New Immersion lawsuit adds Apple's iPhone 6s, MacBook to patent infringement row

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2016
Immersion Corporation, a leader in haptic feedback technology, expanded its legal battle against Apple on Thursday with a new patent infringement suit targeting technology built into iPhone 6s and various MacBook models.




The lawsuit filed with the United States District Court for the District of Delaware claims Apple knowingly infringed on four owned patents relating to haptic technology, defined as physical feedback to user actions or UI events. Apple first debuted a true haptic engine in Apple Watch, and has since incorporated similar technology across its device lineup.

Immersion's latest assertion comes on the heels of an U.S. International Trade Commission complaint and lawsuit filed in the same Delaware court in February. All three cases name AT&T as a codefendant.

In today's complaint, Immersion cites owned U.S. Patent Nos. 8,749,507, 7,808,488, 8,581,710 and 7,336,260, each of which cover a facet of the company's in-house developed haptic technologies. Three claims go after Apple's 3D Touch tech, which combines a force-sensitive display and a linear vibratory motor, dubbed the Taptic Engine, to offer contextual vibratory feedback of z-axis user gestures.

Specifically, Immersion's '507 and '488 patents covering timing intervals and variable input pressure in haptic systems are being asserted against "Peek and Pop" operations on iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

Introduced in Apple's most recent flagship smartphone, "Peek and Pop" is a function of 3D Touch pressure-sensitive gesture input that allows users to preview cross-linked content without opening a standalone app. For example, users can initiate a light press to "peek" a hyperlink contained within an email, while a deeper press "pops" the content into Safari.

Apple's "Quick Actions" feature, which presents a list of app shortcuts on the iOS home screen on a deep press event, is claimed to be in infringement of Immersion's '710 patent for "Systems and Methods for Haptic Confirmation of Commands." Quick Actions are enabled as a major function of 3D Touch.

Finally, Immersion is leveraging its '260 patent for a "Method and Apparatus for Providing Tactile Sensations" against Apple's Force Touch trackpad technology as included in the 12-inch MacBook, 13-inch MacBook Pro and 15-inch MacBook Pro. Force Touch is also included in the Magic Trackpad 2, which is likewise open to examination in Immersion's case.

Immersion is seeking compensatory and supplemental damages that could be tripled if Apple is found to have willfully infringed the asserted intellectual property.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,142member
    Good luck. These timing intervals, etc., are just abiding the Laws of Physics. You can target an implementation, but not how Laws of Circuitry are leveraged.
    wonkothesaneargonautbrian greenpalomineVisualSeed
  • Reply 2 of 19
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,758member
    Who makes the haptic engine for Apple?  Aren't these gestures provided by the haptic engine?  Why Immersion Corporation does not sue the maker of this haptic engine? 
  • Reply 3 of 19
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    I'm an Immersions fan and before we post the usual hate, I think Apple should acquire this company. They have some amazing inventions regarding haptic feedback.
    icoco3
  • Reply 4 of 19
    payecopayeco Posts: 158member
    tzeshan said:
    Who makes the haptic engine for Apple?  Aren't these gestures provided by the haptic engine?  Why Immersion Corporation does not sue the maker of this haptic engine? 
    Apple developed their haptic engine, the "Taptic Engine" in house.

    cali said:
    I'm an Immersions fan and before we post the usual hate, I think Apple should acquire this company. They have some amazing inventions regarding haptic feedback.
    I was thinking the same thing. They have a market cap of just over $200m. Just buy the company.
    caliicoco3
  • Reply 5 of 19
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 405member
    Certainly a better acquisition than Beats...
    rcfa
  • Reply 6 of 19
    redefilerredefiler Posts: 323member
    Maybe they should sue Nintendo and Sony too, because a vibrator triggered by user interaction have been a thing in game controllers for quite some time.

    In fact it's the exact same 'innovation' used in the classic, pre-video arcade, Love Machines.
    Another patent that should have never been granted.

    [rides off on a Harry Potter vibrating broom toy]


  • Reply 7 of 19
    I hope Apple bury's this fucking company or sue them in Patent court for some stupid ass shit
  • Reply 8 of 19
    payecopayeco Posts: 158member
    redefiler said:
    Maybe they should sue Nintendo and Sony too, because a vibrator triggered by user interaction have been a thing in game controllers for quite some time.

    In fact it's the exact same 'innovation' used in the classic, pre-video arcade, Love Machines.
    Another patent that should have never been granted.

    [rides off on a Harry Potter vibrating broom toy]


    Guess you skipped their Wikipedia entry: 

    In 2002, Immersion filed a suit against Microsoft and Sony alleging that their game console controllers were infringing on two of Immersion's patents; both defendants eventually reached agreements with Immersion that involved multimillion-dollar payments.

