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Apple sued over iPod nano, touch connector

updated 12:10 am EDT, Tue April 29, 2008

Dock connector lawsuit?

Apple has been sued by yet another company claiming that it infringed on a patent through components found in the immensely popular iPod media player. Filed last week in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of inventor Henry Milan by Detroit-based law firm Butzel Long, it claims that Apple violated a hardware-based patent in its connecting mechanism in the two different media players. The firm argues a violation of U.S. patent No. 6,991,483, which was filed on Nov, 12, 2004, and issued on Jan. 31, 2006, almost five months after launched the iPod nano and six weeks after Apple was contacted about alleged infringement. The patent describes a connector that combines a Flash memory drive and a connection port in a single unit that be made to a variety devices using various adapters.

Interestingly, the iPhone is not cited in the complaint, although it was introduced before the iPod touch and uses a similar single unit design for the Flash memory drive connector, according to Information Week. In addition, the report notes that the lawsuit may have been meant, in part, to precipitate licensing discussions.

"They've been very slow in responding," Butzel Long representatives told the publication. "While the iPhone is not listed in the initial complaint, it's possible that the suit could be expanded to cover the iPhone," he continued.

According to the report, the lawsuit seeks damages for willful infringement and an injunction against the sale of the iPod nano and Touch, although the lawyers apparently backpedaled on the possibility of halting current sales, as the firm was not yet sure whether it would ultimately seek an injunction.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. ViktorCode

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Patent reform

    Now!

  1. LenE

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Prior Art

    Seems that just about any tethered device that has memory would be prior art. Off the top of my head, the Newton Message Pad and early Palm Pilots connecting with cables, rather than docks. Likewise any WinCE/PocketPC devices or home embroidery machines would also be considered flash memory devices with special cables. h***, my old HP 48GX calculator, and the TI-85 I used before that would also count, although the latter just used a mini-jack for a physical connector.

    All the same, this patent should have a very difficult time holding up. The caveat being that I am basing my opinion only on the description here, and not on a thorough reading of all claims made in the patent.

  1. thewebdrives

    Administrator

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    lawsuits

    are everywhere..

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    cool

    sue them till they are broke.

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Yep !

    I patented breathing: a process by which "air" is pulled into the lungs thru a primarily involuntary and yet sometimes voluntary action which allows a creature to "breathe" for the purposes of infusing the blood-stream and other bodily processeses with oxygen and nitrogen and other needed "gases" as requried_

    You are ALL in violation of this and I demand compensation_ 50 from ALL 6 billion+ people on the planet_

    Also - it's prior art in favor of Apple - seeing as how the patent was filed in 2004 and granted 1.5 years later - between 3 and 5 years after the iPod hit the market_ WTF?

  1. rytc

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    lawsuits

    These lawsuits are getting ridiculous, who in their right mind is giving people patents for things as generic as this, seriously!

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    sue

    sue!!!!!!

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    seriously?

    this is getting ridiculous. people sue for anything these days. i blame the patent offices for patenting every-damn-thing. D

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