Apple Facing Second Suit from Victorious Patent Firm
Fresh after winning a lawsuit worth $532.9 million against Apple Inc., a Texas company isn’t ready to back down. Instead, it is again suing the iPhone maker and over the same patents too. The difference is that it is suing against the use of the patents in the devices that were launched after the original case had been filed. It is the aim of Smartflash LLC to ensure that the American technology giant pays for using the technology of the patent licensing firm without its permission in new devices that weren’t part of the previous case such as the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus and also the iPad Air 2. The previous trial pertained to older devices of the company.
A jury in federal court in Tyler, Texas declared on Tuesday that three Smartflash patents were willfully violated by Apple Inc. in the devices that make use of the company’s iTunes software. The patent is related to the storage and access of downloaded games, songs and videos. On Wednesday night, Smartflash filed the new complaint in the same court in Tyler as the company has its operations there. In the past decade, the company has become a center for patent litigation. Smartflash doesn’t make any products or has any employees and its primary business is licensing its patents.
Brad Caldwell, the attorney of the licensing firm said that the new complaint had been filed for addressing the products that came too late after the proceedings of the original complaint had begun so they couldn’t be included. He said that the Cupertino, California based giant cannot claim ignorance of the existence of these patents and the fact that it has infringed them because these arguments have already been rejected by a diligent jury. No response has been made by Apple in the wake of the new complaint.
However, after the verdict on Tuesday, Apple Inc. had said that it would appeal and the outcome was just another reason why there was a need for reform in the patent litigation system to stop companies from earning through litigation, especially those that don’t make products, but only earn their income by licensing their patents. In the latest suit filed by Smartflash, the company has alleged that Apple infringed on the same three patents along with four more. From the new patents, three were part of its original complaint against the tech giant, but it had been narrowed later.
It is mentioned in both of the Smartflash lawsuits that in 2000 Patrick Racz, the co-inventor of the company’s patents, had met with the executives of what is now Gemalto SA, a European SIM card maker. Amongst its executives was Augustin Farrugia, who now holds the position of senior director at Apple. Nonetheless, Smartflash hasn’t just targeted Apple. It has also filed lawsuits of patent infringements against other technology companies including Amazon Inc., Google Inc. and Samsung Electronics over the same patents as it claims they also used its technology without permission in their devices.