google and Android.

Apple has sued Google-owned Motorola and Android handset manufacturers, so yes. Now Google-owned Motorola is suing back.

Motorola filled suit first.

After being threaten by Apple.

Still means Motorola sued first.

Essentially, yes.

Even though I'm generally in favor of moderately strong patent laws, this is starting to get ridiculous. The statute of limitations on these sorts of things should be 1-2 years max.

And patents should be

A) Sufficiently complex. No more slide-to-unlock trivial bullshit.

B) Strict checks on prior art. Slide-to-unlock, again.

I completely agree but how does one determine 'sufficiently complex'?

Forget about Apple and Google's vendor lock-in strategy. The American Bar Association has something better up its sleeves to get paid regularly.

Anyone know what the eventual end game of all these lawsuits will be? Will everyone just end up carrying on and suing for the next few decades?

Rich patent lawyers?

And I'm still waiting to get my dumb search smart again on Galaxy S3, they fight, we lose.

Lawyers creating jobs for lawyers. Google's lawyers and Apple's lawyers have a vested interest in keeping each other in business. Extend to all lawyers for tech firms.

I think Google is smarter than what looks at the surface. They are indirectly targeting timing of iPhone 5 and Apple's revenue. Good timing Google.

Except that, according to Florian Mueller:

"Even if Motorola won an import ban next week, it would not affect the iPhone 4S and the new iPad 4G, nor the widely-anticipated iPhone 5, which is also expected to incorporate a Qualcomm baseband chipset."


Mueller is not exactly a reliable source of anything but what the preferred viewpoint of his current corporate clients. Sometimes it coincides with reality, but often it does not (see his coverage of Oracle's case against Google, for instance, and how it kept shifting as he was proven wrong time after time, and consider that Oracle is one of his known clients)

Per that article, Mueller is saying that in reference to a previous case before the ITC, not this newest filing.

Seems like everyone is suing everyone these days. Apple sues Samsung, Samsung counter-sues, Google sue Apple and no doubt Apple will counter-sue and then someone else will counter-sue them all. The patent system is a joke, maybe this will be the final blow that will make someone take notice that the patent system needs some reform.

It's good to be a patent attorney these days.

Maybe it's a patent litigation bubble :-)

It isn't a bubble. Until Congress and/or the courts change the rules, the fundamentals are very, very strong.

The fundamentals of patents may be very strong, but IIRC, the same does not apply to software patents, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_patents_under_United_S...

IIRC, this discussion still needs to take place. I really, really hope that software patents are knocked on the head, unless there is true science, such as a complex algorithm, which should have a limited life of a few years AT MOST, otherwise my litmus test of "harm to society" is met.

Someone needs a patent on patents to stop this insanity.

The lawsuits about prior art should be enough to lock down the judicial system on its own.

Maybe there is actually a conspiracy between the big hardware/software manufacturers to force lawmakers to review patent law.

I think it is part of a plan to destroy western society by locking up all the courts and government with unanswerable questions such as "Who first thought of the rectangle?".

Soon, there will be nothing left but a wasteland and some lawyers arguing over who gets to own half a dead cat while they warm their hands on oil drums full of burning currency.

This whole patent thing is turning Hobbes' hypothetical "War of All Against All" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellum_omnium_contra_omnes) into reality.

This is especially appropriate because "Solitary Poor Nasty Brutish and Short" would make a great name for an IP law firm.

or a Kaiser Chiefs album.

Or maybe it's a cunning plan to save western society by locking up all the courts and government?

Good idea. Although the highest European courts are already pretty busy sorting out other burning issues. Like VAT exemptions for golf-club non-members (http://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2012/august/ecj-to-rule-o...)

So, presumably a lobbyist working at the EU now has a new golf membership.

Could be either. Or even both. Is very hard to tell with cunning plans.

More likely, this is a cunning plan by tech giants who are tired of wasting money on patent nonsense to get everyone to realize how messed up it is!

*I can dream, can't I?

WTF with people still quoting FOSS Patents Florian Mueller... that guy can be bought easily. He has no integrity

hahahah! I used to have enormous respect for him in the early days, later he and his blog turned into sh*t, so I stopped considering any of his opinions. He's like MG Seigler, but into Law and stuff.

We all knew that the second someone started wielding their "defensive" patents the whole system was going to fall apart.

Well...here we go I guess.

