Apple Wins Another Legal Battle with Google's Motorola Unit Involving Push Notifications

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today issued a decision (PDF) upholding a previous ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) that Apple did not infringe upon a patent held by Google's Motorola unit. The ITC had ruled in Apple's favor last May, but Google/Motorola appealed that decision to the federal courts.

The item in question, Claim 12 of Patent Number 6.272,333, addresses methods for communication between wireless devices and fixed data networks. The specific disagreement between Apple and Motorola centered around whether the deletion of applications capable of receiving of push notifications, thus requiring a status update be sent to the fixed network in order to halt sending of notifications, is covered by the patent. The ITC ruled that such action as implemented by Apple is not covered by the patent, and the appeals court has affirmed that decision today.
Put simply, the change in accessibility of deletion is not the change in accessibility that is communicated to the fixed portion of the network. Rather, what is communicated to the fixed portion of the network is a message indicating that push notifications for the application should be cancelled. This message only indicates that push notifications have been cancelled for the application; it does not inform the fixed portion of the network that the application has been deleted.
The court also ruled that Motorola failed to satisfy a requirement that it demonstrate a technical example of the claimed invention with its Droid 2 handset. According to the court, the Droid 2 and Apple's devices do use the same relevant features with respect to registering and unregistering for push notifications, but in line with the previous rationale those devices do not implement the exact invention described in the patent.

Apple has faced off with a number of Android device manufacturers in patent battles over the last several years, most notably Samsung, but for the most part Google and Apple have avoided directly targeting each other. But Google became directly involved in the disputes when it acquired Motorola Mobility and its patents in 2011, thereby inheriting existing lawsuits between Apple and Motorola.

Article Link: Apple Wins Another Legal Battle with Google's Motorola Unit Involving Push Notifications
 

Nickerbocker

macrumors regular
Apr 4, 2012
244
43
I feel daft reading these things.

Is my understanding of this ruling correct?
Moto patent says "if you delete an app, a message going to the server will say 'this app is deleted' and therefore stop sending notifications"

And the way Apple got around this patent is by doing things in a very slightly different way: "if you delete an app, a message going to the server will say 'push notifications are no longer needed' and therefore stop sending notifications"

Essentially the only difference is the message ("app deleted" vs "no more push please"), the outcome of the transaction is the same.

Is that right? If so, its whack on both angles. The initial patent is whack, and the way Apple got around it is kinda whack too.
 

Autrement

macrumors regular
Mar 7, 2012
107
145
Apple Wins Another Legal Battle with Google's Motorola Unit Involving Push Notifications
WE WON A BATTLE! YEAH! Take that you copy-infringing pieces of . . . .

Wait, what is this case about again?

Oh. That's pretty boring.
 

alexgowers

macrumors 65816
Jun 3, 2012
1,332
884
stupid patent with an even more stupid legal case with a weirder outcome than the original patent.

common sense says that you can't patent an idea merely how you achieve it technically. this patent is not a technical patent merely a obvious function of any device receiving push notification. and push is in the lightest sense of the word too as most is actually fetch.

patent reform is coming and the patent troll will get burned so bad, their investments will finally be as worthless as they actually are.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,539
25,251
common sense says that you can't patent an idea merely how you achieve it technically.
If I may politely disagree by presenting a somewhat ridiculous hypothetical.

If Apple found a way to store liquid nitrogen safely in their laptops to help with cooling. They patent the method how this is done, and how it distributes this to the components.

Then another manufacturer suddenly uses liquid nitrogen to aid with cooling, and a few years down the line everybody does it. "It keeps it cooler than fans ever do", the fanboys would spit. "There was no other way to keep it cooler, it's natural progression."

I'd go as far to say that how you achieve something technically is one of the most important parts of a patent. You can't patent multi-touch, but if you patent how your multitouch works, (giving the outcome of the experience being better than the competition), you have the right to defend this.
 

