|Google asks ITC to ban every Mac, iPad, and most iPhones|
|By Thom Holwerda on 2012-09-19 21:40:45|
|"The International Trade Commission voted yesterday to investigate Apple for patent infringement allegations launched by the Google-owned Motorola Mobility. As expected, Motorola is asking for import bans on just about every iOS device, including iPhones, iPods, and iPads. What might be surprising is that Motorola is also asking for a ban on every type of Mac OS X computer, claiming Apple's iMessage technology infringes a Motorola patent." Let's hope all those products get banned. And that all Motorola phones get banned. Let's hope everything gets banned from the US. And yes, I changed Motorola into Google for the headline.|
|By kurkosdr on 2012-09-20 11:16:58|
Sorry but nothing will happen. |
It's the same drama over and over. Apple shows obvious/overly broad softpatents -> Injuction granted! Motorola/Samsung shows obvious/overly broad softpatents? -> No injuction. Motorola shows FRAND patents -> You can't have an injuction for those.
Honestly I don't know what causes this. Has the Apple reality distortion field reached such high levels that everyone thinks only Apple can do innovation and apple never copies? Unholy alliances? Better laywers? Government protectionism of a highly profitable company that can significantly impact GDP of the US?
I don't have time to research it, because honestly I have a life.
|- Score: 4|
|By atsureki on 2012-09-20 11:22:55|
> It was never Google's way of doing things to use software patents for agression. Even for defense, they did not file thousands of patents for every fart from any of their engineers. |
Google hasn't patented anything historically because their valuable innovations are trade secrets. They don't want their crawling, ranking, tracking, and AdSense algorithms to be public domain after 20 years, or to risk competitive implementations in the meantime in foreign markets that don't respect patents. As long as they can prevent leaks, they can keep their core business proprietary indefinitely.
Google's money comes from selling web traffic to advertisers, which they can do more effectively the more they give away for free. A couple gigs of e-mail storage means a lot of data for them to mine and advertise against. It's convenient for them to espouse a pro-freedom stance because it's in their interests for all content to be searchable (readily available in open formats): scanning and digitizing old books, for instance. It also wins them a lot of sympathy from users: they're giving out a lot of content and services gratis (free beer). If copyrights and patents disappeared entirely, Google's business would be healthier than ever.
So don't mistake their free swag for charity or their former anti-IP stance for morality. It's all just the convenient choice of trade secret over legal protection: http://www.paulgraham.com/softwa...
> Apple DOES patent every fart in Cupertino, even those that smell just like long-lingering ones from who-knows-who, a thousand years ago. And then it uses the legal system predatorily to incinerate the competition.
Google was forced by Apple and Microsoft into this battle, and they had to spend many millions of dollars in ammo, buying Motorola and other sources of patents here and there, well after Android was in the market and well after the world was seeded by their own servers and networks, for which they have developed considerably sophisticated software and hardware, from which no known patent battles have emerged.
Again, there aren't any lawsuits because the secrets haven't leaked.
They felt safe making bold moral statements like "don't be evil" because they didn't foresee a time when they'd have to be, i.e. when they'd be making and distributing I.P.
As soon as they actually made and sold something, they'd be just as litigious as everyone else when it gets copied: they're using their control of the OHA to prevent hardware partners from implementing unauthorized versions of supposedly free software, and now that they've bought a company that makes and sells products, they've gone on the offensive with Motorola's old patents.
Their only user-facing (or as OSNews calls it, "obvious") innovation is minimal, text-based Web design and advertising, which I don't think was ever patentable, but I welcome evidence to the contrary. It's worth noting that Apple has gone the complete opposite direction with their vision of advertising: iAd is all about maximizing advertising content without pulling the user away into a new browser window. It's as un-Google-like as it gets.*
Meanwhile, almost everything Apple innovates is user-facing and completely visible (again in OSNews parlance, "obvious"). All of their value is in the user experience, which is much easier to copy than secret algorithms or metallurgical methods, and it's also much easier to copy than it is to create from scratch. Hence Apple's obsession with patent protection.
It's a half-truth at best to say Apple is the aggressor here. Google bought Android because they saw the trend of data flowing through cell phones instead of traditional PCs. So far so good -- they needed to be a part of that emerging market. But when it came time to produce a product, they cheated. They scrambled to copy from more established players. Originally it was going to be Blackberry, because that's what a data-heavy device looked like when Google started making prototypes, but they changed course at the first sight of iPhone.
My point is to stop painting Google as an innocent philanthropist who was minding its own business when big bully Apple came along and stole all its toys. If Google had done something original in Android instead of copying Java and iOS, these lawsuits wouldn't be happening, just as they're not happening to WebOS or WP7 -- and Google is still coming out ahead despite the law's attempts to stop this sort of thing.
* Does iAd still exist? In any case, I mention it because when it was announced, the parallel was drawn in the tech press between Google getting into phones and Apple getting into advertising. Of course that comparison is ludicrous in terms of both scale and method. Apple isn't trying to roll out a Web-wide advertising business, nor did they copy Google's style in doing so.
|- Score: 4|
|RE: So now the other shoe drops...|
|By ephracis on 2012-09-20 12:25:15|
Actually I think a blow to Apple would be bigger in media than a blow to anyone else, right now. |
A ban on "just" the iPhone 5 would be gigantic and a lot of people would take notice.
