Apple’s being sued for allegedly infringing patents again. This time patent holding firm NovelPoint Tracking is claiming that Apple’s iPhone 4S and other iOS devices infringe on its location-finding patent number 6,442,485 entitled ‘Method and Apparatus for an Automatic Vehicle Location, Collision Notification, and Synthetic Voice’.
NovelPoint claims that Apple’s products “constitute a material part of the inventions of the Patent-in-Suit, knowing that those products are especially made or adapted to infringe the Patent-in-Suit, and knowing that those products are not staple articles of commerce suitable for substantial noninfringing use”.
PatentlyApple takes note of a clause that states that Apple “has contributed, and continues to contribute, to the infringement by third parties”. This means that Apple is being held responsible for any third party app in iOS that infringes on the patent.
Another patent holding firm – organisations often referred to as patent trolls – recently won US$368 million from Apple. Earlier this month a jury ruled that Apple’s FaceTime technology has infringed patents owned by patent licensing firm VirnetX. VirnetX had originally sought US$708 million in damages.
According to a report, 40% of patent infringement cases filed in 2011 were filed by patent trolls. These patent trolls don’t develop the technology themselves; these non-practicing entities or patent assertion entities (to use some more official terms) just buy up patents with a view to making money from companies that often unwittingly infringe on the patents.