A Florida man named Thomas Ross claims he and not Steve Jobs created the iPhone and the iPad, and wants Apple to pay him $10 billion for stealing his idea. Thomas, who has sued Apple Inc. cited his sketches from 1992 as evidence that he was the revolutionary genius behind the iPhone.
The drawings/ sketches show a rectangle with a screen on it, and was sketched 15 years before the iPhone’s debut in 2007.
The sketches bear some resemblance to Apple’s device, but if we were to judge the case by these standards, Ross can also claim to have invented the Kindle, the personal digital assistant and the Nintendo DS as they all have a rectangle shape with a screen on it.
In the second drawing, is a clamshell model with touchscreens on both sides and a stylus, which resembles Nintendo’s handheld system.
Ross pitched these as “electronic reading devices” in his 1992 patent request, which was abandoned in 1995 after he failed to pay the application fee.
“The device, constituting the invention, is a computerized, electronic reading device, the purpose of which is to provide an alternative to paper-based print-media such as books, magazines, manuscripts and news media,” Ross wrote in his patent request.
The lawsuit called Apple’s devices “ERD looka-like units,” claiming his idea was the original. He’s demanding Apple destroy all “copies and knock-offs” that the company created.
In March 2015, Ross sent a cease and desist demand to Apple CEO Tim Cook, claiming the company has been stealing his design.
“Any pursuit of claims against Apple in light of these facts would be baseless and objectively unreasonable,” Apple legal counsel Jeffrey Lasker wrote in response.