According to Ross, the iPhone, iPad, and iPod infringe upon his 1992 invention of a hand-drawn "Electronic Reading Device" (ERD). The court filing claims the plaintiff was "first to file a device so designed and aggregated," nearly 15 years before the first iPhone.
Between May 23, 1992 and September 10, 1992, Ross designed three hand-drawn technical drawings of the device, primarily consisting of flat rectangular panels with rounded corners that "embodied a fusion of design and function in a way that never existed prior to 1992." And to be fair it does look a lot like an iPhone and iPad evem down to the rounded corners that Steve Jobs claimed came to him in a vision from his Holy Guardian Angel.
While Ross thought the device could be used for communications he mostly thought it would be an ebook which could allow one to read stories, novels, news articles, as well as look at pictures, watch video presentations, or even movies, on a flat touch-screen that was back-lit.
He also imagined that the device would have batteries and even be equipped with solar panels – Apple still can't do that..
He might have a case. However, he applied for a utility patent to protect his invention in November 1992, but the application was declared abandoned in April 1995 by the US Patent and Trademark Office after he failed to pay the required application fees. He also filed to copyright his technical drawings with the U.S. Copyright Office in 2014. We are not sure how he will argue past that particular issue.
While the plaintiff claims that he continues to experience "great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money," he has demanded a jury trial and is seeking restitution no less than $10 billion and a royalty of up to 1.5 per cent on Apple's worldwide sales of infringing devices. We would like this to be true but somehow we doubt it.