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Apple lawsuit wrap-up for May 2012

Sections: Apple Business, Originals

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The month of May 2012 saw the return of patent wars between Apple and patent trolls.

  • Lawsuits never seem to go away, even when the situation that caused them to be filed initially have long ago changed. This is the case with the class-action lawsuit that was filed in January 2005 by a disgruntled customer. According to the lawsuit’s website, the “lawsuit claims that Apple violated federal and state laws by issuing software updates in 2006 for its iPod that prevented iPods from playing songs not purchased on iTunes. The lawsuit claims that the software updates caused iPod prices to be higher than they otherwise would have been.” If you want to be excluded from the lawsuit or if you want to sign up to get notified on what’s happening, you can go to the lawsuit’s website.
  • Golden Bridge Technologies in New Jersey claims to be the owner of Patent 6075793 that was used to create the 3G phone protocol standard that every phone company uses. They filed a lawsuit in California demanding money from everyone who uses 3G in their phones. That includes Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samsung, and a host of others who probably will fight back with everything they have and then some. You can read the text of the lawsuit for more information.
  • The Supreme Court refused to review the Psystar case against Apple, which should finally put an end to the lawsuit that has been going on since 2009. This will be the final end of Apple clones for the foreseeable future.
  • Rotatable Technologies has filed suit in Texas against Apple and other companies for infringing Patent 6326978 which describes a “Display method for selectively rotating windows on a computer display.” Webpronews described the lawsuit perfectly when they said “So, in summary, here’s what we have: a vaguely worded complaint against a wide array of defendants, a company that appears not to exist except for the purpose this suit and two others (one against Nokia, and one against Acer), and a patent that is, at best, only tangentially related to anything that Apple’s iOS platform actually does. Put it all together and you have as fine an example of a patent troll as you’re likely to find.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.
  • Kodak is busy selling everything it owns that has any worth, and that includes patents. This story began in 2010 when Kodak sued Apple and RIM for violating their patent describing how to preview an image on an LCD display in a lower resolution. A judge ruled that even though Apple and RIM were violating the patent, the technology was obvious and so tossed the lawsuit out. This ruling was made again by a different judge, which could lower the value on the patent considerably.
  • Apple paid out patent troll SimpleAir and ended its lawsuit before it began. The exact terms of the agreement and how much money changed hands is, and will be, unknown.
  • STEC IP is suing Apple and other companies over seven patents it owns that describe various functions related to the iCloud and iTunes. What’s interesting is that five patents used to belong to Symantec. Could it be they’re using STEC IP as a proxy by which to sue Apple while appearing to be separate and uninvolved?
  • Cathas Advanced Technologies is suing Apple alleging that their iOS Developer Program violates Patent 6925445 titled “Web-Based Design Software for Keep-Alive Boards.” They want a royalty from Apple, presumably to file more lawsuits since that’s all they appear to do.
  • Apple filed a claim to dismiss a lawsuit that was filed in March 2012 over Siri’s “misleading and deceptive” advertising. Basically Apple said the plaintiff’s didn’t have specific complaints and they had 30 days to return the iPhone if they weren’t happy with it.
  • Indiana, Utah, and Virginia have joined more than 30 states in the antitrust lawsuit against Apple for price-fixing the costs of electronic books. Unfortunately a judge dismissed the petitions to dismiss the class-action lawsuit. Apple maintains that what they in entering the electronic book market was break up Amazon’s monopoly and they did nothing illegal in using a perfectly proper business strategy.
  • Apple and HTC are still in the middle of a patent war and lately Apple has had some victories. The HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE have been delayed at US customs until the patent issues are worked out. Apple also asked to have five patents that HTC acquired from Google thrown out which means they can’t use them in a lawsuit.
  • Proview brought a lawsuit in America against Apple accusing them of tricking them to selling the iPad name for less than it was worth. The judge threw the lawsuit out saying they agreed to settle the dispute in Hong Kong. Apple did try to settle the lawsuit by offering Proview 100 million yuan or $16 million dollars. Proview rejected the offer.
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