Apple are suing Motorola(Google), so this lawsuit is just another part of the response directed back at Apple. It's not like Motorola just decided to go after another cellphone manufacturer for patent violations, as an offensive move.

They did actually.

2010, Oct 06: Motorola sues Apple over 18 patents, and files an ITC complaint against Apple over 6 of them.

2010, Oct 29: Apple sues Motorola over 6 patents, and files an ITC complaint against Motorola over 3 of them.

Google only closed the Motorola acquisition in 2012.

Yep, someone decided that MAD was worth it or that they could win. It certainly looks like it's going to be a fun time for the lawyers and people with popcorn.

So far we've got Apple suing Motorola, Motorola suing back. Apple suing Samsung, and now Google suing Apple. Any others I've missed?

I guess in the end IBM would come into the room and shut everyone up.

Honest question, why? Don't most of the phones run on ARM? Or did you imply something on the lines of PC (or the POWER architecture)?


Go to any tech retail outlet, close your eyes and randomly touch any of the products they sell. I'm sure IBM has at least one patent covering it. The fact that they were here for a very long time and do a lot of pure science research means they are ahead of patent game than most.

Here's one story about Sun shakedown in 80's http://www.osnews.com/story/24987/Microsoft_s_Android_Shaked...

This is Motorola suing Apple again, for the record.

If Google owns Motorola, they could put a stop to this if they wanted to, no?

No, Google cannot stop this. The only thing that can stop this is if Google, Apple, and Samsung all agree to stop doing it at the same time. Even then, the trolls will continue to decimate independent developers and occasionally catch a big fish for hundreds of millions of dollars until the patent system is reformed to exclude obvious and previously invented items.

So far, Google and Samsung seem to be willing to talk about ending the mutual destruction and Apple is recalcitrant. When Apple is ready to talk, maybe things can improve.

> Google and Samsung seem to be willing to talk about ending the mutual destruction

In the past they seemed eager to talk rather than dispute because they had no weapons to defend themselves. Now that Google has acquired Motorola, they have the patents to go after anybody they want and that's exactly what they are doing.

> Now that Google has acquired Motorola, they have the patents to go after anybody they want and that's exactly what they are doing.

Let's be clear: They've sued Apple, the one person who's been unwilling to cross-license their patents. They aren't suing Microsoft. They aren't suing Oracle. They aren't suing anyone else at this point.

Apple, on the other hand, has been suing every Android manufacturer under the sun with the full intention of destroying Android.

Is there any evidence to suggest that Google is unwilling to end this silliness, or are you just conjecturing based on their willingness to strike back while Apple remains unwilling?

Let's be even more clear: there isn't a genuine equivalence between Apple suing Samsung and Samsung suing Apple. Even Google's lawyers told Samsung to change their designs.

The false equivalence that you and many other people continually try to draw in this thread and every other one like it has poisoned the well.

Nokia sues Apple over something? No big deal.

Apple sues Samsung over obvious copycat products? End of world.

Apple writes $10 bln check to Nokia without much fuss? Serves em right!

Samsung might owe Apple a couple billion? End of world.

There's a reason Apple sued Android first. and the consistent meme here that it's because Apple is the big bad is, frankly, total bullshit. Google et al. made conscious decisions to copy Apple's products.

Now maybe Apple also made a conscious decision to steal Motorola's tech. Maybe Apple's innovations are bullshit, obvious, non-new. OTOH maybe it isn't and maybe Motorola's is. In that case why should Apple cross license it's actual innovations to someone who wants to knock off their products? In that case, Fuck Samsung and Googlerola -- they can write checks just like Apple did to Nokia. Hardly the end of the world.

> Let's be even more clear: there isn't a genuine equivalence between Apple suing Samsung and Samsung suing Apple.

Point me to where I said anything about this case other than "Apple, on the other hand, has been suing every Android manufacturer under the sun with the full intention of destroying Android.", which I think is nearly inarguable at this point.

> Even Google's lawyers told Samsung to change their designs.

While Google did tell Samsung to change their design, I have no reason to believe that it was their lawyers (and thus had any legal weight, which is what "Google's lawyers" implies).

> The false equivalence that you and many other people continually try to draw in this thread and every other one like it has poisoned the well.

