Feeds

Apple, Microsoft sued over iPod, Zune controls

Texas touchpad trouble

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
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.