WiLAN Sues Apple Over 4G Technologies While Mocking Apple's Simple Inventions and Pointing to Steve Jobs Views of Stealing Ideas
Canada's WiLAN has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple alleging that Apple infringes five of their patents. The patent infringement lawsuit concerns Apple's alleged use of WiLAN's 4G and LTE technologies found in most of Apple's products. Over 130 companies including Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Nokia and BlackBerry license WiLAN's technology. WiLAN invented this technology, so this isn't a case brought on by a patent troll. WiLAN notes in their complaint that they met with Apple on June 16 to iron out an agreement. Three days later, on June 19, rather than provide dates for a meeting, Apple initiated litigation against WiLAN, a Declaratory Judgment, in the Northern District of California involving the five 4G patents asserted in this action in a clear attempt at gamesmanship to remove this matter from this Court. WiLAN lashes out at Apple in their complaint before the court mocking Apple's litigation with Samsung for simpleton inventions such as "curved shape of the corners of the icons used in its displays." They also made the point that Steve Jobs stated in a PBS documentary entitled "Triumph of the Nerds," that "We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas." Noting Apple's actions, this is obviously going to be a bitterly fought battle to the end. This Report was updated at 9:40 AM PST and again at 11:15 PST
About WiLAN and their Technology
The follow was presented by WiLAN in thier complaint before the court: "Canada's WiLAN owns subsidiary Cygnus Broadband which conducts business in San Diego California. Cygnus is a company dedicated to developing advanced 4G technologies and products for WiLAN and others in the wireless industry that enhance the capacity, quality of user experience, and connectivity of 4G (and next generation 5G) mobile devices and networks.
The 4G patents asserted in this action, which are assigned to WiLAN (to hold for the benefit of all WiLAN companies and licensees), were developed by WiLAN's own Ken Stanwood, the CEO of Cygnus Broadband, and his team.
Mr. Stanwood has played a leadership role in the development of 4G technologies and standards for more than a decade, starting with the industry's first major 4G cellular initiative, referred to as WiMAX. He served as Vice Chair of the IEEE 802.16 standards committee for WiMAX from 2003-2006 and as principal author of the original IEEE 802.16 standard for 4G cellular networks and mobile devices.
Mr. Stanwood has written extensively on 4G technologies, including coauthoring a popular textbook on the subject, and has been awarded 87 U.S. patents, with more than 100 patent applications currently pending before the United States Patent Office and worldwide, many of which relate to 4G technologies.
Like Ken Stanwood, WiLAN's founders, Michel Fattouche and Hatim Zaghloul, are widely recognized and acknowledged as wireless industry pioneers. Their technologies, patents and writings have been cited in patents and publications written by thousands of engineers and scientists in the wireless industry.
WiLAN's founders sought to achieve−and did achieve−for wireless data what Qualcomm's founders did for cellular "voice" communication. Qualcomm's founders developed key CDMA technologies that became the foundational air interface for 2G and 3G cellular networks and mobile devices.
Just as importantly, WiLAN's founders developed key cellular "data" technologies, including the W-OFDM air interface, to enable data to be exchanged at desktop speeds over a wireless channel, such as in Wi-Fi networks, or from mobile devices in 4G cellular networks. WiLAN's technologies have made Wi-Fi and 4G in mobile devices possible.
The WiLAN success story is featured in major publications worldwide, including in such publications as Scientific American and Time Magazine, and in many others. WiLAN and its founders have also been the subject of numerous industry awards for their wireless innovations, and for their contribution to the growth in wireless data capability present in today's smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.
One of WiLAN's co-founders is featured in one of Canada's leading business publications as among the Top 100 Canadians of the 20th century for WiLAN's wireless innovations. And WiLAN's original wireless designs and first wireless mobile device have been displayed in the Canadian equivalent of the Smithsonian Institution.
Over the years, WiLAN, Cygnus Broadband, and their predecessors have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in developing, making and selling many of the world's first fixed and mobile devices capable of transmitting and receiving wireless data at desktop speeds.
WiLAN's 4G products include, among others, the I.WILL, BWS 300, LIBRA 3000, LIBRA 5800, LIBRA MX, and the LIBRA Mobilis.
WiLAN was the first company in the world to build Wi-Fi and 4G data speeds into mobile devices, with speeds reaching up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps), and it did so a decade before 4G would become the standard in the wireless industry that it is today.
The advanced 4G technologies developed by Mr. Stanwood and his team were employed in the network stacks utilizing the 4G WiMAX cellular standard, and were subsequently adopted for use in the network stacks utilizing the 4G LTE cellular standard used in today's 4G mobile devices.
