patent trials


'patent trials' Articles

Supreme Court Ruling Supports Apple's Long-Running Fight Against Patent Trolls

The Supreme Court yesterday made it a few steps easier for technology companies like Apple to challenge lawsuits from "patent assertion businesses," or patent trolls. The decision implemented part of a 2011 law that created "quicker and cheaper" avenues into contesting patents with the Patent Office, instead of having to delve into a lengthy court battle or face a federal judge (via The Wall Street Journal). This way, companies like Apple -- who face patent trolls frequently -- could easily argue against unseemly patent lawsuits in far less time, and without spending as much money. Speaking for the court system, Justice Stephen Breyer said that the new ruling in favor of the Patent Office approach will help "to protect the public" since it'll prevent potential patent trolls from claiming overly broad patents that "might discourage the use of the invention by a member of the public." The 2011 law created quicker and cheaper procedures for contesting patents in front of the Patent Office instead of in front of a federal judge. But some argued the procedures overcompensated and made patents too vulnerable. That is because the Patent Office adopted challenger-friendly legal standards that were different than those used in courts. The Supreme Court acknowledged the Patent Office rules depart from those used in court, but said the agency had taken a reasonable approach. So far, cases emerging from the Patent Office are said to rule largely in favor of the individual or company contesting the patent. According to recent government data, a reported 80 percent of the

Apple Closer to Escaping $533 Million Verdict Won by Smartflash LLC

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 26 invalidated two of three patents owned by Smartflash LLC, a patent licensing firm that was awarded a $532.9 million verdict against Apple in February 2015, according to Bloomberg.A three-judge panel at the patent agency found that the two patents never should have been issued in the first place because the idea of storing and paying for data is an abstract concept, not a specific invention.A third patent owned by Smartflash LLC was also invalidated in late March, increasing the odds that Apple will not have to pay the large sum. Smartflash LLC, which fits the description of a patent troll, can still ask the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to reconsider and file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Last year, a federal jury for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas found certain iTunes apps to be infringing upon Smartflash LLC's patents, related to digital rights management, data storage, and managing access through payment systems. Apple appealed the decision, arguing that the patents were invalid. Smartflash LLC also targeted Samsung and Google with similar patent infringement

VirnetX Asks for More Money From Apple, Calls on Court to Shut Down FaceTime and iMessage

VirnetX, currently embroiled in a patent dispute with Apple over FaceTime and iMessage, today asked the judge presiding over the case for additional damages and an injunction to block Apple's popular messaging services. According to Law360, VirnetX argues that an injunction is appropriate because Apple's infringement on VirnetX's patents, which relate to virtual private networking (VPN) protocols, has caused irreparable harm to the company. The Nevada-based patent holding company also called Apple the "poster child" for unreasonable litigation tactics and asked the court to increase its damages award by at least $190 million. At a post-trial hearing Wednesday, Texas technology company VirnetX argued that although an injunction blocking Apple's popular video chatting and messaging features, along with a virtual private network on demand feature, may seem like a harsh remedy, it is necessary because of the irreparable harm Apple's infringement caused the company.Apple is currently appealing a February ruling that awarded VirnetX $625 million in damages, and VirnetX likely wants an injunction put in place to speed along the appeal process and force Apple into paying royalties. Apple has filed for a mistrial on the basis that VirnetX "blatantly misrepresented" the testimony of Apple's witnesses and used "arguments outside the evidence." If an injunction is granted, Apple will be forced to shut down key features in Messages and FaceTime or find a workaround to avoid using functionality patented by

