A Florida man named Thomas S. Ross has sued Apple claiming that the three Apple devices iPhone, iPad and iPod are made based on his1992 drawingof a hand-drawn “Electronic Reading Device” (ERD).
According to the court filing, nearly 15 years before the first iPhone, such a device was invented by Ross. In late 1992, Ross drew three technical designs. These diagrams primarily consisted offlat rectangular panels with round corners that “embodied a fusion of design and function in a way that never existed before 1992.”
According to the filed complaint: ‘What Ross contemplated, was a device that could allow one to read stories, novels, news articles, as well as look at pictures, watch video presentations, or even movies, on a flat touch-screen that was back-lit. He further imagined that it could include communication functions, such as a phone and a modem, input/output capability, so as to allow the user to write notes, and be capable of storing reading and writing material utilising internal and external storage media. He also imagined that the device would have batteries and even come equipped with solar panels.’
In fact, Ross had applied for a patent in November 1992, but he failed to pay the application fee and therefore theapplication was declared abandoned in April 1995 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In 2014, he filed to copyright his technical drawings with the U.S. Copyright Office. He has said that the“great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money,” but he’s willing to settle the matter for no less than $10 billion and a royalty of up to 1.5% on Apple’s worldwide sales of infringing devices. The case isfiledin the Florida Southern District Court on June 27.