Firm sues Apple over 'fast-charge' battery tech used in iPhone 6s

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in iPhone
A lawsuit filed on Tuesday accuses Apple of infringing a 2010 patent via the battery charging technology in the iPhone 6s, along with "any similar devices."




The complaint, lodged by Somaltus LLC in a U.S. District Court for Eastern Texas, specifically targets the "fast-charge" features of the 6s battery, MacRumors noted. The phone is said to use a system that that maximizes charging speeds whenever the battery is below 80 percent capacity, above which it switches to a trickle-charge mode. The feature helps maintain the battery's longevity.

That technology violates at least the first claim of U.S. Patent No. 7,657,386, according to Somaltus. In compensation the company is asking for either unspecified damage payments or ongoing royalties.

The company has also filed separate suits against Asus, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba.

While Somaltus appears to be non-practicing patent troll of the sort Apple is used to, the latter party could potentially be pressured into a settlement. Somaltus has already settled with carmakers such as Ford and Nissan over the patent, and for Apple settlement costs might be preferable to the expenses of a protracted court battle and/or an unfavorable ruling.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,330moderator
    Easy to circumvent claim 1 of this patent.  It specifies a system that turns on/off AC power to the battery.  I'll bet toggling from fast charge levels to trickle levels of power would accomplish the same objective, and would then not violate this claim because the power would not be switched on/off, but instead between higher and lower power levels.  Next!
    bpg131313redgeminipa
  • Reply 2 of 32
    Fast charge or fast buck?
    If East Texas did not exist, would these suits happen elsewhere?
    jay-tbaconstangredgeminipa
  • Reply 3 of 32
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,659member
    Conservatives wanted to curtail "frivolous" lawsuits, but did they ever look toward the patent system for "reform"? All I ever heard was about stopping consumers from filing lawsuits against corporations... for "frivolous" things like injury from bad services, drugs...

    Our society is getting stomped by corporate executives and politicians who don't care about the measly insects (average civilians, workers, consumers) they trample while slugging it out with each other in the sandbox we built for them.

    Hello, worker cast speaking here: it'd be nice if we tried that whole "government for the people, by the people" thing we were told about in grade school...
    justadcomicsjay-tDeelronbaconstangbpg131313redgeminipa
  • Reply 4 of 32
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,623member
    How the F* is this even a patent! East Texas should be banished from this earth.
    jax44baconstangbpg131313redgeminipaindyfx
  • Reply 5 of 32
    VisualSeedVisualSeed Posts: 217member
    Easy to circumvent claim 1 of this patent.  It specifies a system that turns on/off AC power to the battery.  I'll bet toggling from fast charge levels to trickle levels of power would accomplish the same objective, and would then not violate this claim because the power would not be switched on/off, but instead between higher and lower power levels.  Next!
    I would guess the system actually switches DC power to actually charge the battery. It stops being AC at the transformer. Any switching that changes the "draw" of power from the transformer can be for any reason with battery level being just one of them. 
    edited July 2016
  • Reply 6 of 32
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,386member
    Fast charge or fast buck?
    If East Texas did not exist, would these suits happen elsewhere?
    Patent law suites happen all the time, all over the country. You don't hear about them because nobody cares to bring it up in public forums.
    mike1
  • Reply 7 of 32
    hungeduhungedu Posts: 15member
    I love how these lawsuits claim an amount for "damages", when the plaintiff never even produced any goods. The only "damages" they should be able to claim is the money they wasted on their patent years ago, which resulted in absolutely no product ever manufactured.
    baconstangredgeminipa
  • Reply 8 of 32
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,386member
    dysamoria said:
    Conservatives wanted to curtail "frivolous" lawsuits, but did they ever look toward the patent system for "reform"? All I ever heard was about stopping consumers from filing lawsuits against corporations... for "frivolous" things like injury from bad services, drugs...

    Our society is getting stomped by corporate executives and politicians who don't care about the measly insects (average civilians, workers, consumers) they trample while slugging it out with each other in the sandbox we built for them.

    Hello, worker cast speaking here: it'd be nice if we tried that whole "government for the people, by the people" thing we were told about in grade school...
    I suspect your view of the world has been distorted by liberalism. Curtailing frivolous lawsuits is a good thing, many are just scams to drain big corporations. The classic example here is getting sued for hot food, especially when said food is normally expected to be sold hot.

