Dragon Intellectual Property is suing Apple for patent infringement with an acquired 1994 patent (5,930,444) titled "Simultaneous recording and playback apparatus." In their formal complaint filed with the court, they state that their "invention relates to a keyboard equipped audiovisual recording and playback device, and a memory unit with a storage medium enabling random access to programming information stored therein. A Keyboard responsive control circuit enables manipulation and transfer of programming information between the input, output, and memory. Substantially simultaneous recording and playback of television type of signals is achieved, thus enabling user controlled programming delay."
According to Dragon, Apple has directly infringed Claim 1 of the '444 patent by using, importing, selling and offering to sell the iPod nano with FM radio functionality. Dragon is seeking a "reasonable royalty" should Apple be found guilty of infringement.
The patent infringement case presented in today's report was filed in the Delaware District Court, Wilmington Office in the county of New Castle. At present, no Judge has been assigned to the case.
A Note about Patent Trolls
On December 5, 2013, The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the "Innovation Act" bill on Thursday aimed at discouraging frivolous lawsuits by patent holders. The move was backed by companies like Apple, IBM, Cisco and Google. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) sponsored the bill, which won strong bipartisan support in passing by a 325-91 vote. Goodlatte said his bill "takes meaningful steps to address the abusive practices that have damaged our patent system and resulted in significant economic harm to our nation."
In Addition to the new act, the FTC is currently examining the practices of patent trolls or Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) which are firms with a business model based primarily on purchasing patents and then attempting to generate revenue by asserting the intellectual property against persons who are already practicing the patented technologies. The FTC is conducting the study in order to further one of the agency's key missions—to examine cutting-edge competition and consumer protection topics that may have a significant effect on the U.S. economy.
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