Intertrust Targets Nearly Everything Apple in Security Patent Lawsuit

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Intertrust Technologies filed a lawsuit against Apple on Wednesday in California claiming nearly all of the company's product line infringes on security patents it owns. Intertrust targeted the iPhone and iPad, Mac computers, Apple TV, iTunes, iCloud, and the App Store in its lawsuit, which covers the majority of Apple's products.

Intertrust CEO Talal Shamoon said in a statement,

Apple makes many great products that use Intertrust’s inventions. Our patents are foundational to modern Internet security and trusted computing, and result from years of internal research and development. We are proud of our record of peaceful and constructive licensing with industry leaders. We find it regrettable that we are forced to seek Court assistance to resolve this matter.

Intertrust says Apple's product lineup infringe on its security patentsThe lawsuit alleged that Apple has been infringing on 15 Intertrust patents relating to security and digital rights management. The filing stated, "Apple uses Intertrust's patented technologies at virtually every level of its consumer electronics enterprise."

According to the company, it tried on several occasions to license its technology to Apple, but to date hasn't been successful. Intertrust claimed that it has been able to strike licensing deals with Samsung, Nokia, HTC, LG, Sharp, Motorola, Adobe, Microsoft, Sony, and Philips.

The patent deals with Sony and Philips shouldn't come as a surprise considering they own a 49.5 percent stake in Intertrust. The Microsoft patent deal followed a 2004 patent infringement lawsuit, and also cost the company US$440 million.

Assuming Intertrust doesn't reach a settlement with Apple, or Apple loses in court, the outcome could turn into a major headache for the Mac and iPhone maker. Apple would likely be forced into a licensing deal it doesn't want, or could potentially face injunctions blocking the sale of its core product lineup.

Considering the popularity of products like the iPhone and iPad, Apple would most likely be able to convince the court that an injunction wouldn't be in consumer's best interest, but would still have to spend the time and money in court to ensure its products stay on store shelves.

Apple has not commented on the new lawsuit.

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Comments

John Dingler, artist

Hi Jeff,
Just from this article, we don’t know whether or not Intertrust’s claim “...that it has been able to strike licensing deals with Samsung, Nokia, HTC, LG, Sharp, Motorola, Adobe, Microsoft, Sony, and Philips,” means that it’s making the argument that so should Apple. If so, it might be using a bad argument, employing bad logic; Just because other companies settled neither means that the patent was valid nor that the court(s) ruled correctly. Perhaps the companies capitulated for other reasons. Intertrust does not say.

Intertrust’s argument to assert its claim of infringement seems to appeal to a higher authority. Appealing to a higher authority is a logical fallacy; Just because a higher authority ruled a certain way—perhaps the wrong way—does not necessarily mean that the current ruling would be correct to follow suit.

If Intertrust is making this argument in the Apple case, perhaps it’s hoping to trick the court.

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