Apple Sued for Infringing on Old Palm, 3Com Patents

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.