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Google and Apple CEOs Talking Over Patent Issues

By - Source: Reuters | B 31 comments

The two CEOs are reportedly talking about the patent disputes. Is an end to the madness coming soon?

Reuters has learned that Google CEO Larry Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook are conducting behind-the-scenes talks about numerous intellectual property matters including those at the center of ongoing patent disputes between the two companies. The talks began last week via phone and will resume in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, discussions involving lower-level executives are ongoing.

The news arrives after a jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages last Friday, finding that Samsung had indeed violated several of Apple's patents on numerous Android-based devices. Cook always said the battle wasn't about attacking Android as Steve Jobs previously vowed, but to protect Apple's properties. But now there's a fear that last week's ruling has set the stage for additional lawsuits against other Android device makers.

"The court of appeals will review both infringement and the validity of the patent claims," Google said regarding to the Apple-Samsung verdict. "Most of these don’t relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the US Patent Office. The mobile industry is moving fast and all players -- including newcomers -- are building upon ideas that have been around for decades. We work with our partners to give consumers innovative and affordable products, and we don’t want anything to limit that."

Yet Google and Apple are now discussing infringement issues in private. One source claims that a possible scenario currently being considered by the two parties could be an actual truce involving disputes over basic Android features and functions. However it's currently unclear if the two CEOs are discussing a broad settlement covering various disputes, or are focused on a more limited set of issues.

Google and Apple have seemingly parted ways like bitter friends after Android began to dominate the mobile market. Just recently Apple revealed its own mobile mapping service, eliminating Google Maps from iOS and Mac. The company has also removed YouTube as a pre-installed app for future version of the iPhone. The late Steve Jobs even called Android a "stolen product" and vowed to take down the popular mobile OS.

With an Android victory under Apple's belt, Google may be thinking twice about the possible similarities between its open-source OS and Apple's iOS, or rather, what OEMs do with the stock Android OS once it's licensed. The utility patent features claimed by Apple may not have anything to do with Google -- they were features added by Samsung -- but the search engine giant may need to insert specific licensing rules pertaining to Apple's patents if they're not included already. The stock Android OS does not violate Apple's patents.

Yet with the door now wide open for future lawsuits, Google itself may be at risk from lawsuits filed against it by partner OEMs if the differences aren't ironed out with Apple soon. "Theoretically [Samsung] could hold Google responsible for all of the harm that Android allegedly causes to Apple, but it's a much more difficult story to tell to a judge and, especially, a jury," noted Florian Mueller, a patent attorney. "It's also more difficult to get an injunction against someone who doesn't compete with you directly, only indirectly."

Reuters said a meeting between the two CEOs was scheduled for this Friday, but had been delayed for reasons that were unclear.

 

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  • 20 Hide
    azraa , August 31, 2012 12:41 AM
    Excuse me if this sounds basic and all but... taking out Youtube and GMaps as preinstalled apps in the iPhone sounds like butthurt from Apple. A bad one. When you cant compete, you try to blind your customer base of competitor products? Seems like a cowardly way to say 'we can't keep up as fast as other companies do'

    On the other hand, and AFAIK, the Android and iOS kernels are waaay different. Some things are shared though, but the likes of app stores and all that stuff. Basic, unpatentable stuff. The article reads 'features and functions', but can we really patent that kind of stuff? So I dont really see why would Apple and Google be starting law action based on their OSs. If someone does, please explain.
Other Comments
  • 20 Hide
    azraa , August 31, 2012 12:41 AM
    Excuse me if this sounds basic and all but... taking out Youtube and GMaps as preinstalled apps in the iPhone sounds like butthurt from Apple. A bad one. When you cant compete, you try to blind your customer base of competitor products? Seems like a cowardly way to say 'we can't keep up as fast as other companies do'

    On the other hand, and AFAIK, the Android and iOS kernels are waaay different. Some things are shared though, but the likes of app stores and all that stuff. Basic, unpatentable stuff. The article reads 'features and functions', but can we really patent that kind of stuff? So I dont really see why would Apple and Google be starting law action based on their OSs. If someone does, please explain.
  • 8 Hide
    A Bad Day , August 31, 2012 12:54 AM
    azraaThe article reads 'features and functions', but can we really patent that kind of stuff?


