A new invention shakes Apple to the core

There’s a new device on the market that converts an iPod Touch into an iPhone. Apple says the brothers who invented it are copycats who are infringing on Apple’s patents.

There will always be people with bright and inquisitive minds who love to create and invent new things to make existing technology even better. This appears to be the case with two Chinese brothers, Pan Lei and Pan Yong. These two enterprising young men put their heads together and invented a device that craftily converts Apple’s iPod Touch into an iPhone. It’s quite the idea, and the marketplace hails it as being innovative.

On the other hand, Apple Inc. isn’t so thrilled with the invention and is suing the brothers for patent infringement, saying they are nothing but copycats. The problem might actually be that Apple is planning a similar device. At least, that is what a recently published patent application may indicate.

The bothers’ new product, dubbed the Apple Peel 520, is a case that includes a circuit board and battery. It wraps around the iPod Touch media player and lets the user make calls, once the appropriate software is installed. This particular device requires breaking into Apple’s operating system, but it is not considered to be a counterfeit iPhone, insisted the two brothers.

The Apple Peel is, according to the brothers, original and was the joint collaboration of Pan Lei, an interior designer and Pan Young, a software engineer. They launched their new company, Yosion Technology, with the Apple Peel as its flagship product.

While consumers might be thrilled to bits with this new development, Apple, based in California, is taking a rather dim view of the whole thing. The company is seeking a patent on comparable technology, thus the reason why they are so defensive in this latest patent infringement lawsuit. There is a lot of money at stake here given the existing iPod market – 220 million music players released since 2001.

Consumers will also like the price of the Apple Peel, pegged to be about $60, a far cry from initial guesstimates of what Apple’s product (when it’s developed) would cost. Initial speculation is that it may run around $830. What consumer wouldn’t jump at the chance to save $770?

This will be an interesting case to watch as it develops. The core of it will be whether or not the Apple Peel is a copyright infringement or something that takes existing technology even further by inventing something new to turn a product into something else.

To learn more about David Alden Erikson, Attorney at Law, visit Daviderikson.com. Mr. Erikson specializes in Los Angeles fashion law, internet law, business litigation, trademark and copyright law.

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