updated 06:10 pm EDT, Fri April 20, 2012
Suit seeks damages, injunction against iDevices
A lawsuit filed in a California US District Court this week has alleged that Apple violated the intellectual property rights of a Pennsylvania company that developed touchscreen interaction technologies in the mid-1990s. Flatworld Interactives claims that a patent it holds, USPTO patent 43,318, covers touchscreen-based interactions such as touching an object to select it and flicking images off of a screen.
The company originally secured the patent in the 1990s for use in video displays for museums. The suit insists that Apple was aware of the patent but continued to sell infringing products anyway.
The lawsuit looks for a ban against further purported violations, and for unspecified damages. Should the case find support in the court, the financial implications could be considerable, as Flatworld and its lawyers allege that the patent covers most, if not all, of Apple's best-selling products, including iOS, iPod, and Mac hardware.
The suit comes as Apple, already well-known for zeal in quickly patenting its own inventions, faces off in court against other large tech entities. Recently, Apple has engaged in patent litigation with Kodak, Motorola, and Samsung, among others. In general, Apple has been filing suits against manufacturers of Android-powered phones, alleging that much of the rival OS is based on Apple's own intellectual property.
As of yet, Apple has declined to comment on Flatworld's lawsuit. [via 9to5]