Lawsuit accuses Apple of violating patented Wi-Fi antenna designs

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The latest patent infringement lawsuit against Apple takes issue with Wi-Fi-enabled products, including the company's entire MacBook lineup.



The complaint filed by Linex Technologies accuses Apple of violating two patents related to design and implementation of antennas: U.S. Patent No. 6,757,322, entitled "Space diversity and coding, spectrum antenna and method;" and U.S. Patent No. RE 42,219, named "Multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) spread spectrum system and method."



Both applications refer to a plurality of signals sent and received wirelessly with a number of antennas. The accused Apple products cited in the complaint are the MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, AirPort Extreme, and Time Capsule.



"Defendants' Accused Products infringe the asserted claims by receiving and processing multiple spatial streams using multiple receive antennas," the complaint reads. "The infringing MIMO mode is described in, for example, Table 20-30 and related portions of the IEEE 802.11n standard."



Apple is not alone in the complaint from Linex, as rival PC maker Hewlett-Packard is also listed as a defendant. Wireless HP products named in the complaint include a variety of PCs, servers, and the MediaSmart LCD HDTV.







Other defendants in the case are Aruba Networks, Meru Networks, and Ruckus Wireless. The complaint was filed earlier this month in the U.S. District Court in Delaware.



Linex has asked the court to cease the sale of what it believes are infringing products. It also seeks damages for alleged violation of the '322 and '219 patents.



Linex Technologies is based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Its director and president, Donald L. Schilling, is the sole inventor credited with both the '219 and '322 patents.
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Comments

  • pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    Given the carelessness with which the patent office accept submissions, this will be a description of the "two wires in a box" idea.
  • dannshdannsh Posts: 24member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PXT View Post


    Given the carelessness with which the patent office accept submissions, this will be a description of the "two wires in a box" idea.



    What a bunch of bovine scatology. Idea's should not receive a patent. The actual material, design and method of construction are what a patent's is based on. If idea's were patentable then the whole ham radio community would be violating patents left and right.
  • muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,227member
    Are we just seeing an increase in the level of reporting of patent disputes, especially involving Apple, or are the patent trolls really ramping up their efforts?
  • radjinradjin Posts: 165member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post


    Are we just seeing an increase in the level of reporting of patent disputes, especially involving Apple, or are the patent trolls really ramping up their efforts?



    The more successful Apple is, the more people will want a piece of the action without actually doing anything useful.
  • spongebobspongebob Posts: 6member
    This lot have been here before with Belkin et al back in 2007 in East Texas - http://dockets.justia.com/docket/tex...v00222/103433/



    Anyhow, when does a standard (eg. 801.n) become a patent? More money for the lawyers - they must be on a bid to overtake bankers on salary and bonus!
  • muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,227member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Radjin View Post


    The more successful Apple is, the more people will want a piece of the action without actually doing anything useful.



    Agreed - that is a reasonable supposition and it appears, from media coverage, to be on the rise, but I'm curious to know if that is actually being reflected in a significant increase in the number of claims.
  • pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dannsh View Post


    What a bunch of bovine scatology. Idea's should not receive a patent. The actual material, design and method of construction are what a patent's is based on. If idea's were patentable then the whole ham radio community would be violating patents left and right.



    Sometimes I wonder if I could have patented this idea: "Go to Wharton, learn all about real-estate, start by doing up houses to build up a track record then borrow big and work really hard".



    I could have sued Donald Trump for every penny he's worth, without working a day.



    As you say, it's the execution of the idea that is where the meat is.
  • island hermitisland hermit Posts: 6,217member
    I have a patent on the number "5"... Apple's going to pay... boy, are they going to pay...
  • pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post


    Agreed - that is a reasonable supposition and it appears, from media coverage, to be on the rise, but I'm curious to know if that is actually being reflected in a significant increase in the number of claims.



    I imagine this is a daily occurrence for a company of Apple's size in tech.
  • lkrupplkrupp Posts: 3,993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post


    Are we just seeing an increase in the level of reporting of patent disputes, especially involving Apple, or are the patent trolls really ramping up their efforts?



    Every body wants a piece of that $60 Billion in cash Apple has piled up. This is mostly about lawyers making money. How may years have Wi-Fi antennas been around? And this outfit has just now decided that companies are violating its "patents"?
  • jupiteronejupiterone Posts: 1,559member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Linex Technologies is based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.



    Whoa, this guy could be my neighbor!
  • tawilsontawilson Posts: 484member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dannsh View Post


    What a bunch of bovine scatology. Idea's should not receive a patent. The actual material, design and method of construction are what a patent's is based on. If idea's were patentable then the whole ham radio community would be violating patents left and right.



    Ideas can't be patented, only specific implementations of an idea.



    For example:



    You could not receive a patent for "sorting an array of strings into alphabetical order".

