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Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

Apple Hit With $22M Verdict In Acacia Patent Trial

September 18th, 2016 Alexander No comments

A jury recently found that Apple Inc.’s iPhones and iPads infringe a patent on wireless communication technology owned by Cellular Communications Equipment LLC, a subsidiary of major patent licensing firm Acacia Research Corp.  The jury ordered Apple to pay $22.1 million in damages.

That patent was originally issued to a Nokia Corp. engineer and then acquired by Cellular Communications Equipment. It covers technology for managing the resources used to send data over a communications network and increasing the efficiency of communicating.

Apple argued that it does not infringe and that the patents are invalid as obvious or because the applicant omitted inventors from the patent.

In addition to Apple, the suit named as defendants the mobile carriers that resell Apple devices and configure them to make them compatible with their networks: AT&T Mobility LLC, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Solutions Inc., Boost Mobile LLC and T-Mobile USA Inc.

However, U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell granted the carrier’s motion to sever the claims against them and stay them until completion of the trial against Apple, finding that the claims are peripheral to the claims against Apple.

The carriers can only be liable for patent infringement if Apple is found to infringe, but if Apple were found liable and ordered to pay damages, Cellular Communications Equipment cannot recover damages from the carriers because it is barred from receiving a double recovery for the same sales.

For more information, see Law360.



Boston IP Firm Wants GPNE’s $100M Malpractice Suit Dismissed

November 11th, 2015 Alexander No comments

Occhiuti & Rohlicek LLP urged a Massachusetts federal court to dismiss a $100 million malpractice suit brought by GPNE Corp. over a lapsed Japanese data communications patent, arguing the complaint fails to make specific claims or include an English translation of the patent.

The firm said the suit fails by including a copy of GPNE’s allegedly abandoned and infringed high-speed data transmission patent only in Japanese, which leaves Occhiuti unable to even answer the complaint properly; and by failing to make any allegations that are subject to relief.

GPNE’s complaint includes no specific claims of what has been infringed due to the firm’s alleged failure to ensure the payment of Japanese patent fees and of how GPNE has been specifically damaged, Occhiuti explained.

“In a legal malpractice case, a plaintiff must prove a breach of duty, causation and damages, [and] because GPNE is claiming that it lost the right to bring infringement litigation, it must establish the causation and damage elements through a ‘trial within a trial’ in a malpractice case,” Occhiuti said in its dismissal motion. “This requires it to prove actual infringement and damages resulting from the infringement, and it allows O&R to defend on the grounds of lack of infringement and invalidity of the claims.”

GPNE alleges that Occhiuti is to blame for allowing the company’s data transmission patent to go abandoned by telling GPNE to not pay the renewal fee to the Japanese Patent Office. As a result, the company has lost out on 200 claimed inventions and 5 percent royalty fees from Japanese sales of Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad, which purportedly infringe the patent.

Occhiuti said that GPNE’s claim of negligence, malpractice and $100 million in damages “is not plausible on its face,” because there is no indication that the company took any steps to enforce its patent when iPhone, iPads and LTE technology “generally were developed.”

“It stretches credulity for GPNE to contend that now the patent has lapsed, every iPhone and iPad in Japan infringe[s] its claims,” Occhiuti said. “Here there is no factual support for these allegations.”

For more information, see Law360.



Apple Gets Partial Fed. Circ. Win In Sony-Nokia Patent Case

March 19th, 2015 Alexander No comments

The Federal Circuit recently cleared Apple Inc. of infringing three smartphone patents held by a company formed by Sony Corp. of America and Nokia Corp., but sent the case back to the district court for further proceedings on another patent.

In a complex, mixed ruling, the appeals court sided with Apple on some issues, while agreeing on other issues with plaintiff MobileMedia Ideas LLC, a patent licensing firm formed by Sony, Nokia and MPEG LA LLC.

MobileMedia accused Apple’s iPhone of infringing four patents related to camera phone and phone call technology. The Federal Circuit reversed both of the district court’s findings that Apple infringed and affirmed that the third patent was invalid. However, it agreed with MobileMedia that the district court’s noninfringement finding on the fourth patent was based on an incorrect claim construction and vacated that ruling.

The Federal Circuit said that the district court wrongly found infringement of two patents. The two patents are U.S. Patent Numbers 6,427,078, which covers a notebook computer that includes a camera unit, and 6,070,068, which covers the display of call handling options like “hold” and “disconnect” on a mobile phone display.

With regard to the ’078 camera phone patent, the appeals court said that because the iPhone’s camera module has no internal memory for storing data, it does not infringe the patent, which describes a “means for processing and for storing” information.

“Although MobileMedia contends that the ‘main memory of the iPhone’ is the camera unit’s means for storing, this ‘main memory’ is not located within the iPhone camera module, which is what [the patent] requires,” the Federal Circuit wrote. “Therefore, we reverse the district court’s judgment that Apple infringes.”