Apple Hit With $2.8 Billion Patent Lawsuit Over VoIP Technology

VoIP-Pal announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against Apple in a U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada, seeking over $2.8 billion in damages for alleged infringement of its patented internet communication technologies. The Bellevue-based company calculated its $2,836,710,031 figure using a 1.25-percent royalty rate based on an apportionment of Apple's estimated historical profit from iPhone (55-percent), iPad (35-percent), and Mac (10-percent). VoIP-Pal (VPLM) has over a dozen issued or pending patents, primarily related to VoIP technologies, a few of which it accuses Apple of infringing upon with services like FaceTime and iMessage on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.Apple employs VPLM’s innovative technology and products, features, and designs, and has widely distributed infringing products that have undermined VPLM’s marketing efforts. Instead of pursuing independent product development, Apple employed VPLM’s innovative caller attribute classification and routing product design, in violation of VPLM’s valuable intellectual property rights.The court filing cites multiple ways that Apple is allegedly infringing upon the patents, including the following iMessage claim:In particular, devices running the iMessage application initiate a communication between a caller and a callee. The callee may be an Apple subscriber or a non-subscriber. In the case that the callee is an Apple subscriber, the communication is sent using iMessage. On the other hand, if the user is not an Apple subscriber or if iMessage is not available, the communication is sent using SMS/MMS. Apple’s

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Samsung's Appeal of $548 Million Settlement Paid to Apple

A nearly five-year-old design patent trial between Apple and Samsung has reached a new level, as the U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to hear Samsung's appeal of a lower court decision that ordered the South Korean electronics maker to pay a $548 million settlement to its Cupertino-based rival in December. According to Reuters, Samsung plans to appeal what it believes are "excessive penalties" for allegedly "copying the patented designs of the iPhone," including the smartphone's rounded rectangular bezel and colorful grid of icons. The 2011 lawsuit targeted select Galaxy-branded smartphones and tablets. Samsung has already paid the $548 million settlement to Apple, but it can obtain reimbursement if the U.S. Supreme Court reverses or modifies the original judgment. Apple had urged the high court to deny the appeal, accusing Samsung of raising issues that do not "deserve review" in an effort to prolong court proceedings. The appeal will likely delay a damages retrial that was scheduled to begin later this month in the Northern District of California, according to FOSS Patents.

Haptic Feedback Company Immersion Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Apple

Immersion, a company that develops and licenses haptic touch feedback technology, today filed a lawsuit against Apple and AT&T accusing the two companies of patent infringement. Citing technologies like 3D Touch, Force Touch, the Apple Watch Taptic Engine, and vibration patterns for ringtones and notifications, Immersion says multiple Apple devices use its intellectual property. According to Immersion, the iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition infringe on several Immersion patents that cover haptic feedback systems. Immersion says all of the above listed devices infringe on two patents related to tactile sensations: - U.S. Patent No. 8,619,051: "Haptic Feedback System with Stored Effects" - U.S. Patent No. 8,773,356: "Method and Apparatus for Providing Tactile Sensations" The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are further accused of infringing on an additional patent, U.S. Patent No. 8,659,571, titled "Interactivity Model for Shared Feedback on Mobile Devices.""Immersion and its employees have worked diligently for over 20 years to invent solutions and build an ecosystem of content and playback devices that enable realistic and rich digital experiences. Touch matters, as it informs, excites and humanizes the digital world we interact with every day. Many of our licensed customers are market leaders that benefit from our innovation in touch technology," said Immersion's CEO Victor Viegas. "While we are pleased to see others in the industry recognize the value of haptics and adopt it in their products, it is

Apple Says U.S. Supreme Court Should Reject Samsung's Appeal Request

In December, Samsung asked the United States Supreme Court to hear a final appeal in its ongoing patent battle with Apple, which would potentially nullify a $548 million settlement awarded to Apple. In a lengthy document filed with the court this afternoon (via Foss Patents), Apple urges the Supreme Court to deny Samsung's request, accusing the company of raising issues that do not "deserve review" in an effort to prolong court proceedings. Samsung has claimed that the jury did not adequately understand the patents in question because members weren't provided with enough explanation by the court. The South Korean company has also suggested the case has wider implications that could encourage design patent trolls, an assertion Apple refers to as a "doomsday warning" based on "extreme hypotheticals."Samsung's effort to make this case seem certworthy depends on a made-up narrative in which Samsung, not Apple, is the innovator, despite the overwhelming evidence that Samsung copied the iPhone's innovative design. [...] Once Samsung's diversions are swept aside as they should be, the actual issues it presents do not deserve review. The decisions below broke no new legal ground; they simply applied the statute and well-settled law to the extraordinary record of infringement and copying in this case.Apple goes on to say that Samsung has had its day in court and while the litigation is "high-profile," it is "legally unexceptional" and Samsung has not presented a legitimate reason as to why the court should prolong it. While Apple doesn't feel Samsung's case is worth the