WildCowboy

Administrator/Editor
Staff member
Jan 20, 2005
17,310
1,251
I feel daft reading these things.

Is my understanding of this ruling correct?
Moto patent says "if you delete an app, a message going to the server will say 'this app is deleted' and therefore stop sending notifications"

And the way Apple got around this patent is by doing things in a very slightly different way: "if you delete an app, a message going to the server will say 'push notifications are no longer needed' and therefore stop sending notifications"

Essentially the only difference is the message ("app deleted" vs "no more push please"), the outcome of the transaction is the same.

Is that right? If so, its whack on both angles. The initial patent is whack, and the way Apple got around it is kinda whack too.
Yes, that's basically correct.

What's also amusing is the second part...that the Droid 2 that Motorola submitted as an example of the patented invention in use (and which behaves the same as Apple's devices...says "no more push please" instead of "I've been deleted") was ruled to not be covered by the patent.
 

theFly

macrumors member
Mar 6, 2003
75
46
A Window Sill in Cupertino
Essentially the only difference is the message ("app deleted" vs "no more push please"), the outcome of the transaction is the same.
In this case, the patent is on the process to solve a technical solution, not the solution itself.

So the patent is non-enforcable since Apple developed a different process for the same solution.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
If I may politely disagree by presenting a somewhat ridiculous hypothetical.

If Apple found a way to store liquid nitrogen safely in their laptops to help with cooling. They patent the method how this is done, and how it distributes this to the components.

Then another manufacturer suddenly uses liquid nitrogen to aid with cooling, and a few years down the line everybody does it. "It keeps it cooler than fans ever do", the fanboys would spit. "There was no other way to keep it cooler, it's natural progression."
Keep in mind that you can't patent something obvious, or something that only has one way to achieve an end result. Like if Apple were to find a way to distribute liquid nitrogen through their system, but in practice it's functionally the same as a standard watercooling setup, just with a few material changes to compensate for a much colder liquid, Apple couldn't patent that.

Or, say, if liquid nitrogen could only be safely transported through iridium piping, which is used as a standard elsewhere, Apple couldn't show up and make a patent like "method to cool computer components via thermodynamic heat transference using liquid nitrogen distributed through iridium piping", they couldn't claim it's valid because it's for computers. It's obvious that if anyone were to cool a computer using liquid nitrogen, they'd have to use iridium.
 

Nevaborn

macrumors 65816
Aug 30, 2013
1,078
312
People bash Apple a lot for protecting its copyrights and yet this is one of the worst I have heard of.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,539
25,251
Keep in mind that you can't patent something obvious, or something that only has one way to achieve an end result. Like if Apple were to find a way to distribute liquid nitrogen through their system, but in practice it's functionally the same as a standard watercooling setup, just with a few material changes to compensate for a much colder liquid, Apple couldn't patent that.

Or, say, if liquid nitrogen could only be safely transported through iridium piping, which is used as a standard elsewhere, Apple couldn't show up and make a patent like "method to cool computer components via thermodynamic heat transference using liquid nitrogen distributed through iridium piping", they couldn't claim it's valid because it's for computers. It's obvious that if anyone were to cool a computer using liquid nitrogen, they'd have to use iridium.
If I'm interpreting your post correctly (I hope I am):

Apple create a cooling system which uses liquid nitrogen and iridium piping (I'm taking your word for this, as the limit of my knowledge with liquid nitrogen is Heston Blumenthal's cooking ;)). Iridium piping has been used elsewhere, before Apple.

Apple use similar techniques to water cooling in order to cool the components. It's the same setup as water cooling, which has been done elsewhere and has been done before.

Yet Apple spend millions developing and perfecting this, to make absolutely sure it works before releasing it to the public. But because each thing has been done before, Apple shouldn't have a patent on it -- and the competitors are welcome to strip it down and copy Apple's efforts without getting punished.

