updated 08:35 am EDT, Wed July 27, 2011
Affinity Labs comes back after Apple
After a protracted absence, Affinity Labs came back to confront Apple again on Tuesday with a lawsuit (below) over audio technology. The new complaint, which also targets car audio maker AAMP, accuses both of violating US patents 7,634,228, for a "Content Delivery System and Method," and 7,778,595, for a "Method for Managing Media." The iPhone allegedly violates both patents where the iPod and iPod touch would violate just the first; AAMP's iSimple Gateway audio system was supposedly copying either technology.
The content patent is related to but different from a similarly named patent from Affinity Labs' earlier lawsuit in March 2009 and was granted in December of that year. It represents a fairly obvious technology that allows playing media from another device. Its counterpart, the media management patent, is a much newer August 2010 patent but one which appears to describe basic elements of a media player with wireless.
As with most such cases, the firm is hoping to use the threat of a product ban to force a settlement but would want tripled damages if it successful won a trial.
The Texas-based Affinity Labs has regularly described itself as an "innovation" company but more traditionally fits the definition of a patent troll, with no clear signs of genuine research and a business that relies solely on patent royalties and threatened lawsuits. Its complaint was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, an area known for its tendency to side with those making the complaints.
Apple hasn't commented on the lawsuit.