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Palm: Pre can shake any Apple patent suits

updated 08:30 am EST, Fri January 23, 2009

Palm on Risk of Apple Suit

Palm is confident the Pre won't be shot down by any patent lawsuits from Apple, the webOS smartphone maker tells AllThingsD. Company spokeswoman Lynn Fox responds to implications that the Pre's multi-touch screen may violate Apple's own patents for the iPhone with the assertion that Palm has many of its own "fundamental patents" for mobile devices that would let it fend off challenges regardless of which firm might make the accusation. The company is often credited with inventing the smartphone through the Treo and includes single-touch screens with every current smartphone it makes.

"Palm has a long history of innovation that is reflected in our products and robust patent portfolio," Fox says. "If faced with legal action, we are confident that we have the tools necessary to defend ourselves."

The news comes after Apple was questioned during its latest fiscal results call on whether it thought the Pre might infringe on its patents and would pursue legal action against Palm as a result. Apple's chief operating officer Tim Cook said at the time that the iPhone maker would aggressively defend its intellectual property but consciously avoided any direct implications that Palm's handset was treading on any patents. Cook instead preferred to suggest that Apple would defend against any violations regardless of manufacturer.

Palm in its current state is known to share roots with Apple, as current research and development head Jon Rubinstein is widely known for his key work on the iPod and Apple products in general. Since leaving for Palm, he has also orchestrated a major reshuffling of engineering staff at the mobile pioneer that has included bringing on some former Apple employees, though it's not known whether any of these have connections to the iPhone's development.

by MacNN Staff



  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Ignoring the fact that Palm has used pressure-based touch screens and not capacitance-based screens, it's also worth noting that everything Palm knows about touch screens was from their engineers who developed them for the Newton while working at Apple.

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hear! Hear!

    My first thought was the Newton also.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cook didn't say...

    they were gunning for Palm. It was just a generalized statement for protection of intellectual property from any manufacturer. Palm must be feeling guilty about something. I'd hardly think that Apple should have any worries about competing against Palm, but you never know. It's probably not going to be easy for the Pre to gain traction in a down handset market. I'd give the nod to companies that have plenty of cash to spend on advertising and customer support.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: short-sighted

    I don't see how the type of screen matters (since Apple didn't patent the touch screen, capacitance screen, or whatever, their patents are on the underlying software), nor do I see how it matters that their techs came from Apple.

    Should we be making comments that everything Apple knows about operating systems comes from NeXT?

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re testudo

    hey testudo, you are very funny........

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969


    whos bigger?

    Taking on Apple with its well trained legal resources (well trained due to all the lawsuits they are in) and the amount of money Apple has in cach reserves makes me wonder if Palm has the ability to even try to combat Apple. If I held stock from Palm I would be selling right now.

  1. jokell82

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Palm didn't invent Treo

    "The company is often credited with inventing the smartphone through the Treo"

    Credited incorrectly, then. The Treo was created by Handspring. Palm eventually bought that company, but they never created the Treo.

  1. MeandmyMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I feel a song coming...

    "Palm: Pre can shake any Apple patent suits" to which Apple sings that old Chubby Checker song... "C'mon baby, let's do the twist. C'mon, baaaaaabeeee, let's do the twist... Take my hand, and go like this." : )

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