Apple losing the patent war against Android

It's not secret that Steve Jobs hated Google's Android operating system. He was quoted in his biography as saying,

"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

A report by Newsweek shows that he may have his financial wish but without any of the success he had hoped for.

The company, while not bleeding money, is spending a sizable chunk of funds trying to block the sales of Android devices. Most of the cases revolve around the "look and feel" of either the device, the operating system, or both. According to one report, Apple has spent over $100M attacking phone maker HTC alone, and have almost nothing to show from it. Even in cases where Apple wins, the workarounds have been trivial. For example, Samsung simply increased the size of the frame of their Galaxy Tab to get around the violation. This isn't new territory for Apple, either. The company sued Microsoft for "copying" their GUI back in 1988, another case that ultimately got them nowhere when the courts ruled against them.

Now that Steve Jobs is no longer running the company, will Apple start to back off of their courtroom attacks, or is this mentality engrained in Apple's fabric?

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Patents are like corruption in politics anyways. Designed to protect intellectual property but abused more for unethical gains.

Let's not forget the back-n-forth between Samsung and Apple. Apple got pimp slapped over in the Netherlands today and it looks like the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a go all over the EU now. Nice to see some judges actually using their eyes and brains and realizing that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is and has always been sufficiently different in physical design than the iPadx's.

Oh Apple...

1) They are again trying to merge and redefine copyright/patent laws in what they are doing, which is more dangerous than their actual lawsuits. (Anyone that has curiosity, go look up Apple starting with Franklin back in the early 80s and all the way to the Microsoft lawsuit. They created software patents and copyright issues and also conflated them back then. Xerox also had to conflate patent/copyright to win against Apple, which courts finally stopped using as precedent around 1998, but Apple is bringing back up as structure for their new round of lawsuits.)

2) Apple is trying to swing their 'coined' legal 'look and feel' into a new category.

3) Apple is using a new angle with patents that are based on language in the description of the patent instead of the intent of the patent. When a normal patent only upholds the actual the actual patent item, they are forcing the description of the patent to be untouchable as well. (It would be like getting a patent for a sticky bouncy ball, and then later claim that because your description included sticky and ball, anything that is a ball or sticky is violating your patent, even if they aren't a sticky ball that is bouncy. If they win too hard this, it will obliterate their own patent portfolio, which is insane they are doing this.)

4) Apple doesn't have the technical patents in their suitcase to take on Android directly to kill it, so they are using snipers from their patents to hit companies. If they were Microsoft, they could shut down Android completely, both the Linux kernel and the JVM technology. There is a reason LG, Samsung, AND Red Hat are paying Microsoft licensing fees, it isn't like they are just dump little companies. (Just the JVM technology only that is using JIT code hits on several of Microsoft's patents that go back to around VB 2.0 days and also hit hard on in the JAVA days when Microsoft had the first JIT for JAVA, which POed Sun because it was a fast technology. Even browsers using JIT for Javascript violate Microsoft technology patents. Android, Linux and Google are lucky Microsoft has a policy of not using their patents on products that do not generate direct revenue, or they would all have massive problems. (This is why Red Hat has to pay Microsoft, as they sell their server class distribution with support that is a direct revenue product.)

5) Apple also has the issue based on 'look and feel' when you can watch Star Trek from the 1980s and see many iPhone and iPad looking devices that are closer than the device they are suing. The StarTrek franchise should sue Apple, and shut them up on this conflated attempt to hinder Android.


As an OS engineer and scientist, Android is a horrible OS technology and OS model, but what Apple is doing could further hurt patents and copyrights and is just pure predatory to stave off the looming market loss of iOS to Android and WP7 and Windows 8.


I hope Apple wakes up and goes back to 'making' things, instead of ripping of technology, giving it a new name and exposing it to the general public with brilliant marketing. When Windows Mobile in 2002 was doing more than the iPhone in 2006, why on earth did the iPhone have any notice or popularity, seriously?

Edited by thenetavenger, Jan 24 2012, 10:26pm :

I knew they were going to lose these patent wars. Any idiot can see that the devices look different and I have not heard one case or proof that people are confusing Apple and Samsung. Apple is just ****ed because Samsung is taking money away from them so they are suing/blocking sales to recoop some of the money.

