Apple sued over Passbook by hospitality software maker Ameranth

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


Ameranth, a leading developer of internet and software solutions for the hospitality marketplace, filed suit against Apple's Passbook digital ticketing app, claiming patent infringement in an ongoing effort to enforce its wireless technology IP.

Ameranth
Source: Ameranth


While Apple's fledgling Passbook has yet to reach full stride, currently only offering support for a handful of apps, Ameranth last week lodged a complaint against Apple claiming infringement of four patents, one of which was cited as prior art in an iPhone property which listed late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs as an inventor.

Licensing its products under the "21st Century Communications" and "21st Century Restaurant" names, Ameranth manufactures and sells hospitality, entertainment, restaurant and food service IT solutions to a broad list of clients.

According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, the Delaware corporation operating out of San Diego is asserting its "Information Management and Synchronous Communications" patent family, which the company claims "has been widely recognized as visionary." Some 14 frims have already licensed patents in the portfolio and Ameranth has been aggressively pursuing legal action against big-name companies like Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt, for alleged infringement of the wireless synchronization patents.

At issue is Passbook's ability to download and store airline boarding passes, hotel reservations, movie tickets and other digital passes on an iPhone or iPod touch. While the synchronization of pass data appears to be covered by Ameranth's patents, the unique barcode-based redemption system is not mentioned in the suit or corresponding IP language.

Ameranth's asserted patents:
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,384,850 for "Information management and synchronous communications system with menu generation"
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,871,325 and U.S. Patent No. 6,982,733, both continuations of the '850 patent.
  • U.S. Patent No. 8,146,077, a continuation of the '850 and '733 patents.
Ameranth Portfolio
Illustration of Ameranth's 21st Century Restaurant system.


It seems the four-patent portfolio was developed to be used by restaurant workers as point of sale, menu generation and gift card processing systems, among other hospitality-centric operations, not the broader client-based Apple Passbook. However, the granted IP is worded such that a court may find infringement, meaning Apple could be forced to settle or go through with a trial.

Ameranth claims Apple is well aware of the patent family as three of the properties listed above have been asserted in a number of suits against the Cupertino company's business partners, like OpenTable, Ticketmaster and Fandango, all of which are supported by Passbook. Due to Apple's alleged "willful infringement," Ameranth is seeking triple damages, attorney and court fees and "further relief that [the] Court may deem just and proper."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,837member


    The images serve to make the joke, right?

  • Reply 2 of 27
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,324member


    Looks like a POS lawsuit to me.

  • Reply 3 of 27


    Must be from early 21st Century (year 2001) so the image is technically correct. The handheld device has a stylus so it must be the Samsung Note. Oh wait. 

  • Reply 4 of 27
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post


    Looks like a POS lawsuit to me.



    A point of sale lawsuit?


     


    I'm just kidding, but I found it funny that you used POS in your reply, because when I first looked at the image in the OP, I read the bottom left as piece of shit terminal.

  • Reply 5 of 27


  • Reply 6 of 27
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Lawyer speak really is its own language. It doesn't take much to realize that I don't care enough about the subject to read any further.
  • Reply 7 of 27
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 28,794member


    Surely if iOS is in violation, Android must also be... and everyone knows Android is at least 10x bigger than iOS. :D

  • Reply 8 of 27
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,324member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post


    Looks like a POS lawsuit to me.



    A point of sale lawsuit?


     


    I'm just kidding, but I found it funny that you used POS in your reply, because when I first looked at the image in the OP, I read the bottom left as piece of shit terminal.



     


    So did I - hence my comment.

  • Reply 9 of 27
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,100member
    Cracks me up. They know their business is SOL and their hail mary is a lawsuit.
  • Reply 10 of 27
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    This looks absolutely bogus to me.
  • Reply 11 of 27
    kavokkavok Posts: 51member


    Looking at the pictures on their website, it looks like they are using Windows 3.1 for the OS on that POS. Twenty-first restaurant??  Hardly.


     


     


     

  • Reply 12 of 27
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    While Apple's fledgling Passbook has yet to reach full stride, currently only offering support for a <a href="http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/09/19/list_of_passbook_supported_apps_appears_in_ios_6_app_store">handful of apps</a>, Ameranth last week lodged a complaint against Apple claiming infringement of four patents, one of which was cited as prior art in an iPhone property which listed late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs as an inventor.


    They need a better attorney. A decent attorney would have told them that when Apple listed their patent as prior art, it's almost impossible to get the patent invalidated over that prior art. There is a VERY strong presumption that the patent office has reviewed the listed prior art.
  • Reply 13 of 27
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 4,960member


    Wow, that looks so much like passbook! In fact, when I first saw that pic, I could have sworn I was looking at an iPhone with passbook! Uncanny resemblance!

  • Reply 14 of 27
    These guys work in my industry. They sue *everyone* - big players (snapfinger, gomobo) and POS companies. And startups. They claim they invented online poker and ordering food on the Internet... I shit you not, they've sued dominos and Pizza Hut as well.

    They're evil, scum and just patent trolls. I hope one or two things.

    A) apple kills them with a steak through the heart
    B) apple buys them and liberates everyone who's getting screwed by these crooks.
  • Reply 15 of 27
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,324member
    These guys work in my industry. They sue *everyone* - big players (snapfinger, gomobo) and POS companies. And startups. They claim they invented online poker and ordering food on the Internet... I shit you not, they've sued dominos and Pizza Hut as well.

    They're evil, scum and just patent trolls. I hope one or two things.

    A) apple kills them with a steak through the heart
    B) apple buys them and liberates everyone who's getting screwed by these crooks.

    That would have to be a seriously overcooked steak.
  • Reply 16 of 27
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,926member
    muppetry wrote: »
    That would have to be a seriously overcooked steak.

    Or a T-bone.
  • Reply 17 of 27
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,324member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by muppetry View Post



    That would have to be a seriously overcooked steak.




    Or a T-bone.


     


    True - that would do it.

  • Reply 18 of 27


    This claim should be filed under "more proof that software patents should not exist".

  • Reply 19 of 27
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,407member


    Their business model is proprietary hardware and software which Apple is going to make obsolete.  They should just scramble and port their software and become the premier iOS integrator and ride the wave to prosperity instead of digging a hole.


     


    Adapt or die.

  • Reply 20 of 27
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 315administrator
    Yikes....
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