U.S. News | Apple Sued for Patent Infringement in Two Lawsuits

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Two separate lawsuits have been filed against Apple Inc. accusing the company of patent infringement. The lawsuits were filed yesterday, May 1, with the main issues in the complaint being the iPhone’s dual camera and Apple’s ‘do not disturb while driving’ feature.

Corephotonics, a camera company based in Israel, filed the suit complaining about the iPhone’s dual camera at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division.

The second suit touching on Apple’s ‘do not disturb while driving’ feature  was filed by Pennsylvania-based Alert Signal Intellectual Property at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

Corephotonics Lawsuit

According to the complaint, Corephotonics alleges that it is a pioneer in the development of dual camera technology featured in mobile devices and that a number of Apple’s devices featuring a dual camera function, including the iPhone X, infringe two of its patents (US numbers 9,568,712 and 9,857,568) relating to dual camera technology. The company was founded in 2012

The technology in question consists of a tiny telephoto lens which fits into a mobile device and provides quality images through the combined use of a digital and optical zoom.

Corephotonics further alleges that Apple showed an interest in the patents in 2012 and the parties met to discuss a licensing arrangement in 2013, but no agreement was reached. The company claims that Apple was presented with the computational algorithms relating to the dual camera technology at the 2013 meeting, designs were shared with Apple and Apple’s technical staff were shown a demonstration of the patented technology in 2014. The company claims that later that year, it found out through news media that Apple would adopt dual camera technology in its devices.

The company states that after examining the dual cameras in Apple’s devices, it wrote to Apple to inform it of the infringement in October 2017 but received no response. The company is seeking both enhanced damages, legal costs, and injunctive relief.

Alert Signal’s Lawsuit

The main issue in Alert Signal’s complaint focuses on Apple’s ‘do not disturb while driving’ feature, which was first introduced by Apple in September 2017. The technology blocks notifications if the device senses motion.

Alert Signal is claiming that it owns patents covering a system which is enabled when the velocity of a device matches the speed of a moving car. The system, when activated, blocks alerts such as calls and texts. (US patent numbers 8,212,661; 8,446,270; 8,624,718; 9,313,626).

According to the lawsuit, Alert Signal’s patented system blocks message alerts, excluding only urgent communication marked and incoming calls which have been made by the same person within a short period of time.

The complaint states that the iPhone ‘do not disturb while driving’ feature allows the notification of texts marked as “urgent” as well as multiple calls from the same person in a short space of time and therefore infringes on its four patents above.

Alert Signal claimed Apple is also inducing the infringement of its patents through selling devices which feature the infringing elements.

The company is seeking both enhanced damages, legal costs, and injunctive relief.

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About Ufuoma Akpotaire 313 Articles
Ufuoma is a Senior Editor and Director of Regulatory Policy at NLIPW. She assists clients in the protection of copyrights, trademarks and patents. She counsels clients regarding validity and infringement matters and has experience acting against the infringement of IP and addressing counterfeit issues. She holds a Masters degree (LL.M.) from Columbia Law School, New York and a law degree from the University of Nigeria (LL.B. Honors). She is admitted to practice law in Nigeria and in the State of New York. Ufuoma cut her teeth in the intellectual property practice groups of some of the largest law firms in Nigeria and has years of experience working with major non-profit organizations in New York. Email: uakpotaire@nlipw.com