Man at His Best

A Man Is Suing Apple For 7.5 Billion For Stealing His 1992 iPhone Idea

You've got to admire his optimism.

BY Nick Pope | Jul 2, 2016 | Technology

In what must be the greatest case of straight-faced wishful thinking since Alan Shearer rallied for the England job, a Florida resident is launching a £7.5 billion lawsuit against Apple for stealing ideas from some of his early '90s drawings.

'Inventor' Thomas S Ross believes that Apple's market-dominating iPhone, iPad and iPod are all based on his very own "Electronic Reading Device", which he designed back in May 1992.

In three original drawings discovered by MacRumours, Ross explains how his device would allow users 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 also planned to 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 utilising internal and external storage media. He also imagined that the device would have batteries and even be equipped with solar panels."

Which begs the question: Apple, where the hell are our solar panels? And quit skimping with the modems.

One potential stumbling block (amongst several bazillion other stumbling blocks) for Ross' lawsuit will be that he never managed to attain a trademark on the idea.

He sent the three drawings over to the US Patent and Trademark Office in September 10, 1992, but wasn't able to pay the registration fees. The application was ultimately abandoned in 1995.

But that hasn't stopped eternal optimist Ross from seeking compensation for "great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money". 

Except he measured it anyway, to the tune of "no less than US$10 billion (£7.5b)" and a royalty of up to 1.5 percent on Apple's worldwide sale of infringing devices.

Needless to say, that's a whole heap of loose change. Don't know about you, but we're delving into our lofts to dig out all of our embarassing childhood scribbles. It's worth a try, isn't it?

From: Esquire UK.