updated 08:30 am EST, Fri January 23, 2009
Palm on Risk of Apple Suit
Palm is confident the Pre won't be shot down by any patent lawsuits from Apple, the webOS smartphone maker tells AllThingsD. Company spokeswoman Lynn Fox responds to implications that the Pre's multi-touch screen may violate Apple's own patents for the iPhone with the assertion that Palm has many of its own "fundamental patents" for mobile devices that would let it fend off challenges regardless of which firm might make the accusation. The company is often credited with inventing the smartphone through the Treo and includes single-touch screens with every current smartphone it makes.
"Palm has a long history of innovation that is reflected in our products and robust patent portfolio," Fox says. "If faced with legal action, we are confident that we have the tools necessary to defend ourselves."
The news comes after Apple was questioned during its latest fiscal results call on whether it thought the Pre might infringe on its patents and would pursue legal action against Palm as a result. Apple's chief operating officer Tim Cook said at the time that the iPhone maker would aggressively defend its intellectual property but consciously avoided any direct implications that Palm's handset was treading on any patents. Cook instead preferred to suggest that Apple would defend against any violations regardless of manufacturer.
Palm in its current state is known to share roots with Apple, as current research and development head Jon Rubinstein is widely known for his key work on the iPod and Apple products in general. Since leaving for Palm, he has also orchestrated a major reshuffling of engineering staff at the mobile pioneer that has included bringing on some former Apple employees, though it's not known whether any of these have connections to the iPhone's development.