With regard to the ’068 call handling patent, the appeals court held that it was invalid as obvious and reversed the finding that Apple infringed.

The two patents that the district court found Apple did not infringe are U.S. Patent Numbers 6,253,075, which covers a way of rejecting an incoming call when the user is already on a call, and RE 39,231, which covers a way of permitting a user to stop a ringtone for an incoming call without notifying the caller.

The Federal Circuit held that the lower court correctly found that the ’075 call rejection patent was obvious. However, it found that the judge misconstrued the claims of the ’231 ringtone patent.

For more information, see Law360.



Smartflash Hits Apple With Patent Infringement Suit Again

March 2nd, 2015 Alexander No comments

Smartflash LLC filed suit, once again alleging infringement of three patents that recently won them a $533M victory against Apple Inc., this time on newer products, and adding four additional patents related to the Apple Store Kit.

The company claims that Apple is indirectly infringing by inducing infringement by product assemblers, resellers, app developers and publishers, digital content publishers and end-user customers.

Smartflash says Apple induces the alleged infringement with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6+, iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 — which can access the iTunes Store or any version of the App Store app — its internal servers involved in operating the iTunes Store, its App Store, and other servers involved in the payment function of the iTunes Store, App Store or content via iCloud, as well as servers involved in Apple’s iAd Network.

“This lawsuit is intended to make sure that those products are adequately accounted for,” Cassady, an attorney for Smartflash, said.

“Apple has known these components to be especially made or especially adapted for use in an infringement of the patents-in-suit and that these components are not a staple article or commodity of commerce suitable for substantial non-infringing use,” the complaint says. “Alternatively, Apple believed there was a high probability that others would infringe the patents-in-suit but remained willfully blind to the infringing nature of others’ actions.”

When Smartflash sued Apple, Samsung Electronics Co. and HTC Corp. in May 2013, accusing them of infringing six anti-piracy patents, the tech companies argued that the patents were invalid as abstract under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice standard on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions. They had argued the patents, which describe a system to pay for and download digital content, simply described paying for something to gain access to it, a “building block” of the modern economy.

However, U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap adopted the recommendation of U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell, who found that the patents cleared the Alice hurdlw because although controlling access to data based on payment was abstract, the claims had meaningful limitations that transformed the idea into something patentable.

The patents addressed a problem created by the Internet: how to protect copyrighted material from being copied without permission, while still letting allowed users to access it quickly and permanently.

For more information, see Law360.

Categories: Uncategorized


Judge Rips ‘Ridiculous’ Nokia Bid To Seal

November 26th, 2014 Alexander No comments

A California federal judge denied and ripped into Nokia Corp.’s latest “ridiculous” request to seal documents in its fight with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. over the leaking of patent licensing terms between Nokia and Apple in Samsung’s ongoing patent war with the iPhone maker.

Judge Paul Grewal’s order declines Nokia’s request for leave to file a reconsideration of his earlier order denying seal on certain documents. This marks the latest instance of the judge making no secret of his exasperation with a flurry of seal requests from all the parties in the suit, which Nokia was brought into after Samsung disclosed the confidential details of a licensing deal between Apple and Nokia.

“The undersigned is not quite sure, but sealing in this case may just have officially passed from the sublime to the ridiculous,” Judge Grewal’s order says.

Among the portions Nokia wants blacked out are certain passages of publicly available news stories estimating the terms of Apple’s patent license with Nokia despite the fact that the articles are “available to anyone on the planet with a web browser and basic internet access,” Judge Grewal says.

The court may have been more forgiving of Nokia’s request if this were the second, third or fourth time, “but at some point, the cost of such unwarranted sealing requests to the taxpayers, the press and other parties with equally important claims to the court’s resources must take priority.”

Also in June, Judge Grewal addressed all the parties’ then-recent requests to seal dozens of documents, largely keeping them unsealed. He said there still was a backlog of requests stemming from 26 separate administrative motions to seal 134 documents.

At that time, he said that although “old dogs, it turns out, can learn new tricks” when it comes to exercising restraint with seal requests, Nokia’s seal requests were not narrowly tailored to confidential business information.

These disputes arise as part of the larger patent infringement suit Apple filed against Samsung, accusing it of infringing several design and utility patents pertaining to iPhone and related technology. A $930 million district-court verdict against Samsung is pending on appeal before the Federal Circuit.

For more information, see Law360.

Categories: Intellectual Property


Apple Triumphs in GPNE’s $94M Patent Trial

November 8th, 2014 Alexander No comments

Apple Inc. triumphed in GPNE Corp.’s $94 million patent trial when a California federal jury unanimously found that Apple’s iPhones and iPads did not infringe two data-communications patents. On the down side, Apple failed to convince jurors that those patents are invalid.