Yes, it's all been done before. The question is: why hasn't it been done before? Most of Apple's patents are so simple and obvious that people think: why didn't people do it before? Simple fact is that it's so easy and usable, now people think there isn't another way to do things.

It takes more to innovate simplicity, in my opinion. I'm not saying people should patent left right and centre. I'm just saying that simplicity takes a lot of work, and you should be allowed to patent a 'Eureka!' moment.
 

2457282

Suspended
Dec 6, 2012
3,327
3,014
After reading the 11 page ruling, what stuck out is that Google maintains a registry of all apps on your phone. So it know not only what you have downloaded but what is still running. I am sure they sell that to vendors who profile you based on apps for targeted messages.

Apple's victory is basically saying just becasue they send a message to stop sending notifications, they are not saying if the app was actually deleted or not. Pretty trivial on the surfice, but as I think about it, when I go to the app store it tell me what i have purchased and of those it know what I have installed and what I can down load again. So I guess ultimately Apple too has a registry.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
If I'm interpreting your post correctly (I hope I am):

Apple create a cooling system which uses liquid nitrogen and iridium piping (I'm taking your word for this, as the limit of my knowledge with liquid nitrogen is Heston Blumenthal's cooking ;)). Iridium piping has been used elsewhere, before Apple.

Apple use similar techniques to water cooling in order to cool the components. It's the same setup as water cooling, which has been done elsewhere and has been done before.

Yet Apple spend millions developing and perfecting this, to make absolutely sure it works before releasing it to the public. But because each thing has been done before, Apple shouldn't have a patent on it -- and the competitors are welcome to strip it down and copy Apple's efforts without getting punished.

Yes, it's all been done before. The question is: why hasn't it been done before? Most of Apple's patents are so simple and obvious that people think: why didn't people do it before? Simple fact is that it's so easy and usable, now people think there isn't another way to do things.

It takes more to innovate simplicity, in my opinion. I'm not saying people should patent left right and centre. I'm just saying that simplicity takes a lot of work, and you should be allowed to patent a 'Eureka!' moment.
Admittedly, I don't know much about liquid nitrogen either, other than it's cold, and iridium piping sounded kinda neat, so...

To simplify the argument, patents are (or should be) about methods and processes. The what, not the where. Even if no one had done a liquid nitrogen system in a computer before Apple did, if they didn't invent any new method to push that liquid through that small space, then they claim any right to. Spending a lot on R&D to make sure something works well isn't the same as inventing something entirely new. But if they create a clever new way to push liquid nitrogen through a computer, or they improve upon a previous patent that does the same thing, then they can claim ownership of their specific implementation.

To give you a real world example, we'll take the Macbook Air. Only a couple of companies were making really thin computers before the Air came out. They were expensive, and only gave you so so performance. But then Apple spent a ton of money researching the best way to get full sized laptop performance out of a very thin machine, and the end result was arguably the first successful ultrabook.

But because Apple didn't use any exclusive methods or new inventions to create the Air, no specifically designed motherboards using entirely new technologies, no new ways to efficiently cool a machine that small, no new manufacturing processes, nor any specific hardware parts, they can't claim ownership of laptops that size.

...but if they did, they'd have rights to the specific parts and layouts that make up their design of a small laptop, but still wouldn't have the rights to the concept of a thin laptop as a whole.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
After reading the 11 page ruling, what stuck out is that Google maintains a registry of all apps on your phone. So it know not only what you have downloaded but what is still running. I am sure they sell that to vendors who profile you based on apps for targeted messages.
Of course, they don't directly sell that valuable info. Instead, they sell anonymous ad spaces to companies interested in people who have those kinds of apps.

