Comarco Hits Apple with Patent Lawsuit over iPhone Chargers

Comarco Wireless Technologies has filed a lawsuit against Apple over claims that iPhone and iPad chargers infringe on a patent it owns. According to the company, the technology built into the Lightning cable identifies itself to iPhones and iPads to ensure only Apple approved chargers are used, and that steps on its patent.

Apple ht with patent infringement lawsuit over Lightning connector techApple ht with patent infringement lawsuit over Lightning connector tech

Comarco's 8,492,933 patent, titled Power Supply Equipment for Providing a Data Signal, Identification Information and Power to an Electronic Device, describes a system where device chargers include a cable with a smart tip that can communicate with the device its charging, much like Apple's Lightning cable. The company's filing with the court states, "the invention of the '933 patent enables purveyors of portable electronic devices, such as Apple, to make sure that only approved power adapters are used to operate or charge the batteries of the device."

The complaint specifically mentions Apple's 5 Watt and 12 Watt USB power adapters, along with the Lightning cable, according to Patently Apple. Comarco also notes the adapters...

...include two resistor divider circuits that produce an analog data signal. The iPad reads the analog data signals generated by Apple's 5 and 12 Watt Adapters. Based on the level of those signals, the iPad controls the amount of power drawn from the adapter.

In this case, Comarco isn't claiming it holds a patent on all electronic device chargers, but instead on a way to allow chargers to identify themselves to devices.

The filing goes on to offer up the usual verbiage about Apple willfully infringing along with a request for triple damages.

Comarco filed its case in California Central District Court instead of the patent troll favorite court in Marshall, Texas. Apple hasn't commented on the case.