The jury, comprised of seven women and one man, reached its verdict in the two-week trial after less than a day of deliberations. Their only question was whether a decision on a patent’s validity or invalidity would “apply only to Apple, or to the patent in general.”

Apple championed the verdict in a statement slamming GPNE as a “patent troll.”

“We are pleased the jury in California saw through GPNE’s attempt to extort money from Apple for 20 year old pager patents that have expired, wasting time for everyone involved,” Apple said. “GPNE is a patent troll with no active business other than patent litigation. They have sent more than 300 demand letters in the past year to everyone from truckers and farmers to roofers and dairies threatening costly legal entanglements if these small businesses didn’t pay them off — this isn’t right.”

GPNE’s attorney was disappointed in the jury’s decision, but is not giving up hope. “It was a hard fought trial with a tough claim construction in a case in which our firm was hired a few months ago. We strongly believe the judge will address the underlying legal issues in post-verdict motions,” he said.

At the start of the trial, GPNE’s attorney said Apple’s mobile devices infringe inventions that date back to 1993 but were updated in GPNE’s Patents that were assigned in 2010 and 2009. Both describe how a mobile device can “reserve” space to send out a message on a cellular network.

“These are very valuable patents that enable people who use iPhones and iPads to communicate and transmit lots of data,” GPNE’s attorney said said. “But Apple isn’t paying for it … Apple’s use of GPNE’s property without permission is why we’re here.”

In a previous blog post, we mentioned how GPNE is a Honolulu, Hawaii-based company and was born out of two other companies, first Pioneer Tech Development Ltd. and later Digicomm Ltd. GPNE chairman invented the technology described in the patents in the early 1990s while trying to come up with a reliable way to communicate between mobile devices in Hawaii, where cell reception was poor and mountains often got in the way.

The invention allowed devices to maximize their use of the airwaves while seamlessly transmitting data, which could minimize both the need for more infrastructure and the costs associated with that infrastructure, she said. But recently, GPNE discovered that a number of mobile companies, including Apple, were using its technology. Other companies such as Nokia, Samsung, and Motorola have licensed GPNE’s patents.

GPNE’s damages expert, studied GPNE’s licensing agreements with other mobile-phone makers, including Samsung and HTC, and learned those companies had paid royalties of roughly $1 per phone to license the company’s patents. Apple sold nearly 94 million allegedly infringing iPhones and iPads, leading GPNE to conclude that Apple should pay $94 million in damages.

Apple’s attorney argued that its iPhones and iPads don’t infringe GPNE’s patents because the inventions only cover mobile communications from pagers, which are named specifically in both patents. Two-way paging systems function differently from cellphone systems, providing more powerful signals that can reach places mobile phones can’t, such as basements and elevators.

While Apple’s attorney was stymied at trial by Judge Lucy Koh for calling GPNE a “patent troll” he found other ways to describe the company to the jury.

“It’s a company that doesn’t make anything. It’s a company that doesn’t sell anything,” he said, noting that GPNE sent roughly 300 letters to a variety of companies, threatening to sue for patent infringement if the targets didn’t license GPNE’s patents. “That’s legal. What are they interested in? Are they just trying to get money?”

For more information, see Law360.



GPNE Seeks $94M In Damages From Apple

October 23rd, 2014 Alexander No comments

Apple Inc. bashed GPNE Corp.’s $94 million damages demand as “extreme” and “unreasonable” during closing arguments in GPNE’s trial accusing Apple of selling almost 94 million iPhones and iPads that infringe two data-communications patents. Apple went on to tell the jury that Apple did not infringe any of GPNE’s patents and it should not pay anything.

The patents in question describe how a mobile device can “reserve” space to send out a message on a cellular network. GPNE invented the technology described in the patents in the early 1990s while trying to come up with a reliable way to communicate between mobile devices in Hawaii, where cell reception was poor and mountains often got in the way.

“Apple respects patents, and it respects innovation. It will not capitulate to a company that’s stretching its patents. It’s not right, and it’s not fair,” Apple’s attorney argued.

Apple’s attorney further stated that other companies that licensed GPNE’s patents paid a fraction of what the company says Apple owes for allegedly infringing its patents. Those companies that took licenses did so because GPNE had threatened them with “costly legal entanglements” if they refused.

GPNE’s damages expert testified that he had studied some of GPNE’s licenses with other companies that make and sell mobile devices, including Samsung Electronics Co. and HTC Corp., and determined that they had paid a license of approximately $1 per device.

Much of Apple’s defense in the trial has focused on the fact that GPNE’s patents described pagers, not the smartphones and tablets accused in the lawsuit. GPNE’s attorneys contend that the mentions of pagers in the patents are meant only as an example of a mobile device that sends and receives data.

“Would we have had a trial over the past two or three weeks if it were as simple as whether or not this is about a pager?” GPNE’s attorney argued. “Our patent expert showed how Apple’s devices contain each and every element of each and every asserted claim.”

For more information, see Law360.