Seeks billions in damages and an injunction against the flagship Android 4.0 phone
One measure of how quickly events are unfolding in the smartphone patent wars is the number of typos appearing in Florian Mueller's FOSS Patents dispatches. The German-born blogger's coverage of the "thermonuclear war" Steve Jobs promised to unleash against Google's (GOOG) Android operating system are closely read by all sides in the cross-continental disputes, and lately he's hardly had time to breathe, never mind spellcheck.
"There's just too much going on these days," he wrote in the second of two long reports filed Saturday, "and contrary to popular misbelief (which I've seen on Twitter), I do sleep."
As Mueller sees it, the subject of his two latest reports, a pair of federal lawsuits filed by Apple (AAPL) in two California district courts, are signal events that could turn the tide in Cupertino's favor.
In the Northern District: In the first suit, Apple is asking for a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus -- the official "Ice Cream Sandwich" lead device developed by Samsung in close cooperation with Google -- based of four court-tested "high-powered" patents that Mueller dubs the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Google's decision to keep using one of them -- the so-called "data detector" patent -- in the latest version of Android, even after the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that an HTC Android phone had infringed it is, in Mueller's words, "unfair vis-à-vis HTC..., snubs Apple, and shows disregard for intellectual property in general and the ITC in particular. This is a case of willful, extremely reckless infringement."
In the Southern District: Here Apple is trying to shut down Motorola Mobility's (MMI) legal strategy -- endorsed implicitly and "irrevocably" last week by Google, which is about to purchase MMI -- of blocking sales of iPhones in Germany on the grounds that they infringe industry-standard broadband patents that Motorola pledged years ago to license to all comers on so-called FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms. Motorola licensed the patents to chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) and that license would normally extend, by the principle of "patent exhaustion," to a company like Apple that buys Qualcomm chips.
But in an exchange of letters revealed in Apple's suit, Motorola asked Qualcomm "to terminate any and all license and covenant rights with respect to Apple, effective February 10, 2011."
Mueller writes that "even though Qualcomm may benefit from weak patent exhaustion defenses in other situations because it is a major patent holder who could do a lot of 'double-dipping', it appears that it supports Apple, and I don't think that's just because Apple is a customer. I think it's most likely because MMI's discriminatory termination relating to only Apple is, quite probably, unjustifiable and ineffectual."
"If it's true that patent exhaustion is a valid defense in Apple's favor," Mueller concludes, "Google-MMI is playing with fire here." Apple was forced to temporarily remove the iPhone 3G and 4 from its German online store based on Motorola's FRAND complaint, and now sales of the iPhone 4S could be at risk. The company is seeking damages that could run to many billions of dollars.
Both cases are getting extensive coverage in the trade press -- for example at AppleInsider here and here -- but for their detail, deep expertise and passion, we recommend Mueller's reports, typos and all. See here and here.
Between them, the "Big Three" sites responsible for most rumors got only 7 right
If you've ever wondered how much of what you read in the tech blogs is true, Shawn King's Stupid Apple Rumors site has done you -- and the entire profession -- a favor.
Starting on July 24 and for the next two and a half months, the site kept track of every story about Apple's (AAPL) new iPhone MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 11, 2011 4:11 PM ET
New Sandy Bridge iMacs expected shortly
[UPDATE: The store is back up with new iMacs on display starting at $1,199.]
As expected, Apple's (AAPL) online store early Tuesday displayed its Post-it yellow "We'll be back soon" note, the universal sign that a new product is about to be released.
This time the new entry is widely expected to be an updated iMac, the workhorse Apple desktop that hasn't been refreshed since July 27, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 3, 2011 8:33 AM ET
Cooler heads have started to respond to the smartphone data flap, but it may be too late
"If there is anything less appropriate than a technologically ignorant media covering the subtleties of the manufactured LocationGate phony-scandal," writes Roughly Drafted's Daniel Eran Dilger, in a post perhaps too subtle for his usual AppleInsider audience, "it's the investigative policing by US and EU politicians who have suspended their efforts to rectify the economy, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 26, 2011 8:11 AM ET
One analyst, anticipating a 100+ point run-up over the next 3-5 months, believes it does
"The purchase of consumer electronic devices is not always a completely rational decision, and people buy Apple products for many different reasons, including status, aesthetics, functionality, quality and the "cool factor."
So wrote Ticonderoga's Brian White in a note to clients Monday, taking his cue from an AppleInsider report that Apple (AAPL) began shipping white iPhones to MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 25, 2011 11:46 AM ET
Three sources tell Reuters production for the new model will be starting in July or August
Reuters, a wire service that still maintains extensive bureaus in the Far East, cites "three people with direct knowledge of the company's supply chain" who say that Apple's (AAPL) next generation iPhone won't ship until September.
The new phone will be largely the same as the old one, according to Reuters, but will have a faster MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 20, 2011 5:54 AM ET
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AOL plans to layoff several hundred employees starting today in editorial and other media product groups, as well as jobs in India -- areas like network and ad sales should remain unaffected. The move comes as AOL restructures its editorial division after MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Mar 10, 2011 5:00 AM ET
Apple discovers that making it easy to print from an iOS device is harder than it looks
The audience cheered on Sept. 1 when Steve Jobs announced during Apple's (AAPL) fall preview that wireless printing for the iPad would be included in iOS 4.2, the new iPhone/iPad operating system said to be coming Friday, Nov. 12.
It was one the day's biggest applause lines, but it has turned into a huge disappointment.
First, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 10, 2010 11:42 AM ET
The company missed the iPad revolution but says it's not worried. Should it be?
Apple watchers all figured the iPad would do well, but even they were astonished when the company sold 2 million iPads in less than one full month after its release. And that rate will probably only grow: Analyst Maynard Um with UBS estimated that Apple (AAPL) would sell at least 28 million iPads in 2010, according to MOREShelley DuBois, writer-reporter - Oct 19, 2010 2:59 PM ET
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