US investigating Apple, Samsung, and more over Wi-Fi patent complaint

Posted:
in General Discussion
The USITC has agreed to conduct a widespread investigation of Apple and a dozen more technology firms, following a filing from a patent troll based in Ireland.

USITC building in Washington, DC (Source: Wiki Commons)
USITC building in Washington, DC (Source: Wiki Commons)


Apple is one of 13 companies, including multiple divisions of Samsung and Lenovo, which are collectively to be investigated in response to a filing from Arigna Technology Limited of Dublin.

"The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain power semiconductors, and mobile devices and computers containing same," says the USITC in a statement. "The complainant requests that the USITC issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders."

"By instituting this investigation," it continues, "the USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case."

The USITC's full notice of investigation says its scope covers, "power semiconductors with envelope tracking modules, and products such as mobile devices, tablets, and laptop computers containing the same."

Arigna Technology has lodged this complaint with the USITC in support of its suit against the same companies filed with the US District Court for the Western District of Texas in February 2022. That suit is the core of the complaint, and alleges that all big tech is infringing on its wireless patents.

The wireless patents at the heart of the trial in filed in Texas are mostly about modems and hardware, which none of the sued companies make for themselves. It's not clear why the company isn't suing the licensors of the technology, instead of the big tech companies that use the products in question.

The Dublin company is a non-practicing entity (NPE), which is currently involved in many patent suits. It reportedly acquired over 30 patent assets from Mitsubishi Electric in February 2020. So far, it has been using them to sue companies in the automotive industry.

Separately, the USITC has been investigating Apple and Ericsson over patent disputes.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 18,019member
    We need IP and Patent reform, now.  That includes the USITC.  These NPE's are completely out of control and are damaging innovation and the free market.  As an NPE, you shouldn't be able to buy a batch of patents on something as ubiquitous as Wi-Fi, then sue for decades based on that portfolio you own.  Meanwhile, you produce nothing other than. lawyers' fees and paperwork.  You didn't invent the tech. You never produced the tech. You have no intention of producing the tech, or anything at all....ever.  I'm not an attorney (though I know an IP lawyer VERY well), so I can't speak to the verbiage.  But there needs to be reform that prevents these baseless and/or vague lawsuits from derailing companies whoa are actually using and producing things.  
    rob53applguykillroyfotoformatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 9
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 2,004member
    The fact that this is a so-called NPE is irrelevant.  Totally irrelevant.   The owner of something can do with it what they wish.  Should a rare Ferrari be worth less because it’s owner doesn’t drive it?

    The real issue is whether the patent itself is and should be valid.  If it is deemed to be a real innovation and creation of non existing, non obvious technology, then it should be able to be fully used by ANY entity, practicing or not. 

    The only reform that should be that you can’t wield a patent against someone who is a user but not implementer of the technology.   What I man is that if a chip maker licenses the patented technology then all the buyers of the chip assume the same license.  If a chip maker doesn’t license a patented technology then that is who to sue — the buyers of the chip are not the ones who implemented and appropriated the technology.  
    killroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 9
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,258member
    I remember watching a movie about the actual inventor of intermittent windshield wipers. A car manufacturer stole the design and the inventor had to go to court and he finally prevailed. I don’t remember if he kept the patent but he had an actual unique product, not a theory. These patents need to be protected because they’re real products. The majority of junk getting patented today aren’t unique products, just ideas. 

