Just when I thought that patent trolls couldn’t get any crazier in their claims against Apple, a Florida man has proven me wrong. The Telegraph reports that Thomas Ross is claiming a cool $10B for what he claims is infringement of a patent application he made back in 1992.

As if it weren’t enough that his child-like sketches of an “electronic reading device” (ERD) look almost perfectly unlike an iPhone (and have a few more disk drives), it turns out that his patent application was abandoned after he failed to pay the registration fees.

His lawsuit says he was “the first to file a device so designed and aggregated as to have created a novel combination of media and communication tools… whose identity was, since then, hijacked and exploited by Apple’s iPhones, iPods, iPads and others”.

Included in the lawsuit filing are drawings of Ross’s original patent. Ross claims Apple’s own reproductions “are substantially the same as his technical drawings of the ERD, and that Apple’s three-dimensional derivative devices (iPhone, iPod, iPad), embody the non-functional aesthetic look and feel”.

Oh, and in addition to the $10B upfront, Ross would also like a royalty of 1.5% on all future sales of iOS devices.

On the plus side, you do have to give him credit for including a ‘cellular antenna’ in an ebook reader back in 1992, the year the Palm Pilot was created. Pretty forward-thinking for the time, and if he’d actually succeeded in registering the patent, he might have had some legitimate claims against early smartphones and ebook readers.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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