    Apple has a patent on touchscreen buttons' shapes, and I do believe also a patent on having a border between the screen and the edge of the phone.
  • -6 Hide
    samkl , August 31, 2012 12:56 AM
    Jobs said that Android is a "copied product". I assume it's a pure emotional rift. Like MS copied Apple by creating a GUI based OS.

    On another hand, even AllThingsD reported that users are bailing YouTube and Google is loosing actual users. For example:
    - Apple exclusively locked "social" integration with Twitter and Facebook = Google is out
    - Apple cut them out from "maps" already = Google is out
    - Apple cut YouTube app = Google is out
    Google's last bastion inside of Apple eco-system is search
    - What's next? Apple integrates Bing or better the user-experience driven search like Quadlook = Google is out

    It's the battle eco-systems driven by user experience. What do you think?

  • 1 Hide
    nuvon , August 31, 2012 12:58 AM
    Hopefully they would settle this privately. I hate to feed GREEDY laywers....
  • 0 Hide
    Yuka , August 31, 2012 2:02 AM
    Was about time they start talking this thing out...

    Something is very wrong in your company when your legal dept. is taking as much as your R&D dept. in terms of budget. That means, in other words, you'll stop playing the innovation game in the long run.

    Glad they're doing this. Hope something good for everyone comes out of this.

    Mr. Cook and Mr. Page, we're all in your hands now. Play for the bigger good.

    Cheers!
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , August 31, 2012 2:21 AM
    The CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, used to sit on the board of Apple while they were in the process of developing iOS. What really has transpired there was anyone guess now. As expected, Samsung is merely the whipping boy in the Apple vs Samsung lawsuit. The real target has always been Google. But did Google really borrow ideas from iOS? Will Google just negotiate and close this case regardless of the truth? Or will Google and Apple go at each other throat and all Android gadget makers end up in the crossfire?

    http://articles.businessinsider.com/2010-07-12/tech/30043316_1_android-larry-page-smartphone

    I hope the California judge and jury realized now what they have done was not really to award victory in an American company vs foreign company lawsuit, but American company vs American company.

    Anyway, the market will always support at least two mobile OS, just like the market has been supporting two different major platform: PC and Apple for years. The question is who will have the most market share. If recent market share is any indication, there are more people opt for non-Apple products. So even if Android is no more, most likely a different alternative such as Windows OS will step in and fill the void. Apple should really concentrate on product features if they want a bigger market, instead of wasting time trying to tell the world they patent ridiculous idea such as round corner rectangle. PDA long before iPhone already have that shape.
  • -5 Hide
    samkl , August 31, 2012 2:21 AM
    samki_troll_failSamki: Trolling fail.Here's a snippet of the 'about' page from quadlook.com"QuadLook is a on-line search engine that aggregates results from the most credible sources like Google, Bing, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress, Wikipedia and news publishers to provide a holistic snapshot of relevant information in one place."Yeah, that's mind blowing stuff right there, aggregating Google's search with the inferior search engines, then including stuff like Wikipedia that would've been in Google's search results anyways, and Twitter that should never be in anyone's search results. Idiot.


    samki_troll_fail, please dont fall to name calling.
    QuadLook is hot with summer students in our university. They use it for research because it saves them time. If you don't care about twitter you need to open your eyes.
    Twitter helped to overthrow dictatorships in countries where people where held fist-tight for 40 years. And you still ignore twitter? Are you slipping under a rock?
  • 7 Hide
    kinggremlin , August 31, 2012 3:21 AM
    Quote:
    Jobs said that Android is a "copied product". I assume it's a pure emotional rift. Like Apple copied Xerox by creating a GUI based OS.


    Edited for factual accuracy.
  • 7 Hide
    law shay , August 31, 2012 3:34 AM
    samklJobs said that Android is a "copied product". I assume it's a pure emotional rift. Like MS copied Apple by creating a GUI based OS. On another hand, even AllThingsD reported that users are bailing YouTube and Google is loosing actual users. For example: - Apple exclusively locked "social" integration with Twitter and Facebook = Google is out- Apple cut them out from "maps" already = Google is out- Apple cut YouTube app = Google is outGoogle's last bastion inside of Apple eco-system is search- What's next? Apple integrates Bing or better the user-experience driven search like Quadlook = Google is outIt's the battle eco-systems driven by user experience. What do you think?