     As for suites involving drugs many are in fact attempts to enrich the pockets of lawyers, the problem is filtering them out from legitimate complaints.

     This brings us up to this issue, is this a frivolous lawsuit?   AI apparently thinks so and came to that conclusion with no real research apparently.  But like actions taken against drugs is it rational to pass judgement so early.   The patent could be completely ligitimate, nobody has researched it enough to say one way or the other.  

    Now onto  to your second point, you whine about corporate executives about not caring about the little people but this is exactly the opposite of what is happening here.   The little guy, in this case the patent holder, is taking on the big corporations.    What people fail to understand is that a lot of technology out there is developed by small often one man engineering firms.   Often these guys (mostly guys) struggle to realize the benefit of their invention when it gets stolen by big corporations like Apple.  

    Consider this, Apple has a policy of not licensing tech preferring going to court instead.   That is very much the corporate abuse that you seem so set against.  Apple is seldom the good guy here.   So really I don't know why people side with Apple without at least considering the possibility that they are the ones in error here.  

    As as for this patent time will tell, it is either valid or it isn't.   If the patent is valid then the question becomes did Apple use the tech, if so they wil have to pay up.   Simple as that.   
    xiamenbillsingularitycyberzombieboltsfan17
  • Reply 9 of 32
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,386member
    foggyhill said:
    How the F* is this even a patent! East Texas should be banished from this earth.
    Do you even have a clue here. East Texas had nothing to do with issuing this patent. Your ignorance of the patent system is astounding. It is the job of the court to determine if Apple infringed. You don't even know if it will be ruled valid.
  • Reply 10 of 32
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,386member
    hungedu said:
    I love how these lawsuits claim an amount for "damages", when the plaintiff never even produced any goods. The only "damages" they should be able to claim is the money they wasted on their patent years ago, which resulted in absolutely no product ever manufactured.

    Damages are what you could have earned through a proper license if your tech wasn't stolen by a big corporation. Think about it this way, how would you feel if you invented a new transistor technology in your cellar to replace FinFET tech and had the like of Intel, Global Foundries or whom ever rip it off. You don't have the resources to build a billion dollar fab to go into business for yourself so your only option is licensing the tech. If these big companies refuse your only recourse is to go to court to demand royalties. I can assure you that big companies ripping off the little guy happens all the time. Apple is just a guilty as all the rest here. So before getting your panties in a twist consider that there is the possibility of a valid patent here. The world isn't black and white at all. The court will eventually rule one way or the other here, until that time it really isn't an issue of discussion. Mainly because nobody has researched in depth the patent nor how it came to be.
    dasanman69cyberzombieicoco3
  • Reply 11 of 32
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,623member
    wizard69 said:
    foggyhill said:
    How the F* is this even a patent! East Texas should be banished from this earth.
    Do you even have a clue here. East Texas had nothing to do with issuing this patent. Your ignorance of the patent system is astounding. It is the job of the court to determine if Apple infringed. You don't even know if it will be ruled valid.
    Please STFU. I know how patents work lord of the sanctimonious flapping lips.
    edited July 2016 nolamacguybaconstangradarthekatmagman1979bestkeptsecret
  • Reply 12 of 32
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    wizard69 said:
    dysamoria said:
    Conservatives wanted to curtail "frivolous" lawsuits, but did they ever look toward the patent system for "reform"? All I ever heard was about stopping consumers from filing lawsuits against corporations... for "frivolous" things like injury from bad services, drugs...

    Our society is getting stomped by corporate executives and politicians who don't care about the measly insects (average civilians, workers, consumers) they trample while slugging it out with each other in the sandbox we built for them.

