Uniloc continues legal assault against Apple with two new patent suits

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2017
So-called "patent troll" Uniloc added to its quickly growing list of patent infringement lawsuits against Apple on Wednesday, filing two separate actions targeting AirPlay and Continuity features.




Lodged with the patent holder friendly Eastern Texas District Court, Uniloc's latest suits leverage intellectual property reassigned from 3Com.

A first suit alleges infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,622,018 for "Portable device control console with wireless connection." Filed for in 2000, and subsequently granted in 2003, the patent details methods of controlling remote devices over wireless protocols including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Uniloc argues Apple's AirPlay, Apple TV Remote app and Apple Home infringe on the '018 patent.

AirPlay allows users to stream audio, video and other digital content from iOS and macOS devices to each other as well as Apple TV, compatible speakers, receivers and other hardware. The Apple TV Remote app for iOS presents a graphical representation of the Siri Remote for controlling Apple's set-top box, while the Home app uses Wi-Fi and Apple TV (or an iPad) to control smart home accessories. Apple in June announced AirPlay 2, an advancement of the proprietary protocol with improvements like multi-speaker control.

Stylus input, or the mirroring of stylus input on a remote display, is specifically mentioned in the IP. Currently, Apple's iOS and macOS operating systems do not rely on stylus input for UI control.

A second case involving U.S. Patent No. 6,161,134 for a "Method, apparatus and communications system for companion information and network appliances" and No. 6,446,127 for a "System and method for providing user mobility services on a telephony network" takes issue with iOS and macOS Continuity features.

Issued in 2000 and 2002, respectively, the '134 and '127 patents detail methods of transmitting data from a computer to a telephone, as well as exchanging voice and data messages from a telephone to other devices on a given network.

In particular, Uniloc is targeting Continuity's telephony features, which allow users to make phone calls on Mac or iPad when those devices are connected to an iPhone.

Today's lawsuit is the latest in a parade of litigation Uniloc has filed against Apple over the past four months.

In June, the patent troll leveled three lawsuits alleging infringement of multiple patents covering motion monitoring technologies developed by tech inventor Philippe Kahn. Specifically, those suits leveled claims against wake-from-sleep features powered by Apple's M9 and M10 motion coprocessors, step counter accounting for inclines and general motion tracking technology.

A month prior, Uniloc alleged infringement of three separate patents developed by HP and 3Com relating to AirPlay, autodialing phone numbers from Contacts and device batteries. A month before that, the non-practicing entity sued over three patents targeting services like Maps, Apple ID and remote software updates.

Uniloc is widely viewed as one of the most active patent trolls in the U.S. The NPE makes money by using reassigned patents, or vague original IP, to sue high-profile tech firms. Past lawsuits targeted Activision Blizzard, Aspyr, Electronic Arts, McAfee, Microsoft, Rackspace, Sega, Sony, Symantec and more.

The recent rapid-fire attack follows an initial complaint against Apple lodged in June 2016, which claims Messages infringes on four Uniloc-owned patents.

As usual, Uniloc in today's court action seeks unspecified damages, reimbursement of legal fees and other relief deemed fit by the court.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    There is no "so called" about it, they are patent trolls.
    macseekerronnmagman1979watto_cobramike1jbdragonjony0
  • Reply 2 of 13
    Patent Trolls need to be called what they are, Greedy Selfish Fu*#%.

    To think that this money could actually be invested into real jobs and innovation.  Instead deep pockets form companies to buy IP and sue the hell out of everyone, in a throw it all against a wall and see what sticks strategy.  Only lawyers and the "deep pockets" make money, while the damages get passed on to the consumers.  These non-practicing entities shouldn't be tolerated in America, essentially buying a monopoly position with IP.  I might be old school, but I was raised to work hard, educate yourself, and give it everything you have to pursue your dreams.  Sometimes it's more of an American Nigtmare, rather than a dream.  I bet these companies still get write offs and tax breaks.

    I have an idea, patent trolls shouldn't be recognized as an incorporated status, exposing the deep pocket's assets legally.  We could pay down the debt or something. Ha

    If you can't invest in American talent and innovation, let alone global opportunities, maybe you shouldn't have the responsibility that privilege brings.  I might be wrong, perhaps a no-holds-barred approach to greed is a better future for all.  I'm not saying anyone should be obligated to be selfless or give your money away, but perhaps a personal moral toward a better future pays unimaginable dividends.