VirnetX Asking For $532 Million From Apple in Patent Retrial

VirnetX Holding Corporation is asking for $532 million from Apple for using patented technology for communication services like FaceTime, iMessage and more, the firm told a federal jury today, according to Bloomberg. “Apple hasn’t played fair. They have taken Virnetx’s intellectual property without permission,” VirnetX lawyer Brad Caldwell of Caldwell Cassady told the jury in Tyler, Texas.Greg Arovas, Apple's lawyer, said that Apple believes in "fairness and protecting intellectual property," noting that VirnetX "keeps moving the boundary" and asking for "more and more and more" money. In 2012, the firm was awarded $368 million in a jury trial. However, the decision was thrown out in 2014 as the verdict was influenced by the instructions given to the jury during the trial. The patent suit can be traced back to 2010 over a pair of patents related to virtual private networking (VPN) connectivity. This retrial, which will last through next week, will largely focus on whether any VirnetX patents are infringed in either FaceTime or iMessage. Apple was already found to be infringing the patents with its VPN On Demand service. Apple cannot make the same arguments they made in the first trial, however. VirnetX makes a majority of its revenue on patent licensing. Arovas said that, on a per-unit basis, VirnetX's $200 million settlement with Microsoft over similar violations is less than a tenth of what its currently seeking against Apple.

Biometric Sensor Company Valencell Accuses Apple of Stealing Technology for Apple Watch

Biometric sensor company Valencell today filed a lawsuit against Apple (via AppleInsider), accusing the Cupertino-based company of patent infringement, deceptive trade practices, and breach of contract, all related to dealings Apple had with Valencell before the launch of the Apple Watch. According to Valencell, Apple expressed interest in its PerformTek heart rate sensor technology starting in 2013, leading Valencell to believe Apple would license PerformTek technology for the Apple Watch's heart rate sensor. Apple met with Valencell in 2013 and late 2014 to discuss incorporating PerformTek-powered features into the Apple Watch and is said to have expressed "great interest" in Valencell's wrist-based heart rate-sensing technology. Valencell demonstrated a prototype PerformTek-powered watch in 2013 to 15 Apple employees and later sent Apple PerformTek products to test and examine in detail. Valencell believes Apple deceptively solicited technical information and know-how under the false pretense of a licensing agreement despite having no intention to actually license the technology. Furthermore, Valencell accuses Apple of deciding it was more financially beneficial to risk infringing on Valencell's patents than to license them.Apple did not have an intention of licensing Valencell's PerformTek Technology. Instead, Apple's interaction with Valencell was fueled by a business decision that the benefits of infringing upon Valencell's patented technology outweigh the risk of being caught and ultimately forced to pay damages. This practice is consistent with the

Judge Drops Apple's $533M Fine in iTunes-Related Lawsuit, Sets New Damages Trial

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on Tuesday voided $532.9 million in damages awarded to patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC in February in an iTunes-related patent lawsuit, per Reuters. The report claims federal judge Rodney Gilstrap has set a new damages trial on September 14 after ruling that "his jury instructions might have 'skewed' jurors' understanding of the damages that Apple should pay." Apple was initially ordered to pay $532.9 million in damages to Smartflash LLC after a federal jury in the Tyler, Texas courtroom found certain iTunes apps to be infringing upon the company's patents related to digital rights management, data storage and managing access through payment systems. Apple countered that Smartflash LLC was exploiting the patent system to collect royalties.“Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented,” said Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman. “We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system.”Smartflash LLC was originally seeking $852 million in damages, and claimed it was entitled to a percentage of sales of Apple products used to access iTunes, such as iPhones, iPads and Macs. Apple argued that $4.5 million was fair at most, claiming it does not infringe upon any of Smartflash LLC's inventions and that its patents are invalid. Apple likely still faces