New lawsuit alleges patent infringement by all Wi-Fi-enabled Apple products

Posted:
in iPhone
A company called Red Rock Analytics in a new lawsuit charges that Apple is infringing a patent covering transceiver technology in Wi-Fi chips.

iPhone XR


The U.S. patent, No. 7,346,313 -- "Calibration of I-Q Balance in Transceivers" -- was issued to Red Rock in March 2008, and any Apple product compatible with 802.11n or later is in violation, according to a complaint submitted through a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. That district is a notorious venue for patent lawsuits, since it has relatively little other traffic and its judges are thought to be friendly to patent holders.

Red Rock is asking for an injunction against further infringement, along with attorney fees and damage compensation, including pre- and post-judgment interest.

Details about Red Rock are otherwise difficult to come by, except that the firm officially operates out of Swampscott, Mass. It previously launched an Eastern District lawsuit against Samsung over the same patent, court documents say, but the state of that case is uncertain. Samsung did file a countersuit.

A notable inaccuracy in the Red Rock v. Apple submission is that it identifies Apple's "principal place of business" as 1 Infinite Loop -- the company's official corporate address was switched to Apple Park in Feb. 2018.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    stompystompy Posts: 338member
    .... and Red Rock comes in just under the wire, as Apple will close the only 2 stores in the Eastern District of Texas tomorrow.
    applesnorangesmagman1979
  • Reply 2 of 18
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,811member
    Roger - can you read the complaint and summarize it in the article?
  • Reply 3 of 18
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,382member

    U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas


    No surprise there.
    magman1979cornchip
  • Reply 4 of 18
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,705member
    1. Eastern District of Texas, even though neither litigant lives there. So Red Rock's a patent troll.
    2. If 802.11n and later are the problem, why sue Apple? They didn't invent 802.11n. Oh wait, $$$ that's why.
    3. They already tried this scam on Samsung and it didn't fly there either.

    I think I can guess how this case will be resolved.
    Anilu_777olsmuthuk_vanalingamCarnagemagman1979cornchip
  • Reply 5 of 18
    Patent trolls should be outlawed. This is ridiculous. 
    ols
  • Reply 6 of 18
    Case dismissed after 4/12 lol. 
    magman1979
  • Reply 7 of 18
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,151moderator
    chasm said:
    1. Eastern District of Texas, even though neither litigant lives there. So Red Rock's a patent troll.
    2. If 802.11n and later are the problem, why sue Apple? They didn't invent 802.11n. Oh wait, $$$ that's why.
    3. They already tried this scam on Samsung and it didn't fly there either.

    I think I can guess how this case will be resolved.
    This is a case of indirect infringement.  It’s Broadcom’s or whomever’s WiFi chips Apple uses who would actually be in ỉnfringement, but you go after the company that actually expresses the infringement in an end-market product and let them seek indemnitication from their supplier.  

    Also, the penalty can go up if the defendant knew there was infringement in the parts they used or if it was their specific use that triggered the infringement.  So I don’t blame the plaintive for suing Apple; I just think they are underhanded going about it in the Eastern District of Texas, where it’s judges who are friendly to their lawyer sons who in turn hire themselves out to the patent trolls.  That’s what’s going on there. 
    edited April 11 applesnorangesgilly33chiamuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 18
    Drain the Swampscott!
    magman1979
  • Reply 9 of 18
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 736member
    chasm said:
    1. Eastern District of Texas, even though neither litigant lives there. So Red Rock's a patent troll.
    2. If 802.11n and later are the problem, why sue Apple? They didn't invent 802.11n. Oh wait, $$$ that's why.
    3. They already tried this scam on Samsung and it didn't fly there either.

    I think I can guess how this case will be resolved.
    I wouldn't consider Red Rock to be a patent troll because they filed this action in the ED of TX. But I might consider it to be a patent troll because it's a NPE which acquired this patent in order to bring such actions.

    That said, why do you suggest that it didn't fly when Red Rock brought a similar action against Samsung? The best I can tell that action hasn't been resolved in favor of Samsung. And Samsung tried, but was unable, to get IPRs instituted (by the PTAB) against the patent in suit.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 736member

    chasm said:
    1. Eastern District of Texas, even though neither litigant lives there. So Red Rock's a patent troll.
    2. If 802.11n and later are the problem, why sue Apple? They didn't invent 802.11n. Oh wait, $$$ that's why.
    3. They already tried this scam on Samsung and it didn't fly there either.

    I think I can guess how this case will be resolved.
    This is a case of indirect infringement.  It’s Broadcom’s or whomever’s WiFi chips Apple uses who would actually be in ỉnfringement, but you go after the company that actually expresses the infringement in an end-market product and let them seek indemnitication from their supplier.  

    Also, the penalty can go up if the defendant knew there was infringement in the parts they used or if it was their specific use that triggered the infringement.  So I don’t blame the plaintive for suing Apple; I just think they are underhanded going about it in the Eastern District of Texas, where it’s judges who are friendly to their lawyer sons who in turn hire themselves out to the patent trolls.  That’s what’s going on there. 
    Red Rock alleges both direct and indirect infringement.

    Even though the infringement would be from Broadcom's chips, Apple would still be guilty of direct infringement. For that matter, you and I and others who own infringing iPhones would be direct infringers. If company A builds components which infringe and sells them to company B which incorporates them in products which it sells to store C which sells them to customer D, everyone in the chain - A, B, C, and D can be direct infringers. (There are jurisdictional issues, so it might depend on where various actions happened.)

