Apple Sued for Patent Infringement Over Location Services


Yesterday, on November 12, 2012, Texas company NovelPoint Tracking LLC filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. for patent infringement. Brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, the suit alleges that certain Apple products, and specifically the iPhone 4S, infringe on a patent owned by the plaintiff.

That patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,442,485, is entitled “Method and Apparatus for an Automatic Vehicle Location, Collision Notification, and Synthetic Voice,” and was registered with the USPTO on August 27, 2002. NovelPoint Tracking asserts that it is the exclusive owner of all rights, title, and interest in the patent, which was originally invented by Wayne W. Evans. The patent essentially describes using a method of using a GPS module to determine a vehicle or product’s location.

Relatedly, NovelPoint Tracking recently brought a lawsuit against Ford, alleging that its SYNC project infringes on two of its patents—6,442,485 (the patent at issue in the case against Apple) and 6,266,617.

In addition to suing Apple and Ford, NovelPoint Tracking has also sued a number of other technology companies in the last several weeks, including HTC America, HP, and RIM.

A sister company, NovelPoint Security LLC (registered with the Texas Secretary of State at the same address as NovelPoint Tracking) sued numerous companies throughout 2011 and 2012, including Apple, Dell, ASUS, Lenovo, and Samsung. Other “NovelPoint” entities registered with the Texas SOS include NovelPoint Holdings LLC and NovelPoint Learning LLC but do not seem to have been involved in patent litigation.