Does HTC violate Apple patents because Android founder Andy Rubin was inspired by them when he worked at Apple?
Long title, longer legal filing, but the gist is Apple seems to be claiming Android founder Andy Rubin was working for Apple and reporting to the man who filed for a patent on Apple's behalf that Apple is now suing HTC for violating in their Android phones. Even longer:
Android and Mr. Rubin's relevant background does not start, as HTC would like the Commission to believe, with his work at General Magic or Danger in the mid-1990s. In reality, as the evidence revealed at the hearing, Mr. Rubin began his career at Apple in the early 1990s and worked as a low-level engineer specifically reporting to the inventors of the '263 [realtime API] patent at the exact time their invention was being conceived and developed. [...] It is thus no wonder that the infringing Android platform used the claimed subsystem approach of the '263 patent that allows for flexibility of design and enables the platform to be "highly customizable and expandable" as HTC touts. [...] While Mr. Rubin's inspiration for the Android framework may not be directly relevant to the pending petitions for review, that HTC felt compelled to distort this history is illustrative of the liberties it takes in attacking the ALJ's [initial determination] and the substantial evidence supporting the ALJ's findings.
FOSS Patents Florian Mueler says that since Rubin works for Google, not HTC, this would be far more meaningful if Apple eventually sues Google directly, or if/when Google's Motorola purchase goes through.
Google (or a Google subsidiary like [Motorola Mobility) would almost certainly be found to infringe the relevant patent intentionally, and willful infringement would greatly increase Apple's chances of obtaining an injunction as well as triple damages.
Mueler also points out Rubin and co. may have willfully infringed Oracle (formerly Sun) Java patents in Android as well.
Regardless of where you fall on the whole Apple vs. Android and patent system issues, right now it's just more fuel for the legal soap opera. Would Google throw Rubin under the bus on this?