    I +1 your comment due to quality of your discussion.

    But I disagree your opinion. At least for me, I can't trade my choice of web-video-app, map-app and search provider with a cool UI (or ecosystem). No matter how good an ecosystem is, when it starts blocking me (prohibiting me from doing what I want) -- in other words, if a good ecosystem rob me my freedom, it is the day I leave that ecosystem.

    Say, Google starts to lock out Microsoft Skydrive from Android appstore -- and even if I don't use Skydrive actively, I'd be very very careful and pack my bags (i.e. get my data out and look for a competing ecosystem).

    Now, Apple is doing exactly that and I vowed not to use Apple products until they change.
  • 8 Hide
    gnosis337 , August 31, 2012 3:55 AM
    I agree law shay.

    Personally I don't think that Apple thought this all the way through. First, Apple iOS and Android are both based on unix/linux, who do you think will win that war? I will wager on Android.

    The next thing I see down the road is potentially a company like Palm going after Apple and Android for not only stealing their PDA like functionality and putting it into smart phones, but also completely destroying their revenues.

    Personally I am afraid that this will start an all out lawsuit war with any company that had bits and pieces of their product stolen. That scares me. This will be bad for the economy and innovation. These things should never have been allowed to be patented. What is next breathing? Drawing lines? Eating? Sleeping? Thinking?

    Android and Google will still be around, just in every country but the USA. If Palm or whoever quickly buys them starts filing lawsuits, this will put a dead stop to smart phones. Can you imagine a smart phone that has no PDA functionality whatsoever? No calculator, contacts, memos, voice recording, games, apps, etc.? Who would buy it?

    With the US patent office allowing things like "one-click" button (Amazon) to be patented and the US court system to allow them to litigate over it, this makes it hard for start ups companies/small companies. It is just a button with different text, you click it and it takes you to whatever it was programmed to take you to. All web pages have buttons, this was in existence before Amazon. Just like some of the non touch items Apple has patents over where in existence else where. These things should not be allowed to be patented.

    Everyone would have to start using the Palm iPhone or the Palm Android phone.

    I fault the US Patent office and then the US court system, and Government for not reviewing/revamping the US Patent system. Unfortunately the lawyers are taking advantage of the system for big bonuses.

    I had an iPhone but switched to Android because Apple made me feel locked in. If you want more storage, you have to get a new phone. If your battery dies, you have to get a new phone or repair your phone. The whole anti mp3 thing Apple used to have annoyed me also. If I buy a song I want to actually own it, not only be allowed to play it on an Apple device. I'm glad Apple switched that.

    I agree, when a company starts blocking your freedom it is time to move on. Unless it is for a good reason, like removing or banning an app for hidden viruses, etc. But each person will have to decide that on their own.

    I was considering gong back to Apple, depending on the iPhone 5, but will not now. I look for innovation and features that suit my needs, which Android phones does and the iPhone doesn't meet. I was hoping with the iphone5 that maybe that would change, but now I really don't care if it does.

    I for one lost a lot of respect for Apple over this move. And will lose respect for any company that does this. To the point that I will not support them. I would rather go to a Windows phone or back to flip phones and PDAs.
  • 0 Hide
    belardo , August 31, 2012 4:53 AM
    Hopefully - Apple will be reasonable and they both sort out this BS.

    Does Apple gain market share this way? No. And the Asian markets are not the same as USA.
    Making this a continued UGLY fight means Apple loses... and its a PITA for everyone.

    I like my iPad1... I prefer the screen of iPad over any 16:9 Android (all of them). But this BS from apple make me NOT want to get an iPad4 - especially if they name it "The Newer New iPad". Apple wants to win, they need to do with better tech, in which case - they are doing a pretty damn good job.

    Winning in the courtroom doesn't win customers. Going after blatant copies (like the AirPhone4) is simple, understood. My Samsung Captivate looks nothing like an iPhone... it never did.

    So again, like MS and Apple doing cross-licencing deals WHICH did not hurt either company - Google and Apple needs to do the same. And I am pretty much sure that Google OWNING Motorola Mobility along with its patents was what brought Apple to the table.

