Apple, many others in crosshairs of touchpad lawsuit

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
A small firm hoping to strike it rich through legal action has sued Apple, Microsoft, and virtually every other significant company making a media device under claims that they violate a patent for touchpads.



Submitted Wednesday in a Tyler court in the Eastern District of Texas -- a division often favored for patent infringement complaints due to favorable rulings -- the lawsuit by previously unknown Tsera LLC targets not only the makers of the iPod and the Zune but also their key competitors around the world. Among those under scrutiny are the US divisions of Korean firms like Cowon, iRiver and LG, European companies like Bang & Olufsen, Philips and TrekStor, and even the at times infamous Chinese producer of an iPhone clone, Meizu.



Tsera argues that all 20 of the defendants have, to some degree, misused a 2003 patent that recognizes different swipe movements on a touchpad without having to provide visual feedback or to look at the player to understand what's taking place. As is often the case in such lawsuits, the patent is particularly vague; both the iPod's click wheel and the Zune's click pad scroll using swipes, but they don't necessarily use patterns and instead recognize just forward, back, or (for the Zune) left and right movements as they come in.



The plaintiff hopes to capitalize on Apple most of all and claims that the iPod maker has been informed of the patent since September 2004 and has been "wanton" in continuing to produce the iPod classic and iPod nano without paying for a patent license. Accordingly, Tsera wants to draw extra money from Apple and is looking to collect "enhanced" damages against the Cupertino company where it's content with regular damages from the other 19 businesses.



Similarly, Tsera makes its motives clear and says it would force all the involved companies to pay a royalty for use of the patent if it's victorious.



Neither Apple nor any of the other defendants have commented on the lawsuit, which is demanding a formal trial by jury.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 64
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    They claim to have notified Apple in September 2004 and got around to filing now? I know legal processes are slow, but I don't think they are this slow.
  • Reply 2 of 64
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Is there no prior art for this? I thought the first iPod with a touch wheel was introduced in 2002, predating this 2003 patent.
  • Reply 3 of 64
    Yet another frivolous lawsuit. Won't there ever be a patent reform in this country?
  • Reply 4 of 64
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    Why are there even patents allowed on this? This is becoming incredibly stupid when someone can patent a finger gesture of all things, without even requiring a technology (device) behind it.
  • Reply 5 of 64
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Who are you to call this frivolous? Companies spend thousands of dollars protecting themselves with patents. That's why patents exist ***



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by marokero View Post


    Yet another frivolous lawsuit. Won't there ever be a patent reform in this country?



    EDIT: PLease, no attacks.
  • Reply 6 of 64
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,546member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    Who are you to call this frivolous? Companies spend thousands of dollars protecting themselves with patents. That's why patents exist ***



    Having a bad morning again?
  • Reply 7 of 64
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,989member
    Sounds like SCO v. IBM to me. A squatter trying to extort a real companies. Now we know why Apple is sitting on that $29 billion in cash. It's to defend against crap like this and the guy who says Apple and the Mafia are in cahoots against him and threaten him through his iPod.
  • Reply 8 of 64
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    Who are you to call this frivolous? Companies spend thousands of dollars protecting themselves with patents. That's why patents exist



    You do realize that "patent reform" doesn't mean "no patents", right?



    I think the company trying to "protect" itself needs to make an argument that it isn't frivolous. Not only do they not have a single product that I can find, they felt such a lack of confidence in their patent that they had to file in the Eastern District of Texas, and those are two key indicators of a patent troll. They don't even have a web site that I can find. So where is this supposed legitimate company, and have they actually spent money on actual research, or was it just an idea that someone thought they'd file? I would bet that the only physical location that this company has is the PO Box needed to qualify for filing in the Eastern District of Texas.
  • Reply 9 of 64
    "Similarly, Tsera makes its motives clear and says it would force all the involved companies to pay a royalty for use of the patent if it's victorious."



    Perhaps, but more likely if they're victorious they'll use that money to fund even more lawsuits -- these things are like cancer... and don't tell me that lots of the money generated isn't going to people affiliated with those 'favorable' courts in Texas. This is dirty business all around, and has nothing to do with real innovation.
  • Reply 10 of 64
    dizzy13dizzy13 Posts: 67member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


    Sounds like SCO v. IBM to me. A squatter trying to extort a real companies. Now we know why Apple is sitting on that $29 billion in cash. It's to defend against crap like this and the guy who says Apple and the Mafia are in cahoots against him and threaten him through his iPod.



