Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Chinese/Taiwanese companies who make Apple products

In PSC v. Foxconn (2004), the CAFC re-visited the "disclosed, not claimed --> public domain" holding of Johnson & Johnston:

PSC’s disclosure that the prior art included clips with plastic parts was both precise and clear. One important purpose of the written description is to provide notice to the public as to the subject matter of the patent, while the claim provides notice as to the scope of the invention. The ‘239 patent’s claim language placed the public on notice that metal clip parts would infringe. Its written description served notice that plastic had been used as an alternative to metal in the prior art, and that the future use of plastic would therefore not infringe.

To appreciate the two aspects of this notice function, it is important to recall that claims and written descriptions are both integral parts of a patent under 35 U.S.C. § 112. The Supreme Court long ago explained that:
Accurate description of the invention is required by law, for several important purposes: 1. That the government may know what is granted, and what will become public property when the term of the monopoly expires. 2. That licensed persons desiring to practise the invention may know during the term how to make, construct, and use the invention. 3. That other inventors may know what part of the field of invention is unoccupied.

Bates v. Coe, 98 U.S. 31, 39 (1878). These fundamental precepts of patent law have remained unchanged for more than a century and a quarter; we reiterated them in Johnson, 285 F.3d at 1052 (“Both the Supreme Court and this court have adhered to the fundamental principle that claims define the scope of patent protection. . . . The claims give notice both to the examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office during prosecution, and to the public at large, including potential competitors, after the patent has issued.” (citations omitted)).

[In passing, one notes that the grant rate analysis of Quillen and Webster violates the basic precept mentioned: the fundamental principle that claims define the scope of patent protection ]

Foxconn walked in the PSC case. Foxconn makes stuff for American companies. It is rumored that Foxconn is involved in the production of Apple's upcoming netbook:

“Three corporations – Foxconn, Wintek, Dynapack have received direct orders from Apple. (Wintek will be producing touch screens and providing relevant technologies for Apple.) In addition, some supply chain companies have privately confirmed deals related to netbooks,” the Chinese publication reportedly says.

IPBiz finds humor in the fact that these rumors arise out of someone translating an article in China Times:

A poster on the MacRumors forums has provided a good translation of the China Times article in question, which reveals that, “Although there are many reports that highlight the new iPhone debut during the last month as well as Steve Jobs’ return, Jobs will not face any new product shortage, at least not for this year. Taiwan’s high-tech supply chain companies said Apple will debut its first netbook in October; Apple will pose itself to tackle the Christmas shopping season.”

Some folks at Foxconn take proprietary information seriously:

The worker [who committed suicide], Sun Danyong, 25, was a recent graduate in engineering who worked in product communications at Foxconn Technology Group. Foxconn is a Taiwanese firm that makes many Apple products at a massive factory in the southern city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong.

The Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper said Sun—responsible for sending iPhone prototypes to Apple—noticed he was missing one of the 16 units he received on July 9. He reported the missing phone on July 13 and his apartment was searched by Foxconn employees, the Chinese-language report said.

Sun jumped to his death from the 12th floor of his apartment building July 16.


Chinese worker commits suicide over missing iPhone

Apple Tablet Rumors Hotter than Eve

And New sources pour fuel on iTablet rumor fire:

reports earlier this month that Chinese suppliers had already received orders for parts to produce the device in time for a possible October launch.


Foxconn Suicides: iPhone and iPad Factory Under Scrutiny


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