Florida Man: I Invented iPhone, Apple Owes Me $10B

He says he filed patent in 1992
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2016 1:58 AM CDT
Florida Man: I Invented iPhone, Apple Owes Me $10B
Ross' creation is Figure 1.   (Florida Southern District Court)

A Florida man who says Apple ripped off his design for the iPhone is willing to let the matter drop for the modest sum of $10 billion plus 1.5% of worldwide sales of the iPhone, iPod, and iPad. Thomas Ross—who filed a patent for his "Electronic Reading Device" in 1992—has filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming he has suffered "great and irreparable injury" and seeking a jury trial, the Daily Dot reports. Drawings submitted to the court include features standard on modern smartphones, including touch screens and video browsing, Apple Insider reports. Ross apparently never got further than creating the drawings.

"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," a court filing states. Ross filed the patent in 1992 but it was declared abandoned in 1995 by the patent office after he failed to pay the necessary fees, reports MacRumors, which first spotted the lawsuit. Commenters there note that Ross' device appears to bear strong similarities to devices in shows like Star Trek, as well as Apple's own Newton PDAs from the 1980s. (Apple ended up paying $21 million to Swiss Federal Railways after being accused of ripping off a 1944 clock design.)

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