November 22, 2014

Poll Shows AG Community Is Unified On Apple vs. HTC

For those of you who are unaware, every week Android Guys holds a poll accessible from the Android Guys App. For this week’s poll we picked the most controversial issue currently running through the Android communities; who do you feel is in the wrong regarding Apple’s latest lawsuit against HTC? While most of us are active Android promoters I assumed that we would get some people who see this from a legal point-of-view. Nope, apparently we are all unified in saying that Apple is in the wrong and that their patents stifle progress in the mobile industry. Not one person said “HTC is Wrong“!

My favourite part about sifting through the approximate 100 responses was the people that answered “Other”, just so they could have their own personal say. Here are just 2 of the responses I got, “f@$% Apple” and “Apple and Jobs are all b*****”.  Obviously, this a strong issue for most and not something the Android community is taking lightly.

Download the Android Guys App and stay tuned for next week’s poll!

  • James

    Can we do a similar poll on Nokia vs Apple? How about TiVo vs Echostar. Let's see how consistent the AG community is :)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/MatthewPatience MatthewPatience

      I guess that would be interesting! Although such an old topic may not be so popular. Do you have any other ideas that you think might work?

  • Richard

    You have to remember that this is all about dominance.Microcosoft want to maintain their dominance of the software market, and Apple want to maintain their control of the high end mobile market. So they are wielding their corporate muscle, and basically saying "I'm bigger than you and you will pay me".
    In other words a corporate protection racket.

    • patent stifler

      Yeah, who needs patents they just get in the way of progress…! I suspect if you had a patent and is was being ripped off you would just say, ok I don't want to stand in the way of mobil progress.
      You Android guys are all heart. Certainly HTC has a site freely sharing all their innovations.

      • hazydave

        The actual reason for patents is precisely that of progress. Basically, it was considered in the public good that, in return for revealing the details of your invention (every patent, once granted, is supposed to include a complete description of the invention, detailed enough that a person skilled in that art could reproduce it) you get a temporary monopoly on that invention (today, that's it lasts 20 years from the date of application). That's the only reason for granting patents.

        Part of the problem with software patents in the modern age is that any device may contain 1000s of software ideas, and while some in an Android device may be very similar to some in an iPhone device, one isn't necessarily building on the other's patents.

        For example, let's look at touchscreen interfaces. I don't know if Apple's claims relate to these or not, but let's just take a look. Research on multi-touch interfaces began at several universities back in the 1980s, independently of one another. The pinch-zoom maneuver was discussed at least as far back as 1991. But these remained kind of a curiosity. Touch interfaces made their way into PDAs, but they were all very simple, using a stylus to replicate the single pointer of a mouse.

        In 2002, there was this film called "Minority Report" that showed for the first time, to a popular audience, just how cool a touch-screen interface might actually be in real life. This wasn't real at the time, it was a concept cooked up by Dale Herigstad and Steven Spielberg.

        But curiously, when Google bought Android in 2006, it was using finger-based touch as well as input via other devices. When Apple brought out the iPhone in 2007, it was all-touch. That same year, Microsoft was demonstrating the all-touch "Surface" interface, which actually took the concept a step further by interacting with other intelligent devices in the mix. None of these guy saw the others' interfaces while in development — no one's using the other guy's technology. And yet, the first to patent some element of this gets to claim the other guy is "using my technology".

  • http://twitter.com/bhavdotshah @bhavdotshah

    Sorry but this is a really dumb poll. As much as I support Android/HTC in this issue, the poll you've done is really misleading/pointless!

    1. Two of the options are anti-Apple to begin with!
    2. Why is "I don't care" an option?? Surely if someone doesn't actually care then they just wouldn't enter the poll. The reason some people chose that option is probably because of the lop-sided poll!
    3. HTC is Wrong? Wrong about what? Have they made a statement about the lawsuit? Nope. Thank god no one chose this option, as it would have made the poll even more ridiculous.

    The poll effectively entices you into opting for a anti-Apple stance as well as inviting people to enter who already have an anti-Apple stance.

    POINTLESS! :)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/MatthewPatience MatthewPatience

      I apologize if you may have misunderstood the poll, I just want to clear it up so that you don't take any offense from it.

