The HTC V Apple legal battle has taken a dramatic twist, with Apple pulling one time employee Andy Rubin out of the bag, sensationally claiming the creation of rival Android platform started at Apple.
|Pictured: Andy Rubin
Describing the Android creator Rubin as a “low level engineer” who started his career at Cupertino, collaborating with the Apple inventors of US patent No. 263, while working on his own creation – the rival Android platform.
The US patent No. 263 which relates to “real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data,” is now one of several under dispute between Apple and Android carrier HTC, with the former claiming it owns the intellectual property rights.
The claims, submitted to the US International Trade Commission, as part of its ongoing battle with HTC, which in July found the Sensation maker guilty of breaching two patents owned by Apple, including patent 263.
“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,” the iPhone inventors claim.
“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.”
The claims, made as part of its submission to the appeal case demanded by HTC against the ITC infringement ruling, could have “major legal implications for a future Apple lawsuit against Google or possibly even for Apple’s dispute with Motorola,” believes Foss Patents.
If the ruling against HTC is upheld, “working around this patent  requires a fundamental change to Android’s architecture, and possibly even to the architecture of the underlying Linux kernel.”
This shows how fundamental the patent in question is to the Android platform.
However, Apple has said Mr. Rubin’s inspiration for the Android framework “may not be directly relevant” to the current case under review, this evidence, if upheld, may give the iOS maker ammunition in upcoming battles with Google Android.
If Apple sued successfully, this could even lead to a ban of Android backed products worldwide, affecting everything from Samsung Galaxy S II and 10.1 Tab – already banned in some countries due to Apple litigation – HTC, Acer, LG, Motorola and even Sony Ericisson devices.
However, these new claims appear a bit of a stretch – Rubin worked at Apple long before the iPhone was even invented and if he was ‘low level engineer’ he must not have been privy to as much high tech patent intelligence that Apple allege.
Apple also hit out at arch rival Android’s open, friendly platform and HTC’s attempt to ‘distort history,’ attacking its appeal case evidence. The original case was heard before an ITC administrative law judge.
“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.”
“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.”