iPhone sales in crosshairs as Apple sued by patent holder

iPhone sales in crosshairs as Apple sued by patent holder

Summary: A caller ID patent holder is suing Apple for alleged infringement of two core patents, and is asking a court to ban iPhone sales in the U.S.


In amidst a series of lawsuits that Apple continues to battle, not just on a global scale with Samsung, the Cupertino-based company has yet another case to fight.

Bloomberg reports that Seattle-based Cequint, a unit of data communications service TNS Inc., is suing Apple after claims were made that the iPhone infringe two patents for caller identification technology.

Cequint seeks unspecified damages and a court-ordered injunction to prevent Apple from selling the iPhone, believed to contain the technology, according to a complaint submitted to a federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

In the complaint filed, the company "will be irreparably harmed" unless sales of Apple's smartphone are stopped by a judge.

The technology thought to be used in the iPhone is also used in a number of other, presumably licensed handsets.

Cequint has ties with BlackBerry, Microsoft's Windows Phone, and Android vendors. It also works with Sony, Motorola, Nokia, Google and Samsung, the company says on its website.

The company earlier this year, T-Mobile launched a caller ID feature that would integrate into the contacts functionality of certain smartphones, to add additional information to the numbers stored in the phone.

The two patents believed to have been infringed are U.S. Patent No. 6,353,664 and 7,200,212, which relate to caller identification technology.

Apple did not wish to comment, a spokesperson said a short time ago. Nobody from Cequint or parent company TNS was available to comment at the time of publication.


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Topics: Smartphones, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility

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  • Apple is already a twice convicted IP thief

    Apple has a history of stealing IP and then trying to get favorable terms after the fact by legal bullying.<br><br>This must stop. It is not the way the other manufacturers work. It is not the way good corporate citizens like MS work.
    "Cequint has ties with BlackBerry, Microsoft???s Windows Phone, and Android vendors. It also works with Sony, Motorola, Nokia, Google and Samsung, the company says on its website."
    • Seriously?

      Good corporate citizens like Microsoft? How many times have they either been found guilty of patent/copyright infringement and how many times have they settled out of court? If your answer was "a lot more than two", you would be absolutely correct.
      • MS licensed this technology legally

        as did RIM, Sony, Motorola, etc. and they didn't need to be taken to court over it.

        Apple is not a good corporate citizen. They are a twice convicted IP thief.
      • Apparently you've forgotten all about...

        i4i ($290 million patent infringement judgement against Microsoft).
        Alcatel-Lucent ($70 million patent infingement judgement against Microsoft.
        Eolas ($521 million patent infringement judgement against Microsoft.

        Those three cases were off the top of my head (had to look up the dollar amounts though). You can talk all you want about a twice convicted IP thief, but when you hold up a thrice (at least) convicted IP thief as a good corporate citizen, expect to get embarrassed by real facts. Now be a good boy and let the adults take over from here.
    • Licensing

      @toddybottom <br>"Blah..blah...blah..." Nice going NZ, I mean Toddy bottom. You are so predictable I can't decide if it's amusing or boring.

      Apple also has a long history of working out licensing deals with other companies for their technology. Has Cequint tried to license the technology, or did they run straight to the courts for added publicity? My money is on option 2, but we don't know that yet. From the text of this article, and the linked source article at Bloomberg, you cannot determine. Usually with these stories there is a line somewhere to the effect of "After failing to secure a licensing deal...". You don't see that here. I expect that there will be a licensing deal and the suit will go away. I further suspect that there could be a licensing deal without going to court, but then you don't capture headlines.
    • RE: iPhone sales in crosshairs as Apple sued by patent holder

      @toddybottom FUD and lies. Apple has [b]NOT[/b] been convicted toddybottom, get your facts straight.
      • Nice try Pete

        @Pete "athynz" Athens
        ...but youi may as well give up now. This particular 'nonzealot' has the bone in his teeth and he ain't gonna stop as long as we respond.
    • RE: iPhone sales in crosshairs as Apple sued by patent holder

      Is your real name Loverock? Sounds like you have nothing better to do than attack anything Apple. Get a life.
    • RE: iPhone sales in crosshairs as Apple sued by patent holder

      @toddybottom Finally another choice of Kindle accessories not from Amazon. http://www.solarmio.com/en/OnlineStore.aspx
    • RE: iPhone sales in crosshairs as Apple sued by patent holder

      @toddybottom Gadget lovers. You have to check out this CES new green award winning product. www.solarmio.com
  • RE: iPhone sales in crosshairs as Apple sued by patent holder

    Did you read those two patents? They're obvious! And they were around long before they were patented by these people. This is another case of patent stupidity...
    • No kidding

      The first patent is especially obvious.

