EMG Technology files patent infringement lawsuit against Apple over iPhone Internet navigation

Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro (JMBM) announced today that it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit on behalf of EMG Technology, LLC against Apple Inc. in the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in the Tyler Division. The lawsuit accuses Apple of infringing U.S. Patent No. 7,441,196 in the way the iPhone navigates the Internet. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages against Apple for the iPhone infringement.

MacDailyNews Take: Rocket Docket = Eastern District of Texas.

EMG Managing Member Elliot Gottfurcht is one of the named inventors of five U.S. patents for navigating the Internet on mobile devices and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). Issued on October 21, 2008, the ‘196 patent includes 76 claims, which are supported by specifications filed in 1999 by Mr. Gottfurcht and others.

JMBM partner and IP expert, Stanley Gibson, explains in the press release that “the ‘196 patent claims cover the display of Internet content reformatted from HTML to XML on mobile devices — the industry standard currently displayed by the iPhone. Additional patent claims include the technology for manipulating a region of the screen for zooming and scrolling.”

“Web sites are just beginning to develop their mobile sister sites for fast and easy navigation,” Mr. Gibson states in the press release. “For example, to access NBC on a computer the URL is NBC.com. For the mobile site on the iPhone, the URL would be m.NBC.com. The ‘196 patent covers the simplified interface of reformatted mobile content to provide optimum viewing and navigation with single touches on a small screen.”

According to the press release: in addition to being an inventor, Mr. Gottfurcht is a real estate developer in West Los Angeles. He was the original developer of Beverly Park, above the Beverly Hills Hotel; Beverly Glen Park, an 800-home community and The Glen Center above Holmby Hills; and the Carriage House, now the “W” Hotel in Westwood Village.

Mr. Gibson was one of the lead trial attorneys from Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro who successfully prosecuted Gary Michelson M.D.’s patent infringement lawsuit against Medtronic, which resulted in a $570 million verdict for his clients. Dr. Michelson received a $1.35 billion payment from Medtronic, one of the largest ever involving an intellectual property dispute and acquisition.

Source: Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro

[Attribution: MacSurfer. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. This reminds me of the joke..

    A aid for Bill Clinton walks into the oval office and asks then president Bill Clinton

    “Want do you want to do about the Abortion Bill?”

    “Just pay it”

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  2. WTF? How the hell is this patentable at all? Their patent covers a method of visiting a mobile website on a mobile device? The iPhone doesn’t even need to have a specialized site designed for it because it can access regular non-mobile webpages just fine, but just because it CAN access them thats patent infringement? And also, why sue only Apple? Apple isn’t the only company doing this, nor were they the first! I hate patent trolls.

  3. So MDN, still think the proposed revisions to US patent laws will stifle innovators like Apple? It’s because of garbage software patents like this that innovation is held back!

  4. If a patent isn’t used in a product within a specified amount of time (3 years?), a company should lose it…

    I agree with TrevX, this sounds like something that shouldn’t be patentable.

  5. This is the beauty of the iPhone implementation – a desktop OS and tool set, on a mobile platform. Mobile Safari accesses web pages exactly like desktop Safari – no accommodations for mobile / small screen access required. Google and eBay, among others, have created small screen versions that identify a mobile browser, but Apple does nothing special to deal with this.

    If this is about HTML to XML, start with Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Opera, and Webkit (Whoops – open source, no one to sue. Safari gets the buy again!) ‘Course, XML patents, which are open, may cover this instead.

    I don’t see the basis for the lawsuit, at least against the iPhone. Every other mobile web browser, yes, Mobile Safari no.

    Guess I need to read the patent details to see if merit actually exists.

  6. I guess that the announcement & presentation of a fully functional iPhone last year had nothing to do with a patent that was granted six months or more later.

    The fact that the so called patent was devised so that any web capable machine could access it without having to pay a fee or subscription was an oversight that now needs to be redressed through Patent trolling, therefor we should all pay Netscape for accessing the internet through their web browser in retrospect because even though, they patented their browser, couldn’t prevent M$ from copying their look & feel because Sir Tim Banners-Lee and the web forum set into concrete that the web should be available to all.

    The only proviso was that web developers obey the conventions set out.

    Should this nutter be sued for trying to lock up the web to individuals as well as business for a product created on an existing concept?

  7. Stan, you should know better!

    The iPhone does not control what version of a web site is sent to it. Got to CNN’s site. It will send the “m.cnn.com” site to you. CNN’s site recognizes the iPhone as a mobile device and sends the mobile version to the phone. The iPhone does not require the mobile version nor does it refuse the full version of the site. You can scroll to the bottom of the page and specifically request the full version of the site. The iPhone dutifully renders the full version.

    Going after Apple for this is wrong. As I said above, Stan, you should know better. You are being mislead by your clients.

  8. The patent in question was filed March 13, 2006 and references patents held by the complainants filed back to 1999. There is no question the patent predates the announcement and release of the iPhone. What is at question is whether:
    a) The patent predates the first product release using the described methods,
    b) The patent applies to the iPhone at all as the iPhone can present webpages without using the methods described, and
    c) Whether the patent is valid at all or does it describe an inevitable development?

  9. the problem of course is, after Al Gore invented the internet, he forgot to patent it.

    the original patent was for web tv, but now they’ve refiled it to refer to any device that connects to the internet. this suit should get tossed because the ‘sister site’ is setup by the web site, not the viewing device. therefore, Elliot Gottfurcht can go sue everybody who has a web site that serves up a modified mobile version

  10. Here is a key point that shuts the patent down against apple.

    4. The method of claim 1, wherein the user selection of one of the navigation options is received any one of a remote control, a pointer device, a keypad, and a keyboard.

    Cannot patent a finger and the iPhone doesn’t use any of the others for web surfing. It may one day BE a remote, but It is not used by one, and it does not have a keypad or keyboard you use on the iPhone for web navigation other than typing the URL.

    Patent images also depict the device using the cell phone keypad for navigation. No way they have a patent on the multi touch screen.

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