updated 11:08 am EDT, Fri August 17, 2012
Claims Apple used tech after rejecting asking price on patents
A new lawsuit, filed through the US District Court for the Northern District of California, accuses Apple of using media patents in spite of negotiations for them breaking down. A company called EPL Holdings says that on January 28th, 2002, it met with Tony Fadell, Apple's senior VP for the iPod division, about technologies it had developed alongside another company, Enounce. On February 5th the parties met to talk licensing, and Apple's senior manager for iPods, Aram Lindahl, is said to have offered Enounce $50,000 for one of the patents.
Enounce rejected the offer, thinking the money "fell woefully short of the value of their technology." Talks collapsed, but EPL says Apple began "extensively using Enounce's patented technologies" in products like the iPhone and the iPad. The patents detail ways of playing media back at faster and slower speeds.
One piece of evidence submitted in the complaint is marketing copy for QuickTime, which advertises the software's ability to speed up videos or slow them down using a slider. "While Apple enjoyed billions of dollars of sales, Mr. Hejna [Donald J. Hejna, Enounce's founder] and his company have suffered and continue to suffer due to the inability to realize the full and and fair value of the patented inventions," the filing adds.
An NDA on the patent negotiations expired on February 6th, 2006. While EPL only filed for legal action on August 15th 2012, it may be in a stronger position that a lot of parties targeting Apple if the details of the talks and their aftermath are accurate.