A relatively unknown company by the name of NYC IP, Inc., has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. The patent infringement lawsuit concerns Apple's hardware using the Safari browser which in turn displays documents in a method that allegedly infringes upon NYC IP's invention.
NYC IP is suing Apple for allegedly infringing 2006 patent 7,016,084 titled "Method and apparatus for linking designated portions of a received document image with an electronic address."
The formal complaint before the court states that "Apple makes, uses, or sells computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets, including, but not limited to, the MacBook, the iPhone, the iPad, and similar devices.
Apple has directly infringed, and continues to directly infringe, at least claim 4 of the '084 Patent." The company states that Apple's "infringing acts include, but are not limited to: making, using, selling, and offering to sell its computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. These Apple products, among other infringing features, provide the capability to access and display audio, video, or executable content embedded on a webpage, either via a browser or other application.
For example, an infringing MacBook or iPhone accesses video data from the internet via an Apple application such as the Safari browser. These infringing products use standards, such as HTML5, MP3, MP4, and H.264, to access and display such audio, video, and executable content within the context of a program that displays documents. In addition, Apple has made and used the claimed systems and methods during the development of the accused products."
Furthermore, NYC IP states that "Apple instructs consumers to display audio, video, or executable content embedded on webpages using its computer, laptops, smartphones, and tablets, within the scope of the '084 Patent. For example, consumers use an infringing MacBook or iPhone to access video data from the internet via an Apple application such as the Safari browser. These infringing products use standards, such as HTML5, MP3, MP4, and H.264, to access and display such audio, video, and executable content within the context of a program that displays documents.
With knowledge of the '084 Patent, Apple has indirectly infringed the '084 Patent by inducing the direct infringement by consumers, by enabling, instructing, and encouraging consumers to make and use the infringing apparatus and method described in at least claims 1 and 4 of the '084 Patent, while aware that their use is infringing.
Apple's infringement of the '084 Patent is willful. Apple was notified by of its infringement of the '084 Patent in November, 2011 and again in June, 2013."
The complaint's notation concerning Apple's infringement being willful is the legal phraseology requesting the judge to triple the damages should Apple be found guilty of infringement.
It should be noted tha a quick internet search of "NYC IP" doesn't yield a formal business website of any kind. This could be a sign that the company is a non-practicing entity or patent troll.
The patent infringement case presented in today's report was filed in the Texas Eastern District Court, Tyler Office. At present, no Judge has been assigned to the case.
A Note about Patent Trolls
The FTC is now 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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