In the early 1990s, Android head honcho Andy Rubin worked as a low-level Apple engineer. And that, according Apple’s latest ITC filing, is grounds enough for them to potentially block Android in the US.
It sounds far-fetched; the bulk of Android’s foundational work was completed in the mid-to-late ’90s, when Rubin was at General Magic and Danger (the company Google eventually bought, primarily for the operating system). But while extreme, the reasoning may not be as crazy as it sounds, according to FOSS Patents:
Apple now asserts — in a filing with the ITC, which means Apple has a legal obligation to make truthful representations of fact — that Rubin’s superiors at Apple were the inventors of that realtime API patent and he worked for them at the very time they made that invention. He worked as a low-level engineer while the inventors were senior people. It’s possible that he then contributed to the implementation of the claimed invention.
The implications of this — other than that Apple is being even more aggressive than previously imagined in its suits against HTC and other Android OEMs — are that if Apple were to sue Google directly over this particular patent, the could conceivably get an injunction. Against the entire platform. As well as lots, and lots, and lots, of money.
That’s another case somewhere further down the line, if it happens at all. For now, just know that Apple’s bringing in the heavy legal artillery — and they might just have a point. [FOSS Patents]