The iPhone Lawsuits
It’s not been the best of news for Apple since they announced the iPhone at the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco earlier this year. So far they’ve been faced with stiff competition from the likes of LG with their Prada touch screen phone, and the most recent Samsung F700 Ultra Smartphone, the latter of which has already been said to have killed off the iPhone.
But as far as lawsuits go, Apple’s legal department must be a busy bunch of bees at the time of writing this article.
The first and most talked about lawsuit was from Cisco. As we all know, Cisco have a VOIP (Voice-Over-IP) communications device that goes by the name of iPhone, something Apple knew about long before the iPhone even entered the rumour mill. The lawsuit is a rather silly one, based on a name only, as no concept or ideas were stolen, just a name. Cisco is claiming that it has owned the iPhone name since early 2000, which they acquired when they took over Infogear, 7 years prior to the release of the Apple iPhone.
Cisco is being fair in this lawsuit though, giving Apple plenty of time to respond and hoping to agree to an out-of-court settlement. So far the deadline for a response from Apple’s legal team has been put back twice, with their newly extended date being February 21st, 2007. Only time will tell what happens between these two companies, but it seems an out-of-court settlement is most likely.
The next lawsuit is one in the making, and Apple awaits news as to whether a lawsuit will result from the accusations presented by LG. According to LG, Apple has stolen the concept and ideas of the Prada phone, which resembles the iPhone in both look and feel. However, the similarities for the phones end there, as the Prada and iPhone have a variety of different features under the hood, such as the Prada’s tri-band GSM support to the iPhone’s quad-band, to name one very vague example.
This lawsuit in the making was originally a rumour but only a few days ago the head of LG Mobile Handset R&D Centre, Woo-Young Kwak, publicly announced the following statement:
“We consider that Apple copied the Prada phone after the design was unveiled when it was presented in the iF Design Award and won the prize in September 2006.”
We take that to mean “Apple stole our idea.”
With all the patents that have been flying around the internet since the summer of 2006, I dare say Apple has enough to cover themselves on this one, but again, only time will tell what happens between the two companies.
Earlier this year, Quantum Research (QR) began a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the fruity-technology giant used the QR patented capacitive touch-sensing technology on the iPod click-wheel. One month later, QR is at it again, this time claiming that the charge transfer technology used on the iPhone’s rear surface touch screen is QR patented. According to licensing director at QR, Duncan Bryan, “The description of the iPhone suggests it uses a rear surface touch screen, and has proximity sensing which can tell if it is held to the ear. That’s a QR capability.”
The news of this possible lawsuit has only just appeared earlier this week, so details are a little sketchy at this point, but given QR’s current lawsuit on the iPod Nano’s click-wheel, I dare say this one will come to light within the next couple of weeks.
I think it’s a shame some of this is happening, but that’s the price you pay when you’re a multi-billion dollar company with lots of money to pay people in order to stop moaning. But could the three parties in question have a case, or is it simple a case of “grow up and get lost?”