Illustration from the '866 patent. | Source: USPTO
Patent holding company Wyncomm filed the suit in a Delaware district court on Thursday, alleging Apple's cellular products are in infringement of a Wi-Fi related patent. The complaint is targeting an Apple product features that allows a user to make a phone call and use Wi-Fi data at the same time, reports The Mac Observer.
The patent-in-suit, U.S. Patent No. 5,506,866 for "Side-channel communications in simultaneous voice and data transmission," was originally an AT&T invention granted protection by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1996.
As noted by The Essential Patent Blog, the property changed hands multiple times, including ownership by Lucent, AT&T subsidiary Paradyne, and two patent holding companies, before ending up with Wyncomm. The NPE, or "patent troll," is also asserting the same patent against Acer, ASUSTek, Blu Products, Bonac Innovation, and Casio, with complaint all filed on the same day.
With the patent expiring in November of 2013, Wyncomm is looking for a quick payout for past and "any continuing or future infringement" of the '866 patent, and does not appear to be seeking an injunction at this time. Damage amounts were unspecified and Apple has yet to comment on the matter.