    I think patents should expire if a company doesn't build real technology with them. Just spending a lot of money on lawyers to file patents for vague ideas hoping one day someone seems like they are making an actual product based on that idea and so you can sue...just retarded that you can do this.
  • Reply 11 of 64
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Tsera LLC meet SCO



    SCO meet Tsera LLC



    I'm sure you both will have a lot in common, soon.
  • Reply 12 of 64
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    Who are you to call this frivolous? Companies spend thousands of dollars protecting themselves with patents. That's why patents exist ***



    Resorting to name calling and personal insults is exceedingly bad form . . . .
  • Reply 13 of 64
    Apple should sue the Tyler court in the Eastern District of Texas!
  • Reply 14 of 64
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Boy oh boy, I can't wait till my patent gets approved... I'm gonna be RICH I tell ya RICH!



    The embodyment of a manufactured metal, plastic or composite strip of apx 5 inches in length. Whereby the item is shaped, formed, milled, and/or stamped to create a oblong and/or circular bowl at one end of the strip. The depth of the bowl can equal a precise measurement or a random depth. This device can be colored or left in its natural state, and can be ornately marked or left plain.



    -----



    Yea I'm gonna me silly stinkin rich!



    I'm hard at work on my NEXT breakthru patent... And not to let the cat out of the bag I guess giving you a little hint wouldn't hurt... Think sharp! Damn perhaps I've said too much!



    Dave
  • Reply 15 of 64
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post


    Boy oh boy, I can't wait till my patent gets approved... I'm gonna be RICH I tell ya RICH!



    The embodyment of a manufactured metal, plastic or composite strip of apx 5 inches in length. Whereby the item is shaped, formed, milled, and/or stamped to create a oblong and/or circular bowl at one end of the strip. The depth of the bowl can equal a precise measurement or a random depth. This device can be colored or left in its natural state, and can be ornately marked or left plain.



    -----



    Yea I'm gonna me silly stinkin rich!



    I'm hard at work on my NEXT breakthru patent... And not to let the cat out of the bag I guess giving you a little hint wouldn't hurt... Think sharp! Damn perhaps I've said too much!



    Dave



    That's all well and good, but the hard part will be finding a cheesy lawyer to prepare/file the lawsuit for you! (sarcasm)
  • Reply 16 of 64
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post


    That's all well and good, but the hard part will be finding a cheesy lawyer to prepare/file the lawsuit for you! (sarcasm)



    Yea... where am I ever gonna find a shady lowlife lawyer type who would just as soon sell his mother if it meant even a nickle more on his asset sheet... where to look... where to look...
  • Reply 17 of 64
    wilcowilco Posts: 985member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post


    Boy oh boy, I can't wait till my patent gets approved... I'm gonna be RICH I tell ya RICH!



    The embodyment of a manufactured metal, plastic or composite strip of apx 5 inches in length. Whereby the item is shaped, formed, milled, and/or stamped to create a oblong and/or circular bowl at one end of the strip. The depth of the bowl can equal a precise measurement or a random depth. This device can be colored or left in its natural state, and can be ornately marked or left plain.



    -----



    Yea I'm gonna me silly stinkin rich!



    I'm hard at work on my NEXT breakthru patent... And not to let the cat out of the bag I guess giving you a little hint wouldn't hurt... Think sharp! Damn perhaps I've said too much!



    Dave



    The only thing more boring than these patent articles are the cliched responses that inevitably follow.
  • Reply 18 of 64
    bonklersbonklers Posts: 54member
    if the people that run these suing companies happened to 'accidentally' die in their sleep and apple's 29billion was reduced to 28.9billion the world would certainly be a better place.



    i totally agree, if you don't have a working product, then you should not be able to sue for patent infringement.
  • Reply 19 of 64
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Is there no prior art for this? I thought the first iPod with a touch wheel was introduced in 2002, predating this 2003 patent.



    Trackpads have been around for some time. I'm sure there's plenty of prior art including the iPod click-wheel. We'll see how this plays out.
  • Reply 20 of 64
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A small firm hoping to strike it rich through legal action ...



    Although this statement might be true, from a journalistic standpoint this is a very poor way to begin an article. You are basically saying right up front that the lawsuit has no merit whatsoever, but then proceed to write about it in a way that suggests that you are still on the fence about it. If you want to be professional, you should strike this statement. Conversely, if it's jsut an opinion piece, the body of it should be written more like an opinion piece.



    Also, without any kind of link, (or even a good description), of what this firms patent actually entails, it's not really a story at all and no comments on it one way or the other mean anything.



    Edit: patent here:



    looks like junk to me
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