    Just my two cents...
    radarthekatmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 13
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 402member
    This is getting way too funny. At least AppleInsider gives us a comedy story each week.
    LordeHawkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,608member
    It would seem they are just waiting for Apple to offer them some cash to go away. But Apple doesn’t like to play like that. Apple usually fights to the bitter end for the principal of it. If you have money someone is always trying to take it away from you. That’s how socialism works too... until you run out of other people’s money. -Margaret Thatcher
    edited July 2017 macseekerwatto_cobramike1
  • Reply 5 of 13
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,224member
    Those that can, do. Those that can't troll patents. What useless dingleberries on the butt of capitalism these guys are. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,928moderator
    My idea isn't popular with all here who read it when I previously posted it, but I still think it bears consideration, at least until a better proposal is put forth.  Here it is again...

    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 (see Trademark law).  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.

    edited July 2017
  • Reply 7 of 13
    IBM has 8000 new patents for 2016 alone.  Can you imagine if IBM spun off it's patents into a separate company, and it went troll?

    Something needs to be done about the patent system... one bad actor could cause a lot of devastation.

    I don't know the total number of patent issued to IBM but it has to be in excess of 100,000.  

    IBM is doing poorly adapting to the Internet Age. Is it so outlandish that someday lawyers will be dancing in the streets? (With the scenario I mentioned).
    mwhite
  • Reply 8 of 13
    mwhitemwhite Posts: 171member
    They need to be squashed like the little bugs they are  >:)
    edited July 2017
  • Reply 9 of 13
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,402member
    My idea isn't popular with all here who read it when I previously posted it, but I still think it bears consideration, at least until a better proposal is put forth.  Here it is again...

    Non-practicing patent pricing reform

    ...


    I agree with your point of view. I'd consider another way that the company has to illustrate how they have been investing in building products with that patent. If they can, then it would be considered practicing vs non-practicing. Shouldn't be hard to show investments into these patents. This way, if you're only six months into being granted the patent, a big company can't come in and swoop it from you with their deep pockets.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 10 of 13
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,571member
    My idea isn't popular with all here who read it when I previously posted it, but I still think it bears consideration, at least until a better proposal is put forth.  Here it is again...

    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 (see Trademark law).  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.

    I disagree. The cost and time required to secure a patent for an individual or small company are significant and the cost and time required to protect a patent may stretch out to many, many years and require untold expenses and resources. If a non-practicing entity cannot exercise the full-range of legal and constitutionally protected property rights, only the wealthiest will own patents/intellectual property. That's not how the system should work.
    isomon
  • Reply 11 of 13
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,571member
    emig647 said:
    My idea isn't popular with all here who read it when I previously posted it, but I still think it bears consideration, at least until a better proposal is put forth.  Here it is again...

    Non-practicing patent pricing reform

    ...


    I agree with your point of view. I'd consider another way that the company has to illustrate how they have been investing in building products with that patent. If they can, then it would be considered practicing vs non-practicing. Shouldn't be hard to show investments into these patents. This way, if you're only six months into being granted the patent, a big company can't come in and swoop it from you with their deep pockets.
    That's not how patents work. They are issued on a first-to-file basis, so the first individual or company that files has a far greater chance of securing the patent, as long as everything has been done properly by the filing party and the application can withstand scrutiny by an examiner.
    isomon
  • Reply 12 of 13
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 328member
    Given the recent SCOTUS ruling, I'm expecting lots of companies to shut down operations in the Eastern District of Texas. 
  • Reply 13 of 13
    SpamSandwich - with my experience, I could´t agree more. In 2006 I was granted US patent for new system and method for cloud based emailing management. Based on a unique idea, I had then worked for 5 years developing and patenting this method, that would only make sense for implementation by the major email service providers (gmail, hotmail, yahoo etc). Later in 2006 I approached MS and they were veeery interested, and asked for detailed descriptions and documentation. And I even had a meeting with a local executive. Everything went extremely well and positive. Until I revealed that I had just been granted my Patent. Then all contact stopped, they never replied and I could not reach any of my contacts. Same happend with Google, only did not want to hear anything, after they found out I had the patent. Recently both Google and MS has implemented the basic functionality from my method into Gmail and the hosted Outlook apps. So guys: Do you think I should now just sit back and “enjoy” that my Gmail and Outlook accounts finally has these functions, 15 years after I saw the need and found the solution. Or should I team up with a NPE/Troll like Acacia Research, Uniloc etc.. ?
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