      Apple's Patents Stifle Progress – This implies that the user does not feel Apple was wrong to sue HTC but rather feel that patents such as the ones being breached stifle progress of technology.

      Apple is wrong – The user feels Apple had no right to sue HTC and that HTC is not stealing.

      HTC is wrong – the user feel HTC was wrong to steal the property of Apple in the first place and legally Apple has the right to sue them.

      I don't really care – The user either doesn't wish to concern themselves with politics or don't think such a big deal should be made over the issue.

      Other – Users may have a different point of view than the ones previously stated.

      Hope that clears things up for everyone!

  • Miguel

    Either no one voted vote "HTC is Wrong" so it doesn't show up in the pie chart, or this is the stupidest poll ever created on this site. I hope it's the former.

  • hazydave

    A couple of things. Apple's going after HTC probably thinking they're an easier and dis-entangled target. For one, Apple's one of the youngest companies doing cellular, so they have very few original cell phone patents. This implies they have cross licenses with at least some of the established companies, or they would have been sued already. So there may well be some Android companies they can't go after. HTC is older than Apple's presence in the cellular market, but young compared to Motorola, Nokia, Ericsson, etc.

    Second, why not just go after Google? Well, for one, software patents exist primarily through a loophole in the patent law. For years, the PTO was rejecting software patents. This is on several grounds: software alone does nothing, software alone isn't "useful", and in a sense, any program is an "idea"… ideas and abstract concepts can't be patented. But in Diamond v. Diehr, 1981, the Supreme Court rules that the presence of software in a hardware system was not grounds alone for rejecting patentability. That pretty much released the floodgates on software patents, despite the fact that the PTO wouldn't have people "educated in the art" of software engineering even a decade later.

    So basically, the software doesn't infringe, but a hardware device using that software might infringe. Thus, they go after HTC.

    There are unfortunately many patents, particularly software-based, that are obviously bogus, based on very well known prior art, in some cases, and fairly easily found prior art in others. Unfortunately, between their flood of patents to examine and their general philosophy that all inventions get patented, the PTO is horrible at digging up prior art that's anywhere but already in the patent database.

    This has unfortunately changed the nature of what most patents really are. People think a patent covers some fairly novel invention, and some still do. But most of them, these days, are from large companies with legal teams that know how to work the system. For any new work the company does (because you can't file the patent after the product ships), they comb over the product and file patents on anything they think they can get through the system, prior art or no prior art.

    I have not looked in detail at the Apple patents, but I would be surprised if many were of high quality, simply because Apple's large enough to have this kind of cheesy legal department. The problem is, of course, that once a patent is issued, it's assumed to be good, so you have to fight it in court to have it rejected. And any big company that starts this kind of action probably had more waiting in the wings. I worked with lawyers years back as a technical consultant on a case IBM was bring against Commodore. They threw a few dozen patents our way… most we either didn't infinge on, or I could document prior art going back 5-10 years prior. But their top licensing tier basically covered 3-or-more patents, if you fought that first stack off, they'd be after you with another, and another after that… cheaper to settle. Especially since they were after cross-licensing, primarily.

    Of course, this is usually done very quietly, one company at a time. It's increasingly true that, when these things get very public, the PTO is often forced by the public to take a second look at some of the patents. That suggests Apple may have thrown some of their better ones at HTC… we'll see.

    You also have to look at the specific details. A patent can't cover an idea. So to take on that other case, TiVo vs. Dish Network, the fact that TiVo has a patent on recording one channel while playing back another has to be a very specific implementation of that as a real process. They can't simply lay claim to the idea of it, though usually, that's just what companies try to do, once granted such a patent.

    And this is still aside from the issue of whether software patents really should exist at all. There are plenty of good arguments against them. There's no US law that explicitly allows them, and in fact, there's a recent court decision that's finally limiting them a bit (the worst kind of software patent has been the "business method" patent — essentially, take anything you did before, append "on the internet" to it, and you can probably get a business method patent on it… unless your competition got there first).

  • http://www.cyberlawfacts.com Cyber Law Facts

    Apple does tend to have a strong threshold on patents and continuously tries to uphold and stifle other companies from coming out with new technology.

  • http://www.legalclassaction.org/ legal class action

    apple did lose in this case. they are too strict.

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