A Texas company by the name of EON Corporation IP Holdings who recently launched patent infringement lawsuits against Asus and LG Electronics, has now added Apple to their list. In their formal complaint against Apple they boldly stated that "Many of Apple's major competitors in the wireless industry have properly paid for using EON's technology. By this action, EON engages a compulsory process that will require Apple to do the same."
EON Corporation Charges Apple with Four Counts of Patent Infringement
EON Corporation is charging Apple with four counts of infringement based on patents 5,663,757, 5,481,546, 5,592,491and 5,388,101. The latter three patents are referred to further into the complaint as the "Dinkins Patents," which are those that were originally filed and granted to EON Corporation.
Broadly speaking, EON states that the '757 patent claims a data processing station subscriber unit with interactive video capabilities. This technology has recently become ubiquitous, as entities like Apple now manufacture and sell subscriber units and deliver quality interactive video content for wireless device users at affordable prices. EON's technology is fundamental to the development of these products and services.
Without reference to the particular construction of any claim terms, features of the technology claimed in the '757 Patent include: (1) a software operating system in the wireless subscriber unit for controlling received interactive video content; (2) selectable content options on a video screen display; (3) the ability to create customizable programming menus or guides for individual subscribers on the display screen; and (4) wireless transmission and reception facilities in the subscriber unit that allow for the sending and receiving of interactive control signals, including messages with subscriber IDs.
Apple manufactures, uses, sells, offers for sale, and imports subscriber units that deliver interactive video programming to subscribers throughout the United States and its territories.
The complaint adds that Apple induces direct infringement of the '757 Patent, for example, by advertising and instructing customers how to access and use interactive video services such as Apple TV, iTunes, Netflix, and YouTube on the accused subscriber units.
Specifically EON lists certain Apple products that they believe infringe on their patents as follows: Apple TV, iTunes, App Store, and compatible subscriber units iPhone 3, iPhone 3S, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad, iPad 2, iPad with retina display, iPad mini, iPod Touch, Apple TV and similar interactive-video-enabled devices that embody one or more claims of the '757 Patent.
EON Corp. also lists Apple's Airport Extreme and Airport Express as products infringing upon their '101, '546 and '491 patents as linked to earlier.
A Complicated Web they Weave
The case that EON Corp is making against Apple is very complicated as it brings other players such as AT&T and Verizon into the suit. For example, EON states the following:
On December 20, 2011, AT&T sent a letter notifying Apple of several Apple devices implicated in a related EON case involving all of the Patents-in-Suit. In addition, on August 10, 2012, Puerto Rico Telephone Company, Inc. sent Apple a similar letter. Through these letters, third parties notified Apple of its devices that EON accused in the AT&T case as components or devices that alone or together with other components comprise the inventions claimed by each of the Patents-in-Suit. Apple received a copy of the EON v. AT&T complaint identifying all of the current Patents-in-Suit and EON's allegations of infringement regarding these Apple devices. The same or substantially similar Apple components and devices accused in the AT&T case are devices implicated in the present case.
Also, on June 13, 2012, Apple filed a non- party joinder opposing EON's motion to compel Verizon to produce documents in a related case involving the '491 Patent-in-Suit. As a result of Apple's opposition to EON's motion to compel and its receipt of the third party letters, EON believes Apple obtained knowledge of EON's patent portfolio and learned that it infringed and continues to infringe each of the Patents-in-Suit well in advance of the filing of the instant Complaint.
EON Corp concludes by stating that Apple's wireless devices are made especially for performing the communication methods and for use on networks that infringe the Dinkins Patents and are not staple articles or commodities of commerce suitable for substantial noninfringing use. For example, Apple's wireless devices are made especially for performing the communication methods and for use on networks that infringe the Dinkins Patents because they include multimode or dual path communication features and functions that are not staple articles or commodities of commerce suitable for substantial noninfringing use.
The case was filed in the United States Texas Eastern District Court in Tyler. EON is seeking a trial by jury. No presiding Judge has been assigned to this case. The complaint was filed late yesterday under case 6:2012cv00943.
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