Of course, even though I wish that it would mean we could finally sit down and fix the laws, I bet it would all be regarded as an attack on Apple and any tweak would be as small as possible just to get everyone back on their yearly iFix.
Oh, and did I mention I'm a hopeless pessimist? ;)
|- Score: 5|
|RE: Iconic design|
|By darknexus on 2012-09-20 13:16:50|
> or that Google did not reset the design on Android after the iPhone launch to make it look just like iOS |
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think you're confusing Android with Samsung's Touchwiz. Samsung did make TouchWiz look like the iPhone. There is no debate possible on that point, even though I think the entire case is one giant farce from both sides. Stock Android doesn't really look or behave much like iOS, apart from using a multitouch interface. The UI is different, the convensions of apps (well, if you can call them that) are quite a bit different as far as how icons look, where they are placed, how you access additional features, etc. Have a look at Google's new YouTube app for example, which seems like Google took their Android convensions and slapped them on an iOS app. It doesn't fit with most iOS apps, but would drop nicely into a stock Android GUI.
Did Google revamp Android for multitouch after the iPhone came out? Undeniably yes, and Google's own documents have shown this. However, it is most certainly different from iOS in look and feel and, you'll also note, that Apple didn't go after Google but went after Samsung who made a custom GUI that was much more iOS-like. I'm not going to get into whether either company should or should not have done certain things, as that topic has been done to death and will continue to be flogged as this legal crap drags on. Have a look at stock Android though, and get a feel for how non-iOS like it actually is.
P.S. I'm an iPhone user myself, though I don't go in for the cult of Apple or the rdf that I see so often around their products.
|- Score: 2|
|By jared_wilkes on 2012-09-20 13:19:49|
> Their only user-facing (or as OSNews calls it, "obvious") innovation is minimal, text-based Web design and advertising, which I don't think was ever patentable, but I welcome evidence to the contrary. |
Google has patented Google Doodles and how they appear on the page.
|- Score: 2|
|Infriguement already fixed!|
|By phoudoin on 2012-09-20 14:09:40|
Apple already fixed the infriguement: iMessage is so broken currently that it's actually promoting alternative stronger (and interoperable) solutions. |
So, no harm, no ban?
Edited 2012-09-20 14:11 UTC
|- Score: 2|
|RE: patent system|
|By kompak on 2012-09-20 14:25:36|
> PS |
I recently opened up a Mac Classic II, which was broken, and noticed a number of chips labeled Samsung (and Apple). How things can change.
Or rather don't change. Samsung manufactures lots of iPhone's components including flash, RAM and processor.
|- Score: 2|
|By flypig on 2012-09-20 15:20:47|
I don't necessarily want to disagree with all of your points or your overall analysis, since I've no doubt Apple and Google have very different approaches and motivations. |
However, I'd disagree with your claim that Google hasn't patented anything. Google has been clear on the importance of IP from the outset and the fact the PageRank algorithm* was patented back in 1998 is arguably what allowed them to build such a dominance in search.
Also, when Google introduced the phrase "Don't be evil" I suspect they weren't thinking about patents. Although I'm sure their intentions when introducing it were honourable, you credit them with too much prescience!
* PageRank is a Google trademark.
|- Score: 3|
|RE: Iconic design|
|By flypig on 2012-09-20 15:41:31|
> It's the people that actually think that Samsung didn't try to copy Apple's products or that Google did not reset the design on Android after the iPhone launch to make it look just like iOS, that I don't understand. |
To be fair, I think for most people the argument is more nuanced than this. Most people accept that iOS has had the benefit of building on others' ideas. Most people accept that Android has had the benefit of building on others' ideas.
The question is therefore one of degrees. The people you're referring to probably simply can't see that Android has taken more from iOS than iOS has taken from others. It certainly looks like a close judgement call to me, and the fact different people have different opinions suggests the balance isn't necessarily clear cut.
These arguments aren't really relevant to either this or the recent Apple/Samsung court cases though. These judgements are based on different criteria.
|- Score: 2|
|By StephenBeDoper on 2012-09-21 00:13:01|
> This is a spiralling escalation. Neither Apple, nor Google, nor ex-Motorola are innocent here. |
Agreed. I'm not an "all commerce is evil" type, but it does seem that there's some threshold that companies inevitably reach once they get big enough or successful enough, where the legal and/or marketing departments assume control. Some would probably say that threshold is called an "IPO" - though I could name more than a few privately-operated companies that behave exactly the same way.
> Apple has a stupidest stance there , though. Claiming that bounceback is the "unique" feature of iOS, while Windows Phone happily has that as well...
Hear, hear. If there were one change to patent law that I'd most like to see, it would be an end to selective/strategic enforcement of IP. Trademark owners can't pull that kind of BS, so why are patent owners allowed to? I'd say make it work just like trademark law, especially the "enforce it or lose it" aspects... especially now that the distinction is being blurred with things like "trade dress" patents.
Not that I have any real expectation that will happen. I think the sad fact of the matter is: the only people/organizations with the power to change patent law are exactly the same people who benefit from the current laws. And as long as that fact holds true, then I have no expectation that we'll see any significant changes (well, except changes for the worse).
|- Score: 2|