Apple, Palm among the targets in GSM smartphone lawsuit

in iPhone edited January 2014
A small patent licensing firm hopes to skim profits from Apple and other top smartphone makers by suing them for allegedly violating no less than ten patents relating to GSM phone technology and voice encoding.

WiAV Solutions -- a company that files patent lawsuits often enough to trigger preemptive complaints by those that know it will sue -- submitted its lawsuit late last month to an Eastern District Virginia court.

The 23-page complaint asserts that Apple, Palm, and BlackBerry inventor Research in Motion are all violating as many as ten patents WiAV is allowed to use that concern either the use of the GSM cellular network standard in smartphones or the Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR) format for compressing voice in the process of making a phone call.

In a fashion not uncommon in these lawsuits, the patents are non-specific and touch on technology as generic as systems for detecting voice and silence, altering music to accommodate voice, and power management in a mobile device.

It's not known as to how well Apple or any of the other defendants can respond to the allegations, although GSM itself is far from a new standard and first saw use in cellphones during the early 1990s. AMR became an official part of the GSM format in 1998, two years before the first of WiAV's patents.

The lawsuit isn't helped by WiAV's insistence on the participants in the suit. It only has ownership of two of the patents and is hinging the rest of its case on the terms of its license with Mindspeed, which owns the remaining eight. The plaintiff has the right to sue as part of its patent licenses but is forcing Mindspeed into the complaint as at least an involuntary plaintiff and even hints that the license holder may become another defendant if the court sees fit.

Expectedly, the lawsuit asks for a permanent injunction barring all three of the smartphone designers from continuing to make and sell products it believes violate the patents, and hopes to collect a "reasonable royalty" plus interest as its reward.

Neither Apple, its fellow defendants, nor unwitting lawsuit partner Mindspeed have commented on the filing.


  • Reply 1 of 11
    ...yawn... these are getting old...
  • Reply 2 of 11
    Tort reform tort, reform, my kingdom for tort reform!
  • Reply 3 of 11
    My god. Enough already. These companies are like patent vulchers.

    I can understand when a company creates an actual product that utilizes a unique enough technology that requires a patent to protect it. But companies like this one make no products and want to reap the reward of companies that actually have.

    How about this? I patented air. At the time, it didn't seem useful, but now it seems like its so obvious and essential that no one even gives it a second thought. Time to collect. Every creature on this earth owes me a royalty.
  • Reply 4 of 11
    801801 Posts: 271member
    I wants to becomes one of them lawyer type things, so I can make moneys from peoples who acutually works and makes things. Do you have to go to schools, or is it a kinda way yous born or what? If I just sue everybody for something, won't at least somebody pays up?
  • Reply 5 of 11
    hattighattig Posts: 860member
    If the GSM design/system is at least 2 years before any of their patents, then HOW IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS SACRED can an implementation of GSM infringe them?

    The patent system is screwed up. There's no way that you should be able to patent concepts and ideas! Only a solid implementation, and only that implementation, not the concept that it is an implementation of.

    On the other hand, at least patents are only some 20 years in length. That's the limit that someone can get their inventions protected. Somehow 'creative inventions' get life + 50 years via copyright, something's unfair there, eh?
  • Reply 6 of 11
    Originally Posted by initiator View Post

    How about this? I patented air. At the time, it didn't seem useful, but now it seems like its so obvious and essential that no one even gives it a second thought. Time to collect. Every creature on this earth owes me a royalty.

    Yeah, sorry, patents only last 20 years, so your great invention is available to us all now - royalty free!

  • Reply 7 of 11
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,408member

    Oh, you mean vultures!

    Yes. Damn vulchers!

  • Reply 8 of 11
    kreshkresh Posts: 379member
    Who is going to miss America when she is gone? The internal parasites are running rampant and unopposed, nothing can survive when it's being eaten from the inside out!
  • Reply 9 of 11
    This sounds incredibly dumb on WiAV's part.

    Even without knowing the actual licensing agreement between WiAV and Mindspeed, I'm going to assume there's a little clause about not being able to sue the patent owner over their patent without invalidating the license. I could just imagine the conversation:

    WiAV Lawyer1: I know! Let's file a lawsuit today. These 10 patents look great!

    WiAV Lawyer2: Yeah, but we don't even own 8 of those patents.

    Wiav Lawyer1: Right, but we can still sue according to our license agreement. I know! We can even sue them too!

    Mindspeed: Screw you guys. The licenses are now invalid. And now we're going to sue you, for using our technology without a license.

    WiAV: WTG Lawyer1.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    taztaz Posts: 74member
    I am far from a patent attorney, but it would seem like Apple, Blackberry and Palm should be able to quickly invalidate the patents if there truly is a 2 year gap between when the patents were files and GSM deployed. Its also very funny that only these 3 companies are named in the suit. Arent there other makers of GSM based smartphones that are marketed in the USA?

    This is nothing more than a play to get a quick settlement from one or all of the parties. Hopefully, Apple, Palm and BB can pool their resources together and bankrupt these a$$holes. Mindspeed had better get their licensee under control or they may see their patents held null and void. That would make for a good long term strategy.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    Tax dollars at work!
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