    You could receive a patent for "bubble sorting an array of string into alphabetical order".



    Where a bubble sort is a specific implementation of sorting.
  • prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post


    Whoa, this guy could be my neighbor!



    Or you!



    Seriously though, even though it's possible (likely?) that this guy is another troll I'm a bit alarmed about how quickly everyone is to judge without any evidence whatsoever. On the face of it, this looks like a patent on the use of multiple antennas to receive and send wireless signals and the code for the processing that goes on to enable that.



    It is a unique situation and it is possible that someone patented those methods before Apple and HP. Patents are not given on ideas but on methods and implementations. All the jokes about patenting the number 5 or whatever are not relevant here. Right or wrong, it seems like the argument is about the particular methods in software that pertain in a very limited set of circumstances.
  • eswinsoneswinson Posts: 99member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post


    Agreed - that is a reasonable supposition and it appears, from media coverage, to be on the rise, but I'm curious to know if that is actually being reflected in a significant increase in the number of claims.



    As with most things I hope that the increasing media coverage gets the attention of lawmakers looking to overhaul the patent system to make it more friendly to doing business. As it stands right now, at least with software, patents if you launch any type of product you are most likely to be infringing on one of these "process" patents that are no more than pre drawn conclusions put down on paper and filed with the patent office. A far cry from the inventions patents were designed to protect. Allowing overly broad and non functional patents held by non practicing entities to affect the ability of 'millions' of independent developers to bring real solutions to the market that they arrived at independently is absurd and runs counter to the intent of heathy patent system.



    While this patent infringement case for antenna design may have merit as it may actually be a unique and novel implementation, it is diminished in the public's eyes because it comes at the time thousands of frivolous patents suits are also in the courts and news.
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,311member
    If the loser had to pay the entire costs of both sides it may slow some of these cases. Then again I guess the little guy would always lose so perhaps that's not a good idea , sigh.
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,311member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Or you!



    Seriously though, even though it's possible (likely?) that this guy is another troll I'm a bit alarmed about how quickly everyone is to judge without any evidence whatsoever. On the face of it, this looks like a patent on the use of multiple antennas to receive and send wireless signals and the code for the processing that goes on to enable that.



    It is a unique situation and it is possible that someone patented those methods before Apple and HP. Patents are not given on ideas but on methods and implementations. All the jokes about patenting the number 5 or whatever are not relevant here. Right or wrong, it seems like the argument is about the particular methods in software that pertain in a very limited set of circumstances.



    They didn't file in East Texas, I give them credit for that at least.
  • fecklesstechguyfecklesstechguy Posts: 501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Or you!



    Seriously though, even though it's possible (likely?) that this guy is another troll I'm a bit alarmed about how quickly everyone is to judge without any evidence whatsoever. On the face of it, this looks like a patent on the use of multiple antennas to receive and send wireless signals and the code for the processing that goes on to enable that.



    It is a unique situation and it is possible that someone patented those methods before Apple and HP. Patents are not given on ideas but on methods and implementations. All the jokes about patenting the number 5 or whatever are not relevant here. Right or wrong, it seems like the argument is about the particular methods in software that pertain in a very limited set of circumstances.





    But I'm willing to bet that there is a significant amount of prior art that will allow this to be dismissed. It looks like there are multiple patents relating to the kind and type of diversity and coding they reference in these patents. Usually they try to drive a settlement rather than go to court where a rather large pile of counter-patents or prior art or even common art will demonstrate the untenability of the claims. The problem with going after Apple, who while they have the deepest pockets, also means they have the most "practiced" legal team for this stuff.
  • freerangefreerange Posts: 1,472member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Or you!



    Seriously though, even though it's possible (likely?) that this guy is another troll I'm a bit alarmed about how quickly everyone is to judge without any evidence whatsoever. On the face of it, this looks like a patent on the use of multiple antennas to receive and send wireless signals and the code for the processing that goes on to enable that.



    It is a unique situation and it is possible that someone patented those methods before Apple and HP. Patents are not given on ideas but on methods and implementations. All the jokes about patenting the number 5 or whatever are not relevant here. Right or wrong, it seems like the argument is about the particular methods in software that pertain in a very limited set of circumstances.



    What? Multiple antennas is a patentable idea? You are frik'n joking right? I had a car back in the 70's that had an AM and FM radio antenna and a CB radio antenna. This is NOT a patentable idea so take your "rush to judgement" statement and put it where the sun don't shine!
  • ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    They didn't file in East Texas, I give them credit for that at least.



    Beat me to it
  • spongebobspongebob Posts: 6member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    They didn't file in East Texas, I give them credit for that at least.



    They sued Belkin et al back in 2007 in East Texas - http://dockets.justia.com/docket/tex...v00222/103433/



    May be Delaware is seeking to be the new East Texas!
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