updated 08:30 pm EDT, Wed July 20, 2011
Has already won an $8M judgement
Personal Audio LLC, a patent troll that was recently awarded an $8 million judgement in a dispute with Apple over the concept of playlists, has expanded the litigation to cover devices released since the original trial began, including the iPad 2 and the latest generations of iPods, iPhone and iPod Touch, filing a second lawsuit today in the notoriously troll-friendly Eastern Texas court district.
Earlier this month Personal Audio won its case against Apple over two generic patents that described "an audio program player including a dynamic program selection controller" and an "audio program distribution and playback system," which describe the concept of playlists as used in iTunes and other programs. Personal Audio had originally also sued other portable audio device makers such as Archos and Sirius XM, but the other companies settled before the trial concluded. Personal Audio won a one-time payment award after the judge found that Apple had likely violated the patents, but was given only one-tenth the amount it had originallly sought from the iPod maker.
The new lawsuit tries to build upon the judgement in the first (though Apple has yet to formally appeal the verdict) and includes the latest portable audio devices Apple has released since the previous litigation, including the fourth-generation iPod Touch, the iPhone 4, the iPad 2, the iPod Nano (sixth generation) and iPod Shuffle (fourth generation).
Apple and Personal Audio had previously agreed during the first trial that Apple "would not argue that Personal Audio could or should have added [future or un-included products]" to the lawsuit, and that "the parties specifically agreed that Personal Audio may initiate a separate lawsuit accusing New Products of infringement of the patents."
It's not currently known if Apple will continue to press for an appeal or lower settlement as an inducement not to carry the lawsuit further. Though the initial litigation went against Apple, it could still argue (particularly if it can show that the case should be moved out of the Eastern Texas District Court) that the original patents were not violated and are themselves invalid.
Personal Audio LLC makes no meaningful products of its own and relies solely on royalties and threatened lawsuits for income. Such companies often either inherit patents from defunct companies or buys the patents from elsewhere in the hopes of turning a profit from the lawsuit. [via Florian Mueller]