A Florida-based man is suing Apple for $10 billion (£7.5 billion), in damages, as well as royalties on all future Apple sales, for stealing his design for an “electronic reading device,” The lawsuit alleges stated that the plaintiff, Thomas Ross, actually designed an iPhone-like the one apple created back in 1992, but it was subsequently “hijacked and exploited by Apple’s iPhones, iPods, iPads, and others.
Now Mr Thomas S Ross has filed for the custody of the “electronic reading device” (ERD), a rectangular, hand-held gadget with a screen designed in the year 1992.
He presented this first image at the court hearing
His lawsuit says he was “the first to file for a device designed and aggregated as to have created a novel combination of media and communication tools… whose identity was, since then, hijacked and exploited by Apple's iPhones, iPods, iPads and others”.
Included in the lawsuit filing are drawings of Ross’s original patent. Ross claims Apple’s own reproductions “are substantially the same as his technical drawings of the ERD, and that Apple's three-dimensional derivative devices (iPhone, iPod, iPad), embody the non-functional aesthetic look and feel”.
However, the place the lawsuit has been filed is also of importance. The number of patent cases file in Florida’s South District Court has grown exponentially in the last few years. The court has reportedly seen a 400 percent rise in the number of patent cases filed yearly since 2009, putting it in the top 10 locations in the US for patent infringement lawsuits.
You can decide for yourself whether Ross’s drawings look anything like your iPhone.
A second design for a dual-screen device
As well as the $10 billion-plus, Ross claims he is owed "a reasonable royalty" of 1.5pc of all of Apple's future sales.
He estimated that Apple has made a total sum of $235 billion in revenue last year, that would be another $3.5bn or so a year.
Mr Ross claim was not approved, given that he failed to pay the appropriate fees, and the application was declared abandoned in 1995. Nonetheless, he claims Apple resorted to "dumpster diving" when designing the iPhone and subsequent devices.
"Instead of creating its own ideas, Apple chose to adopt a culture of dumpster diving as an R&D strategy,
The thing is, while Ross applied for a patent in November 1992, it was eventually declared “abandoned” in April 1995 by the US Patent and Trademark Office,
"What Ross contemplated, was a device that could allow one to read stories, novels, news articles, as well as look at pictures, watch video presentations, or even movies, on a flat touch-screen that was back-lit. He further imagined that it could include communication functions, such as a phone and a modem, input/output capability, so as to allow the user to write notes, and be capable of storing reading and writing material utilizing internal and external storage media. He also imagined that the device would have batteries and even be equipped with solar panels".
He quoted Steve Jobs, who once said that "we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas", and claims that Apple has caused him a great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money.
Mr Ross is demanding a trial case in the Florida Southern District Court.