Patent troll that sued over Apple Watch and 80 other fitness products may have met its match

“A patent troll that has sued more than 80 companies by laying broad claims to Internet-connected ‘wearables’ may be nearing the end of its road,” Joe Mullin writes for Ars Technica.

“The patent appeals board at the US Patent and Trademark Office has agreed to reconsider 16 patent claims owned by Sportbrain Holdings, LLC. The Patent Office’s decision comes just three days after Sportbrain filed a lawsuit against Apple,” Mullin writes. “Taking on its highest-profile target yet, Sportbrain claims that the Apple Watch violates US Patent No. 7,454,002, titled ‘Integrating personal data capturing functionality into a portable computing device and a wireless communication device.'”

“Beginning in January 2016, Sportbrain unleashed a torrent of lawsuits against companies with connected watches and other wearables, like Garmin, Fitbit, Pebble, and Nike (PDF). It also sued tech companies like Apple, Samsung, and HP, and watchmakers including Timex, Tag Heuer, and Nixon,” Mullin writes. “A petition for inter partes review (IPR) against the ‘002 patent was filed last year by Unified Patents, a defense-oriented patent company that bills itself as ‘The Anti-Troll.’ It was part of Unified’s campaign to challenge the “three most prolific patent trolls” of 2016: Sportbrain, Shipping and Transit, and Uniloc USA. The case against Sportbrain Holdings has passed a key hurdle, with the Patent Office agreeing last week to institute an investigation over all 16 of the claims in the ‘002 patent.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yet another patent that should have never been issued in the first place.


  1. Well, at least it’s now being investigated. Outcome is still uncertain and depending on ruling may prompt a request for investigation of similar ‘level’ patents of the accusers by the defendant.

  2. Patent trolls are the second worst type of troll, create stress, cause millions of dollars to be needlessly spent and typically amount to nothing. File hundreds of suits, if one or two stick they make the annual salary plus the daily stipends. Should all be shot with balls of their own shit as far as I’m concerned.

    1. Dick Tracy’s watch was explicitly a radio watch. It was not “connected to the Internet”. Such details are important in patents and the claims within them.

      Thinking that Dick Tracy’s watch invalidates any patent that might have bearing on the Apple Watch is no different than those claiming that the tablets in Star Trek invalidate any patents with regard to the iPad.

      In a patent it is the specific implementation and the claims that explicitly define that implementation that counts, not the general concepts.

      1. I hear what you are saying. I was trying to be funny. Internet has taken on the roll of radio waves. At the end of the day, where one is analog and the other is digital – DT is a cartoon and the PT is real. The patent troll is certainly a Dick and nothing like a Tracy.

        Where the rubber meets the road, UI aside, the tools are the same. Not enough to pass a copy test. I agree with you about this and Star Treks PAD or 2001 movie. The Apple Watch needs a massive infrastructure to work. The Dick Tracy watch, an imaginary thing, didn’t. :-). Still if Dick Tracy had words for the Patent Troll, I’d like to hear them.

  3. Unfortunately, such reviews by the USPTO mean almost nothing. The majority of the time (I’m tempted to say the vast majority of the time) the patent and the majority of the claims in the patent are upheld in USPTO reviews. It often comes down to, “We reviewed the examiner’s rationale for approving the patent application. His rationale and reasons were valid. The patent stands as is.”

    We can hope that the USPTO invalidates this patent, but it is not that likely.

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