The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation paid $900,000 to hack the San Bernardino gunman’s iPhone, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) said this week. n 2016, the FBI contracted an unnamed third-party security firm to unlock the password-protected iPhone 5c of San Bernardino, California shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife killed 14 people in an attack in December 2015.
The Associated Press, Vice Media, and USA Today took the FBI to court over the agency’s nondisclosure, arguing that it had lacked “adequate justification.” FBI director James Comey hinted that the agency paid “more money than he would earn in his remaining seven years on the job” — or roughly least $1.3 million.
Florida resident Thomas S. Ross filed a lawsuit against Apple this week, claiming that the iPhone, iPad, and iPod infringe upon his 1992 invention of a hand-drawn “Electronic Reading Device” (ERD). The court filing claims the plaintiff was “first to file a device so designed and aggregated,” nearly 15 years before the first iPhone.
Ross designed three hand-drawn technical drawings of the device, between May 23, 1992 and September 10, 1992, primarily consisting of flat rectangular panels with rounded corners that “embodied a fusion of design and function in a way that never existed prior to 1992.”
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. He further imagined that it could include communication functions, such as a phone and a modem, input/output capability, so as to allow the user to write notes, and be capable of storing reading and writing material utilizing internal and external storage media. He also imagined that the device would have batteries and even be equipped with solar panels.
Ross applied for a utility patent to protect his invention in November 1992, however, the application was declared abandoned in April 1995 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office after he failed to pay the required application fees. He also filed to copyright his technical drawings with the U.S. Copyright Office in 2014.
The plaintiff claims that he continues to experience “great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money,” he has demanded a jury trial and is seeking restitution no less than $10 billion and a royalty of up to 1.5% on Apple’s worldwide sales of infringing devices.
Beijing police have busted a factory that produced more than 41,000 fake iPhones worth as much as ($26 million), including some that reached the United States, and have arrested nine suspects in the counterfeiting operation.
Apple is one of the most popular brands in China, where authorities have stepped up efforts in recent years to dispel the country’s reputation for turning out counterfeit goods.
Officials have taken stiffer action to enforce intellectual property (IP) rights, pushed firms to apply for trademarks and patents and cracked down on fakes.
Apple is one of the most popular brands in China. Pictured here is a real iPhone 6 Plus. Photo: David Paul Morris