Tag - Patents
A fourth lawsuit against Apple over alleged infringement of patents used by FaceTime has been filed, this time by Straight Path Group. The lawsuit, filed in the Northern California District Court, claims that FaceTime infringes on five patents previously owned by NetSpeak, which made the popular VOIP application WebPhone in the mid-1990s. As with previous suits underway by patent trolls VirnetX, VOIP-Pal, and Uniloc, the suit covers older and more general audio-video patents allegedly used by Apple in its FaceTime and Messages technologies.
Non-practicing entity Uniloc, whose sole source of revenue is patent lawsuits and licensing, has taken to the patent-holder haven of the Eastern Texas Court District to sue Apple over four VOIP patents it claims are being infringed by Apple's Messages app. The company has filed dozens of lawsuits against big tech firms, but had its largest win -- a $388 million judgement against Microsoft -- overturned. While Apple's Messages gained some VOIP components in 2014, Uniloc has waited until now to file suit.
Apple has been granted a pair of patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office, for two different types of imaging technology. One patent filing describes a "transparent electronic device" that could be used for augmented reality, while another suggests a potential design for an "electronic device with wrap around display," one that could be employed in the creation of smartphones and tablets with curved screens.
A pair of patents have been granted to Apple by the US Patent and Trademark Office today, with the two applying to audio. One patent describes a way a speaker on a device can resist liquid, preventing damage to internal components, while another mentions bone conduction technology that could be used within Earpods and other audio headwear, with the patent itself relating to improving voice quality in calls.
Three panel judges at the US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) have voted to invalidate a pair of patents that Smartflash is utilizing against Apple, and other companies. While the total of invalidated patents being used by the non-practicing entity is now three, the process can potentially drag on for years.
The California Institute of Technology has filed suit against Broadcom and Apple over four specific and highly-technical Wi-Fi patents, accusing Broadcom of infringement -- and thus Apple, which uses Broadcom Wi-Fi radios in most of its products. At present, Caltech is seeking a jury trial and both a sales injunction on possible infringing products and "adequate" damages for the alleged infringement.
VirnetX has asked a Texas court to force Apple to stop offering its FaceTime and iMessage services to its users, following its legal victory against the computer producer earlier this year. At the same time, VirnetX is not happy with the $625 million verdict it has already got in terms of damages for Apple infringing on its patents in February, with it wanting the court to add at least $190 million on top of its existing reward.
Fitbit is now less likely to endure an import ban for some of its fitness trackers into the United States, following a ruling made by a US International Trade Commission (ITC) judge yesterday. In a dispute between Fitbit and Jawbone over alleged patent infringement, ITC Judge Dee Lord ruled the last of the contentious patents owned by Jawbone to be invalid, though the ordeal is not yet over for either of the companies involved.
TiVo, the manufacturer of TV set-top boxes, has agreed to be acquired by another company that is also quite big in the digital video recorder business. Rovi will be paying $1.1 billion, made up of approximately $277 million in cash and the remainder paid in stock, to acquire the DVR producer, with the deal apparently being seen as a way for Rovi to significantly increase its patent catalog by including TiVo's collection to the pile.
If you learn just one thing from slicing week by week through Apple's four decades of history, then you really haven't been paying attention. The odds, though, are that the one thing you will learn is that contracts are really important. Microsoft beat Apple over copying the Mac because the Windows maker had better lawyers, for one thing, and the sheer number of lawsuits flung everywhere rivals the number of patents involved. Consequently, if you were going to do something that crossed a contract, you would sort out the paperwork first.