And IMO, Apple really has not been to innovative since the iPhone 3gs. Time to compete more Apple instead of suing. This is what customers want.

techbeck said,
This is what customers want.

I'd argue that customers wanting innovation don't constitute the most significat part of their crowd.

And, not surprisingly, I disagree. I think that only an idiot would argue that their devices don't look similar at all. If you get bored one weekend, walk into a Best Buy, point to a Galaxy Tab (it can either be on or off), and ask people what they think it is. I have. No one answered Galaxy Tab, or even the Samsung picture frame from 2006. Most people thought they were looking at iPads. Some didn't really know.

Now, I know it's an anecdotal incident, but I'd bet you anything you would get near the same results. Even Samsung's lawyers had an issue with pointing out which was which. If you want the proof, all you have to do is get away from the computer and interact with the general public.

I too think that Apple is ****ed Samsung is taking money away from them. What company wouldn't be? But I think it's because Apple has spent millions building their brand. They've built it up enough where iPods have become synonymous with MP3 players, and all tablet PCs are now iPads.

When I was working in retail during my college years, I saw it all of the time. "Where are the iPods at? No, the real cheap ones!" They want customers who walk in wanting an iWhatever, to walk out of the store with an iWhatever, and not something they deem to be a knock off.

omgben said,
walk into a Best Buy, point to a Galaxy Tab (it can either be on or off), and ask people what they think it is. I have. No one answered Galaxy Tab, or even the Samsung picture frame from 2006. Most people thought they were looking at iPads. Some didn't really know.

That has less to do with how much it resembles the iPad, and more to do with uneducated people who don't understand that there are several other tablets on the market. Let's at least be honest here.....

You can pluck probably 20 people at random and the majority of them don't even know Samsung Galaxy Tabs exist. Why would they guess it was a Samsung?

Times are certainly changing of course, but let's at least be realistic even for a moment.

"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

Boy am I glad he did. While the cancer was eating away at his pancreas all he can do was act like a huge baby. He should have used his time wisely. This is why I still mock; him even in his grave.

UndergroundWire said,

Boy am I glad he did. While the cancer was eating away at his pancreas all he can do was act like a huge baby. He should have used his time wisely. This is why I still mock; him even in his grave.


I find that fun too. Especially considering what Bill Gates did it the same time.

Bill Gates: I'll use my own 40 billions to save people's lives and make the world better.
Steve Jobs: I'll use my company's 40 billions to kill rival OS.

RealFduch said,

I find that fun too. Especially considering what Bill Gates did it the same time.

Bill Gates: I'll use my own 40 billions to save people's lives and make the world better.
Steve Jobs: I'll use my company's 40 billions to kill rival OS.

Don't you know that Steve Jobs tried to save us all!!! He tried to destroy android before it developed into Skynet!

RealFduch said,

I find that fun too. Especially considering what Bill Gates did it the same time.

Bill Gates: I'll use my own 40 billions to save people's lives and make the world better.
Steve Jobs: I'll use my company's 40 billions to kill rival OS.

Don't you know that Steve Jobs tried to save us all!!! He tried to destroy android before it developed into Skynet!

Jobs == Hitler. Both were "geniuses", made an empire and then Hitler marched his empire over a cliff. Jobs didn't have the time. Oh well, people can still hope someone else does it.

cralias said,
Jobs == Hitler. Both were "geniuses", made an empire and then Hitler marched his empire over a cliff. Jobs didn't have the time. Oh well, people can still hope someone else does it.

If you had any clue you would know Hitler was as dumb as a rock. Britain actually stopped him from being assassinated because he was doing such a poor job at managing his military.

sam232 said,

If you had any clue you would know Hitler was as dumb as a rock. Britain actually stopped him from being assassinated because he was doing such a poor job at managing his military.

Hitler wasn't dumb, he was f*ing nuts - believed in his own demigod theories. Military had been plotting to get rid of him way before all the hell broke loose.
He was a master orator, though. He knew how to manipulate the crowd. And so in that way I compare them.

