The iPhone went on sale nine years ago today, and to mark the momentous occasion a Florida man is suing Apple for a whopping $10 billion and 1.5 percent of all future Apple earnings — because he claims to have come up with the idea for Apple’s breakthrough mobile device all way back in 1992.
Thomas S. Ross’ “electronic reading device” patent describes a “device so designed and aggregated as to have created a novel combination of media and communication tools,” only for the idea (allegedly) to have been “hijacked and exploited by Apple’s iPhones, iPods, iPads and others.”
While Apple is widely regarded as having revolutionized the look and feel of smartphones, Ross’ lawsuit claims Apple of choosing to “adopt a culture of dumpster diving as an R&D strategy” instead of coming up with its own concepts.
His star witness? None other than Steve Jobs, who demonstrated his willingness to steal other people’s hard-earned (or, well, hastily-sketched) innovations by once saying that, “we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”
The suit finally argues that the distress Ross has suffered as a result of seeing his iPhone everywhere without the proper credit being bestowed on him adds up to a “great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money.”
In the meantime, though, he’s happy to take $10 billion — plus the barely-significant sum of 1.5 percent of all future Apple earnings. It’s only right, isn’t it?