Friday, February 27, 2015

Apple hit by another lawsuit from Smartflash over iTunes

Apple is facing a second patent suit from Smartflash. CNET

Smartflash is not yet done trying to squeeze more money out of Apple over patent violations.

Patent licensor Smartflash on Tuesday emerged victorious in a jury trial that found Apple had violated some of its patents. The patents in question concern digital rights management and other inventions related to data storage and payment systems for mobile devices. Smartflash had claimed that Apple intentionally used its patented inventions in the iTunes Store and App Store.

On Wednesday, Smartflash filed a second lawsuit against Apple over the same patent charges, Apple Insider reported Thursday. But the second suit includes newer products that were not incorporated into the first one, such as the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2.

"Smartflash filed the complaint to address products that came out too far into the last proceedings to have been included," Smartflash attorney Brad Caldwell, told Reuters. "Apple cannot claim they don't know about these patents or understand that they are infringing. A diligent jury has already rejected those arguments."

Smartflash makes no products of its own but instead serves as a patent holder and licensor. Such firms are often labeled patent trolls as they file lawsuits against major companies accused of patent infringement. Smartflash is suing Samsung and has already sued Google and Amazon over similar patent violation claims.

In its charge against Apple, Smartflash has argued that the iPhone maker intentionally violated its patents, asserting that a current Apple executive had seen a demo of the technology more than 10 years ago. In the first trial, Smartflash was looking for $852 million in damages, while Apple wanted to keep the amount no higher than $4.5 million.

Following the verdict, Apple said it would appeal the decision and pointed to the case as another reason why patent reform is needed to stop companies who make money off of patent royalties rather than actual products, Reuters said.

In a statement send to CNET following the first trial, Apple accused Smartflash of "exploiting" the system:

"Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented. We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system."

Smartflash did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on the second lawsuit. An Apple spokeswoman said the company had no further comment beyond its initial statement.

from CNET

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