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Apple Faces Another Patent Lawsuit as it Beefs Up Litigation Team

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Patent holding company Wi-LAN today announced that it has filed suit against Apple and more than two dozen other companies, claiming infringement of one of its patents related to Bluetooth technology.
In its filing, WiLAN claims that these companies have infringed and continue to infringe WiLAN's U.S. Patent No. 5,515,369 by making and/or selling various products enabled with Bluetooth technology including cellular handsets and personal notebook computers.
Wi-LAN is regarded in the industry as a patent troll, a former manufacturing company that has given up on producing devices to focus on extracting licensing fees and filing lawsuits related to its intellectual property. Wi-LAN's suit was filed in the Marshall Division of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, a court popular in patent litigation for its willingness to move quickly and its typically plantiff-friendly judgments.

Meanwhile, 9 to 5 Mac notes that Apple has hired former Chief Intellectual Property Counsel for Sun Microsystems Noreen Krall to a Senior Director position overseeing Intellectual Property and Litigation.

Apple is currently embroiled in legal battles with Nokia and Kodak over intellectual property issues, and recently went on the offensive against Android handset maker HTC, so it is certainly a busy time for Apple on the patent front.

Article Link: Apple Faces Another Patent Lawsuit as it Beefs Up Litigation Team
 

harperska

macrumors newbie
Apr 28, 2004
18
0
Patent law needs to be reformed to be similar to trademark law. With trademarks, if you don't use it you loose it. In order to sue someone for trademark infringement, you have to demonstrate that you are actively using said trademark. Likewise, in order to sue someone for patent infringement, you ought to have to demonstrate that you actually intend to build whatever it is you claim to have invented. If you hold the intellectual rights to an invention, but can't prove that you are actively working on producing a prototype, your patent should be unenforceable.
 
Comment

Rocketman

macrumors 603
Is there a website that follows these sorts of suits particularly as they apply to products Apple sells like computers, phones (inclusive of pads), base stations, accessories?

It seems to me a valid patent should be compensated for use of the technology and the lawsuit is basically a way to determine if the patent is valid, if the specific claims apply to the product at issue, and what if any license value that has.

It also seems to me the patent owner or troll as some like to malign them as, could probably make more revenue for less overhead cost through settlement or negotiation rather than litigation, unless the "abusers" are merely being as litigous themselves as possible as a tactic to invoke suffering rather than payment to outlast them, which is a typical lawyerly tactic since it funnels 100% of the costs to the lawyers themselves.

Is there a site that follows past conclusions to the end to see what if any benefit this process has to each player? The patent holder, the idea user, the lawyers, the customers of the offending devices.

I don't doubt obscure patents are infringed and some of them are entitled to royalties, but in the case of Bluetooth as an example this is a very minor feature with really poor adoption and use, compared to say wifi or Ethernet or something.

Rocketman
 
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Fendorea

macrumors newbie
Apr 3, 2009
17
0
Hmz, the Law department is having a good year so far.. 2010, the year of lawsuits and iPad spam
 
Comment

cmaier

macrumors Core
Jul 25, 2007
19,715
20,636
California
And here comes cmaier to babble on and on about why not all patents are invalid, why the patent system is not as broken, or at least not in the same ways, that you think it is, etc.

Actually, I'm too busy today for that. So go ahead and start posting how the patents are clearly obvious, how patents destroy innovation, etc. Go nuts :)
 
Comment

Scapal

macrumors newbie
Apr 8, 2010
14
1
Wasn't bluetooth conceived to be used in such devices?

What patent could WiLan be holding?

Use of bluetooth technologies in computers and handheld device?
How could they appropriate themselves the basic and obvious usage of a licensed technology they don't own? Isn't it why bluetooth was design for in the first place? And for sure it wasn't designed by WiLAN.

I really should apply for such patents:
- reading books with the eyes
- using a light bulb to see in the dark
- using a printer to print on paper
- using an iPad to spank WiLAN (isn't this one obvious?)
 
Comment

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,984
2,745
St. Louis, MO
Why, exactly?

Because if Apple is infringing then they should pay the penalty. And because I'm sick of Apple fanboys who are OK with Apple suing anybody who might infringe on their patents but bitch and moan when Apple gets sued. See my signature for a fine example.
 
Comment

ScoobyMcDoo

macrumors 65816
Nov 26, 2007
1,188
35
Austin, TX
Anyone here familiar enough with bluetooth protocol to comment on the merits of the suit?
Also, since bluetooth is licensed, wouldn't whoever the owners of bluetooth be the ones liable rather than the companies who license the technology, if this were in fact a legitimate claim?
 
Comment

cmaier

macrumors Core
Jul 25, 2007
19,715
20,636
California
Anyone here familiar enough with bluetooth protocol to comment on the merits of the suit?
Also, since bluetooth is licensed, wouldn't whoever the owners of bluetooth be the ones liable rather than the companies who license the technology, if this were in fact a legitimate claim?

you are liable for making, using, selling, offering to sell. Doesn't matter if someone else gave it to you in the first place - they may be liable too (possibly for inducement, though probably not in this situation).


What patent could WiLan be holding?