    As for going to a Texas court, that proves they’re simply trying to get money on a non real product. 
    killroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    1348513485 Posts: 354member
    sdw2001 said:
    We need IP and Patent reform, now.  That includes the USITC.  These NPE's are completely out of control and are damaging innovation and the free market.  As an NPE, you shouldn't be able to buy a batch of patents on something as ubiquitous as Wi-Fi, then sue for decades based on that portfolio you own.  Meanwhile, you produce nothing other than. lawyers' fees and paperwork.  You didn't invent the tech. You never produced the tech. You have no intention of producing the tech, or anything at all....ever.  I'm not an attorney (though I know an IP lawyer VERY well), so I can't speak to the verbiage.  But there needs to be reform that prevents these baseless and/or vague lawsuits from derailing companies whoa are actually using and producing things.  
    All rage, no knowledge or logic. Maybe you should talk to the IP lawyer you know so well.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 2,004member
    sdw2001 said:
    We need IP and Patent reform, now.  That includes the USITC.  These NPE's are completely out of control and are damaging innovation and the free market.  As an NPE, you shouldn't be able to buy a batch of patents on something as ubiquitous as Wi-Fi, then sue for decades based on that portfolio you own.  Meanwhile, you produce nothing other than. lawyers' fees and paperwork.  You didn't invent the tech. You never produced the tech. You have no intention of producing the tech, or anything at all....ever.  I'm not an attorney (though I know an IP lawyer VERY well), so I can't speak to the verbiage.  But there needs to be reform that prevents these baseless and/or vague lawsuits from derailing companies whoa are actually using and producing things.  
    No.   No.  No.   This destroys property rights.  And devalues the work of inventors.  

    The reform that does need to take place is a better way to make sure the technology is patentable in the first place, and also only the  actual implementers of a patented technology are liable for infringement — buyers of commercial products (in this case the chips) should not be liable.  Any license the implementer (chip maker in our case) has should automatically be inherited by the buyers (users) of the product containing the licensed tech.  If the implementer (chip maker) didn’t license it, then that is who the patent holder sues. 
    edited March 2022 killroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 9
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 2,004member
    rob53 said:
    I remember watching a movie about the actual inventor of intermittent windshield wipers. A car manufacturer stole the design and the inventor had to go to court and he finally prevailed. I don’t remember if he kept the patent but he had an actual unique product, not a theory. These patents need to be protected because they’re real products. The majority of junk getting patented today aren’t unique products, just ideas. 

    As for going to a Texas court, that proves they’re simply trying to get money on a non real product. 
    What?  If it was a non real product then there would be nobody to sue.  Since somebody has an actual real product they are being sued because that actual real product is alleged to contain a non licensed version of the patented technology.   
  • Reply 7 of 9
    corp1corp1 Posts: 93member
    chadbag said:
    rob53 said:
    I remember watching a movie about the actual inventor of intermittent windshield wipers. A car manufacturer stole the design and the inventor had to go to court and he finally prevailed. I don’t remember if he kept the patent but he had an actual unique product, not a theory. These patents need to be protected because they’re real products. The majority of junk getting patented today aren’t unique products, just ideas. 

    As for going to a Texas court, that proves they’re simply trying to get money on a non real product. 
    What?  If it was a non real product then there would be nobody to sue.  Since somebody has an actual real product they are being sued because that actual real product is alleged to contain a non licensed version of the patented technology.   
    I assume rob53 probably meant that the company was an NPE with no competing product on the market, and certainly no competing product in Texas, but that venue shopping allowed them to pick a district that has been friendly to NPE patent lawsuits against Apple and others. 

    edited March 2022 muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 9
    corp1corp1 Posts: 93member
    I have to congratulate this cartoonist for making us aware of the perils from the Irish Menace:
    https://caseforconsumers.org/2022/03/17/patent-trolls-in-ireland-target-u-s-consumers-with-bogus-itc-complaint/
    edited March 2022
  • Reply 9 of 9
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,857moderator
    Just to clear up the reason for suing Apple, Samsung, etc, it’s because these are the deep pockets.  They will be suing these companies for indirect infringement, meaning that these companies did not directly infringe but are nevertheless infringing the patent and could be ordered to cease.  

    Most companies, if they’re smart, will have in their purchase contracts a section on indemnification for such things as indirect infringement penalties and costs.  This covers them so that they don’t need to dig deeply into any technology they purchase to incorporate into their products.  It’s ultimately the responsibility of the supplier to ensure their components are not infringing any patents, but the route to holding them to account is not always direct. Deep pockets get sued first.  
    edited March 2022 watto_cobra
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