    Indirect infringement would be infringement by inducement or contributory infringement. Infringement by inducement would mean that the accused didn't actually infringe themselves, but knowingly induced someone else to infringe. If Apple encouraged Broadcom to build WiFi chips which infringed, knowing about the patent in question, it might be guilty of infringement by inducement. If it put those infringing chips in its own devices and then sold them (or, e.g., offered them for sale) it might also be guilty of direct infringement. Apple might also be guilty of infringement by inducement for selling iPhones to customers.

    Contributory infringement would mean making something which didn't by itself infringe, but which in combination with something else would infringe, where there isn't any other (non-infringing) use for the something you make. So, if Broadcom built a component which didn't infringe but which was meant to be used with another component in a way which would infringe, then it could - if infringement actually occurred (e.g. the combination of the components was sold) - be guilty of contributory infringement.
    llama
  • Reply 11 of 18
    you and I and others who own infringing iPhones would be direct infringers. ...Indirect infringement would be ...Contributory infringement would mean ...
    Wow, that was all very illuminating. Watch out, DED.
    gilly33
  • Reply 12 of 18
    loquiturloquitur Posts: 114member
    via Carnegie: 

    >Even though the infringement would be from Broadcom's chips, Apple would still be guilty of direct infringement. For that matter, you and I >and others who own infringing iPhones would be direct infringers. If company A builds components which infringe and sells them to company >B which incorporates them in products which it sells to store C which sells them to customer D, everyone in the chain - A, B, C, and D can be >direct infringers. (There are jurisdictional issues, so it might depend on where various actions happened.)

    Ah, that's ye olde it-is-infringement-if-you-"make, buy, sell, or use"-the-invention.   But in this chain the deep pockets usually
    get the lawsuit.  Customer D "use" lawsuits have gone out of style, as have actual injunctions against store C "sell".
    Here Apple is Company B which is the deep pocket.  Yet, in the semiconductor arena, company A usually indemnifies
    Company B, so it would be informative to get that story straight.

    Also, there are the not-so-small issues of royalty stacking and apportionment; to wit:

    https://www.mintz.com/insights-center/viewpoints/2231/2018-01-damages-apportionment-infringing-method-claim-when-smallest

    I.e., out of the thousands of (patented or unpainted) ideas that make up an iPhone, what percentage is
    this so-called WiFi improvement worth?   Where is this invention even mentioned in an engineering textbook
    as a novel, non-obvious idea, rather than as a garden-variety workman-like improvement?
    edited April 12
  • Reply 13 of 18
    If everything that uses WiFi infringes then could these patents possible by SEP's (Standards Essential Patents)? i.e. needed to follow the 802.11n standard?
    If that is the case then there is potentially a case for putting them in the FRAND pool so no damages would be applicable but the plaintiff might be on the hook for not putting them in FRAND if they are SEP's.

    IMHO, this is just a foretaste of what is to come if/when Apple develops its Mobile Chip so as to remove QC and Intel from their devices.
    There are literally tens of thousands of patents that will need licensing. Many are just in case but will need addressing.

    As for the Apple stores in East Texas... Perhaps they should not have broadcast their closure ahead of time? Just close up shop making sure that the staff who didn't move were properly compensated.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 736member
    loquitur said:
    via Carnegie: 

    >Even though the infringement would be from Broadcom's chips, Apple would still be guilty of direct infringement. For that matter, you and I >and others who own infringing iPhones would be direct infringers. If company A builds components which infringe and sells them to company >B which incorporates them in products which it sells to store C which sells them to customer D, everyone in the chain - A, B, C, and D can be >direct infringers. (There are jurisdictional issues, so it might depend on where various actions happened.)

    Ah, that's ye olde it-is-infringement-if-you-"make, buy, sell, or use"-the-invention.   But in this chain the deep pockets usually
    get the lawsuit.  Customer D "use" lawsuits have gone out of style, as have actual injunctions against store C "sell".
    Here Apple is Company B which is the deep pocket.  Yet, in the semiconductor arena, company A usually indemnifies
    Company B, so it would be informative to get that story straight.

    Also, there are the not-so-small issues of royalty stacking and apportionment; to wit:

    https://www.mintz.com/insights-center/viewpoints/2231/2018-01-damages-apportionment-infringing-method-claim-when-smallest

    I.e., out of the thousands of (patented or unpainted) ideas that make up an iPhone, what percentage is
    this so-called WiFi improvement worth?   Where is this invention even mentioned in an engineering textbook
    as a novel, non-obvious idea, rather than as a garden-variety workman-like improvement?
    Yeah, Red Rock isn't going to sue individual iPhone owners. And the reasons why it would sue Apple rather than others are fairly clear.

    That said, and to be clear, buying isn't one of the actions that constitutes (direct) infringement. They are making, using, offering to sell, selling, or importing.
  • Reply 15 of 18
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,460member
    I'm waiting for the Eastern District of Texas to hear the lawsuit filed by the apple farmers for name recognition and prior art from the Garden of Eden.
    doctwelve
  • Reply 16 of 18
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 765member
    Somewhere along the line patents became an obstruction to innovation, not a protection. A pitiful state we find ourselves in. 
  • Reply 17 of 18
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,001member
    As for the Apple stores in East Texas... Perhaps they should not have broadcast their closure ahead of time? Just close up shop making sure that the staff who didn't move were properly compensated.
    The word will get out anyways...its not like Apple will just one day say to its employees, okay after today were closing up the store. I doubt one has to do with the other. 
  • Reply 18 of 18
    I hope that one day the US Supreme Court intervenes in three trolling patent parties and courts which are entertaining these, as  frivolous  weaponization of the legal patent system.  This patent action is akin to a citizen who files hundreds of lawsuits for slip & fall or auto claims!
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