Apple Faces New Patent Lawsuits from Openwave, Wi-LAN

While much of the focus of patent lawsuits involving Apple has revolved around Samsung and other major smartphone manufacturers in recent weeks, Apple this week faces two new lawsuits from smaller companies seeking to assert their intellectual property claims.

openwave logo
On Wednesday, mobile Internet communications technology firm Openwave Systems announced that it had filed a lawsuit and International Trade Commission (ITC) complaint against Apple and Research in Motion, alleging violation of five different patents across a broad spectrum of applications.

The complaint, filed at the International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington, DC, requests that the ITC bar the import of smartphones and tablet computers that infringe Openwave patents, including, but not limited to, Apple’s iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch, iPad and iPad 2; and RIM’s Blackberry Curve 9330 and Blackberry PlayBook. Openwave also filed a similar complaint in federal district court in Delaware.

“Openwave invented technologies that became foundational to the mobile Internet. We believe that these large companies should pay us for the use of our technologies, particularly in light of the substantial revenue these companies have earned from devices that use our intellectual property,” said Ken Denman, Chief Executive Officer of Openwave. “Before filing these complaints, we approached both of these companies numerous times in an attempt to negotiate a license of our technology with them and did not receive a substantive response.”

As noted by AllThingsD, Openwave appears to have a small yet fairly strong patent portfolio, suggesting that the company may have a decent chance of winning concessions from Apple and Research in Motion and forcing them into licensing discussions.

wi lan skippen
In other news, Canadian firm Wi-LAN today announced that it has filed suit against Apple and eight other major companies alleging infringement of two patents related to CDMA, HSPA, Wi-Fi, and LTE technologies.

Wi-LAN is generally regarded as a patent troll, having given up on product manufacturing and focused its business solely on attempts to license its intellectual property. The company has not been shy about filing lawsuits alleging infringement of its patents, and has in fact sued Apple several times in the past, most recently in a 2010 complaint targeting over two dozen companies for their implementations of Bluetooth communications technology.

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Top Rated Comments

cotak Avatar
167 months ago
If intellectual property law existed when the first man discovered fire we'd be extinct.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mlp mlp Avatar
167 months ago
let's be honest, if wi-lan wants to be taken seriously, they need to get a better logo and that dude needs a stylist
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
srobert Avatar
167 months ago
Hint, hint, nudge, nudge…

;)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sanford Avatar
167 months ago
PATENT:

A SYSTEM FOR SENDING AND RECEIVING DECODABLE SIGNALS OVER RADIO FREQUENCIES

FULL STOP

Last year they went after after "THE PEOPLE OF ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS" for "A SYSTEM OF SYMBOLS INTENDED TO CONVEY MEANING, COMMONLY KNOWN AS 'AN ALPHABET.'" But the federal court for the northern district of Texas ruled that dead people could not be compelled to answer a lawsuit in corporeal form.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chagla Avatar
167 months ago
apple sues others -> yes. patents/laws are absolutely necessary, apple has all rights.

others sue apple -> patent laws sucks. patent trolls have nothing better to do.
---
:rolleyes:
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrCubes Avatar
167 months ago
Wow we got some winning comments in this thread :rolleyes:

Sure Apple may sue over some dumb things sometimes but as a company who constantly has their ideas and technology ripped off I can understand why even if I don't agree with some of the lawsuits. I would hardly call them a patent troll since they actually create things.

Openwave on the other hand does not create things, and in my opinion companies that do not create things should not be allowed to hold patents.

I used to work at Openwave. They are past their heyday now - but only a few years ago they were the leader in mobile software innovation.

Their browser was (arguably) the first to offer the full internet on mass produced mobile devices - back in 2001 (this after being a driving force in the WAP protocol specs that kicked the mobile internet off - and the main implementor).

They pioneered the idea of html+js based rich apps that could be downloaded and run offline (very similar to WebOS) - back in 2002.

They pioneered the idea of a unified messenger app that would choose whether to send over SMS, MMS or email depending on content.

They were one of the first to play with embedding a Linux based OS on mobile devices - in 2001 (many former Openwave devs now work on Android) - although I don't know if they ever brought that to market themselves.

They were pioneers in providing application frameworks for third-party developers to tap into these technologies. This framework supported multi-tasking and suspend/ resume of apps, third-party audio & video codecs, contact and calendar sync and much more.

These are just a few things I recall OTTOMH.

When I was there the majority of the worlds handset manufacturers used Openwave's browser, at least. Many used the application framework. Many more used their messaging.

And that was just the client side. They also had gateways for WAP, MMS, and HTML (which normalised content for device capabilities and compressed images).

Openwave's decline started before the iPhone came on the scene. There were management and leadership issues. That was the climate from which I left.

But I think it's fair to say that the iPhone's success really finished them off. What's ironic is that much (but by no means all) of what finished them off was based on technology they had earlier pioneered!

Now Apple did a lot more. They deserved their success, IMHO. But I can understand why Openwave are feeling a bit put out. I think they have a right to bring up these patents and they are certainly not trolling.

The specific patents almost don't matter. What matters is that they lost out because someone else used much of their intellectual property (plus a lot more, of course) and put them out of the market. Setting aside arguments over who did a better job I think its natural they will use whatever legal tools they have available to seek compensation for that.

Just my thoughts - from someone with loyalties on both sides.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)