    It was already rumored that Google was about to go after Apple over patents. You know, since Motorola has been in the cellphone business for over 20 years... Apple should be nervous about that.

    Also, this means NOT wasting money and resources buying companies/patents for the sake of having them or eventually pissing off Samsung enough to the point that Apple loses a major supplier and such business tactics may prevent other companies from wanting to do business with Apple. It doesn't help the bottom line.

    It would take Apple playing NICE and not mess with Samsung anymore to get me to buy an iPad 4... Otherwise, I'll look at an IdeaPad or ThinkPad tablet - maybe Sony.
  • 2 Hide
    tomfreak , August 31, 2012 5:02 AM
    Isnt the Apple map look too similar to google map?

    here goes Apple fans say Apple invent maps.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , August 31, 2012 5:21 AM
    Would people please stop quoting Florian Mueller? It has come out in court documents that he has been paid by corporations to discuss these patent battles in a way that makes Google and Android seem like it's in the wrong. He is as biased a source as they come and we should not validate him.
  • -1 Hide
    jaksun5 , August 31, 2012 7:18 AM
    kinggremlinEdited for factual accuracy.


    Quote :Jobs said that Android is a "copied product". I assume it's a pure emotional rift. Like Apple copied Xerox by creating a GUI based OS.

    If I'm not mistaken Apple bought the GUI from Xerox
  • 0 Hide
    jaksun5 , August 31, 2012 8:03 AM
    The short of this hole converstion: There's not enough regulation stupid sh*t. Just look at Mexico, where Coke has made sure that children in schools drink Coke as it's more accessible, and babies are fed Coke instead of formula.

    the government needs to step in and address these issues. The corporations are always going to do what's in their best interests, and if that means destorying the planet, killing competition, making monopolies, or stupid greedy cash grabs that created the subprime mortgage crisis, or any other thing that puts back our civilisation, they're still going to do it unless someone stops them or changes the rules to make them fair, and the only people to do that is us through our elected representatives
  • 0 Hide
    ELMO_2006 , August 31, 2012 1:30 PM
    As long as they are talking let the pieces fall, however I think we can all agree that the US Patent system is broken, take this for example:



    United States Patent 8,248,777
    Prest August 21, 2012

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Viscoelastic material for shock protection in an electronic device


    Abstract
    This invention is directed to reducing the effect of shocks on electronic device components. The electronic device component may be surrounded by a boundary element operative to deform in response to impacts. By deforming, the boundary element may be operative to absorb energy received by the shock or impact without passing the energy on to the electronic device component. To maximize the effectiveness of the boundary element over a range of different impacts (e.g., strong, instantaneous impacts and weak impacts over time), a viscoelastic material may be used. The characteristic properties of the viscoelastic material may be selected based on expected impacts to the electronic device component.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Inventors: Prest; Christopher (Mountain View, CA)
    Assignee: Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA)

    Appl. No.: 12/242,907
    Filed: September 30, 2008

    Seriously, now according to this patent, all 3rd patries will now have to file for some sort of license from Apple - what are they thinking!?!?!?

  • 1 Hide
    kinggremlin , August 31, 2012 3:25 PM
    jaksun5Quote :Jobs said that Android is a "copied product". I assume it's a pure emotional rift. Like Apple copied Xerox by creating a GUI based OS. If I'm not mistaken Apple bought the GUI from Xerox


    You're mistaken. He saw it at a visit to Xerox, and copied it.

    In his own words:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdrKWArr3XY
  • 0 Hide
    NightLight , August 31, 2012 4:47 PM
    well, i'd say, if they don't preinstall those apps, don't allow them to be installed completely, let's see how much icrap gets sold after you ban youtube completely on an iphone :) 
  • 0 Hide
    chewy1963 , August 31, 2012 4:56 PM
    jaksun5Quote :Jobs said that Android is a "copied product". I assume it's a pure emotional rift. Like Apple copied Xerox by creating a GUI based OS. If I'm not mistaken Apple bought the GUI from Xerox


    You are mistaken. Jobs was exposed to Xerox's GUI when he was given a tour of PARC. Apple did not pay anything to Xerox for the GUI concept.
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