Judge Allows Apple Suit Against Accessory Makers to Proceed

Apple Inc. has been given the go-ahead from a federal judge in a patent infringement lawsuit against seven companies making unlicensed iPod accessories. Apple has asserted that the companies are not participating in Apple’s “Made for iPod” program, and that their products infringed on nine patents owned by Apple.

In court filings, Apple also said that the companies were making products of, “inferior quality and reliability, raising significant concerns over compatibility with and damage to Apple’s products.”

The primary target of the suit is eForCity Corp., and Bloomberg reported that the six other companies named in the suit are related in some way to eForCity. In its defense, eForCity had argued that the case was procedurally improper, but U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled that the case can proceed.

The defendant did win a small victory, however, when Judge Fogel ruled that Apple had to strike comments from an eForCity customer from its court filings, which eForCity had argued were “redundant, immaterial, impertinent or scandalous.”

Apple controls access to its iPod, iPhone, and iPad product lines through a dock connector that is covered by patents owned by Apple. It charges accessory makers in a licensing program called “Made for iPod” (there are also “Made for iPhone” and “Made for iPad” licensing programs, and all three are covered under the acronym “MFi”).

Made for iPod

Apple’s Made for iPod logo