Apple Preemptively Sues 'Patent Troll' to Address Threats Over USB-Related Power Patents

Apple on Tuesday filed suit against Fundamental Innovation Systems International (FISI), preemptively asking a California court to declare that Apple has not infringed upon a number of USB power patents held by FISI.

Lightning iPhone 7
FISI, described by Apple as a patent assertion entity formed for the sole purpose of generating revenue through patent litigation, acquired a portfolio of charging-related patents from BlackBerry that it has asserted against several tech giants, including LG, Samsung, and Huawei, who are now listed as FISI licensees.

Apple believes it could be sued next and is seeking a declaration of non-infringement in advance, according to the complaint:

Defendants have claimed, through letters, claim charts, telephone calls and in-person meetings with Apple personnel in this District, that certain Apple products infringe the Patents-in-Suit and that Apple requires a license to the Patents-in-Suit. However, Apple's products do not infringe the Patents-in-Suit.

This Court should not allow the threat of a future lawsuit to harm and cause uncertainty to Apple's business.

The former BlackBerry patents generally relate to USB-based charging protocols, systems, and methods dating back to the early 2000s.

Apple believes none of its products violate the patents, including its power adapters. One of Apple's consistent defenses throughout its complaint is that its devices and power adapters rely on its proprietary Lightning connector rather than adhering to the USB 2.0 protocols described in the patents.

Apple has demanded a jury trial in the U.S. District Court of Northern California. Beyond a declaration of non-infringement, Apple is seeking legal fees and any other relief which Apple may be entitled to as deemed appropriate by the court.

Tag: lawsuit

Top Rated Comments

kironin Avatar
36 months ago
So if a company sees another company about to fail, and decided to purchase their portfolio to make money off their patents, they are considered patent trolls?
Sounds like a great business decision.
Yes, definite patent trolls.

It's not the purpose or intent for which patents exist. Really there should be a process in which these patents go in to the public domain after a company fails and is no longer intent on making use of these patents in a productive manner.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jdiamond Avatar
36 months ago
So if a company sees another company about to fail, and decided to purchase their portfolio to make money off their patents, they are considered patent trolls?

Sounds like a great business decision.
As someone with experience in the tech field and patents, I would be greatly in favor of abandoning ALL patents. The reason is that the few cases in which a patent describes something that's truly novel and non obvious is so small as to be not worth even considering as a factor.

However, a good intermediate step for those who still see a point to patents would be to disallow ANY revenue from patent ownership from any party that (1) isn't the original inventor of the idea, or (2) isn't actively producing a product incorporating the idea. The purpose of patents is to spur innovation, not make people rich or commoditize ideas. For all those with the knee jerk reaction of "why would people make anything if they couldn't patent it" IMO has never been part of a technical job, in which everything you do, every day, is more sophisticated than most patents. Often it's how you end up using them - the total package - that has the real value. And that's not patentable.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tzm41 Avatar
36 months ago
Someone will definitely win
The lawyers win
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
genovelle Avatar
36 months ago
I love it! They should set aside 10% of their extra 200 billion in cash to a strike first legal fund and make it known they will control the conversation by ensuring it is fought in their turf in California.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Naraxus Avatar
36 months ago
Apple has a lot of nerve calling someone a patent troll considering they set up a shell company to do exactly that

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockstar_Consortium
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The Don Onez Avatar
36 months ago
"Should" but that's not the case today.

I don't understand why a patent should go into public domain after a company fails. If their assets are sold off, then the new buyer should be able to pull a profit. Evidently the patents are still useful, or they wouldn't be used.
Yes, definite patent trolls.

It's not the purpose or intent for which patents exist. Really there should be a process in which these patents go in to the public domain after a company fails and is no longer intent on making use of these patents in a productive manner.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
airtag in hand

Apple Enhancing AirTags Anti-Stalking Measures With Android App and Shorter Sound Intervals

Thursday June 3, 2021 11:10 am PDT by
Apple is enhancing AirTags security to prevent stalking using the Bluetooth devices, Apple told CNET today. Apple is already sending out over-the-air updates to AirTags that will shorten the amount of time before an unknown AirTag alerts you if it is in your possession. At the current time, AirTags play a sound after three days of being away from their owner. After the update, AirTags will...
maxresdefault

Here's How Apple's New iPhone to iPhone Data Migration Feature Works in iOS 12.4

Tuesday July 23, 2019 1:20 pm PDT by
Apple this week released iOS 12.4, the newest version of iOS 12 available for iPhones and iPads. One of the new features in iOS 12.4 is an updated data migration option that uses device to device transfers rather than relying on iCloud. Apple didn't provide much information on the new data migration feature, so we thought we'd check it out in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the ...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
macos catalina legacy system extension alert

Apple Begins Warning Users That 'Legacy System Extensions' Won't Work With a Future Version of macOS

Wednesday March 25, 2020 9:53 am PDT by
Apple has shared a new support document that indicates kernel extensions — which it calls "legacy system extensions" — will not be compatible with a future version of macOS because they "aren't as secure or reliable as modern alternatives."System extensions are a category of software that works in the background to extend the functionality of your Mac. Some apps install kernel extensions, which...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
airtag precision finding

AirTag Includes U1 Chip for 'Precision Finding' Feature

Tuesday April 20, 2021 12:11 pm PDT by
Apple's long-awaited AirTag was finally unveiled today, and as expected, the small circle-shaped accessories can be attached to items like wallets, keys, and more to allow them to be tracked in the Find My app. As was rumored ahead of release, each AirTag is equipped with a U1 chip, and on devices that also have U1 chips, there's a Precision Finding feature. U1 Ultra Wideband chips are...
iOS 15 General Feature Yellow

Everything New in iOS 15 Beta 6: SharePlay Disabled, Safari Redesigned and More

Tuesday August 17, 2021 2:12 pm PDT by
Apple released the sixth beta of iOS 15 just a week after the fifth beta, but the new update brings some of the most significant tweaks that we've seen to iOS 15 during the beta testing period. Safari Redesign Apple in iOS 15 beta 6 has added a toggle to move the Safari address bar to the top of the interface, which returns Safari to an iOS 14-like design and mitigates all of the Safari...
m1 macbook air

Kuo: Mini-LED MacBook Air Coming in Mid-2022

Thursday July 22, 2021 7:48 pm PDT by
Apple will release a new version of the MacBook Air around the middle of 2022, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in note to investors seen by MacRumors. The upcoming MacBook Air will feature a 13.3-inch mini-LED display, which would make it the second Mac to gain mini-LED technology after the 2021 MacBook Pro, which is rumored to include a mini-LED display and is expected to launch later ...
2016 macbook pro flexgate b

Apple Faces Another Class-Action MacBook Pro ‘Flexgate’ Lawsuit

Thursday August 20, 2020 6:43 am PDT by
Another class-action complaint has been lodged against Apple, which claims that the company was aware of a MacBook Pro design flaw that caused some devices to have backlight display issues (via Apple Insider). The so-called "flexgate" problem was present in some MacBook Pro models manufactured between 2016 and 2017. The problem appears as dark patches along the bottom of the MacBook Pro's...