Notorious patent troll Uniloc targets Apple over Maps, Apple ID, remote software updates

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2017
Notorious patent troll Uniloc on Monday filed suit against Apple claiming infringement of three patents related to certain Maps features, user authentication via Apple ID and UDIDs, and remote iOS updates.


Frequent Locations in iOS 7.


Filed with the patent holder friendly Eastern Texas District Court, Uniloc's lawsuit alleges infringement of three owned patents relating to various consumer facing Apple services. The non-practicing entity is leveraging a set of fairly recent IP credited to Uniloc CEO and serial inventor Craig Etchegoyen.

At issue are U.S. Patent Nos. 9,414,199, 8,838,976 and 8,239,852, each dealing with different technologies supposedly tied to a number of Apple products.

The '199 patent, titled "Predictive delivery of information based on device history," covers a method of delivering information to a device based on its location. Specifically, the document details a system capable of predicting future locations of user device, then sending relevant data based on those predictions.

Though the patent abstract, summary and detailed description all refer to the technique as a delivery mechanism for advertisements -- like SMS messages -- the IP's claims are being asserted as applicable to Frequent Locations in Apple Maps. Introduced with iOS 7 in 2013, Frequent Locations is an opt-in Location Services feature that "learns" places significant to a given user.

By periodically polling device positioning data, iOS is able to track the places users visit and how often they visit them. This data is compiled and can later be used to deliver personalized information. For example, the latest versions of iOS combines Frequent Locations with Maps services to furnish users with predictive traffic routing.

Interestingly, today's complaint does not single out Location-based Apple Ads, which seems to more directly apply to the'199 patent.

Uniloc's '976 patent for "Web content access using a client device identifier" details a method of controlling access to online assets using collected device information. In particular, the document calls for one user-configurable parameter, such as a password, and a non-user-configurable element like a device UDID.

Applied to the suit, Uniloc asserts Apple infringes on claim 13 of the '976 patent by allowing users to access iTunes, iCloud, the App Store and other online services with an Apple ID. Indeed, Apple in its support documents notes iPhones, iPads and other devices use a combination of Apple ID and device UDIDs to authenticate users.

Finally, the '852 patent for "Remote update of computers based on physical device recognition" covers a method of securely updating a user device with a software payload authenticated and received over the internet. As with the '976 patent, authentication appears to be a critical factor in finding infringement.

Whether Uniloc can successfully argue the validity of its patent claims remains to be seen. Along with vague wording, the patents carry questionable priority dates that do not pre-date a timeline when Apple first began operating iterations of the alleged infringing services. The '976 patent, for example, was filed for in 2009, well after Apple began using unique identifiers to gate online content. Uniloc's '852 patent is also questionable, as Apple has required device and user authentication for iPhone updates since the original iPhone launched in 2007.

Today's lawsuit is Uniloc's second attempt at extracting compensation from Apple over alleged infringed patents. The NPE last June filed suit against the Cupertino tech giant's Messages product for encroaching on four patents related to instant voice messaging systems facilitated through VoIP protocols.

Uniloc has a long history of bringing suit against high-profile defendants. For more than a decade, the firm filed dozens of lawsuits against large tech companies including Activision Blizzard, Aspyr, Electronic Arts, McAfee, Microsoft, Rackspace, Sega, Sony, Symantec and more. Among the largest verdicts to date was a 2009 win against Microsoft over a now invalidated patent.

At the time, a jury awarded Uniloc $388 million in damages for a "software activation" invention, a ruling that was overturned. Microsoft subsequently settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Key claims of the patent later failed an examination by the Patent Trial Appeal Board, rendering it unenforceable.

In its lawsuit filed today, Uniloc is seeking unspecified damages, reimbursement of legal fees and other relief deemed fit by the court.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,691member
    When an outfit like this loses or has a judgement overturned there need to be serious consequences including huge fines.
    brakkendysamoriaanton zuykovlostkiwimwhitewatto_cobrajbdragonjony0manfred zorn
  • Reply 2 of 14
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 411member
    Oh Gawd, the usual court of Eastern Texas District Court. Nuff said.
    dysamoriaanton zuykovmwhitewatto_cobrajbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 14
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,956member
    lkrupp said:
    When an outfit like this loses or has a judgement overturned there need to be serious consequences including huge fines.
    "Outfits like this" shouldn't be allowed to exist.
    macseekerRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 14
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 411member
    lkrupp said:
    When an outfit like this loses or has a judgement overturned there need to be serious consequences including huge fines.
    Huh!  This is strange.  I gave a "like" and the forum downgraded the number to 2.  As of this posting, Ikrupp should be at 4 for the likes.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 14
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,031member
    I just got this idea that by inventing new devices and algorithms, and then chaining them in various way you can improve lives of people. I need to patent that quickly.
    If this is allowed, virtually NO ENTITY that ever produced any software or hardware will get away with that. /s
    How about stop issuing patents on generic ideas? 
    (shaking my head)


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 14
    macseeker said:
    lkrupp said:
    When an outfit like this loses or has a judgement overturned there need to be serious consequences including huge fines.
    Huh!  This is strange.  I gave a "like" and the forum downgraded the number to 2.  As of this posting, Ikrupp should be at 4 for the likes.

    Maybe they are working on getting a "dislike" option and it's messing up the buttons.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 14
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,969moderator
    Non-practicing patent pricing reform

    I've grappled with the dichotomy presented by the need to protect intellectual property versus the scourge that the non-practicing entity lawsuits represent.  

