Feeds

Apple, Microsoft sued over iPod, Zune controls

Texas touchpad trouble

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Apple, LG, Microsoft, and 20 other companies are being sued for patent infringement by a Texas firm that claims to have invented the touchpad.

Tsera LLC, a Texas business that's apparently named after a defunct Native American tribe, filed the suit on Wednesday in the US District Court, Eastern Texas Division.

According to the complaint, Tsera claims to own "all right, title and interest in" a patent for "Methods and apparatus for controlling a portable electronic device using a touchpad," granted to one Chuang Li in 2003 after being filed in 1999.

The complaint claims patent infringement due to the touchpad controls of Apple's iPod classic and nano, LG's Chocolate VX8500, Microsoft's Zune, and a host of other products ranging from TrekStore's i.Beat p!nk to a Jensen digital media player with the catchy name of SMPV-4GBTA.

The patent's wording, however, seems to imply a somewhat weak case by Tsera, which has no web presence. It describes a touchpad that interprets commands made by detecting the patterns of strokes made by a user upon it, with each of several patterns corresponding to "a predefined function or command of the device." Moreover, it says "No immediate visual feedback is provided as a command pattern is traced, and the user does not need to view the device to enter commands."

Doesn't sound like an iPod to us.

But of the 23 defendants, only Apple is singled out for special censure. The complaint states that Apple knew of the patent since September of 2004 and that their infringement "has been and continues to be willful, wanton, and deliberate, and carried out with full knowledge and awareness of the Plaintiff’s patent rights and without license from Plaintiff."

Due to the "deliberate and willful nature of [Apple's] infringement," the suit seeks "enhanced damages, up to treble damages" from Cupertino, while the other infringers are on the hook only for standard damages. The suit also seeks to require all defendants to "pay a compulsory future royalty" for the privilege of using touchpads in their devices.

The suit requests a jury trial - juries are seldom reticent to award large damages in David versus Goliath lawsuits. Especially when it's a home-town David versus 20 Goliaths. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.