(snip)... but as I think about it, when I go to the app store it tell me what i have purchased and of those it know what I have installed and what I can down load again. So I guess ultimately Apple too has a registry.
Yep. Moreover, Apple does the same thing with that info as Google:

Apple sells ad space based on the apps we own... along with almost everything else Apple knows about us from our iTunes accounts (location, income level, sex, app and media preferences, etc).

iads_blurb.png
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,539
25,251
Admittedly, I don't know much about liquid nitrogen either, other than it's cold, and iridium piping sounded kinda neat, so...

To simplify the argument, patents are (or should be) about methods and processes. The what, not the where. Even if no one had done a liquid nitrogen system in a computer before Apple did, if they didn't invent any new method to push that liquid through that small space, then they claim any right to. Spending a lot on R&D to make sure something works well isn't the same as inventing something entirely new. But if they create a clever new way to push liquid nitrogen through a computer, or they improve upon a previous patent that does the same thing, then they can claim ownership of their specific implementation.

To give you a real world example, we'll take the Macbook Air. Only a couple of companies were making really thin computers before the Air came out. They were expensive, and only gave you so so performance. But then Apple spent a ton of money researching the best way to get full sized laptop performance out of a very thin machine, and the end result was arguably the first successful ultrabook.

But because Apple didn't use any exclusive methods or new inventions to create the Air, no specifically designed motherboards using entirely new technologies, no new ways to efficiently cool a machine that small, no new manufacturing processes, nor any specific hardware parts, they can't claim ownership of laptops that size.

...but if they did, they'd have rights to the specific parts and layouts that make up their design of a small laptop, but still wouldn't have the rights to the concept of a thin laptop as a whole.
I think we both agree and disagree.

A thin laptop is not patentable. I'm sure we know that's ridiculous! However, the method in getting the thinness surely is. The MacBook Air displaces most of its heat through the aluminium casing, rather than just sticking to fans. This allows it to be thinner.

The UltraBook market has really taken off, and a lot of their design is just ripped from the MacBook Air. They take them apart, and think 'how can we do this not as well, but cheaper?'

Apple made the plunge with the MBA. Everybody laughed. Apple stuck to their guns, took the flack, and spent the money. They made it thinner, more powerful, more affordable, with better battery life. Then the rest rip it off.

I'd argue Apple don't do enough suing. Rarely, if ever, have I seen a technology market kick off without Apple having put it into gear.
 

Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
5,948
2,437
California, United States
But because Apple didn't use any exclusive methods or new inventions to create the Air, no specifically designed motherboards using entirely new technologies, no new ways to efficiently cool a machine that small, no new manufacturing processes, nor any specific hardware parts, they can't claim ownership of laptops that size.
I thought the idea of the machined unibody enclosure was an entirely new and clever way of being able to design such a compact machine. Although I couldn't find a patent on it.

Actually, I was searching just now and I was never aware of this, but Apple apparently patented the Macbook Air "wedge" shaped design last year. It's all about rounded rectangles and wedges for Apple :D
 

Renzatic

Suspended
I think we both agree and disagree.
That's the wonderful thing about patents, you can split hairs down to the freaking atoms to attempt justifying one, then do the same to try and invalidate it. It's the reason why patent lawyers are making a mint these days. Case in point...

A thin laptop is not patentable. I'm sure we know that's ridiculous! However, the method in getting the thinness surely is. The MacBook Air displaces most of its heat through the aluminium casing, rather than just sticking to fans. This allows it to be thinner.
That depends on how they do it, not what it does. All laptop cases are designed to distribute heat, and aluminum is a natural heatsink. The implementation Apple might be clever, but method itself is oldschool. They'd have to go really far out to claim ownership of that.

The UltraBook market has really taken off, and a lot of their design is just ripped from the MacBook Air. They take them apart, and think 'how can we do this not as well, but cheaper?'

Apple made the plunge with the MBA. Everybody laughed. Apple stuck to their guns, took the flack, and spent the money. They made it thinner, more powerful, more affordable, with better battery life. Then the rest rip it off.
WHOA EDITORIAL! I could point you to at least 3 ultrabooks that I'd argue are better than the MBA.

