Apple lawsuit wrap-up for September 2011

Sections: Apple Business, Originals

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Apple vs. Fangguo Food Co. Ltd.

Apple has had a good month with several lawsuits ending in their favor, but the biggest court battles against Samsung, HTC, Via Technologies, and others in the Android market are just beginning to heat up.

  • Earlier this month the Chinese food company Fangguo Food Co., Ltd. claimed it received a letter by Apple’s lawyers asking them to change their logo as seen above. You might wonder why Apple would care about a food company, but Fangguo had filed to extend their trademark into notebook computers and electronic game software, among others. As to why a food company would want its trademark in technology areas, the CEO said that he had no specific plans and just wanted to be ready in case an opportunity presented itself.
  • iCloud Communications sued Apple shortly after the iCloud was revealed at this year’s WWDC over name conflict. iCloud Communications has decided to drop the lawsuit and change its name to Clear Digital Communications. They also gave up their previous domain name,, although it’s unclear as to who will get access to it.
  • Last month we talked about the stores in Queens, New York (Apple Story and Fun Zone) selling counterfeit Apple products. This month the stores agreed to hand over all of the products, change the name of the Apple Story store, and remove the iPhone-shaped window display.
  • In the Barely Avoided Lawsuit category, Samsung challenged Apple’s marketing of the iPhone as the “world’s thinnest smartphone” in the UK. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority sided with Apple because the Samsung’s Galaxy S II has prominent bulges on top as well as “… because the iPhone 4’s thickest point was thinner than the thickest point of the Samsung Galaxy S II.” Somehow “world’s second-thinnest smartphone” isn’t as catchy in an advertising slogan, so I doubt Samsung will use that anytime soon.
  • In another win for Apple, a judge threw out the class action lawsuit that stated “Apple, app developers, and mobile advertising companies violated the privacy rights of iPhone users” due to lack of standing. One of the reasons the judge gave for throwing the case out was that none of the plaintiffs could show they suffered any injury as a result of the alleged loss of privacy. I suppose having their feelings hurt doesn’t count, which is a pleasant surprise.
  • X2Y Attenuators claims Apple is using their technology in the the iMac 27″/3.20/2x2GB Model No: A1312 personal computer sold with an Intel Core i3 processor. The patent that Apple is supposedly violating covers “circuit arrangement embodiments that use relative groupings of energy pathways that include shielding circuit arrangements that can sustain and condition electrically complementary energy confluences.” However, as Patently Apple points out, the patent number referenced in the lawsuit is an entirely different one, so I foresee nothing to come out of this lawsuit.
  • Here are a few miscellaneous patent lawsuits from Streetspace suing over a patent for a “Method and System for Providing Personalized Online Services and Advertisement in Public Spaces.” AppleInsider describes three patent lawsuits involving caller ID, browser-based web applications, and for building USB products. Finally LVL Patent Group LLC is suing Apple over patents related to “Telephone/Transaction Entry Device and System for Entering Transaction Data Into Databases.”
  • Apple won its copyright infringement case against Psystar in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, ending a two-year court battle. Apple doesn’t allow OS X to be installed on non-Apple hardware, which Psystar was doing. While Apple ignores individuals doing this, they’re not going to do the same to someone selling them for a profit. Psystar fought back with a countersuit accusing Apple of using anti-competitive tactics to defeat possible rivals. The only question now is how did such a small company get the money to fight Apple in court for so long?
  • Via Technologies is suing Apple for violating three vaguely worded patents involving Apple’s custom A4 and A5 microprocessors that power the iPhone 4, iPod touch and iPad. Although Via Technologies works with x86 processors and Apple is using a licensed ARM-based design, the patents involved “generally concern microprocessors included in a variety of electronic products such as certain smartphones, tablet computers, portable media players and other computing devices.” Via Technologies is seeking a jury trial and an order to prevent Apple from selling products containing the patents.
  • HTC Corp. bought nine patents from Google and is using them to sue Apple. Google in turn acquired these patents from various sources; four from Motorola Inc., three from Openwave Systems Inc. and two from Palm Inc. HTC and Apple have sued each other over patents and other various issues for a while, and that article does a good job at summing everything up. You might also like to read how HTC might be interested in webOS instead of Android because of all of the lawsuits.
  • Last but not least, the worldwide battle between Samsung and Apple has mostly been in Apple’s favor with several countries preventing Samsung from selling some of their products there. The most interesting news is that Samsung has reportedly offered Apple a deal to be able to sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. No details are known, and they’d probably deny it if asked directly, but it is an interesting rumor nonetheless.
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