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US man claims Apple owes him a fortune for iPhone idea

APPLE

SAN FRANCISCO – A Florida man who claims Apple made a killing with his iPhone idea is suing the technology giant seeking billions of dollars.

A lawsuit filed in a federal court in Florida this week by Thomas Ross argued that Apple “hijacked and exploited” a design he came up with in 1992 for an “electronic reading device.”

He is demanding damages of no less than $11 billion and another $10 billion in restitution, as well as at least 1.5 percent of Apple’s worldwide gross sales going forward “as a reasonable royalty,” according to the complaint.

Ross, who is representing himself in the suit, outlined his vision in several diagrams. He used the drawings in a patent application that the US Patent and Trade Office declared abandoned in 1995 for failure to pay required fees.

Last year Ross copyrighted his concept drawings, and his lawsuit contends that Apple products and packaging violate that copyright and his intellectual property.

In court paperwork, Ross accused Apple of adopting a culture of “dumpster diving” instead of creating its own ideas and argued that the invention pictured in his abandoned patent application was “sucked into” the company’s product line in a move he equated with identity theft.

Apple launched the iPod MP3 player in 2001, and the first iPhone was introduced six years later.

Ross said in the filing that Apple did not comply with a cease-and-desist order he sent the company.

Apple did not reply to an AFP request for comment, but the California company was quoted in media reports as saying that the suit is without merit.

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