Apple Joins Lobbying Group to Influence Patent Legislation

Applelogo.pngMajor US companies from various business sectors have joined together to form a lobbying group that opposes pending patent reform legislation proposed by Congress, reports Reuters. The new Partnership for American Innovation includes Apple, DuPont, Ford, General Electric, IBM, Microsoft and Pfizer.

The change proposed by Congress would target patent assertion entities (PAEs), which purchase patents with the sole intention of licensing them to other companies or suing non-licensees for infringement. Companies, like Apple, want to limit the ability of PAEs to sue for infringement, but they are concerned that the proposed legislation may hurt actual innovations that need patent protection.
"There's a feeling that the negative rhetoric is leading to a very anti-patent environment," said David Kappos, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from 2009 to 2013, who advises the group. He is with the law firm Cravath, Swaine and Moore, LLP.

In particular, the group would oppose efforts to make software or biotechnology unpatentable.
Rather than limit what ideas are patentable, the group supports efforts to penalize patent trolls for filing frivolous lawsuits. Apple, Google and other technology companies recently asked the Supreme Court to make it easier for companies to collect attorney fees when patent holding companies lose infringement lawsuits. This allocation of fees, companies argue, would cut down on the number of frivolous suits.

Apple reportedly is the number one target for patent trolls with an estimated 171 cases filed against the company in the last five years. Apple recently confirmed it has been sued 92 times in the past two years and faces 228 unresolved patent claims still in the court system.

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26 weeks ago

Hope you never think of something new and great that nobody else thought of, then try to make money off of it....

If slide to unlock was so obvious, why were they the first to implement it?


I'm not opposed to patents, I just believe the 'bar' should be set far higher.

As to why slide to unlock was obvious, look at the options:

- One physical button press to unlock? Too easy to accidentally turn the phone on.
- A combination of physical button presses to unlock? Doesn't work well on a device without a physical keypad or many buttons!
- A touch-press/gesture to unlock? Easy to press accidentally, and requires the touch-screen to be constantly on meaning battery drain.
- Unlock via motion using the accelerometer? Doesn't work well, as a device in a pocket could be accidentally triggered via motion.

So the only unlock option left was a combination of physical button to activate the touch-screen plus some kind of on-screen gesture. All that Apple invented is basically a direction of slide! The reason no one did it before is because most previous devices had a physical keyboard so didn't have this problem.
Rating: 3 Votes
26 weeks ago

I wonder how this is going to affect the Rockstar Consortium. I know the Congressional focus is patent assertion entities but isn't that another name for non-practicing entity or NPE's ? AFAIK Rockstar is considered an NPE.


Rockstar is practicing, how do you mean it's an NPE?

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Lol!


Only if you believe they're a patent troll - which would mean you have no idea what a patent troll really is.
Rating: 3 Votes
26 weeks ago
Very much against Apple on this (oooh. I wonder who'll win? :) )

I have no problem with anyone asserting a patent, if it's original work and (crucially) non-obvious / incremental work. I don't care if it's Apple, Google, Samsung, or a tiny firm that bought the patent off the inventor. I see no reason why the law should be biased towards the larger companies.

It's concepts like one-click purchasing (Amazon), hyperlinks (BT tried to patent it, failed), and slide-to-unlock (Apple) that shouldn't be patents, along with scan-to-email (MPHJ Technology).

I don't care who's trying to assert these patents. In a free-market society, being able to apply to a Government agency for a nationwide monopoly on a service/product/feature is something that should be done sparingly, carefully and thoughtfully. Not "Award them all, let the courts sort it out".
Rating: 2 Votes
26 weeks ago
Lol!
Rating: 2 Votes
26 weeks ago

Lol!


I think you have no understanding about this situation or what patent trolls are.
Rating: 2 Votes
26 weeks ago

Very much against Apple on this (oooh. I wonder who'll win? :) )

I have no problem with anyone asserting a patent, if it's original work and (crucially) non-obvious / incremental work. I don't care if it's Apple, Google, Samsung, or a tiny firm that bought the patent off the inventor. I see no reason why the law should be biased towards the larger companies.

It's concepts like one-click purchasing (Amazon), hyperlinks (BT tried to patent it, failed), and slide-to-unlock (Apple) that shouldn't be patents, along with scan-to-email (MPHJ Technology).

I don't care who's trying to assert these patents. In a free-market society, being able to apply to a Government agency for a nationwide monopoly on a service/product/feature is something that should be done sparingly, carefully and thoughtfully. Not "Award them all, let the courts sort it out".


Hope you never think of something new and great that nobody else thought of, then try to make money off of it....

If slide to unlock was so obvious, why were they the first to implement it?
Rating: 2 Votes
26 weeks ago

Hope you never think of something new and great that nobody else thought of, then try to make money off of it....

If slide to unlock was so obvious, why were they the first to implement it?


Were they? http://www.tuaw.com/2013/04/05/german-court-finds-apples-slide-to-unlock-patent-invalid/
Rating: 2 Votes
26 weeks ago

Speaking as someone who invented a patented process more than ten years ago which is still in use in the computer industry today, I can tell you right now, I could pick any patent in the computer business and come up with a similar analysis of why it is obvious in retrospect.

And yet mine, for example, was quite possible to implement for at least ten years before I implemented it, and nobody else did.

The lesson from this? It is a thousand times easier to sit on the sidelines and tell people that they aren't as smart as you are than it is to actually come up with something yourself. And to a certain sort of person, it also seems to be more satisfying.


I'm not talking about your patent (unless you invented swipe to unlock). If you want to discuss your patent, please feel free to provide the details here so we can. And I'm not saying all patents are unworthy/invalid. But many IMO should be.

As a developer, there are two things that worry me in equal measure. The first is, if any of my products/features are good enough they'll be reproduced by others (in far less time than it took me to develop them).

The second is that after months/years of work I'll be hit by a patent suit (by a company whose name & products & patents I've never heard of) because their patent covers similar functionality / process. And they'd claim - wrongly - that I was benefitting from their hard work.

The former scares me because it could cost me a lot of potential business. The latter scares me because it could shut me down with just one letter.

You seem to see just one problem, whereas I see two.
Rating: 1 Votes
26 weeks ago

Time to eliminate patents all together. Do the research, bring the product to market, make your money producing it and move on to new innovation before your enemy, er competition, catches up with you.


That would stifle the creativity of all small inventors and all garage inventors, the kind who quit their job to create something really cool and new, but have some massive corporation copy and bring the product to market first, while the small inventor is still trying to raise a bit of money to start some manufacturing. Instead the wife throws the real inventor out of the house for nearing bankruptcy, and some mega-corp reaps the profits.
Rating: 1 Votes
26 weeks ago

Time to eliminate patents all together. Do the research, bring the product to market, make your money producing it and move on to new innovation before your enemy, er competition, catches up with you. That is the natural order of things and it would faster far greater creativity. All this patenting nonsense is stifling creativity.


The little man invents something. And while he is busy raising the capital to bring it to market, some large corporation gets a sniff of the idea the little man had and beats him to market by copying. Without patents it'd be very hard to prevent IP theft and abuse.

This would stifle invention. And make it solely in the domain if mega corporations who have the manpower and money to race things to market first. And this race by everyone would just lower the quality of products on sale by everyone.
Rating: 1 Votes

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