Apple sued over videophone patents | iLounge News

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Apple sued over videophone patents

Apple, along with AT&T and US Cellular, has been hit with a patent infringement lawsuit by Visual Interactive Phone Concepts (VIPC). In its case against Apple, VIPC is asserting two patents, both of which are entitled “videophone interactive mailbox facility system and method of processing information,” according to a FOSS Patents report. The complaint states that Apple infringes on the patents due to its sales of “mobile communication devices that are videophones,” and also names the App Store—“an application service for users to view, download and use applications on their videophones”—the iTunes Store, and the iBookstore as infringing entities, because they include “a central data center that facilitates the order and delivery of [apps, entertainment content, books, PDF documents, etc.].” Apple is accused of “intentional and willful infringement,” which, as the report notes, would result in treble damages should the court agree.

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Comments

1

When the heck are we going to realize that the concept of patenting just an *idea* was about the dumbest thing we’ve ever done in our attempts to be more civilized than chimps?

Every single thing we do on our i-Devices, Android devices, PCs, Macs, Palms, etc., was cooked up in the heads of speculative authors many decades before there was tech to make it possible meaning that anyone who claims they deserve to hold a patent on any of this stuff is a lying sack of feces.

They should just void all these non-specific patents. Your *specific* code, circuitry, etc., is yours, but everyone else should be unrestricted in copying “your” idea now and for always. If they can make a better mousetrap than you did, you deserve to fail. You shouldn’t be able to hide behind the fact you raced off to the patent office with a description of an idea so simultaneously obvious and non-specific that it’s like being granted a patent for an organic system that generates heat through the enzymatic breakdown of organic matter (and thereby gaining the legal authority to collect royalties from all 6 billion+ humans for violating your patent).

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on May 26, 2011 at 10:45 PM (CDT)

2

Wow, talk about vaguely described patents. I think this will hold about as much water as a bucket with holes in it.

Posted by Tundra Dude on May 27, 2011 at 3:16 AM (CDT)

3

...that it’s like being granted a patent for an organic system that generates heat through the enzymatic breakdown of organic matter (and thereby gaining the legal authority to collect royalties from all 6 billion+ humans for violating your patent).

Actually, I believe in that case the patent infringement claim would have to be levied against God, since the rest of us are just the end users of the technology :)

(standard disclaimer: the above comment is intended merely as an attempt at satirical humour and not intended to spark any kind of religious debate.  Please replace the word “God” with your preferred deity of choice, or simply “the randomness of the universe” should you be of a non-theistic persuasion).

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on May 27, 2011 at 9:27 AM (CDT)

4

At least the patents need to have an “act on by” date. If I patent an idea, but I don’t act on it within xx years, then I lose all rights to it. If I act on it but can’t produce but CAN show movement towards production, then I can apply for an extension.

But this idea that I can sit in a room and dream up some pie in the sky idea that I have no hope of developing into something marketable, but can still file a patent simply for the purpose of suing down the road is absurd.

This allows for the entrepreneur to protect their intellectual property and try to either produce or shop it out to someone else who can produce, but doesn’t allow for squatters.

Posted by Teechur on May 27, 2011 at 1:46 PM (CDT)

5

It’s actually worse than squatters.  I could almost accept the fact that somebody who has a seemingly-original idea could claim rights to that idea themselves...  What is absolutely ridiculous is the idea that they can in turn sell those rights to an organization that has no intention of actually doing anything constructive with them.

This has given rise to firms that exist solely for the purpose of profiting from buying up patents and then suing for huge returns.  The RIM-NTP settlement is perhaps the most well-known example of this…  NTP was made up of a bunch of lawyers who bought the patent from the original owner for an undisclosed sum of money.  Whatever that sum was, I’m guessing it was a very tiny fraction of the $600 million they ultimately made from it.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on May 27, 2011 at 1:52 PM (CDT)

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