    Perhaps the answer is to limit the royalties that can be demanded from patents that are not being applied (non-practicing) versus those that are applied in some product or service.  This would give greater protection and rewards to those who own patents and are using the patented technology in their products, because damage from infringement is higher versus damage to a non-practicing patent holder.  If you've gone through the expense of utilizing a patented process or mechanism, then you should be compensated greater when someone infringes that patent.  But if you haven't, and therefore also haven't brought a new product or service to market that allows society to benefit from the invention, then perhaps you shouldn't receive the same compensation for infringement. 

    There's perhaps a bit of precedent here in the  FRAND royalty calculations for patents that are considered standards essential.  The whole notion of SEP is that there's a greater good to society to allow multiple parties to utilize an invention as part of a standard and therefore it should be affordable for all to utilize the patented invention. Same here.  Patented inventions that are sat upon don't benefit society, so there should be incentive to get those inventions into use.  

    To give time for a new patent holder to develop products and services around a patented invention, perhaps the first few years after the patent is granted, it can be exempt from the rules I'm suggesting here.  The current status quo would remain in effect.  But after, say, three years, if you haven't shown that the patent is being developed into a product or service, then licensing limitations go into effect so that the amount you may charge for your invention will be limited, ala FRAND-type pricing guidelines.  So, if you don't intend to utilize a patented invention, either accept the lower royalty rates so that others can utilize it, or sell the patent to a company that will utilize it and therefore retain full royalty and infringement power over it.
    icoco3jony0
  • Reply 8 of 14
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Completely fucking laughable, everything of these existed 25 years ago.

    Microsoft by accepting to settle was their usual morons.... Apple won't do this and will bury them,
    watto_cobrajbdragon
  • Reply 9 of 14
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 881member
    Is someone in the US Patent and Trademark Office approving every application so the courts have to invalidate all of them? What's next, perpetual motion machines being approved? How about a "continuous exterior surface with fixed radius, frame or mechanism that rotates and is designed to make constant contact with a load bearing surface and affixed by an axle or shaft intended to make locomotion or transport" -- AKA the wheel? It'll probably get approved too.
    watto_cobraanton zuykovjbdragonjony0
  • Reply 10 of 14
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,457member
    How about a requirement that to bring suit it must be in the district the company/individual you wish to sue is headquartered.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 11 of 14
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,992member
    macseeker said:
    Oh Gawd, the usual court of Eastern Texas District Court. Nuff said.
    If you have to bring your case to this court, you know the patent is a load of crap and should be tossed. I wouldn't stand a chance anywhere else.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    subbiessubbies Posts: 71member
    The patent office has a lot to answer for 
  • Reply 13 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,720member
    Non-practicing patent pricing reform

    I've grappled with the dichotomy presented by the need to protect intellectual property versus the scourge that the non-practicing entity lawsuits represent.  

    Perhaps the answer is to limit the royalties that can be demanded from patents that are not being applied (non-practicing) versus those that are applied in some product or service.  This would give greater protection and rewards to those who own patents and are using the patented technology in their products, because damage from infringement is higher versus damage to a non-practicing patent holder.  If you've gone through the expense of utilizing a patented process or mechanism, then you should be compensated greater when someone infringes that patent.  But if you haven't, and therefore also haven't brought a new product or service to market that allows society to benefit from the invention, then perhaps you shouldn't receive the same compensation for infringement. 

    There's perhaps a bit of precedent here in the  FRAND royalty calculations for patents that are considered standards essential.  The whole notion of SEP is that there's a greater good to society to allow multiple parties to utilize an invention as part of a standard and therefore it should be affordable for all to utilize the patented invention. Same here.  Patented inventions that are sat upon don't benefit society, so there should be incentive to get those inventions into use.  

    To give time for a new patent holder to develop products and services around a patented invention, perhaps the first few years after the patent is granted, it can be exempt from the rules I'm suggesting here.  The current status quo would remain in effect.  But after, say, three years, if you haven't shown that the patent is being developed into a product or service, then licensing limitations go into effect so that the amount you may charge for your invention will be limited, ala FRAND-type pricing guidelines.  So, if you don't intend to utilize a patented invention, either accept the lower royalty rates so that others can utilize it, or sell the patent to a company that will utilize it and therefore retain full royalty and infringement power over it.
    Except in the case of the so-called NPE, someone IS using (actually, infringing...if they win in court) the patent. The party they are suing!

    If patents are to retain their limited monopoly status and the protection we're used to (and there's no reason patents shouldn't continue to receive such protection), then even NPE's which develop or purchase patents strictly for the purpose of seeking money from infringers need to be have the same protections and protected rights of the people or companies who actually develop their own patents. Property is property and it all deserves to be treated seriously or it undermines our fundamental understanding of private property rights. I, for one, don't want to live in a country where a larger company or an upset mob can determine whether or not my property rights are protected. Property rights are fundamental individual rights.
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 14 of 14
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,453member
    Folks, part of the reason we have this issue today is due to the fact we have people who are life long civil servants and could care less if they get it right. They have no idea what they are looking at and failure does not mean the loose their job. Our tax dollars keep these people in a job. Do you think they are hiring the best engineers money could buy. Also most of these people never work in private sector so they have not idea whether the idea has any real value or could be actually made. They are approving things on a concept not an actually working prototype or product. This is just another group in the government that needs to be gutted. These folks are only making lawyer richer nothing else. Our entire government today is made up of lawyers (who could not get a real job) passing laws which help other lawyers make money.
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