Palm Responds to Apple iPhone Patent Warnings

By  |  Friday, January 23, 2009 at 9:54 am

Palm vs. NewtonFirst, Apple COO Tim Cook seemed to throw a brushback pitch at Palm’s upcoming Pre phone by talking about how vigorously Apple would defend its intellectual property immediately after a financial analyst had mentioned the Pre. Which left lots of folks with the impression that he might be suggesting that the Pre violated Apple patents on multi-touch interfaces and/or other iPhone-related patents.

Now Palm PR head Lynn Fox has responded to the idea that the Pre might tread too closely to iPhone territory, in the form of a quote in a story by All Things Digital’s John Paczkowski:

Palm has a long history of innovation that is reflected in our products and robust patent portfolio (31 pages of patents in Google Patent Search), and we have long been recognized for our fundamental patents in the mobile space,” she told Digital Daily. “If faced with legal action, we are confident that we have the tools necessary to defend ourselves.”

I’ve said that I hope Apple doesn’t sue Palm, but I should clarify: Apple has every right to enforce its patents, but I hope it turns out that it doesn’t have grounds to sue Palm. The Pre has some iPhone-like characteristics, but overall, it’s no iPhone wannabee.  It’s a strikingly imaginative device–the most inventive new phone since the first iPhone–and it would be a shame if legal woes interfered with its release. We’ll see.

I’ll end with an image from a 1996 Palm patent filing that probably won’t protect the company from Apple’s current legal maneuverings, should there be any…but so help me, I love old patent drawings:

Palm Pilot


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7 Comments For This Post

  1. Andrew Mager Says:

    That old Palm Pilot illustration is awesome.

  2. bud Says:

    How did the Newton charge?

    Palms success was sort of built on the Newtons ashes, as Palm was the only ones doint that newton thing right after Apple gave up the ghost on it.

    I think if there are any fights, it will be on touch interface only, not physical charging models.

  3. Ben Ruedlinger Says:

    I think what Palm was trying to say was that Apple should be careful about making patent accusations as Palm has an extensive portfolio of patents in the PDA and mobile spaces. This “you don’t sue us if we don’t sue you” approach is pretty common.

  4. DaveZatz Says:

    Wow, that Palm III pencil drawing is nice – very artistic and detailed. I mean look at the ridges on the stylus. The current crop of patent filers must employ lazier artists or maybe the engineers are responsible.

    Bud, my memory could be failing me but I think some of the folks behind Newton did found Palm and Grafiti.

    Back to the Pre, prior to Palm’s big reveal I was not so secretly hoping they’d reintroduce the Palm V form factor. Man, I loved that device. I used it on business travel with a dialup modem accessory to read email and access a server. So slim and sexy, and the OS was always quite sprightly. (When the modem wasn’t attached.)

  5. Shazbot Says:

    I think the whole finger thing is a bit passée – Palm, I love what you are doing with the Pre – but move the game on a bit and have the Pre respond to the movement of my eyes. Its not as pie-in-the-sky as many might think.

  6. Melissa Says:

    I thought this subject would have ben brought up years ago… strange that it is happening now…Anways on that subject, this might be interesting for a topic…You guys should check this out, Second Voice is a service that offeres you to have 2 cell phone numbers and 2 voice mails in one phone. Take a look, thought it might be interesting.

  7. Enlightenment Says:

    I’m sure that Palm would counter sue using their patent portfolio.

    Palm could also claim that Apple has a Monopoly, just like happened with suits against Microsoft did when they prevented DOS competitors running with early Windows….big legal mess.

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