These advanced 4G technologies, developed by Ken Stanwood and his team, include:
1) the bandwidth-on-demand and periodic bandwidth services built into 4G mobile devices to enable apps installed on such devices to have exactly the bandwidth they need, when they need it, in real-time;
2) the multi-tasking and app management technologies in 4G mobile devices that enable such devices to run multiple apps simultaneously, including foreground and background apps, without degrading the user experience; and (iii) the adaptive modulation capabilities in 4G mobile devices that allow such devices to operate in all kinds of variable wireless conditions due to interference, noise, and user mobility.
The efforts of Mr. Stanwood and his team in developing these advanced 4G technologies have enabled 4G mobile devices to support a variety of services popular among users of Apple 4G LTE mobiles devices, such as voice, conversational video, live streaming of video and music, real-time gaming, video and photo sharing, email, and instant messaging, all in the palm of your hand ("4G Network Services")."
According to the formal complaint, WiLAN's advanced 4G technologies (that are the subject of the patents asserted in this action) enable Apple's 4G LTE smartphones, tablets, and other 4G LTE mobile devices to provide Apple users with the 4G Network Services that have made Apple's products so popular, and to operate with desktop speeds anywhere, anytime.
WiLAN's wireless technologies and patents, including its advanced 4G technologies, have been licensed by nearly all companies in the wireless industry, comprising more than 130 companies. Apple is the only major company that has not respected WiLAN's intellectual property and its contribution to the growth and success of the wireless industry.
Apple's infringement gives Apple an unfair advantage over its competitors, all of whom have chosen to do the right thing and license their use of WiLAN's wireless technologies and patents.
All of Apple's major competitors in the mobile device industry, including Samsung, HTC, LG, Nokia, RIM, and Motorola have licensed WiLAN's wireless technologies and patents. To encourage licensing of WiLAN's technologies and patents in mobile devices and growth of the wireless industry, WiLAN has set its licensing rates at a fraction of the rates that Apple charges companies for use of Apple's technologies and patents.
WiLAN has made numerous efforts to license the unauthorized use of its wireless technologies and patents by Apple, but Apple has consistently refused to take a license, choosing to use WiLAN's 4G technologies without paying anything for that right.
Apple has willfully chosen to not respect the intellectual property of WiLAN, including the five 4G patents asserted in this action directed to WiLAN's advanced 4G technologies, and it does so despite understanding the importance of intellectual property and insisting that other companies respect Apple's own intellectual property.
Indeed, Apple has vigorously pursued litigations and patent enforcement proceedings against anyone it believes is using Apple's patented technology without a license. For example, from 2011 through 2014 Apple prosecuted massive and well publicized litigations against Samsung for various Apple patents, and Apple was awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for five of its user interface patents on inventions as simple as the "bounce-back" feature of its touch screen iPhones and the curved shape of the corners of the icons used in its displays.
In its patent litigations against Samsung, Apple asked Samsung for as much as $40 per mobile device for use of its five interface patents–elements that may subtly differentiate Apple's products from its competitors but that do not touch on the fundamental wireless data communication technologies, including WiLAN's Wi-Fi and 4G technologies and patents, that underlie and make possible all of the core functions of Apple's mobile devices that have made them so desirable to consumers.
WiLAN is not the only company that has had to deal with Apple's disrespect for the intellectual property rights of others. Many well-known and well respected companies in the wireless industry, including Samsung, Nokia, Motorola Mobility, HTC, Eastman Kodak, and Pitney-Bowes have had to sue Apple for alleged infringement of their patented technologies and use of their patented technologies without paying for that right.
Notably, when Apple's co-founder Steve Jobs discussed Apple's success in a PBS documentary entitled "Triumph of the Nerds," he said, "We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas."
In early meetings between WiLAN and Apple, years before Apple would introduce its 4G LTE mobile devices, WiLAN presented Apple with a detailed blueprint of WiLAN's wireless technologies and how they would enable Apple's computers and mobile devices to provide 4G Network Services, such as streaming movies and videos, sharing pictures, surfing the internet, and chatting online with friends.
Apple arrogantly dismissed WiLAN's wireless technologies and vision at the time, believing that if it was not invented by Apple it was not possible.
Yet today, after WiLAN has proven the promise of its wireless technologies to the world, Apple is riding the wave in growth of the wireless industry, in particular with its 4G LTE smartphones, tablets, and other 4G LTE mobile devices that use WiLAN's great ideas, including WiLAN's advanced 4G capabilities, and Apple is making billions of dollars in profits doing so.
Before initiating litigation, WiLAN made substantial efforts for more than a year to license Apple's use of WiLAN's advanced 4G technologies and patents in its 4G LTE mobile devices, expecting that Apple would proceed in good faith, which it has not done.
Most recently, in a written communication to Apple on June 16, 2014, WiLAN requested a meeting with Apple to resolve this matter and WiLAN provided significant details concerning the relevance of the five 4G patents asserted herein to Apple's 4G LTE mobile devices.
