Apple has been sued by St. Clair Intellectual Property Consultants over the digital camera used in the iPhone. St. Clair claims Apple is infringing on four of its patents and wants damages and a jury trial. The court documents, which were filed in Delaware, where Apple is incorporated, can be found online.
The company has a successful track record of defending those patents, according to The Loop: it sued Sony in 2001 and scored a US$25 million judgment, and in 2003 it sued Canon and won $34 million. It has also gone after many more companies – including Fuji, Kyocera, Minolta, Nikon, Samsung, HP, RIM, Palm, and others – and secured licensing agreements for its technology.
The law firm Morgan Lewis calls St. Clair a “patent troll" in a PDF presentation on its web site. The PDF notes: “St. Clair purchased patents from a group of inventors who failed to establish a camera company. The purchase price was less than $100K. St. Clair hired its lawyers on a contingency base [sic] and pays them about 35% of the money it receives.”