And I'd argue that Third Reich would not win the war even if lead by a competent strategist (like Rommel, being considered Hitler's replacement).

I'f only they invested that money in coming up with new designs. Or Researching new technology. Now all that money is wasted.

Renvy said,
I'f only they invested that money in coming up with new designs. Or Researching new technology. Now all that money is wasted.

Exactly! And if Apple dropped this silly behaviour, other than genuinely reasonable infringements, I might even warm to them.

I think its good to get all the suing out of the way. Maybe in a couple years things will settle down as everybody has sued everybody and changes and agreements were made. Then they can join together like friends and jointly sue start ups! <3

Mercuie said,
I think its good to get all the suing out of the way. Maybe in a couple years things will settle down as everybody has sued everybody and changes and agreements were made. Then they can join together like friends and jointly sue start ups! <3

It won't

It will go the same route as the last throws of patent wars did between Apple and Microsoft.

They will waaaa away and throw their toys out of the pram suing and counter suing until they realise that it's an unwinnable battle as they all borrow from each other and get back to making products.

Their all like kids in a playgroup.

FloatingFatMan said,
Hypocrasy was Job's middle name.

That is particularly interesting because hypocrisy was Jobs' middle name.

Hardcore Til I Die said,
One of Steve Jobs' favourite catchphrases was "good artists copy; great artists steal" so that is very hypocritical.

The actual quote was, "Good Apple employed artists copy; great Apple employed artists steal. Anyone who copies or steals from us is scum that needs to be destroyed."

Not really, but it makes more sense this way, from Apple's perspective.

To me this is a lost war... Android is already unstoppable... They might delay it but never stop it... The same way as Android will never stop Apple with their iPhone...

The BIG difference, companies are wasting their money generating new and better android products instead of wasting it in stupid battles...

I'm not an Apple product user, I use to have an iPhone long time ago... I like Android better but I'm not a fanboy, every time I see Apple suing another company, I can't stop thinking "Ok they have afraid and they are trying to stop them before is to late"...

Problem is, it's already to late.

:No-Frost: said,
To me this is a lost war... Android is already unstoppable... They might delay it but never stop it... The same way as Android will never stop Apple with their iPhone...

The BIG difference, companies are spending their money generating new and better Android products instead of wasting it in stupid battles...

I'm not an Apple product user, I use to have an iPhone long time ago... I like Android better but I'm not a fanboy, every time I see Apple suing another company, I can't stop thinking "Ok they are afraid and they are trying to stop them before is to late"...

Problem is, it's already to late.

I 100% agree with you. Apple stopped innovating after the iPad came out and started litigating.

UndergroundWire said,

I 100% agree with you. Apple stopped innovating after the iPad came out and started litigating.

They stopped innovating before the iPad came out.

Anyone can take their product and make it four times bigger.

Just gonna point out two things here.

1. Android is just as unstoppable now as Blackberry was a few years ago, we all know how that ended. Never say something is unstoppable and will never go away.

2. I am sure Apple is "wasting" just as much money if not more per device on said devices development. Though I am also sure in both cases these amounts are pretty small since what Apple and everyone else right now is doing (as far as we know) are minor updates to earlier devices. (They all might be working and spending lots of money on the next big thing but that's not something we know)

Leonick said,
Just gonna point out two things here.

1. Android is just as unstoppable now as Blackberry was a few years ago, we all know how that ended. Never say something is unstoppable and will never go away.

2. I am sure Apple is "wasting" just as much money if not more per device on said devices development. Though I am also sure in both cases these amounts are pretty small since what Apple and everyone else right now is doing (as far as we know) are minor updates to earlier devices. (They all might be working and spending lots of money on the next big thing but that's not something we know)

1. Blackberry stopped innovating a long time ago. They are simply their riding of their "corporate" reputation. When the started failing, they were forced to make changes which we shall see by Q$ 2012. Google has not stopped innovating. There isn't much you can say that Apple or for that matter Windows Phone has that Google doesn't have. But you can say that about Blackberry. Blackberry lacks a lot of things.

