Lawsuit accuses Apple of patent infringement over iPhone keyboard

“Apple is facing the first of what may be many lawsuits claiming infringement of patents pertaining to technology in its new iPhone,” Daniel Del’Re reports for TheStreet.com.

“SP Technologies of St. Petersburg, Fla., is calling for Apple to pay royalties for the ‘willful and deliberate’ infringement of a patent it says Apple used illegally for the iPhone’s keyboard,” Del’Re reports.

“If a judge or jury rules that a defendant willfully used someone else’s intellectual property, then the defendant may have to pay punitive damages equal to three times the economic loss that the plaintiff suffered,” Del’Re reports. “SP filed the suit in a federal court in the Eastern District of Texas, which is considered to be sympathetic to plaintiffs in patent infringement cases.”

Del’Re reports, “Apple is a big target for patent suits given the technical complexity of its products and its deep financial reserves. Plaintiffs in cases like this often hope that the threat of an injunction and treble damages will compel a defendant to settle without a trial.”

More details in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Bob R.” for the heads up.]

62 Comments

  1. I suppose it is to be expected. I cannot imagine patents being issued where an existing patent is already established and is on the market.

    A precedent was set by Linux when some millionaire treid to patent it for himself because Mr. torvald had not done so, the Patent Office asked Mr Torvald to patent Linux and then protect it by demanding payment for it. He recieved voluntary payments and was granted the patent in retrospect even though he had not applied for it in the first place.

    It is time the American way of conducting business was scrutinised, disected and recompiled to bring it into this century just as Europe is in the process of doing.

  2. Interesting…

    I’ve just done a Google search, a Yellow Pages search [of St Petersburg, Fla], a St Petersburg Chamber of Commerce search and a Wikipedia search and none can find a company from St Petersburg, Florida called SP Technologies. The only reference I can find online is in reference to this very ‘lawsuit’.

    I’m not saying they don’t exist, I’m just saying that for a tech company to not have an online presence somewhere is unusual in this day and age.

  3. Charlie

    You do realize SP Tech is not really a technology company, don’t you? They don’t actually create anything either. They’re empty suits who have studied Apple’s patents and think that by barking really loud, they’ll get Apple to cave.

    Apple will pursue this aggressively because it could the first of a long string of suits if Apple doesn’t whomp on them at the get-go.

  4. Oh, how much I love the idiots working at TheStreet.com. They can always make me laugh.

    One day Apple’s gonna sue them to dirt for altering the stock based on information. I can’t wait.

    MW: twenty

    Hopefully that means days ;-/

  5. Anyone read the patent?

    The fact that anyone was granted a patent for this “invention” is just…incredibly pathetic.

    The patent basically says, “Touch screen computers use on-screen software keyboards. For example, here’s just such a keyboard. But they’re often done as controls that the user can move, minimize, resize, and there are times that isn’t good–so we’ll take that keyboard and pull off the minimize and maximize buttons, and the bar and corners that can be used to resize and move it, and hey, now we’ve got an invention!”

    Since when is removing functionality from someone else’s invention a new invention? That’s like saying, hey, you invented a ten speed bike! I’ll invent a nine speed one!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.