    Hello, worker cast speaking here: it'd be nice if we tried that whole "government for the people, by the people" thing we were told about in grade school...
    What people fail to understand is that a lot of technology out there is developed by small often one man engineering firms.   Often these guys (mostly guys) struggle to realize the benefit of their invention when it gets stolen by big corporations like Apple.  
    how about a source for your claim that "a lot" of valuable tech is developed by one man firms?

    apple is not in the business of "stealing" technology. the problem is software patents are stupid and ineffective -- implementations should be protected via copyright on your code, not patenting ideas. implementation is what should be protected, not ideas. with physical goods this is what we see -- I can't patent a "flying car" as an abstract idea, but I can patent my hyper warp drive that makes building one possible. 

    code should be copyrightable and that's it. just like a novel. 
    edited July 2016 Deelronbaconstangmagman1979
  • Reply 13 of 32
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member

    wizard69 said:
    foggyhill said:
    How the F* is this even a patent! East Texas should be banished from this earth.
    Do you even have a clue here. East Texas had nothing to do with issuing this patent. Your ignorance of the patent system is astounding. It is the job of the court to determine if Apple infringed. You don't even know if it will be ruled valid.
    who claimed East Texas issued the patent? no one. no one claimed that. 

    but many have noted and stories have been published about why East Texas is targeted as the venue for these suits. go educate yourself on the matter. 
    Deelronbaconstangradarthekat
  • Reply 14 of 32
    jdwjdw Posts: 586member
    It's high time we ban all lawsuits for any reason.  Just take an entire year off.  Some one run you down on the street?  Tough.  No lawsuits.  Might be a nice change to bite the lip and just deal with whatever life throws at you!  :-)
  • Reply 15 of 32
    jax44jax44 Posts: 78member
    Eastern District is very corrupt. Two Judges there have sons who are Patent Attorneys. Numerous shell companies rent empty offices in Marshall, Texas and list them as their Headquarters .

    These two Judges never deny a Patent Lawsuit, often brought by their sons.

    Hell, the damn Judges probably own the buildings the shell companies rent office space in.


    baconstang
  • Reply 16 of 32
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,545member
    Apple has used the fast for 80% then trickle last 20% for all iPhones since the first, same with iPads too.in fact, even on iPods prior to the iPhone. It was always something like charges 80% in 1 hour blah blah. This has been the case since 2001 with the original iPod. I guess these bozos got their idea from that as they submitted their patent in June 2002 a year later.
    edited July 2016 baconstangzoetmb
  • Reply 17 of 32
    baconstangbaconstang Posts: 489member
    foggyhill said:
    How the F* is this even a patent! East Texas should be banished from this earth.
    They were banished from earth.  That's how Texas was created.
    nolamacguy
  • Reply 18 of 32
    irnchriz said:
    Apple has used the fast for 80% then trickle last 20% for all iPhones since the first, same with iPads too.in fact, even on iPods prior to the iPhone. It was always something like charges 80% in 1 hour blah blah. This has been the case since 2001 with the original iPod. I guess these bozos got their idea from that as they submitted their patent in June 2002 a year later.
    If what you say then it will be easy to prove in court. If this happens then Apple should go after the lawyers for damages.
    A few cases where the scumbags and shysters get hit in the pocket might make others be a bit more careful before filing suit.


  • Reply 19 of 32
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,330moderator
    Easy to circumvent claim 1 of this patent.  It specifies a system that turns on/off AC power to the battery.  I'll bet toggling from fast charge levels to trickle levels of power would accomplish the same objective, and would then not violate this claim because the power would not be switched on/off, but instead between higher and lower power levels.  Next!
    I would guess the system actually switches DC power to actually charge the battery. It stops being AC at the transformer. Any switching that changes the "draw" of power from the transformer can be for any reason with battery level being just one of them. 
    Well, yeah, both sides, input and output, of a transformer are, by necessity AC. It would stop being AC after being converted to DC by a rectifier circuit after being stepped down by the transformer.  So it matters not where the AC is switched on/off, or from a high power level to low, except that transformers, like any electronic component, aren't 100% efficient, so it makes sense to switch the input side (no sense in taking the action of stepping down the voltage via the transformer for a cycle you're going to switch off anyway; that's just wasting energy).  And the same for switching it once converted to DC.  Why do the work of putting it through the transformer and rectifier, just to feed an off cycle.  So it's switched as AC prior to input to the transformer.  

     My argument for circumvention stands, just switch the AC source between high and lower power levels feeding the whole circuit and you won't be switching on/off as specified in claim 1.

    Here's the relevant claim 1 text: '..., the processor generating a control signal to alter a charge signal by adjusting an on/off period of an AC power source to a transformer coupled to the battery;...'
    edited July 2016
  • Reply 20 of 32
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 677member
    I agree with the plaintiffs.  Apple has been violating my US patent No. 8,937,394 "Everything must be better" for years./s.
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