Apple lawsuit wrap-up for March 2012

Sections: Apple Business, Originals

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Apple Store window warning stickers

People found new and creative ways to sue Apple that didn’t involve patents, but all were equally as ridiculous as they clamored to get a piece of Apple’s pie.

  • An 83-year-old women walked into a glass door at an Apple store in Long Island and broke her nose. As a result, she’s suing Apple and asking for $1 million for their negligence in her injury because they didn’t provide “proper warning” for its glass walls and doors. It’s hard for me to imagine how fast you would have to be walking to hit your nose that hard to actually break it. Regardless I think this lawsuit will likely lead to a settlement and the woman will get a lot less than $1 million.
  • Speaking of settlements, it looks like Apple has paid off the guy whose house was searched after one of Apple’s employees lost an iPhone 4S prototype at a bar. He was going to sue because the Apple security guards who searched his home gave the impression they were police officers, which somehow violated one of his rights. Apple won’t comment about the issue, but the company’s head of global security, John Theriault, left Apple in November of last year presumably over this incident. It’s a case of actions speaking louder than words.
  • The UK has had a few incidents of people complaining over ads they said was misleading. The first was Vodafone’s ads when the iPhone and Siri first arrived which claimed Siri “can even use information from your iPhone—such as your location, contacts and contact relationships—to provide intelligent, personal assistance.” Someone complained to the UK Advertising Standards Authority because some of Siri’s features only work in the US. Eventually they decided in favor of Apple and Vodafone because the ad never explicitly said Siri was capable of doing things in the UK which it couldn’t do.
  • Siri was the cause of not one, but two lawsuits over its advertising. The first one is by someone claiming Apple had “misleading and deceptive” advertising with Siri’s commercials. Even though Apple says over and over again that Siri is in beta, the class action lawsuit seeks a monetary reward and a court order preventing Apple from engaging in any further misleading advertising. The second lawsuit is much the same as the first, and also seeks some kind of monetary compensation. Somehow I don’t think a commercial with Siri failing to recognize a person’s unintelligible speech is going to be made.
  • This lawsuit from Core Wireless shows just how broken the patent system is and how far removed we are from the original intent. Core Wireless acquired about 2,000 wireless patents and patent applications from Nokia and was later purchased by Mosaid Technologies last September. At the same time, Microsoft licensed those patents and said that it “also received a passive financial interest in future revenue generated by Mosaid from the licensing of those patents to others.” This led to Core Wireless filing a lawsuit claiming that Apple infringed on eight patents related to 2G, 3G, and 4G communication protocols used in the iPhone and iPad because it doesn’t have a license. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and future royalty payments for “each and every product sold by Apple in the future that is found to infringe.”
  • While Apple wanted to sue Kodak for patent infringement, they were stopped because Kodak is in bankruptcy. They’ll have to find a way to resolve the conflict without interrupting the bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Graphics Properties, formerly known as Silicon Graphics, is suing Apple, Sony, HTC, LG, and Samsung over patents which describe a process that turns text and images into pixels for display on mobile screens.
  • Data Carriers is suing Apple, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, RIM, Nokia, Nintendo, Motorola, LG, Lenovo, HP, Dell, Asus, and other tech companies over a patent called “Proactive presentation of automating features to a computer user.” It’s the kind of technology that enables a program to customize a pop-up menu to be different when the user right-clicks a picture versus them right-clicking text.
  • Trans Video Electronics is claiming Apple is infringing upon patents 5,991,801 and 5,594,936, both of which cover a “Global digital video news distribution system.” Any of the video that’s shown on the iTunes Store, Apple TV, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch supposedly falls under these patents, and Trans Video Electronics wants money as compensation.
  • There have been many complaints over the iPad’s claims of being 4G. In Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is saying Apple is misleading people as there are no Australian 4G networks that work with the new iPad. The UK is doing the same thing by suing Apple for misleading people over the iPad’s 4G capability because it only works in the US and Canada. The Swedish Consumer Agency is also considering an investigation into whether Apple misled people with its marketing. As a result, Apple will refund people in Australia if they felt misled by the label, and maybe they will do the same thing in the UK and Sweden as well.
  • The US Justice Department may reach a settlement soon with Apple and other major publishers who are accused of conspiring to increase the prices of e-books. Apple moved from the wholesale model to the agency model, which is why the Justice Department looked into the situation.
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