Articles Posted in Technology


Apple, Inc. was hit with a patent infringement lawsuit Thursday (read it below) alleging that the company’s iPad 3 tablets and Macbook Pro computers violate four light emitting diode (LED) patents. The case was filed in in federal court in Delaware by claimed patent holder LED Tech Development LLC, a Delaware limited liability company based in Tyler, Texas, the city that is a patent litigator’s combat zone.

Each of the four infringement claims, the complaint charges, involve Apple “products utilizing pulse-width modulation signals to drive light-emitting diodes.” Apple’s newest iPad a/k/a the ‘iPad 3,’ and Macbook Pro are named specifically.


Ameranth, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Apple, Inc. earlier this week in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California alleging that Apple’s new Passbook product infringes on Ameranth’s patented technology.

According to the complaint, Ameranth develops products to generate and synchronize menus and hospitality information across fixed, wireless, and web platforms. It claims to have been nominated by Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, for the 2001 Computerworld Honors Award, which it won. The complaint further alleges that Gates described the company as “one of the leading pioneers of information technology for the betterment of mankind.”

Judging from the complaint, this suit seems unlike a typical “patent troll” suits, in which a small company that owns but often does not itself develop innovations sues a major technology company for infringement of obscure patents. These types of suits are commonly seen as using the patent system to hinder, rather than promote, innovation and creativity. In contrast, Ameranth seems to develop its own technologies and innovations, which could suggest the company’s lawsuit is driven by more than a desire for profit.


In a Solomonic ruling, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez recently denied a defendants’ sweeping Notice to Admit social media account postings by a personal injury plaintiff in Carr v. Bovis Lend Lease (read the decision below). In New York, unless a party objects to another’s pre-trial Notice to Admit, they run the risk of admitting something they don’t disagree with, potentially helping another litigant through inaction. In Carr, the defendants’ Notice to Admit sought to have plaintiff admit to making Facebook, Twitter, and other social media postings online, even though plaintiff only acknowledged having a Facebook account.

Here, Justice Mendez gave each party a little victory, and perhaps a setback too.


Facebook and Apple have been hit with another patent infringement lawsuit brought by small, relatively obscure research/technology companies. Yesterday, PersonalWeb Technologies and Level 3 Communications filed a suit against both technology companies in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The two plaintiff companies allegedly each own an undivided 50 percent interest in the patents at issue.

In the case against Facebook, the patents at issue are:

  • U.S. Patent No. 5,978,791: “Data processing system using substantially unique identifiers to identify data items, whereby identical data items have the same identifiers”


Yesterday, the Regents of the University of California and Eolas Technologies, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Facebook in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The suit alleges that Facebook has infringed on four different patents owned by the Regents and to which Eolas has an exclusive license.

Eolas was founded by Dr. Michael D. Doyle, who, according to the company website, previously served as Director for the Center of Knowledge Management at the University of California – San Francisco. During his tenure there, Dr. Doyle reportedly led a team of researchers to develop technology that led to the 5,838,906 patent (“’906 Patent”) entitled “Distributed hypermedia method for automatically invoking external application providing interaction and display of embedded objects within a hypermedia document.” According to the Eolas Technologies website, the patent “enabled Web browsers for the first time to act as platforms for fully-interactive embedded applications.”

The ’906 Patent has been the subject of prior litigation. In 2007, Eolas and the Regents of the University of California were awarded a $565 judgment against Microsoft. The award was stayed on appeal, and the parties subsequently settled for a confidential amount.


Photographer Christopher Boffoli has filed a lawsuit against Twitter in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, claiming infringement of copyrighted photographs. The complaint alleges that “Twitter users copied numerous photographs from the Disparity Series without license or permission from Boffoli . . . . [and] were hosted either on Twitter or on third-party servers.”

Boffoli claims that Twitter could have removed the copyrighted photos from its own servers or “disable[d] each Tweet advertising or linking to” the photographs on its own or third-party servers.

Twitter’s Copyright Policy states that “We will respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement that comply with applicable law and are properly provided to us.” However, according to Boffoli’s complaint, despite repeated requests that Twitter take down the copyrighted materials, “Twitter has not removed or disabled access to the [copyrighted photos].”


Pinterest filed a complaint at the end of August in the Northern District of California against Qian Jin of Nanjing, China, for cyberpiracy, trademark infringement and false designation of origin, trademark dilution, and unfair competition.  Specifically, Pinterest claims that Qian purchased dozens of “infringing” domain names that are nearly identical and confusingly similar to, and uses them purely for online advertisements.  Pinterest also alleges that Qian applied to register PINTEREST and PINTERESTS as trademarks in the United States in bad faith, stating that he had full knowledge of Pinterest’s brand and services.


On August 31, View 360 Solutions LLC, a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corp., filed a lawsuit against Google, Inc., alleging that Google’s Street View feature infringed on the following patents:

  • 6,157,385: “Method of and apparatus for performing perspective transformation of visible stimuli”
  • 6,323,862: “Apparatus for generating and interactively viewing spherical image data and memory thereof”
  • 6,243,099: “Method for interactive viewing full-surround image data and apparatus therefor”
  • 6,731,284: “Method of and apparatus for performing perspective transformation of visible stimuli”
  • 8,077,176: “Method for interactively viewing full-surround image data and apparatus therefor”
  • 7,542,035: “Method for interactively viewing full-surround image data and apparatus therefor”
  • 6,252,603: “Processes for generating spherical image data sets and products made thereby”
  • 6,271,853: “Method for generating and interactively viewing spherical image data”

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York and seeks damages, injunctions against Google’s continued use of the alleged patents.


On August 29, Multimedia Patent Trust (“MPT”) filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The patent at issue is U.S. Patent No. 5,500,678, entitled “Optimized Scanning of Transform Coefficients in Video Coding.” In essence, the patent describes a method of digital video compression.

The complaint first alleges that several of Apple’s products, including the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and the “new iPad” encode video in a way that infringes on MPT’s ‘678 patent. Second, MPT alleges that a handful of Apple software uses the patented methodology “by virtue of the manner in which they encode video.” The third allegation of infringement focuses on the Apple computers as a whole, naming the virtually all current and recent lines of the company’s computers, including the Mac Mini, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air.


Blue Spike, LLC filed a patent infringement lawsuit yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas naming 22 defendants, including Facebook. Blue Spike is a technology company owned by self-described inventor and steganographer Scott Moscowitz.