Apple has spent an estimated $100 million dollars on its so-called “war on Android.” And so far it doesn’t have much to show for it. Even its recent ITC court victory over HTC doesn’t look like it will have much of an impact on anything.
But that could all change thanks to a recent interpretation of Apple’s ’263 patent by a high-ranking US judge. The patent covers realtime API — a key component in Android that would be extremely difficult to work around if a manufacturer was found guilty of infringing on it…
Florian Mueller of FOSSPatents explains:
“In federal litigation with Motorola in the Northern District of Illinois, an extremely influential, high-ranking U.S. judge agreed with Apple’s interpretation of the most important term, “realtime API”, in its ’263 patent. Under this interpretation, Android most likely infringes on the patent, and a workaround appears difficult to say the least. I published the original infringement claim chart from Apple’s complaint against HTC, and Apple’s allegation, based on this patent, that Andy Rubin got the inspiration for Android while working at Apple (which might enable Apple at some point to have Google found liable for willful infringement).”
Yeah, Andy Rubin (one of Android’s creators) was working at Apple during the time that it developed the ’263 patent. In fact, Rubin was a low-level engineer that reported specifically to the inventors of the realtime API. Could it be a coincidence that Android contains a patent that Apple developed during Rubin’s tenure with the company?
We’re not legal experts by any means, but it seems as if Apple has a pretty strong case here. The next several months could prove rather interesting now that Apple has the interpretive support of an influential judge on its realtime API patent. Expect to see it come up again soon.