Infamous patent troll Soverain Software targets Apple products and services in new lawsuit...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 16
Soverain Software, a non-practicing entity that gained media attention for suing Newegg and other online retailers over "shopping cart" patents, on Thursday filed a complaint against Apple for alleged infringement of IP relating to internet-based services.


Screenshot of Soverain's webpage. Public access to the site was removed sometime last year.


In its lawsuit, filed with the patent holder friendly Eastern District Court of Texas, Soverain leverages four patents developed by e-commerce startup OpenMarket, including the now-bankrupt firm's Transact product.

Transact, along with other technologies describing basic digital shopping carts, were at the heart of Soverain's attack on major online companies that began more than a decade ago. The NPE set its sights on nearly 50 retailers including giants like Amazon, initially winning infringement rulings worth millions of dollars.

As noted by Ars Technica in 2013, however, Soverain's streak was stopped cold when it applied those same patents to a suit against Newegg. That year, Newegg's lawyers won an appeal ruling that invalidated the three patents Soverain wielded in its many prior cases.

Despite attempts to appeal the verdict, including a failed petition to the Supreme Court, Soverain ultimately relinquished a $2.5 million damages win over Newegg, as well as two larger cases involving Avon and Victoria's Secret worth a combined $18 million. Newegg's successful appeal also shut down pending litigation against Nordstrom's, Macy's, Home Depot, RadioShack, Kohl's and many more.

Now Soverain is back with four more OpenMarket patents it hopes can be used to extract damages from Apple, and potentially other big tech firms. Part of OpenMarket's Network Management and Data Extraction Portfolio, which is separate from the Virtual Shopping Cart Portfolio, the patents-in-suit include U.S. Patent Nos. 7,191,447, 8,935,706, 5,708,780 and 6,212,634. The latter patent dates back to more than 20 years ago.

Following a lengthy synopsis of OpenMarket's early success, including details on technology not at play in the instant suit, the complaint offers an overview of Soverain's allegations. Specifically, the '447 patent details a method of managing transfers of information in public packet switched communications networks, as well as data extraction from off-site servers using embedded scripts. This particular piece of IP is being leveraged against the Apple.com online store and, more importantly, Apple's Safari web browser.

The '706 patent covers internet security protocols and methods for managing user authentication credentials on an external network. Here, Soverain targets nearly every Apple service that requires a password or utilizes encrypted data transfers, from iMessage to hardware like iPhone. As noted in the complaint, encryption and decryption operations are also performed in FaceTime, Handoff, HomeKit, CloudKit and iCloud, as well as other current products.

Next up is the '780 patent, which deals with session identifiers, or unique strings of text that allows web servers to recognize single clients "during a series of requests and responses, provide access to information resources which the user is authorized to access, and to monitor the user's access." Such technology is used to facilitate content downloads by APIs in iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS, the complaint says.

Finally, the '634 patent covers certifying authorization of a computers, otherwise known as permissions, over a given network. Soverain is aiming the '634 patent at iOS devices running iOS 9 and iOS 10.

Though the four patents-in-suit are vague and might potentially be deemed obvious, at least one -- the '447 patent -- was confirmed in a 2012 reexamination by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The complaint itself is rather broad, covering current Apple software and hardware solutions from iPhone to Apple Watch to Mac and beyond. Whether Soverain can successfully argue that its purchased IP drives technology powering almost every product Apple sells remains to be seen. Indeed, the repercussions of finding in favor of the plaintiff would impact the wider tech industry, as nearly all modern smartphones, tablets, computers and accompanying software incorporate some form of tech described in Soverain's patents-in-suit.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 154member
    GAWD!!!   May I take them behind the barn so I can have less misery in my life.
    magman1979EsquireCatscalebbenbekkejustadcomicswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,354member
    "New rule... if you don't have an MVP within a few years...you lose your patent"
    calebbenbekkedewmejustadcomicswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 13
    There should be an intermediate court. Where plaintiffs need to prove the relevance and validity of any patent older than 5 years old, at their own cost if they fail, prior to being able to use it in a suit. Currently the patent system is distracting companies that are actually doing stuff, and the court rooms are busy hearing suits on rubbish patents when they should be busy hearing suits about legitimate concerns.
    It's not an idea that harms small patent holders because 1. patents are already expensive to acquire, 2. filing suit is also expensive.
    edited March 17 calebbenbekkejustadcomicswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,061member
    I thank Soverain Software for reminding us that the world lives in a balance. For there to be light, there needs to be dark. For there to be logical minds, there needs to be illogical minds.
    calebbenbekketokyojimujustadcomics
  • Reply 5 of 13
    I thank Soverain Software for reminding us that the world lives in a balance. For there to be light, there needs to be dark. For there to be logical minds, there needs to be illogical minds.
    What kind of BS are you spouting?