Three days later, on June 19, 2014, rather than provide dates for a meeting, Apple initiated litigation against WiLAN in the Northern District of California involving the five 4G patents asserted in this action in a clear attempt at gamesmanship to remove this matter from this Court, which is presently handling a related dispute between the parties involving overlapping 4G patents and technologies and the same Apple 4G LTE products.
Apple's actions have forced WiLAN's hand, leaving it with no choice but to protect its intellectual property through litigation."
According to WiLAN's formal complaint, "Apple directly or indirectly through subsidiaries or affiliated companies markets, distributes, manufactures, imports, sells, and/or offers for sale wireless communication products, such as products compliant with the 3rd Generation Partnership Project ("3GPP") 4G LTE standard, including but not limited to the iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPad (3rd Generation), iPad with Retina display (Wi- Fi + 4G Cellular), iPad mini (Wi-Fi + 4G Cellular), iPad mini with Retina display (Wi-Fi + 4G Cellular), and the iPad Air (Wi-Fi +4G Cellular), in the United States and in this district. Apple's products support at least Release 8, et seq. of the 4G LTE standard.
Upon information and belief, Apple's products also include software and associated hardware that prioritize the transmission of data generated by various applications that run on these Apple products, and in doing such prioritization utilize the claimed inventions of the patents asserted in this action."
WiLAN alleges that Apple has infringed upon five of their patents which include the following:
- 8,457,145 entitled "Method and apparatus for bandwidth request/grant protocols in a wireless communication system."
- 8,462,723 entitled "Methods and systems for transmission of multiple modulated signals over wireless networks."
- 8,537,757 entitled "Method and system for adaptively obtaining bandwidth allocation requests."
- 8,615,020 entitled "Method and System for Adaptively Obtaining Bandwidth Allocation Requests"
- 8,462,761 entitled "Method and system for adaptively obtaining bandwidth allocation requests."
WiLAN notes in their formal complaint before the court that the allegations of all foregoing paragraphs are re-alleged as fully set forth herein.
Before initiating litigation, WiLAN made substantial efforts to license Apple's use of WiLAN's advanced 4G technologies and patents used in Apple's 4G LTE mobile devices, expecting that Apple would proceed in good faith.
On June 16, 2014, WiLAN expressly provided notice to Apple that it infringes the five 4G patents-in-suit. WiLAN provided detailed information concerning the pioneering nature of Ken Stanwood's inventions that are claimed in the patents-in-suit, and explained that these fundamental inventions, which are implemented in products compliant with the 4G LTE standard, enable advanced features of Apple's 4G LTE mobile products.
On June 17, 2014, Apple responded to WiLAN's notice communication, admitting that it had not studied the patents-in-suit.
Two days later, instead of following through on its commitment to meet in order to negotiate a license, Apple filed suit against WiLAN. Given that the inventions claimed in the five 4G patents-in-suit are fundamental to implementation of products compliant with the 4G LTE standard, an objectively defined risk exists that Apple infringes the patents-in-suit. Furthermore, upon information and belief, prior to initiating suit against WiLAN, Apple did not conduct a reasonable investigation to ascertain whether it infringes the patents-in-suit.
Apple's infringement of the patents-in-suit thus occurs with knowledge of and/or objective recklessness and has been and continues to be willful and deliberate.
Apple's willful and deliberate infringement entitles WiLAN to enhanced damages.
The patent infringement case presented in today's report was filed in the California Southern District Court, San Diego Office. The Presiding Judge in this case is noted as being Judge Janis L. Sammartino. The referring Judge is noted as being David H. Bartick.
Update One, 9:40 am PST: In an earlier trial involving WiLAN last year, Apple denied violating any patents. The company argued that it did not use any new wireless technology on its mobile devices. They got the chips they used for the iPhone from another chip supplier, Qualcomm.
In that trial, the jury’s decision came out after more than an hour of deliberation: the patent claims are invalid and Apple is not guilty of infringing a wireless technology patent.
Update Two 11:15 am PST - Another interesting point comes to light as follows:
OTTAWA, CANADA--(Marketwired - April 9, 2014) - Wi-LAN Inc. today announced that U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap has ruled that claims 1 and 10 of WiLAN's U.S. Patent No. RE37,802 ("the 802 patent" ) were improperly invalidated by the jury in the WiLAN vs. Apple lawsuit in Marshall, Texas, in October 2013.
"The court is unable to find that the jury's finding as to the invalidity of claims 1 and 10 of the 802 patent is supported by substantial evidence," Judge Gilstrap wrote in his decision. "Accordingly, the jury's invalidity verdict cannot stand."
While the judge denied other aspects of WiLAN's motion for judgment, WiLAN President & CEO, Jim Skippen, commenting on the court's ruling, stated: "We believed all along that the claims in our 802 patent were valid, and this decision just reaffirms that belief. We also believe that the judge's ruling will be of significant benefit to WiLAN with respect to any future appeals we may make to the U.S. Federal courts concerning our ongoing intellectual property disputes with Apple."
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