^
Keep New Times Free
4

Florida Man Sues Apple for $10 Billion, Claims He Invented iPhone in 1992

As a young man back in 1992, Thomas S. Ross drew up plans for a then-futuristic handheld gizmo he dubbed the "Electronic Reading Device" (EDR). He envisioned it as a way for people to read novels, check the news, and view pictures and even videos, but also dreamed that the device could be set up to digitally communicate with other devices and networks. In fact, he says he even had plans for a whole line of ERDs that varied in size and were configured for different tasks. 

Ross never actually built one of these ERDs, but he did send his drawings off to the patent office. 

Twenty-four years later, Ross, who lives in Miramar, is suing Apple and claims that their iPhone and iPad lines shamelessly ripped off his ERD vision. 

He's now filed a lawsuit in the Southern Florida District U.S. Court and is seeking more than $10 billion from Apple plus a cut of all iPad, iPhone, and some iPod sales. 
Here's the thing: Ross' patent lapsed back in 1995 after he failed to pay the fees. 

You might also not be surprised to find that this isn't the first time Ross has filed suit over his ERDs. Back in 2007, Ross sued the U.S. government for letting his patent lapse in the first place. He claimed that because of his "indigent circumstances," he asked the patent office to waive the fees, but they never replied. That suit was ultimately dismissed. In that lawsuit, he claimed others had ripped off his ideas, but didn't specifically mention Apple. 

In the current suit, Ross claims Apple has adopted "a culture of dumpster diving as an R&D strategy," and insinuates that they somehow found his lapsed patent and used it as inspiration. 

"Apple engaged in systematic searching for other people's ideas by rummaging through all sorts of resources, private and governmental, for 'abandoned' and 'discarded' prior art, and ideas, and, when it found something promising, it 'made it its own,'" claims the suit. 

To support the claim, Ross points to a 1996 documentary in which Steve Jobs claims, “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

He further claims that all iPads, iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPod Nanos are basically rip-offs of his ERDs. 

Interestingly, he's not trying to take credit for the Apple Watch. 

Ross, who is representing himself in the lawsuit, seeks damages upward of $10 billion and wants cuts ranging from 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent of all future use of his patents. 

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.