An interesting discovery by FOSS Patents has been made today. FOSS Patents reports that in Apple’s case against HTC, which is currently underway with the U.S. International Trade Commission. According to the report, Apple claims that a key patent for a ”real-time signal processing” API which HTC is accused of infringing in its Android devices was developed by a team of Apple engineers, which Android co-founder and current Google executive Andy Rubin was a member of.
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.
The claim isn’t direcetly related to Apple’s case against HTC, but is used to bolster Apple’s case that HTC has not been completely honest in justifying its case by refusing to discuss of Rubin’s time at Apple. Rubin was a “low-level engineer” at Apple reporting directly to the inventors of the patent. In additon, Apple suggests that Android’s infringing framework was the result of “Mr. Rubin’s inspiration” from his work at Apple.
The patent in question is U.S. Patent No 6,343,263. Also, Apple claims that Rubin may have used ideas from the patent in his work on the foundation of Android.
This isn’t the first time that Rubin has encountered accusations of patent infringement. Oracle is also accusing Google of infringing on its Java platform, citing two emails from Rubin and another employee.