      Essentially: 'the phone receives as number and compares it to a local file of known numbers. If the file has more data then the phone displays that data'

      Wouldn't it be interesting if the patents were invalidated? Cequint could end up losing revenue from anyone else who's currently paying for license fees.
      • No more ridiculous than Apple's patents

        Apple managed to patent the rectangular device with rounded corners.

        Oh wait, unless the devil is in the details? Isn't that what you Apple fanbois always claim whenever Apple sues over obvious patents?

        Wouldn't it be interesting if Apple's patents were considered obvious by real judges in a real court of law?
        Oh wait: http://www.tuaw.com/2011/08/24/dutch-judge-considers-apples-slide-to-unlock-patent-likely-inva/
      • RE: iPhone sales in crosshairs as Apple sued by patent holder

        @macadam it is not even worth the effort to respond to NZ/toddy/Will as you can use all the facts in the world, to no avail. Bitter Microsoft trolls refuse to listen to facts.
      • Very good TB

        @toddybottom<br>Some of Apple's patents are invalid and have been revoked. It's part of the game, just the same as what Cequint is doing.<br><br>Having said that, the Samsung suit is about a lot more than rectangles and rounded corners. It's about 'Trade Dress', or the theory that the product and packaging are so thoroughly copied that an uneducated consumer could be misled into thinking they are buying one product when what they were seeking is another. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_dress" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_dress</a><br><br>That's the reason Samsung is being sued and RIM, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, et al... are not. The claim is that Samsung's products, packaging, etc... down to the on-screen icons are so similar to Apple's that consumers could easily walk into a store, be told "it's the same thing but cheaper" and believe it. It's NOT about patenting the rectangle. <br><br>Apple may well lose their lawsuit. Neither possible outcome would ultimately surprise me. Here are some actual facts for you:<br><a href="http://www.phonedog.com/2011/12/09/analysis-apple-vs-samsung-patent-and-trade-dress-lawsuit-does-apple-have-a-case/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.phonedog.com/2011/12/09/analysis-apple-vs-samsung-patent-and-trade-dress-lawsuit-does-apple-have-a-case/</a><br><br>Or how about <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2011/04/19/apple-sues-samsung-analysis/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.theverge.com/2011/04/19/apple-sues-samsung-analysis/</a> "Now, some of these are a little ridiculous when taken individually is Apple going to sue every digital photo frame maker that puts equal size black borders around the screen as well? but in the end, the main question for the court will be whether or not Samsung has used all of these elements in a way that's likely to confuse consumers about what they're buying."<br><br>That's OK, though. Don't get educated on the issue. It might make you seem like an intelligent and well balanced individual. We can't have that now, can we?
  • RE: iPhone sales in crosshairs as Apple sued by patent holder

    All software patents are theft as software is nothing but math which is not patentable.
    • Wow

      @ncted <br>Staggering naivete. The Jarvik artifical heart is nothing but plastic which is basically dead dinosaur waste (oil). Dead dinosaurs aren't patentable so the Jarvik artificial heart must be public domain!<br><br>No one is patenting the math, they are patenting their new and unique implementation of the math which does lead to products capable of doing things that other products can not, or of doing things in a unique (and presumably beneficial) way that other products do not do. You can argue that software should be trademarked rather than patented, but taking existing "stuff" and doing new and unique things with it is what invention is all about.

      By your logic only things made from "stuff" that previously didn't exist in the world should be patentable. You could, by that line of thought, argue that only the Almighty should have ever been granted a patent. Heck, according to the Book of Genesis even the 'invention' of Woman wouldn't qualify as original work since, apparently, the raw materials existed in the torso of the pre-existing product known as Man.