Also Blackberry is one company. They are the only ones that put their OS on their hardware. You would be correct in comparing Apple to Blackberry. However, Android OS is designed by Google and implemented by numerous manufactures who compete with each other using the same OS. They are constantly upping each other to stand out from the crowd.

Do Android users want Siri? Sure they do, but they won't make it the only factor to buy an iPhone. Do iPhone users want turn-by-turn directions, a way to customize their homescreens, add widgets, different form factors, bigger screens, better resolution, etc...? Some do and for some they have made the switch to Android.

When Google stops innovating with Android, then I can see your point and comparison with Blackberry. But for now it is irrelevant.

2) Apple has a different approach. They have all the fanboys duped with the logo on the back of their device. They'll keep the same design for two years and change it later adding little features here and there. However, they spend a lot more investing in "future" technology. That way in a few years it becomes cheap enough to mass produce it to the public. http://www.alltechnologynews.c...gy-for-future-products.html

Apple though needs to withdraw its stragety of suing everyone because it kinda looks like it. This is a sign of desperation from that company. When they really started doing it last year and then they released the iPhone 4S, it was clear why they did that. They clearly had nothing better to offer other than a bump on the specs (just to make it catchup with Android) and through in Siri all on a device that looks exactly the same from the prior generation.

One more example of how desperate they are, they are now suing Samsung over the lock screen implemented on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Clearly this is not a Samsung software implemented device. This is a pure Android OS designed by Google. On top of that, the lockscreens look nothing alike. Apple is clearly scared. http://theultralinx.com/2012/0...y-nexus-unlock-gesture.html

As much as I'd like to see Apple go away, they're good for the industry from a design stand point. We probably wouldn't have phones that look as nice as the Galaxy S II or the Galaxy Nexus without Apple being around to push their form over function methodology. The only difference is other manufacturers have found out how to get the function "and" the form for less money.

IceBreakerG said,
As much as I'd like to see Apple go away, they're good for the industry from a design stand point. We probably wouldn't have phones that look as nice as the Galaxy S II or the Galaxy Nexus without Apple being around to push their form over function methodology. The only difference is other manufacturers have found out how to get the function "and" the form for less money.

Ugh thats completely wrong on so many levels, go and read about the evolution of the slate style phone and how the LG Prada was a revolution in the mobile phone market because it was the first phone that aesthetics were the main selling point.

sam232 said,

Ugh thats completely wrong on so many levels, go and read about the evolution of the slate style phone and how the LG Prada was a revolution in the mobile phone market because it was the first phone that aesthetics were the main selling point.

I remember that phone, and I'm not discounting it, however, the vast majority of phones coming out at the time were not aesthetically pleasing either. And if you want to use LG as an example, their last few phones, objectively speaking, have not been very nice looking either.

The bigger thing is that Apple has the marketing dollars to make form "cool" and and make some people forget that this "uglier" phones does 10x more things, but doesn't have the "cool factor" the shiny new iPhone does.

IceBreakerG said,

I remember that phone, and I'm not discounting it, however, the vast majority of phones coming out at the time were not aesthetically pleasing either. And if you want to use LG as an example, their last few phones, objectively speaking, have not been very nice looking either.

The bigger thing is that Apple has the marketing dollars to make form "cool" and and make some people forget that this "uglier" phones does 10x more things, but doesn't have the "cool factor" the shiny new iPhone does.

I think what sam232 was trying to say was that Apple were not the first to push in this direction, they were however the most noticeable.

JustinN said,

I think what sam232 was trying to say was that Apple were not the first to push in this direction, they were however the most noticeable.

I understand that, and that's my point. A lot of companies have tried to do this, but Apple is arguably the main reason we have so many devices that look as nice as they do now. Take the MacBook Pro for example. I have a 2010 MacBook Pro that I got for my birthday when it came out in April of that year. A few "months" before that, I would've never considered getting a MacBook anything. Now, you have laptops like the Samsung 7 and 9 series, which, let's be honest, are modeled after the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. Not because that's what people "need" but because of Apple's advertising, make other products that don't "look" the same seem inferior.

Sure their lawyers are sitting here laughing all the way to the bank. That's certainly a nice chunk of change that they're making there.