Tim Cook: Apple Will Aggressively Protect iPhone Intellectual Property

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One item of particular interest from Apple's earnings conference call yesterday was Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook's comments regarding Apple's intellectual property related to the iPhone. Cook's forceful comments made clear that Apple will vigorously defend the intellectual property that has enabled the iPhone to revolutionize the smartphone industry.We approach this business as a software platform business. And so I think we approach it fundamentally different than people that are approaching it only from a hardware point of view. And, so, as I've said before, we're very, very confident with where we are competitively. We are watching the landscape. We like competition, as long as they don't rip off our IP. And if they do, were going to go after anybody that does.When pressed as to whether these comments were directed towards the new Palm Pre, which utilizes swiping and pinching multi-touch gestures very similar to those on the iPhone, Cook declined to specifically name any companies they thought were infringing on Apple's patents.Well, I don't want to talk about any specific company. I'm just making a general statement that we think competition is good. It makes us all better. And we are ready to suit up and go against anyone. However, we will not stand for having our IP ripped off, and we'll use whatever weapons that we have at our disposal. I don't know that I could be more clear than that.Palm's product development efforts are led by executive chairman Jon Rubinstein, a longtime Apple executive. Rubinstein's relationship with Apple dates to 1990, when Steve Jobs recruited Rubinstein to lead hardware engineering at NeXT. He later joined Apple upon their February 1997 acquisition of NeXT and became head of hardware engineering, overseeing development of the original iMac. Rubinstein also played an integral role in the development of the iPod, and became the first head of Apple's iPod division in 2004. Rubinstein resigned from Apple in 2006.

Article Link: Tim Cook: Apple Will Aggressively Protect iPhone Intellectual Property
 

Small White Car

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Aug 29, 2006
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I wonder is Apple is going to stop others from using these ideas or if they're thinking about getting royalties for them.

Remember when Steve Balmer said he'd rather have software on many phones than own a small share of the market with a single phone? Imagine Apple having the best of both: A nice share of the market with the iPhone AND $10 from every other touch-phone out there that's too similar to the iPhone.
 

JohnnyQuest

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May 25, 2006
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While the Pre's exterior doesn't look like the iPhone, I was really shocked to see how similar the interfaces were (with swiping, pinching, etc.) Interested to see what happens :D
 

theheadguy

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Apr 26, 2005
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I don't really see this as big news. It's as if they wouldn't agressively defend their IP rights on any other day with any other product...
 

PlaceofDis

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not surprising. i mean its their IP for a reason. it should be protected. however, this also shouldnt stop them from innovating. or be an excuse to be complacent.
 

numbersyx

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I really get the feeling that the Pre is well overhyped. Have to wait and see I suppose...
 

kjs862

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I can see Apple going to court with this, but unfortunately don't see anything happening.

It's going to be interesting to see how Apple is going to top Palm's Pre.
 

jayducharme

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I don't really see this as big news. It's as if they wouldn't agressively defend their IP rights on any other day with any other product...
I think what makes this a little different is that Apple (known to vigorously defend its IP) has been curiously silent as other companies have brought their "iPhone killers" to market. I too think that the Pre strays a bit far into Apple's territory. The Pre doesn't really innovate or attempt a different interface; it seems like a blatant copy. Add to that the fact it was developed by a former Apple employee, and perhaps Apple does have a case (if it decides to pursue one).
 

Mike Teezie

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Nov 20, 2002
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Steve himself said they patented the bejeezus out of the iPhone tech. Hopefully that includes all the gesture/multi touch stuff, and Apple can see some sweet licensing fees from the other companies down the road.
 

bretm

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Yeah, it's one thing to reverse engineer. To figure out how to make a phone that acts like the iphone. I'm not sure if you can patent the swipe or the pinch. Apple doesn't own those ideas anyway. This all goes back to suing MS over their IP on the os with Win 95. They lost. Mainly, because Apple reverse engineered many of the basic principles from xerox in the first place. The mouse, the click, the pull down menu, etc.

But if someone has taken the code, or or the idea of how the code is organized, or even just close knowledge of how the code was generated, then there's a problem. And that's where apple takes notice. When the closest to the iphone also has one of Apple's previous employees working there.
 

Quillz

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Steve himself said they patented the bejeezus out of the iPhone tech. Hopefully that includes all the gesture/multi touch stuff, and Apple can see some sweet licensing fees from the other companies down the road.
They patented Multi-Touch, not touchscreen interfaces.

And why do you want other companies to have to pay licensing fees? All that means is that consumers will pay a higher price for phones.
 

fanbrain

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Jan 31, 2005
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The Pre interface looks great to me. I hope Apple has something in the pipeline that puts the shine back on my seemingly dull iPhone. I think the UI could be a little better for multi-tasking is what I'm getting at.
 

Adokimus

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Jun 2, 2007
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boo. finger swiping and pinch zooming are intuitive and not exclusive to the iPhone (e.g. microsoft's "surface" had it first). perhaps we shouldn't allow you to use your fingers at all with other phones? legally speaking, some things just aren't able to be patented. yes, the UI may require some protections, but hopefully apple will focus more on innovation than on law suits...
 

DHUK

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Oct 5, 2005
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Since when pinching and swiping become IP? Hasn't Tim Cook seen the part in Matrix Reloaded when the open the gates for the Nebuchadnezzar? :rolleyes:
 

Veri

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Sep 23, 2007
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Since it's elephants all the way down, am I to understand that Microsoft will sue Apple for gestures on its Surface, and that the University of Toronto will sue Microsoft... oh why not, then Xerox will sue Microsoft and Apple? Then various science fiction writers will sue Xerox?

Unless the award for invention goes to the best marketing department, in which case, err, gooo Apple!
 

aaronxsubaru

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Dec 22, 2008
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old news

why is it that the information from the recent conference call keeps gettign reposted as new stories? i already read about the iphone pricing, and net books, as well as already reading that apple will go after people who copy the iPhone?
 

dongmin

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Jan 3, 2002
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boo. finger swiping and pinch zooming are intuitive and not exclusive to the iPhone (e.g. microsoft's "surface" had it first). perhaps we shouldn't allow you to use your fingers at all with other phones? legally speaking, some things just aren't able to be patented. yes, the UI may require some protections, but hopefully apple will focus more on innovation than on law suits...
Not too sure about Microsoft being the first on multi-touch. Apple acquired a company a couple years ago called Fingerworks which has been doing a ton of development on this since 1998. I'm pretty sure Fingerworks-Apple were doing this before MS and even before Jeff Han.

http://www.macrumors.com/2006/02/02/more-apple-tablet-patents-gesture-user-interface/

http://www.macrumors.com/2007/08/02/apple-exploring-multitouch-interface-gestures/

Pinching-zoom gesture patent

Fingerworks

Unless Palm was doing research on this before 2006, I'm pretty sure they're infringing on Apple's patents.
 

!¡ V ¡!

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Since it's elephants all the way down, am I to understand that Microsoft will sue Apple for gestures on its Surface, and that the University of Toronto will sue Microsoft... oh why not, then Xerox will sue Microsoft and Apple? Then various science fiction writers will sue Xerox?

Unless the award for invention goes to the best marketing department, in which case, err, gooo Apple!
And who did Apple rip-off for the original iPod interface from Creative and then settled out of court around Aug 2006.