Though taking something apart and finding a way to make it cheaper and easier to produce could also be considered innovation. It's an improvement upon a previous idea, and could be patentable itself if it goes far enough from the method it's based off of.

I'd argue Apple don't do enough suing. Rarely, if ever, have I seen a technology market kick off without Apple having put it into gear.
I've always said that Apple doesn't invent much themselves, but that their skills lie in taking other peoples ideas, streamlining them, and making them easy to use and stylish. They're the industries design and ergonomics company.

They also have a knack of being able to introduce technologies the moment they become affordable, and when they become most useful. With the Air, there had already been thinner laptops out before it. One of them even had a wedge shaped body. But they were expensive, and hard to find. Apple took that idea, waited until the technology allowed them to make a powerful, easy to use computer at that size, then released a really stylish one at a relatively low price.

In other words, Apple doesn't invent whole new categories, but they do kick them off by releasing the right product at the right time.

This puts into a position where I think Apple deserves tons of praise and accolades, but not too many patents. There are a few things they've done that are worthy of patents. Like the magsafe adapters, and their trackpads. Those are just about exclusively Apple. And guess what? Those are two things you won't find anywhere else in the PC world. Everything else they do can be covered by copyright or trade dress.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
I thought the idea of the machined unibody enclosure was an entirely new and clever way of being able to design such a compact machine. Although I couldn't find a patent on it.
It's clever, but not entirely new. It's one of the things that makes an Apple an Apple, but it also one of those things that falls under the "...but on a computer" catch. Plenty of things have used unibody design to house something or other. Stuffing a motherboard in it doesn't make it unique.

...unless they have a very specific way to mill those unibody chassis.

Actually, I was searching just now and I was never aware of this, but Apple apparently patented the Macbook Air "wedge" shaped design last year. It's all about rounded rectangles and wedges for Apple :D
...which is weird, because that super thin Vaio used a wedge shape. Maybe it has to be a very specific wedge measuring to the exact dimensions of the one used in the Air. But hell, that should be trade dress, not a patent.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
Are there any specific functional reasons why that shape should be covered by a patent, though?
Sorry, I wasn't clear.

It's a design patent. As you know, those cannot cover anything functional. Only ornamental items.

(E.g. if the dome shape was necessary to provide structural support, then it could not be protected by a design patent.)

So you're right that it's related to trade dress.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
Sorry, I wasn't clear.

It's a design patent. As you know, those cannot cover anything functional. Only ornamental items.

(E.g. if the dome shape was necessary to provide structural support, then it could not be protected by a design patent.)

So you're right that it's related to trade dress.
Yeah, the little caption underneath the diagram stating it was an "Apple Design Patent" should've clued me in on that. :p
 

Tanegashima

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2009
473
0
Portugal
Keep in mind that you can't patent something obvious, or something that only has one way to achieve an end result. Like if Apple were to find a way to distribute liquid nitrogen through their system, but in practice it's functionally the same as a standard watercooling setup, just with a few material changes to compensate for a much colder liquid, Apple couldn't patent that.

Or, say, if liquid nitrogen could only be safely transported through iridium piping, which is used as a standard elsewhere, Apple couldn't show up and make a patent like "method to cool computer components via thermodynamic heat transference using liquid nitrogen distributed through iridium piping", they couldn't claim it's valid because it's for computers. It's obvious that if anyone were to cool a computer using liquid nitrogen, they'd have to use iridium.
You can try to patent it anyways, but in court, it will be extra hard to prove your worth.
 

Urban Joe

Suspended
Mar 19, 2012
506
534
Sure, a lot of patents are ridiculous.

This is a wonderful result of moral relativism.

Sometimes I wonder if & how many people in the USPTO are actually taking bribes to rubber stamp certain applications from certain people/organizations? I wish I knew...but then ignorance is bliss.
 
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