Apple has a new patent infringement lawsuit on its hands. This time it’s from the patent holding company Soverain Software and it targets pretty much every product Apple makes involving internet-related services.
The lawsuit uses four patents Soverain Software bought from OpenMarket: patents 5,708,780, 6,212,634, 7,191,447, and 8,935,706. The ‘780 patent covers session identifiers, the ‘634 patent covers authorizing permissions over a network, the ‘447 patent covers managing information transfers over networks, and the ‘706 patent internet security protocols.
Soverain Software’s complaint says Apple is using the patents without licensing in the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, iCloud, App Store, iMessage, Safari, HomeKit, FaceTime, all of its operating systems, and more.
Assuming the company can make its claims stick in court, it’ll be set up to target pretty much every computer, smartphone, tablet, and software maker on the planet. While that would no doubt make Soverain Software’s owners very happy, it’s not a sure thing.
Soverain Software has a higher likelihood of winning the first round because it filed the case in U.S. District Court in Eastern Texas, which is a court known for favoring patent trolls. Once Apple appeals, however, the case moves to courts that are less likely to automatically side with the patent holder.
Soverain Software’s Bad Luck
Considering how vague the patent wording is, Soverain Software may have a hard time defending them outside of eastern Texas. That’s something the company has faced before, and it didn’t work out in the owner’s favor.
Soverain Software hit a brick wall in 2013 after targeting New Egg with a similar lawsuit. In that lawsuit, New Egg got three of the patents named in the case invalidated which killed Soverain Software’s case along with cases if filed against several other companies, too.
Apple will likely move to get the patents in this new case invalidated, which will ultimately trim down what Soverain Software can use in lawsuits against other companies. That’s old hat for the company that earned itself the nick name “the shopping cart patent troll” after failing to win several infringement cases against a long list of defendants.
That goes back to Soverain Software’s infringement claims against New Egg and other companies such as Avon, eBay, Macy’s, and Victoria’s Secret. The defendants chipped away at Soverain Software’s patent arsenal until so many were invalidated that the cases fizzled out.
The recurring theme is that Soverain Software keeps losing, over and over again. Of course, it’s possible the courts could rule differently this time, but considering the track record so far this is going to be an expensive and unproductive battle for the company.
[Thanks to AppleInsider for the heads up]