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Apple Outsources IP Disputes to Patent Trolls

Discussion in 'News' started by btarunr, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    These are some lively times at Apple's legal department. The company is locked in intellectual property disputes with multiple companies, in multiple countries. Some of these are familiar foes such as Motorola Mobility and Samsung, others regional and lesser-known. The one thing patent disputes do, to all parties involved in them, is dent PR. Every legal dispute attracts or at lease leaves scope for bad press, and more often shapes public opinion against the disputing parties.

    Apple learned a new trick in the trade which at least two recent events with very different outcomes, may have helped shape. First, it recently thwarted display IP infringement claims by S3 Graphics thanks to timely help by GPU supplier AMD, and second, it suffered a setback with regards to some brand names claimed by Chinese company ProView. You see, the ups and downs of IP disputes can have some very varied effects on the company's image. Apple's new trick is simple: make a different company, with a much different brand name, to handle those IP disputes on behalf of Apple, so brand Apple isn't directly dragged into the mess. Enter your friendly neighbourhood patent-troll, Digitude.

    [​IMG]

    The mechanism couldn't be simpler. Digitude serves as a "patent investment vehicle" (in its own words), which will hold its clients' patents, protect them from infringement, and fight IP disputes on its behalf, more often discretely. As time passes on, Digitude will have achieved a level of discretion and abstraction to the general public over actually whose patents the company is holding. It's a win for Apple. All Apple has to do on paper is work out license agreementa with that patent investment vehicle to access its own patents. Digitude chairman, Robert Kramer, claims that "Digitude is a new kind of patent investment vehicle because it seeks to team up with strategic players that can invest not with money, but by contributing patents. The contributing entity would then get a license for all of Digitude's patents."

    Source: Hexus.net, Image Credits: TrollNews
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
    qubit says thanks.
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  2. n-ster

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    Wow they created a 100% patent troll to troll on behalf of Apple... Has Apple become as big a troll as Rambus?
     
    Completely Bonkers says thanks.
  3. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    Their douchebaggery has demanded this so it's not very surprising. Apple has created an RIAA/MPAA for itself. We have a new corporation to vilify. :D

    Love that "Troll Different" image. XD
     
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  4. Completely Bonkers New Member

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    Interesting concept. Will cause rock and roll on the stock market. Who should get all the "valuation premium"? Apple for inventing and having an indefinite license to those patents? Or Digitroll for OWNING those patents? Well, if those patents are worth anything, then the start-up capital to BUY all those patents from Apple will be enormous. OK, so that is impossible. Or is it? Will SOME CLEVER investment banker now trying to create a "CDO" type product? A Collateralised Patent Obligation, to flog to merry investors?

    I will not invest in Digitroll.

    If Apple "hands over" those patents "for cheap" to Digitroll there will be (or should be) some MASSIVE tax liabilities.

    Apple + Bankers = .....
     
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  5. Sasqui

    Sasqui

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    One more reason to hate APPL. Most good companies hold a patent portfolio simply for a line of defense, call it company "A". Some other douchebag company "B" comes along and claims an infringement, company "A" pulls out thier portfolio and finds 10 patents being infringed by "B" and asks if they want to continue thier nonsense. I know, because I've been involved to a degree in that situation.

    Obviously, there are cases that warrant patent infringment cases, but APPL is completely on the OFFENSIVE. And now this??? :banghead:

    For some interesting reading, APPL vs. Samsung patent infringement timeline: http://www.theverge.com/apple/2011/11/2/2533472/apple-vs-samsung
     
    FordGT90Concept says thanks.
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  6. yogurt_21

    yogurt_21

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    really? what the hell is going to stop articles from being title "Digitude (read Apple), is now..."

    It's the damned digital age, that crap only works when people aren't able to do a quick google search on company origins.
     
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  7. DannibusX

    DannibusX

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    Digitude's been the name of my blog since 2004.



















    not really
     
  8. theoneandonlymrk

    theoneandonlymrk

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    yeh the trogs have got the trolls in, i hate walled gardens

    but its that last bit , give us all your bases and we let you live free in the family( might nick ya shit though;))
     
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  9. Fx

    Fx

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    that is a logical move for them and a good idea for others
     
  10. Kreij

    Kreij Senior Monkey Moderator Staff Member

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    Not necessarily ... what if two companies have a dispute and they both use DigiTroll as their "patent investment vehicle"?
     
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  11. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Apple. Bastards.

    I love the trollnews reference. :p
     
  12. Fx

    Fx

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    I am inclined to believe that each company will know which Patent Troll manages their rival's patents and they will side with another Patent Troll
     
  13. Kreij

    Kreij Senior Monkey Moderator Staff Member

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    What if they were not rivals when they signed up with the same patent trolling firm?
    Just a hypothetical situation. I'm sure they manage these things with a ton of legal documents and such.

    What is a little more interesting is that if the whole world knows you are using a patent troll, and said troll sues someone, what's to stop everyone from thinking it's on your behalf even if it's not?
    Not sure that would be a big PR win.
     
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  14. [H]@RD5TUFF

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    Hope they loose every case they start, and loose millions in the process!
     
  15. Fx

    Fx

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    you bring up some good points. it definitely could end up biting them in the ass. as you said though- I am sure there is a lot of fine print
     
  16. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    I don't see any PR win at all out of this. Everyone is going to know Digitude is operating on the behalf of Apple because the plantiffs/defendents are going to make that real loud and clear ("...Apple handed the complaint we submitted off to Digitude...").

    It is basically Apple flailing about trying to protect the Apple brand when it only makes them look even worse than they did before. As Sasqui pointed out, Apple just needs to stop patent trolling and as btarunr pointed out, this is exactly how not to make friends.
     
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  17. xenocide

    xenocide

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    The patent system in it's current form only serves to hurt consumers. Bottom line.
     
  18. Fx

    Fx

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    this will help Apple save face. everyone doesnt spend their time tracking technicalities. this has effectiveness for the masses(your average consumer)

    many people prefer to be ignorant with technology. they just want to know what shit does for them and how to turn it on- this shady shit is targeted at them
     
  19. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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    Well, whatever one thought of Steve Jobs, I don't think he'd try an underhand tactic like this. Everyone's gonna know about it now and it's just gonna make Apple look bad. If Jobs didn't like you, he'd just try to nail you directly.

    I think in a couple of years, Apple will be a very different company to what it is now. Better or worse, I don't know. However, I'm cautiously optimistic that they won't be so closed as they are now. If that happens, then I would actually quit boycotting their products.
     
  20. yogurt_21

    yogurt_21

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    no different from law firms in that scenario the issue is settled out of court. Like any law firm there will be seperate people for each account and those people will get together with representatives form each company and settle the issue.

    should that fail then they go to court with each account holder from digitude representing their client. that is of course extremely unlikely unless digitude is the worst arbitrator in the world.
     
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