updated 11:40 am EDT, Sat August 4, 2007
Apple sued over iPhone
Apple this week was sued by a Florida company over a patent it claims is used in the iPhone's touch-screen display. Apple was notified that the iPhone allegedly infringes on a patent issued in 2004 to SP Technologies LLC, which is based in St. Petersburg, Florida. The patent describes a "method and medium for computer readable keyboard display incapable of user termination." The company is calling for Apple to pay "reasonable royalties" for each iPhone already sold and is also seeking a permanent injunction against Apple to prevent the use of its intellectual property in Apple's mobile device. The company also alleges "willful and deliberate" infringement of the patent, which it claims the Cupertino-based company used illegally for the iPhone's keyboard, according to the complaint.
The complaint was filed on August 2nd in a federal court in Tyler, Texas-- a district considered sympathetic to plaintiffs in patent infringement cases. Apple, the complaint argues, conducts business in the area by selling the iPhone in local stores.
If Apple is found guilty of "willful and deliberate" patent infringement, it could be forced to pay punitive damages equal to three times the economic loss that the plaintiff suffered.
Over the past year, Apple has filed dozens of patents related to its iPhone and the embedded touch-screen and gesture technology.