Use of bluetooth technologies in computers and handheld device?
How could they appropriate themselves the basic and obvious usage of a licensed technology they don't own? Isn't it why bluetooth was design for in the first place? And for sure it wasn't designed by WiLAN.

I really should apply for such patents:
- reading books with the eyes
- using a light bulb to see in the dark
- using a printer to print on paper
- using an iPad to spank WiLAN (isn't this one obvious?)

They own patents on wireless communications technology that, they possibly correctly argue, are infringed by Bluetooth itself.
 
Comment

arkmannj

macrumors 68000
Oct 1, 2003
1,623
387
UT
So, IF I were Apple I'd seriously consider getting the other companies together that WiLAn is suing and collaborate to buy WiLan out. then share the patents with those companies and close the WiLan company down. Or keep it as a company that the parent companies use to hold on to patents for shared technologies, and actually but R&D money in them to further develop the future of wireless devices in a meaningful way that benefits all of the parent companies.
 
Comment

Shasterball

macrumors 6502a
Oct 19, 2007
876
45
Patent law needs to be reformed to be similar to trademark law. With trademarks, if you don't use it you loose it. In order to sue someone for trademark infringement, you have to demonstrate that you are actively using said trademark. Likewise, in order to sue someone for patent infringement, you ought to have to demonstrate that you actually intend to build whatever it is you claim to have invented. If you hold the intellectual rights to an invention, but can't prove that you are actively working on producing a prototype, your patent should be unenforceable.

Yawn. Patents and trademarks function differently and have different goals. Hence, different requirements.

How would you feel if you were a small inventor with a patent (which represents blood, sweat and tears), but who doesn't have the finances to practice it? You should lose it?

Think before you speak. At least weigh the pros and cons.
 
Comment

cmaier

macrumors Core
Jul 25, 2007
19,715
20,636
California
Yawn. Patents and trademarks function differently and have different goals. Hence, different requirements.

How would you feel if you were a small inventor with a patent (which represents blood, sweat and tears), but who doesn't have the finances to practice it? You should lose it?

Think before you speak. At least weigh the pros and cons.

Also universities, etc. Though a requirement that you use the patent or license it to someone who does, otherwise your patent term stops at 10 years from filing instead of 20, might be interesting.
 
Comment

ironfrost

macrumors newbie
Apr 22, 2008
12
0
Great to see that Apple is making an impact in the industry. Companies who are noticing Apple is going to get even bigger, they start to introduce law suits conveniently at the time where they make alot of profit.

Remember Apple introduced the touch screen revolution for the smart phone. Other companies who were jealous to see they hadn't had the intelligence in developing that piece of technology have bought the iPhone, smashed it open to view whats inside and enhance their own product line to battle against losing the popularity of the consumer market now purchasing more Apple products.

I hope Apple can fight back hard!!!
 
Comment

Xenious

macrumors 6502a
Mar 22, 2004
680
43
Texas, USA
Somehow I think the patent holding company is not having funding issues practicing it. They just lay low and wait for someone else to pony up the money to do it. Then they pounce like any good lawyer^H^H^H^H parasite.
 
Comment

seedster2

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2007
686
0
NYC
And here comes cmaier to babble on and on about why not all patents are invalid, why the patent system is not as broken, or at least not in the same ways, that you think it is, etc.

Actually, I'm too busy today for that. So go ahead and start posting how the patents are clearly obvious, how patents destroy innovation, etc. Go nuts :)

HaHa, good to see you don't take this all too seriously.
 
Comment

harperska

macrumors newbie
Apr 28, 2004
18
0
Yawn. Patents and trademarks function differently and have different goals. Hence, different requirements.

How would you feel if you were a small inventor with a patent (which represents blood, sweat and tears), but who doesn't have the finances to practice it? You should lose it?

Think before you speak. At least weigh the pros and cons.

That's why I said prototype, not production. I am well aware that patents have different goals than trademarks. Patents exist to foster innovation. Patent trolls have no interest in innovating. Rather, they just exist to extort money out of those who do intend on innovating. I was merely proposing a means to shut down those who abuse the system by looking at the intent of the patent holder.

Or are you actually defending patent trolls?
 
Comment

Vulpinemac

macrumors 6502a
Nov 6, 2007
677
0
Yawn. Patents and trademarks function differently and have different goals. Hence, different requirements.

How would you feel if you were a small inventor with a patent (which represents blood, sweat and tears), but who doesn't have the finances to practice it? You should lose it?

Think before you speak. At least weigh the pros and cons.

It used to be that the patent applicant had to at least demonstrate a working prototype, even if he wasn't able to mass-produce and market it on his own.
 
Comment

DJ Dilbert

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2010
188
108
Pittsburgh, PA
Use some common sense

Because if Apple is infringing then they should pay the penalty. And because I'm sick of Apple fanboys who are OK with Apple suing anybody who might infringe on their patents but bitch and moan when Apple gets sued. See my signature for a fine example.

While your point is valid over the Apple 'fetish' that some people seem to have. The whole Creative and Apple dispute is pretty messed up to be used as an example. Creative only wanted to file against Apple because Apple sells more devices than Creative does. Apple clearly only counter-sued on the same day with a bigger blow to Creative just to shut them up.

The practice of getting 'dirt' on someone else and keeping that in your arsenal for when they try to get money (or other) from you is very common among companies.
 
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