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FaceTime in the dock

Taiwanese man claims he invented Apple's tech to save call costs

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It looks like Apple’s set for yet another court room showdown in China after a Taiwanese man claimed that the fruity toy maker infringed one of the patents he owns with its FaceTime video calling technology.

Apple’s lawyers in the region have been a busy bunch ever since the firm settled out of court with Proview over the rights to the IPAD trademark last month.

The Intermediate People’s Court in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province, plays host to the latest lawsuit, which was filed last week by a man surnamed Lee, according to Yangzi Evening News (via MIC Gadget).

Lee apparently applied successfully for a patent in April 2003 for “voice network personal digital assistant” technology which he had invented to cut call charges during his frequent business trips.

Initially the patent belonged to the tech company Lee was working for but later was transferred solely into his name, the report said.

Rather strangely, Lee has not asked for any compensation yet, requesting only that Apple stops the infringement and pays legal costs.

However, if FaceTime was in any danger of being blocked in the world’s largest smartphone market, it’s pretty certain Apple would resort to dipping into the Cupertino coffers once again to settle the matter.

This is the fourth legal dispute Apple has become embroiled in since settling with Proview for the princely sum of $60m.

It is being sued by chemical company Jiangsu Xuebao over the Snow Leopard trademark, by Shanghai tech firm Zhizhen Network Technology over patents relating to Siri and by a Taiwanese university, again over Siri.

Apple couldn’t be reached for comment. ®

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