Now THAT’s Justice–HTC Wins Patent Wars in London!
In these modern times, wars seemingly rage on a different scale and on different media. If you are into technology, gadgets, and all the wonderful things that we do, and unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you are likely aware that Apple has positioned themselves as an unofficial “enemy” of Android and really anything that is not branded “Apple”. The battlefields (legal ones) are scattered throughout the world, and the results of the clashes are somewhat random, meaning that outcomes in different parts of the world can widely vary.
Some of the most recent outcomes include the block on US imports for the new EVO 4G LTE and a victory against Samsung and Google by granting an injunction in the US over the Galaxy Nexus, which was said to infringe 4 of Apple’s patents. There are several other stories in this “carnage,” mostly between Samsung and Apple. The latter has accused Samsung of copying virtually everything they make, all the way down to the shape of a pad. Yes, the shape. As it turns out, Apple seems to have invented the rectangle with rounded corners.
As bleak as the future may seem for all Android manufacturers, particularly due to the US Patent System pulling stunts like this, where justice is not just blind but also seeminly has the IQ of a shoe box, other justice systems in the world seem to work the way they should. Earlier today, we saw an article on BBC News that brought amazing news for the entire Android world, particularly HTC and Google. The same patents that are being granted blindly to Apple in the US are being challenged in other countries, and it seems that the latest verdict coming from the UK high courts has revealed that some of these patents are not exactly innovations or new concepts. In the particular case for slide to unlock, the judge presiding over the case ruled that due to the existence of previous technology with the same concepts—such as the Neonode N1 from 2004 and certain Windows CE powered devices—this concept could not be considered an innovation, rendering Apple’s claim defunct. The remaining 3 patents included:
- Transforming the keyboard and its layout and characters by switching its language
- Touch screen interactions: understanding by the system on what to do depending on the type of touch (how many fingers, which type of motion, etc)
- Dragging an image or object past the limit of the screen, which would make it bounce back to its original place
Each justice system has its peculiarities and things that people may not agree with, but to even remotely believe the fact that the above could be innovations by Apple is nothing short of laughable, and it seems that the UK courts agree. So, here’s a big heart felt “thank you” and “kudos” to the UK justice system for being able to see past the farce and see the obvious monopoly attempt by Apple, which they are disguising as intellectual property. And just to prove that they are shooting to kill rather than to protect “their” IP, it seems that they are going full force against the Galaxy Nexus by posting a US$96MM bond to stop the sales of Google’s flagship device. Google has had to take the GN out of the Play Store in the US, so if you were still thinking that you would go for the GN as your next device, you are (currently) out of luck. However, following HTC’s move of updating their SW to bypass the claims, Google will be updating the Galaxy Nexus’s firmware to remove or change the offending materials.
Now, all things considered, we know from our beloved site that there are more Android manufacturers out there than you can shake a stick at. Here is an idea considering that you are all in the same bag (since Apple is going after Google rather than each manufacturer in particular).
Dear Manufacturers (HTC, Samsung, Sony, Motorola, et al):
One of Apple’s greatest advantage is the fact that they are big—really big. Using the bully approach, they are going against the smaller companies, as they are “easier” to beat. It is obvious that they are going against Google and Android, but due to Google being a much larger company and the fact that Apple still uses some of Google’s services to market their products (e.g. YouTube, which has been on the iPhone since release in 2007), they simply need to avoid direct confrontation. After all, remember that the OS is the biggest recipient of breach accusations rather than the hardware. The manufacturers are not the ones infringing IP, as they didn’t create the OS. If Apple was indeed concerned that their ideas are being copied, they would have to go against Google and not against Android handset manufacturers.
Having said that, why not join forces against Apple? Why not create a “strike force” or a team? There is an old saying: “the enemy of my enemy is my ally”. Make one giant “Android coalition group” composed of the largest manufacturers, and go full force against Apple’s claims. Mind you that I am far from naive. Considering that this would likely raise a monumental amount of bureaucracy, paperwork, and potential legal pitfalls; this idea could simply end up being laughed at. However, at this point in time, you are not having a healthy competitive market either. Think about this for a second, you are no longer able to compete with each other peacefully because you have someone, a third party, draining tons of resources and money—money that could otherwise be spent in R&D as opposed to legal fees. As a result, you have a gavel floating on top of your heads and your fair market at all times.
I think that the time has come to put away your differences and work together as one to bring an end to this ridiculous circus that Apple has createed. This is, believe it or not, affecting the world economy and the tech world due mainly to the fact that you guys cannot devote more time in what you are good at doing, which is making better tech. If enough people complain about the same thing and enough courts rule in a certain manner, I am sure that some decisions could (and should) be re-evaluated. But in order to make this happen, there has to be enough push. Doing it separately will not do the trick. You need to help each other so that the market can grow and your companies can prosper.
Thanks for reading and I sincerely hope that this idea can be taken into consideration.
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