SAN FRANCISCO – A Florida-based man is suing Apple Inc. for $10 billion in damages, as well as royalties on all future Apple sales, for stealing his design for an “electronic reading device”.
According to The Telegraph, the lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff, Thomas Ross, actually designed an iPhone-like device in 1992, but it was subsequently “hijacked and exploited by Apple’s iPhones, iPods, iPads, and others”.
He is demanding damages of no less than $11 billion and another $10 billion in restitution, as well as at least 1.5 percent of Apple’s worldwide gross sales going forward “as a reasonable royalty,” according to the complaint.
Ross, who is representing himself in the suit, outlined his vision in several diagrams. He used the drawings in a patent application that the US Patent and Trade Office declared abandoned in 1995 for failure to pay required fees.
Last year Ross copyrighted his concept drawings, and his lawsuit contends that Apple products and packaging violate that copyright and his intellectual property.
In court paperwork, Ross accused Apple of adopting a culture of “dumpster diving” instead of creating its own ideas and argued that the invention pictured in his abandoned patent application was “sucked into” the company’s product line in a move he equated with identity theft.
Apple launched the iPod MP3 player in 2001, and the first iPhone was introduced six years later.
Ross also alleged that Apple did not comply with a cease-and-desist order he sent the company.
According to media reports, Apple considers the suit to be “without merit”.