    It's hard to believe but this company seems like it's not just a patent troll, but one that actually does actively develope and market their own technology and products.

    edited May 2016
  • Reply 9 of 19
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,227member
    I hope Apple bury's this fucking company or sue them in Patent court for some stupid ass shit
    Unfortunately, having seen Immersion's past victories, and watched Apple's poor quality legal team get itself bitch-slapped all over the globe, I think Cupertino would get buried in court. They would better off paying up or buying the company to avoid another embarrassing defeat further down the line. 
  • Reply 10 of 19
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,227member
    Wait, this suit wasn't filed in Texas? Does this mean it could actually be… legit?
    edited May 2016 ai46
  • Reply 11 of 19
    tzeshan said:
    Who makes the haptic engine for Apple?  Aren't these gestures provided by the haptic engine?  Why Immersion Corporation does not sue the maker of this haptic engine? 
    If the maker of the haptic engine has a license from Immersion, it may not always (read never) transfer to the company that makes the devices that use the licensed component.
    If the license was transferrable then the price that the original maker would have to pay would be a whole lot bigger.
    I call this double taxation. Pay a tax to the patent owner to produce a device and the company that uses the device in something else also has to pay the patent owner.
    It is generally regarded that this method brings in more $$$$$$$$$$ than a single license.
    This sucks. Why should Immersion have two (or more) bites at the cherry?
    If the Apple contract with the haptic device maker includes transferring the license then Immersion really don't have much chance of winning against Apple and should go after the component maker(s).
    IANAL etc but this behaviour is not new and was discussed at length when groklaw was operating.

  • Reply 12 of 19
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 838member
    For once, a lawsuit against Apple for patent infringement from a non-non-practicing entity.
    cali
  • Reply 13 of 19
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    redefiler said:
    Maybe they should sue Nintendo and Sony too, because a vibrator triggered by user interaction have been a thing in game controllers for quite some time.

    In fact it's the exact same 'innovation' used in the classic, pre-video arcade, Love Machines.
    Another patent that should have never been granted.

    [rides off on a Harry Potter vibrating broom toy]


    They've sued MS and Sony before but won't touch Nintendo. Probably because Nintendo actually innovated force feedback and put Immesrions on the map. That and Nintendo actually PAYS for licenses.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 14 of 19
    studiomusicstudiomusic Posts: 579member
    You can't patent an idea, just the implementation of the idea.
    I wonder if Apple's implementation is exactly the same as Immersion's.
  • Reply 15 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,295member
    You can't patent an idea, just the implementation of the idea.
    I wonder if Apple's implementation is exactly the same as Immersion's.
    ...and that's just what the court is supposed to determine, right?
  • Reply 16 of 19
    studiomusicstudiomusic Posts: 579member
    gatorguy said:
    You can't patent an idea, just the implementation of the idea.
    I wonder if Apple's implementation is exactly the same as Immersion's.
    ...and that's just what the court is supposed to determine, right?
    Yep. Seems like this is a legit case.
    Legit as in it should be viewed by the courts, not legit as in it has merit.
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 17 of 19
    rcfarcfa Posts: 716member
    gatorguy said:
    ...and that's just what the court is supposed to determine, right?
    Yep. Seems like this is a legit case.
    Legit as in it should be viewed by the courts, not legit as in it has merit.
    That's actually the same. Having merit only means it's not a frivolous claim. A lot of times there is no way for the infringed party to know if they are truly infringed in their rights because that would require access to trade secrets or very expensive reverse engineering.
    However during the discovery phase of a trial the defending company has to show it's not violating the patents, and that may then be either a clear case, a grey area, or impossible for them to do because they are indeed violating the patents.
    That's why law suits are important, also to show would be infringers that you're not going to take it from them.
    So this is a game played at many levels, at great expense, which is why the patent system sucks: it does close to nothing for small inventors other than bankrupt them.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    jhudgins84jhudgins84 Posts: 13member
    This is not a good time for Apple - problems with innovation, problems in China, disappointing keynotes, an employee suicide at Apple Headquarters, poor earnings, people selling their stock, patent lawsuits, problems with Apple Music, problems with the App Store, problems with Apple Car, problems with Apple TV service.... on and on and on. Tim Cook has been riding the gravy train for 5 years. Now he's really being tested. 
  • Reply 19 of 19
    VisualSeedVisualSeed Posts: 217member
    Apple developed their haptic engine, the "Taptic Engine" in house.

    I was thinking the same thing. They have a market cap of just over $200m. Just buy the company.
    I wonder how much of their stock value is based on investors anticipating a settlement or judgement with Apple on the patents.
Sign In or Register to comment.