Florida Man Says Apple Ripped Off His Smartphone Invention, Sues for $10 Billion

By Jim Liao, Epoch Times
June 29, 2016 Updated: June 29, 2016

A Florida man is suing Apple Inc., alleging that the electronics giant ripped off concepts for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad from designs he conceived a decade and half before the iPhone was first released in 2007.

Ross is seeking $10 billion in restitution from Apple, as well as 1.5 percent of gross sales worldwide.

In the lawsuit, Thomas Ross writes that in 1992, he conceived of a device that could read articles, watch video presentations, and contained features such as a back-lit screen and media storage capabilities—all features of the iPhone today.

Ross called his invention the Electronic Reading Device (ERD). Because Ross filed patents for the device on Nov. 12, 1992, he claims the concept was his intellectual property, which was ripped off by Apple to make huge profits.

As part of his argument, Ross cites Apple as saying: “The iPhone is radically different from the devices that preceded it. It has a distinctive shape and appearance—a flat rectangular shape with rounded corners,” in the Apple v. Samsung case of 2011, but contends that the iPhone has the same concept and feel as Ross’s ERD of 1992. Thus it was Ross’s ERD design that was, “radically different from the devices that preceded it.”

Also contained in the 40-page lawsuit are three drawings, a flow chart, and a narrative of Ross’s ERD, all created between May 23, 1992 and Sept. 10, 1992.

Ross v. Apple, Inc. was filed with the Florida Southern District Court on June 27.

A drawing of Ross’s ERD sketched in 1992. (Taken from court documents)

Drawing of Ross's 1992 device which Apple allegedly stole. (Taken from court documents)
Drawing of Ross’s 1992 device which Apple allegedly stole. (Taken from court documents)