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ExtraTorrent.cc > Articles > Businessman Sued Apple for $10bn over Stealing a Smartphone Idea

Businessman Sued Apple for $10bn over Stealing a Smartphone Idea

Businessman Sued Apple for $10bn over Stealing a Smartphone Idea

Added: Saturday, July 2nd, 2016
Category: Recent Headlines Involving File Sharing > Ridiculous Criminal Trials
Tags:ISP, Download, BitTorrent, MPAA, RIAA, copyright-infringement, file-sharing, Torrenting
A $10bn lawsuit was filed against the iPhone maker, where Thomas Ross claimed that Apple’s mobile devices infringe his 1992 invention of an Electronic Reading Device. Ross admits that he knows he is fighting a goliath, but believes he has a strong case.

Thomas Ross claims that he worked on the invention for more than a year, drawing on his experience as a software consultant. His efforts resulted in 3 hand-sketched technical drawings of the Electronic Reading Device and filing a patent in 1992.


The invention was conceived as a reading and writing device, with a back-lit screen, able to store media on the device and on remote servers. Ross, who now works as a manager at a law firm, filed a patent 4 years before the Palm Pilot launched and 15 years before the first iPhone. The Electronic Reading Device was conceived to allow one to read stories, view images and watch video on a flat touchscreen, having communication functions like a phone and a modem, and would come with rounded edges in various sizes.

Aside from the 3 hand-scribbled images of the Electronic Reading Device, the inventor also created a flowchart illustrating how media could be requested and downloaded from a remote server along with a description of the purpose, look and feel of the device. However, that invention has never been taken further than the design stage due to the lack of funds. Back in 1992, the inventor failed to pay the required fees and had his patent application declared abandoned 3 years later by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Instead of using patent law, he now sues Apple with copyright law.

A year ago, Ross’s lawyer sent a cease and desist letter to Apple, requesting them to stop distributing the infringing products. Apple responded that the claims “have no merit” and pointed out that Ross was not able to show any evidence that Apple had accessed the patent applications. However, this response didn’t deter Ross, who filed the lawsuit with the US district court, seeking $10bn in damages and demanding Apple to forfeit the patents derived from his designs.

Industry experts call it just a nuisance case filed by an individual hoping to make some money out of it, who doesn’t even have a US patent and just pulled a $10bn number out of nowhere.

Posted by: 

Date:  Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

Comments (10) (please add your comment »)

posted by (2016-07-02 23:46:51)
No avatarBad luck Thomas Ross

posted by (2016-07-03 07:18:29)
No avatarI wish I understood the difference between copyright law and patent law when dealing with a patent... Or is something copyrighted just because you thought of it first?

posted by (2016-07-03 11:37:24)
CCC avatarSimply, a Copyright is used for protection of written or drawn material. A patent is used for a device or mechanical material.

posted by Trusted UploaderSite FriendET loverSupermanKitty (2016-07-03 14:15:15)
SirSeedsAlot avatarStar Trek beat you by 50 years ya muppet. You can't patent something already in the public domain. Yes, Apple, I jsut told you how to win the case. Please send $10m to me in small unmarked NSA-free bills.

posted by Kitty (2016-07-03 15:13:33)
Crash1 avatar@CCC ... you also forgot that you can patent a PROCESS as well (like Dupont patented their process for creating Teflon [and every other process they could discover, giving them a virtual monopoly]).

You can Patent any number of things, like computer software, designs for any number of objects, the processes to create certain materials, etc,
Whereas COPYRIGHT refers mainly to AUDIO/VISUAL MATERIAL ... like films & animations, Music performances, written material (Including music & lyrics), slogans, artwork, etc, but it may also include unique NAMES. Eg. CHER, ENYA, U2, ABBA, and many OTHER bands/performers have their names copyrighted so other performers can't use them without license.

@SirSeedsAlot ... you can NOT patent or copyright an IDEA ... there HAS to be something physical or tangible to validate it, and a (then) fictional idea from an old Sci-Fi program DOESN'T QUALIFY. A new design for an object using existing technology in a new way DOES qualify, but the question I'd be asking is ... WHY WAIT UNTIL NOW TO FILE SUIT? This thing was patented TWENTY FOUR YEARS AGO, in 1992 ... what's been his reason for delaying until now? Any judge looking at this is going to ask those 2 questions and will dismiss the case as having waited too long. (The statute of Limitations for Patent Infringement is SIX YEARS ... this guy's 3 years TOO LATE! [iPhone was released in 2007, meaning 2013 was when the SoL expired.])

posted by ET junkieKitty (2016-07-03 19:29:04)
Selsley avatar@crash1. which is it when a manufacturer invents say a compact disc player like "Philips".
i think as creators, they had 5 years monopoly, whereas no-one else could sell another cdplayer for 5 years, afterwhich, other makes were allow to be sold.
usually from a reverse engineered Philips.

posted by Trusted UploaderSite FriendET loverSupermanKitty (2016-07-04 04:01:20)
SirSeedsAlot avatarCrash, well, the patent system is broke so if i draw something that already existing in star trek then it is not new or novel. It's stealing star trek's concepts so it can be proven it was not his invention. Plus, you missed the key point in the article which is the guy never got through the application process. The guy has no claim but the lawyers will still make money as the extortion game plays out.

posted by (2016-07-04 13:13:50)
No avatarthat thomas wants easy money hhuhu

posted by Kitty (2016-07-06 01:52:36)
Aryna avatarisnt supposed to have an intellectual protection of his creation ?
i have create an car design some years ago, i was fully protected if someone will copy it . but the protection is ended now, so if someone copy my idea i cant do anything. its exactly same all around the world (except china i think) .
yes, he have protection, but as mentionned "Back in 1992, the inventor failed to pay the required fees and had his patent application declared abandoned 3 years later by the US Patent and Trademark Office"

so , nope, no luck, cant do anything now as he didnt have any protection anymore. he cant ask for money at all and simply hit his own head on the wall for not been able to pay the protection .
if the protection was still available, then yes, he should get the billions ^^

posted by Turtle (2016-07-08 10:58:44)
ReservoirDogs avatarThe draw look more like the old Nokia N95 (which had already internet and movie abilities) than any an iPhone, in this case he should also go after all brands ...

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