When a company called FlatWorld Interactives LLC filed suit against Apple just over a year ago, it looked like a typical “patent troll” lawsuit against a tech company, brought by someone who no longer had much of a business beyond lawsuits.
Court documents unsealed this week reveal who’s behind FlatWorld, and it’s anything but typical. FlatWorld is partly owned by the named inventor on the patents, a Philadelphia design professor named Slavko Milekic. But 35 percent of the company has been quietly controlled by an attorney at one of Apple’s own go-to law firms, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. E-mail logs show that the attorney, John McAleese, worked together with his wife and began planning a wide-ranging patent attack against Apple’s touch-screen products in January 2007—just days after the iPhone was revealed to the world.
Jennifer McAleese reached out to numerous “troll patent” companies, as she called them, convinced that she and Milekic had an “excellent position against Apple” if and when they chose to sue. She e-mailed top patent lawyers at Google and Nokia, competitors known to be in patent clashes with Apple.
The whole time she was advised by her husband, a lawyer who had access to reams of confidential Apple data—but who says he never touched it. (Apple doesn’t see it that way.) Together, the McAleeses created “an indirect and covert pipeline” of information pumped to FlatWorld’s attorneys according to Apple lawyers. Now Apple wants FlatWorld’s law firm, Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, kicked off the case.
Oh, for crying out loud. This is an insane story.
I don’t know if that’s even ‘likely’ true, but I doubt Cook would say it publicly if he didn’t have a solid reason to believe it. This is an interesting interview to read, and pretty brief. I’m a believer that it is shitty for companies to keep cash overseas just to avoid paying taxes (and whine like 4-year olds about tax rates, which are *not* too high, especially since most of them never pay shit), but it’s worth hearing what Cook’s suggestions are to make it easier and less expensive to get them to move that money back to the States, wherever it makes sense. (by that, i mean, there’s no reason apple or other companies should invest exclusively in the u.s.; other countries buy and sell their products, make them welcome, provide public services and infrastructure, and they should get their fair share of the cash, too. but it shouldn’t be sitting in banks in Singapore just because apple or oracle or google don’t want to pay u.s. taxes on it.)
This is funny, a web page devoted to quotes from people who predicted the original iPad would be a disastrous flop and that Apple was no longer an innovative company. All of these experts still have jobs predicting the future of technology. John Dvorak, who claimed the iPad would be a disaster also famously wrote that Apple should cancel the iPhone after it was announced, because they would never make any money on phones. He still has a job. In the world of punditry — political, technical, or sports-related — you can’t be fired for being wrong.
In March 2010, just a couple of weeks before the iPad was due to be released publicly, I had a reason to contact Steve [Jobs]. A friend of mine was dying of liver disease and I was going to San Francisco to hopefully see and communicate with her while it was still possible. She was a friend from my Adobe days and was very much into technology. I thought it would be a treat for her to see an iPad. And I had one. But until the product was officially released I could not show it to anyone without permission from Apple management… [read more here]
A day after it emerged that Wall Street bonuses rose to twenty billion dollars last year, and that the typical financial-industry grunt received a payment on top of his salary that was more than twice the median household income, the latest corporate executive to run afoul of the Street…
We truly do live in Bizarro Businessland, when the person called on to ‘explain’ his company’s performance is Tim Cook. It’s almost like that dipshit, Mike Daisey, is the new president of the Wall Street press corps.
This is a strange video. In 1978, Todd Rundgren was basically predicting YouTube and the Internet (which existed at the time, but only for DARPA, and it was not available to anyone outside the government (and barely available to them, either)). He obviously doesn’t get it all exactly right, but in the course of dismissing what were then called ‘Video Discs’, he’s saying hard media has no future because computers, software, and ‘interactive cable’ would combine to create the future delivery mechanism for video programming.
One thing he gets wrong is to say that music is more insulated from this disruption than TV or film, and obviously that wasn’t the case. At that time I’m sure it sounded crazy to say that ‘in 25 years’ people might have computers with 1GB of storage in their homes. (remember, in 1978, the Apple II was still new and it had 4KB of RAM.)
(another thing he gets wrong is suggesting SNL might not last)
You will probably never see a clearer communication of a high-ranking executive being out-and-out fired from a major American corporation than this. Absolutely not one word of thanks or recognition, just dismissal for the departing executive and acknowledgement of the work done by the team that had to suffer under his clearly miserable leadership. For corporate communications, this is meant to convey that the company has zero respect for the guy being kicked to the curb. Which is good, at least in this case.
Additionally, John Browett is leaving Apple. Our search for a new head of Retail is already underway. In the meantime, the Retail team will report directly to me. Retail has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level, and they will continue the excellent work they’ve done over the past decade to revolutionize retailing with unique, innovative services and a focus on the customer that is second to none. This phenomenal team of talented and dedicated people works their hearts out making our customers happy. They have our respect, our admiration and our undying support.
Good move. That guy was a dipshit.