Apple, Others Hit with Spam Email Patent Lawsuit

Apple, Google and several other companies are the target of a new lawsuit from InNova Patent Licensing alleging they’re using spam filtering technology it owns without paying licensing fees. The case names 36 different companies and was filed in U.S. District Court in Marshall, Texas — a court known for being sympathetic to patent holders.

The patent in question, 6,018,761, describes a system to differentiate between legit email messages and spam, or junk mail messages. InNova’s lead counsel, Christopher Banys, claimed the patent is “one of the building blocks for all email communications.”

“Email as we know it would essentially stop working if it weren’t for InNova’s invention,” he said.

Along with Apple and Google, the patent names several other big-name companies such as Bank of America, HP, IBM, RIM, Yahoo!, Alcatel-Lucnet, and more.

InNova is a patent holding company and is presumably looking to force the defendants to pay licensing fees or to negotiate cash settlements.

Apple has not commented on InNova Patent Licensing’s lawsuit.