While I'm glad you've studied your rhetorical devices, can you explain what false equivalence I'm drawing? If it's Samsung v. Apple and Apple v. Samsung, see above. I didn't say anything about these cases, particularly about Samsung suing Apple.

I'll also note your response didn't contain any evidence of Google being unwilling to end this (or of Apple being willing to, but I didn't ask for that).

> Nokia sues Apple over something? No big deal.

Didn't mention this, please don't put others opinions in my mouth.

> Apple sues Samsung over obvious copycat products? End of world.

Didn't specifically mention this case anywhere.

> Apple writes $10 bln check to Nokia without much fuss? Serves em right!

Didn't mention this, at all. Anywhere.

> Samsung might owe Apple a couple billion? End of world.

Didn't mention this.

Please don't paint me with the brush of others. I make the comments in the context of my opinions, not others.

> Google et al. made conscious decisions to copy Apple's products.

Then why hasn't Apple sued Google directly? It's their software, yet Apple only goes after manufacturers.

> In that case, Fuck Samsung and Googlerola -- they can write checks just like Apple did to Nokia. Hardly the end of the world.

Again, show me that Apple has approached Google about licensing it's patents, or is even open to it. They aren't looking for a check, they're looking for the eradication of the platform. I'm going to ignore Samsung -- I'm not talking about them here, only you are.

And Apple made a conscious decision to steal android notifications.

It goes both ways and Apple can no longer claim to be the only princess on the block who everyone copies.

I suspect the fact that this is happening signals Google's approval.

and why would they? It's not that they vowed to do no evil or something.

"Don't be evil" doesn't mean sit back and get sued to oblivion by your competitors like a selfless martyr.

"Don't be evil" does mean that you should't abuse FRAND obligations.

Hence why Google is being investigated for anti-competitive behaviour by ITC/EU. Given the important of FRAND in the standards process this is very much being evil.

Note that none of the patents they are suing over this time are FRAND patents.

I can no longer respond to the people replying to me, so I'm putting this here.

Motorola, not Google, sued Apple and Microsoft over FRAND patents in April of 2011. It wasn't until August 2011 that Google even announced their intent to acquire Motorola Mobility, and it took until May 22nd, 2012 for the deal to actually close.

If you were referring to a different FRAND case, I apologize, this is the only one I'm aware of.

"this time".

The previous time Motorola Mobility wasn't owned by Google, which was the point of the comment.

I know. My point is that Google left the "don't be evil" mantra behind a long time ago.

You are contradicting yourself. Whatever you say makes no sense - First you claim Google abused FRAND patents, and when your claim was proved invalid, you make a fool of yourself? Nice strategy. Lulz.

Don't be evil means use your patents as a defense not to sue others. It means amass a big enough trove that others feel that suing you is going to be futile.

Evil is attacking the opponent with the new patents you just "bought" not even developed in-house

> Don't be evil means use your patents as a defense not to sue others. It means amass a big enough trove that others feel that suing you is going to be futile.

Well, when a company is suing all of the companies that use your software over your software, but don't come after you, what are you supposed to do to protect them? Because obviously the "trove" wasn't "big enough".

> Evil is attacking the opponent with the new patents you just "bought" not even developed in-house

So now companies aren't allowed to use the patents of the companies they've purchased? Should patents be invalidated once the original company is acquired? I'm against software patents in general, but to argue, under the existing system, that one of your subsidiary's shouldn't be allowed to use the patents they developed because you acquired them seems absurd.

You clearly have no clue how the legal system works. You use patents defensively by countersuing

The reason having a large trove of patents makes it futile for others to sue you is precisely because you can respond to their suits with countersuits of your own.

Can't have a settlement without at least the threat of a suit, and "Let's just talk it over." probably did not get Apple's attention.

The headline is incorrect; this is Motorola suing Apple, not Google, which has happened before (as the article states).

(afaik) what makes this newsworthy is that this is the first lawsuit filed by motorola since it was purchased by google

In a literal sense, you are correct. But don't ignore the fact that there had to be a group of lawyers and execs in a room at the GooglePlex that gave this move a green light. This is why Google bought Motorola.

Right. Google and Motorola are too separate corporate entities.

I presume this was a sarcasm here?

It is factually right, they are separate entities.

It's just that one entity is under significant influence of the other. Doesn't change the fact, that yes, they are separate.

It's the articles like these and the discussion thereof that has dragged down the quality of HN these days.. sad.

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