    jdwtommikele
  • Reply 6 of 13
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 4,726member
    emig647 said:
    "New rule... if you don't have an MVP within a few years...you lose your patent”
    Just because you don’t have enough money or investors to produce a product doesn’t mean you should lose your patent rights. In that scenario big companies could just sit back and wait for you to lose your patent and then scoop it up. Sometimes protecting the little inventor creates a loophole for asshats like Soverain Software to abuse. Apple is a big boy who can defend themselves.
    gatorguypscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    mnbob1mnbob1 Posts: 240member
    When these gnats feel they need to file their cases in eastern Texas they know it's shaky. When will the judges and juries wake up and realize that these trolls only file there because they don't really have a case and rely on whatever reason these people provide them winning verdicts. I'm thinking that it might be tech naivete because I hesitate to believe these people could be just plain stupid. Perhaps some training on technology and the US patent system would be helpful.

    Forcing patent trolls into bankruptcy and tech companies forming a patent consortium to acquire their bogus patents would be helpful. They could a) nullify the invalid ones, and b) make the others open and available to others since most are useless anyway. That would prevent other trolls from acquiring them and filing time wasting, resources wasting law suites. RPX (Rockstar) was a good start but they acquire Nortel's patents for a profit. Time for everyone to stop measuring the length of their dicks and work together.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,963member
    mnbob1 said:
    When these gnats feel they need to file their cases in eastern Texas they know it's shaky. When will the judges and juries wake up and realize that these trolls only file there because they don't really have a case and rely on whatever reason these people provide them winning verdicts. I'm thinking that it might be tech naivete because I hesitate to believe these people could be just plain stupid. Perhaps some training on technology and the US patent system would be helpful.

    Forcing patent trolls into bankruptcy and tech companies forming a patent consortium to acquire their bogus patents would be helpful. They could a) nullify the invalid ones, and b) make the others open and available to others since most are useless anyway. That would prevent other trolls from acquiring them and filing time wasting, resources wasting law suites. RPX (Rockstar) was a good start but they acquire Nortel's patents for a profit. Time for everyone to stop measuring the length of their dicks and work together.
    Google and Apple, partnered with other companies, have already worked together a few times to buy up certain patent portfolios. Those patents are then licensed out fairly or in some cases sold off with the promise of fair licensing, and with the the investing companies like Apple and Google retaining perpetual license to them.  

    Rockstar FWIW was a terrible example of what you wish to see. It existed for one purpose: Attack competing techs with IP lawsuits and onerous license fees/requirements. Fortunately Apple saw the light after-the-fact, realized their error, and bailed on the whole sad chapter in the patent wars which doomed Rockstar's monetizing plans. 
    edited March 17
  • Reply 9 of 13
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,513member
    Two suggestions to solve the problem of patent trolls.

    Option 1: Trump, close down the parasitic Eastern District Court of Texas.

    Option 2: Return Texas back to its rightful owner, Mexico.
    edited March 17 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 13
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 41,369member
    freerange said:
    Option 2: Return Texas back to its rightful owner, Mexico.
    Urge to purge Aztlan rising…
  • Reply 11 of 13
    Actually isn't all this stuff predated by about 20 years anyway? I mean the Internet has existed since the 50's and the earliest patent from this lot is 1997 and aside from standardising on TCP/IP the basic infrastructure of the internet hasn't really changed that much in all that time so how can any of these patents be valid.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    tommikeletommikele Posts: 210member
    I thank Soverain Software for reminding us that the world lives in a balance. For there to be light, there needs to be dark. For there to be logical minds, there needs to be illogical minds.
    Your user name is "coolfactor"? Pretty funny considering the senseless BS you posted.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    mnbob1 said:
    When these gnats feel they need to file their cases in eastern Texas they know it's shaky. When will the judges and juries wake up and realize that these trolls only file there because they don't really have a case and rely on whatever reason these people provide them winning verdicts. I'm thinking that it might be tech naivete because I hesitate to believe these people could be just plain stupid. Perhaps some training on technology and the US patent system would be helpful.

    Forcing patent trolls into bankruptcy and tech companies forming a patent consortium to acquire their bogus patents would be helpful. They could a) nullify the invalid ones, and b) make the others open and available to others since most are useless anyway. That would prevent other trolls from acquiring them and filing time wasting, resources wasting law suites. RPX (Rockstar) was a good start but they acquire Nortel's patents for a profit. Time for everyone to stop measuring the length of their dicks and work together.
    In Texas all you need to do is grease the right pig and it will squeal in your behalf. 🐷😉
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