No, I am not confused. It is true, Apple might get sued for infringement on numerous Palm patents that are implemented in the iPhone, as reported in a very lengthy and interesting article on Engadget. To sum things up, it is true that certain technologies we saw in our brief introduction to the Pre seem to be patented by Apple, and therefore if acted upon, might cause a delay in the release of the Pre. One of these so called technologies is the way the iPhone UI “springs” when reaching the top of a Web page (I seriously cannot believe they patented that). You can see it demoed in the video below.
However, it seems that for every one patent owned by Apple and possibly “stolen” by Palm, there are two of exactly the opposite. Seems like Palm has a patent on the way the iPhone adjusts the screen’s brightness, the method in which the iPhone toggles between different dialing options (speed dial, dialer, contacts, and call history to be exact), searching for a contact by typing initials only, and the way you implement conference calling in the iPhone. So, it is safe to say that if Apple does decide to sue Palm over certain patents implemented in the Pre, Palm will not go down without fighting. We might all be surprised to see Apple actually lose a legal battle at the end of the day.
Of course, chances are none of this will ever happen, kinda like the Cold War and how neither side ever launched out of fear of the other side’s retaliation. If Apple loses this battle, they will owe Palm royalty fees for every iPhone ever sold, that would be a whopping 16 million devices. I also do not see Palm taking the first shot in this war, I don’t think anyone doubts the amount Palm has to lose. If they lose this battle, say goodbye to the Pre, and therefore we can pretty much uncover the grave we dug for them right before they surprised us with the Pre.
As Nilay Patel of Engadget so elegantly puts it, “All we want is for both Apple and Palm to come to the table, hammer out a cross-licensing agreement like other companies in the wireless industry do all the time, and get back to work on innovative, exciting technologies and devices. The lawyers get paid that way too, you know”. Could not have said it better.
Watch the video below to see an iPhone technology for which Apple could sue Palm. I did not even know the iPhone did this, did you?