A British Virgin Islands based Company by the name of DataQuill has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. At present, DataQuill's licenses their technology to Samsung, HTC, and list of others. The company claims that Apple's iPhone(s) violate five of their patents.
DataQuill & the Asserted Patents
Over the past twelve years, DataQuill has sought to protect its invention through a licensing program (which has on several occasions required litigation). Many of the largest high-tech companies, including HTC, Nokia, Motorola, LG, Samsung, Palm, and Hewlett-Packard, have purchased a license to DataQuill's patent portfolio. To date, DataQuill has obtained over $75 million in licensing revenue.
The value of DataQuill's asserted patents is further demonstrated by DataQuill's repeated success against validity challenges. Three of the asserted patents have been through reexaminations at the United States Patent & Trademark Office where hundreds of references have been considered. In prior litigations, several of the asserted patents withstood heavy scrutiny, including motions for summary judgment of anticipation, obviousness, inequitable conduct, lack of enablement, and lack of an adequate written description—all of which were resolved in DataQuill's favor.
Prior to filing this lawsuit, DataQuill diligently attempted to resolve its claims against Apple without litigation. Beginning in April 2009, DataQuill had communications with Apple. Over the course of these discussions, DataQuill has repeatedly informed Apple that it is infringing DataQuill's patents and provided claim charts that specifically describe the infringement. The following partial chronology details DataQuill's attempts to resolve its dispute with Apple:
On April 14, 2009, DataQuill sent Apple a claim chart detailing how the iPhone infringes DataQuill's U.S. Patent 6,058,304 and a copy of the district court's claim construction order issued in connection with DataQuill's litigation against Research in Motion.
On May 13, 2009, DataQuill sent Apple a claim chart detailing how the iPhone infringes DataQuill's U.S. Patent 7,505,785 as well as a copy of another pending and published DataQuill patent application.
On November 30, 2009, DataQuill sent Apple a letter including a copy of the Reexamination Certificate for U.S. Patent No. 7,139,591 along with a claim chart detailing how the iPhone infringes that patent. In this letter, DataQuill requested that Apple consider purchasing a license to DataQuill's patents.
On April 21, 2010, DataQuill sent Apple a copy of the Reexamination Certificate issued for DataQuill's U.S. Patent 6,058,304. In this letter, DataQuill again requested that Apple consider purchasing a license to DataQuill's patents.
On April 13, 2011, DataQuill sent Apple another letter requesting that Apple consider taking a license to DataQuill's portfolio. This letter also included a copy of DataQuill's then-recently issued U.S. Patent 7,920,898.
On May 16, 2011, DataQuill sent Apple another letter in which it provided a copy of the Reexamination Certificate for DataQuill's U.S. Patent 7,505,785 and yet again requested that Apple consider purchasing a license.10.
Notwithstanding DataQuill's concerted efforts to resolve its claims against Apple without litigation—and despite DataQuill's extensive and successful history of licensing its portfolio to major players in the smartphone industry—Apple has declined to enter into a license agreement with DataQuill.
The Five Counts of Patent Infringement against Apple
DataQuill's patent infringement case against Apple covers the following five patents: 6,058,304 (Data entry systems), 7,139,591 (Hand held telecommunications and data entry device), 7,505,785 (Data entry systems), 7,920,898 (Data entry systems) and 8,290,538 (Data entry systems).
The alleged infringing products that are repeated in each of the five counts include the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 5.
Under the 6,058,304 patent, DataQuill specifically states that "Apple has marketed, promoted, and instructed users to use these devices in an infringing manner. This marketing, promotion, and instruction has specifically included instructions to use the App Store, iTunes, and iBooks functionality to download apps, music, podcasts, audiobooks, and books. Apple knew of and intended to cause its end users' direct infringement and is therefore liable for inducing their infringement of the'304 Patent."
DataQuill consistently states that Apple's infringement is willful throughout the complaint through to the prayer for relief which means that the company is hoping to be given triple damages should Apple be found guilty of infringement. In the '304 patent, they refer to it as "willful blindness."
The patent infringement case presented in today's report was filed in the Texas Eastern District Court, Austin Office. The Presiding Judge in this case is noted as being Judge Sam Sparks.
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