Feeds

Apple, Microsoft sued over iPod, Zune controls

Texas touchpad trouble

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.