Apple Sued for Infringing on Old Palm, 3Com Patents

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Smartphone Technologies sues Apple for patent infringementSmartphone Technologies hit Apple and AT&T with a patent infringement lawsuit alleging the companies are infringing on several patents it licensed from 3Com and Palm dating as far back as 1997. The six patents in question cover including PDA-style functions with a cell phone, notifications and alerts, data synchronization, and more.

According to Smartphone Technologies, it is the exclusive license holder for the patents, and the company claimed the “iPhone, iPads, iCloud, iTunes, MacBooks and/or Apple Sync Services, that integrated phone and PDA user interface on a single processor,” are all infringing on those patents.

The patent list includes:

  • 3Com’s 1997 patent 5,832,489 Method and apparatus for synchronizing information on two different computer systems
  • Palm’s 1998 patent 6,243,705 Method and apparatus for synchronizing information on two different computer systems
  • Palm’s 1999 patent 6,466,236 System and method for displaying and manipulating multiple calendars on a personal digital assistant
  • PalmSource’s 2000 patent 6,928,300 Patent Method and apparatus for automated flexible configuring of notifications and activation
  • PalmSource’s 2000 patent 6,956,562 Method for controlling a handheld computer by entering commands onto a displayed feature of the handheld computer

Priorsmart shows the company filed its case in U.S. District Court in Eastern Texas, which is well know for favoring patent holders, and is a common venue for infringement cases from patent trolls.

Assuming the company can prove its case, Apple will have a big headache on its hands because the patents describe some of the basic functionality found in Apple’s product line. Should Smartphone Technologies win in court, Apple’s competitors could be facing similar lawsuits since they make smartphones that work in a similar fashion even if they don’t sport an iOS look and feel.

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13 Comments Leave Your Own

Laurie Fleming

Oh, FFS*!

Any programmer worth his or her salt can write code to merge time-based data. As a database developer, I do it all the time. In fact, I am doing it right now. Calendar syncing is no different from that; just a special application.

This troll is impinging on my open source code. Stop it!

*Fast File System - I still use my Amiga from time to time.

mhikl

The answer to all this crap is a Hit Man (women too) squad. Giant salamis would be my weapon of choice. Gooey ones with lots of oozing grease. Apple is a religion, for heaven?s sake, and these dogs must be dealt with firmly. No floppy salamis for them.

ppartekim

Didn’t the Apple Newton beat Palm to market (by several years) and provided the same functions.

iVoid

They licensed the patent from 3COM/Palm?

Doesn’t that mean 3COm/Palm (now HP) would have to sue as the owner of the patent?

If not, this seems like another money making scheme for patent trolls:
1) License patents from a company.
2) Sue anyone making anything remotely similar to what’s covered in the patent.

It could also allow companies to use other smaller companies to avoid possibly negative publicity to themselves and use third parties to file lawsuits.

Joe

I read about this on Saturday at patently apple.

It’s funny that you even say it’ll cause Apple a headache which is repeating the other site. You’ll also find out who’s behind Smartphone technologies in the other report. 

http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2011/11/apple-sued-by-a-third-party-using-powerful-patents-from-palm-3com.html

I don’t get how a licensee of patents could sue. If you don’t own the patents, you shouldn’t be able to sue. Very strange.

1stplacemacuser

This lawsuit is why I wrote a week or so back that Apple should buy the WebOS suite from HP.  Most likely, these patents are all part of the WebOS that came from Palm.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Nice to see everyone on board the anti-software patent train, finally. Time eventually makes that conclusion for everyone.

Laurie Fleming

Brad, I’ve been saying the same thing for years. In fact, going on thirty?

mhikl

U.S. District Court in Eastern Texas? What is so special or infamous about this court? Run by yokels who got their law and judge degrees in the University of JAIL?

Definitely nothing wrong with legit sotware patents, especially for those who actually design and invent rather than grab and run that other-than-Apple tend to do. Some people would be better off being better informed or better elsewhere, or better sleeping, or better walking the dog or better off seeing a Shirnk.

furbies

The answer to all this crap is a Hit Man (women too) squad. Giant salamis would be my weapon of choice. Gooey ones with lots of oozing grease. Apple is a religion, for heaven?s sake, and these dogs must be dealt with firmly. No floppy salamis for them.

I’d recommend Monty Python’s “Fish Slapping Dance”

Hagen

U.S. District Court in Eastern Texas? What is so special or infamous about this court? Run by yokels who got their law and judge degrees in the University of JAIL?

See NPR’s recent report When Patents Attack!
“A local lawyer who has argued on both sides of numerous patent cases says it’s actually because cases go to trial more quickly in Marshall than in other places.”

daemon

?A local lawyer who has argued on both sides of numerous patent cases says it?s actually because cases go to trial more quickly in Marshall than in other places.?

The episode goes on to state that used to be the case, but now it takes just as long as any where else because of the heavy case loades the court fields.

Wisconsin is the new hotness if you want a fast trial, hence the nickname “rocket docket.”

mhikl

?A local lawyer who has argued on both sides of numerous patent cases says it?s actually because cases go to trial more quickly in Marshall than in other places.?

Dang, if true, Hagen. Then that is kinda legit and them Yokels might not be so bad. Ain?t life complicated. You want easy answers and rarely is it so.

Furbies, forgot about Monty Python?s ?Fish Slapping Dance?. Much better image than salamis.

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