Florida man sues Apple for $10 billion for ‘stealing’ his iPhone designs from 1992

Apple’s lawsuit woes don’t seems to be ending anytime soon. A Florida man, Thomas S Ross has filed a lawsuit against Apple accusing the tech giant for stealing and using his own hand-drawn designs for an ‘Electronic Reading Device’ (ERD) that he conceived in 1992 for the design of its iPhone, iPad and iPod. Now, Ross man is suing Apple for over $10 billion (£7.5 billion). He also believes that he is owed “a reasonable royalty” of 1.5pc of all of Apple’s future sales.

Ross had filed a patent for an ERD, a rectangular, hand-held gadget with a screen, in 1992. In his lawsuit, he claims that he was “the first to file a device so designed and aggregated as to have created a novel combination of media and communication tools… whose identity was, since then, hijacked and exploited by Apple’s iPhones, iPods, iPads and others.”

Included in the lawsuit filing are drawings of Ross’s original patent conceived between May and September 1992. Ross claims Apple’s own reproductions “are substantially the same as his technical drawings of the ERD, and that Apple’s three-dimensional derivative devices (iPhone, iPod, iPad), embody the non-functional aesthetic look and feel”.

Among his submissions are a design for a further device – or likely a combination of two devices, known as the ‘Cypher-Text’, a ‘reading device’; and the ‘Cypher-Note’, a ‘writing device’ (shown below).

Ross’s patent was never actually approved, since he failed to pay the appropriate fees to the US Patent and Trademark Office, and the application was declared abandoned in 1995. However, he claims Apple resorted to “dumpster diving” when designing the iPhone and subsequent devices.

“Instead of creating its own ideas, Apple chose to adopt a culture of dumpster diving as an R&D strategy,” Ross’s lawsuit says.

It quotes Steve Jobs, who once said that “we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas”, and claims that Apple has caused Ross “great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money”. However, he may struggle to convince a jury that Apple pinched his concept.

Ross is demanding a jury hear a trial in the Florida Southern District Court. Ross v. Apple, Inc. was filed with the Florida Southern District Court on June 27. The case number is 0:2016cv61471.

Source: The Telegraph