updated 12:00 pm EDT, Mon July 19, 2010
iPhones, iPods cited as offending products
Apple, Sprint, Verizon and Samsung have been targeted in a new lawsuit, accusing the companies of false patent marketing, according to AppleInsider. The group called Americans for Fair Patent Use asserts that the companies are claiming expired patents, and/or attaching some patents to products for which they don't apply. In the case of Apple, the iPhone, the iPod touch, the fifth- and sixth-generation iPod classics and the third- and fourth-generation iPod nanos are all said to have product guides claiming patents which "expired prior to the first sale in the United States of any Apple Product."
Filed through the US District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, the case relies on a law called the False Marketing Statute, and could theoretically see the companies pay a $500 penalty per falsely marketed product. Half of the sum would go to the government, in keeping with terms of the statute, while the AFPU would get the remainder. The defendants would also be subject to steps preventing future false marketing, and could be made to notify customers of their violations.