Apple claims Andy Rubin’s Android framework was inspired by his previous work at Apple

Thu, Sep 8, 2011


Let’s take a break from the ongoing dispute between Apple and Samsung dispute and turn our attention towards Apple’s litigation with HTC. If you recall, the International Trade Commission (ITC) looked at Apple’s first complaint against HTC and found it to be in violation of two of Apple’s patents. Following that, HTC filed a motion asking for a review of that judgement.

And as legal matters tend to go, Apple subsequently filed a reply motion in response to HTC’s brief – and that’s where things start to get interesting.

Now one of the patents allegedly infringed by HTC is the ‘263 patent which pertains to real-time signal processing API technology. The ‘263 patent was originally filed with the USPTO back in 1994. It reads as follows:

The ‘263 patent relates generally to providing programming abstraction layers for real-time processing applications. The ‘263 patent discloses the use of real-time application programming interfaces (APIs) interposed between application software or driver software and the real-time processing subsystem. These APIs provide an abstraction for the real-time processing subsystem (e.g., a digital signal processor) from the higher-level software that utilizes the real-time processing subsystem, allowing changes to the real-time processing subsystem without requiring changes to the higher-level software.

In any event, HTC alleges that Andy Rubin, the man behind Android, began work on the technology HTC is accused of infringing at a company called General Magic in the mid-1990s.

Responding to that, Apple writes:

Android and Mr. Rubin’s relevant background does not start, as HTC would like the Commission to believe, with his work at General Magic or Danger in the mid-1990s. In reality, as the evidence revealed at the hearing, Mr. Rubin began his career at Apple in the early 1990s and worked as a low-level engineer specifically reporting to the inventors of the ‘263 [realtime API] patent at the exact time their invention was being conceived and developed. […] It is thus no wonder that the infringing Android platform used the claimed subsystem approach of the ‘263 patent that allows for flexibility of design and enables the platform to be “highly customizable and expandable” as HTC touts. […] While Mr. Rubin’s inspiration for the Android framework may not be directly relevant to the pending petitions for review, that HTC felt compelled to distort this history is illustrative of the liberties it takes in attacking the ALJ’s [initial determination] and the substantial evidence supporting the ALJ’s findings.

Now this isn’t a smoking gun as Apple readily admits that that Rubin’s inspiration for certain Android technologies isn’t exactly relevant. Still, it’s an interesting piece of information Apple was compelled to bring up to address it felt was HTC’s attempt to blur the truth.

via FOSS Patents


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