Google quotes Steve Jobs biography in attempt to win iPhone import ban

“Through its wholly-owned Motorola Mobility subsidiary whose patent litigations it micromanages, Google is still trying to win a U.S. import ban against the iPhone from the United States International Trade Commission (USITC, or just ITC),” Florian Mueller reports for FOSS Patents. “An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) twice sided with Apple on this particular patent.”

Mueller reports, “Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography comes into play. That biography has been quoted a lot in patent litigation, but usually only the ‘thermonuclear war’ part. Here’s the related passage from Google’s brief: “Here, the technology of the ‘862 patent was recognized as a ‘breakthrough’ by none other than Apple’s former CEO (Mr. Steve Jobs). On cross examination, Apple’s expert, Mr. Lanning, could not deny that Mr. Jobs himself characterized the incorporation of a proximity sensor into the iPhone as a ‘breakthrough’ to his biographer, Walter Isaacson: ‘[a]nother breakthrough was the sensor that figured out when you put the phone to your ear, so that your lobes didn’t accidentally activate some function.’ […] The sensor described by Mr. Jobs is the very technology that the ALJ found to infringe. […] And there can be no doubt that this passage refers to the technology of the ‘862 patent: it describes a sensor that prevents the inadvertent actuation of the phone when it is put to the user’s ear. The recognition that the invention of the ‘862 patent was a ‘breakthrough’ weighs heavily against a finding of obviousness, particularly since it came from Apple itself.

“Assuming the quote is correct, Steve Jobs was impressed by the sensor that figured out when you put the phone to your ear,” Mueller reports. “But Motorola’s ‘862 patent is not a patent on a way to detect such proximity.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. How can a court reference a biography; an autobiography perhaps, but not the biography?. How can someone else’s words be direct testimony? At best it’s hearsay and should not be allowed in the court record.

    1. Indeed, this is a last, desperate attempt by Google/Motorola Mobility to salvage something – anything – from their $12.5B gamble against Apple (and Samsung).

      Utter failure. Google should have stuck to search and maps…and secretly gathering and selling private data on everyone within reach. (/disgust)

    1. Google is completely incapable of innovation they are an intellectual theft company that makes money from spying on people and selling private info. The KGB of the 1950s would be insanely jealous of Google.

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