Texas base patent troll Hilltop Technology LLC has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. The patent infringement lawsuit concerns Apple's iPad Air and other Apple devices using a capacitive touch display.
Hilltop Technology LLC is suing Apple for patent infringement using 2011 patent 7,864,503 (the '503 patent) entitled "Capacitive Type Touch Panel." Hilltop Technology notes in their court document that "The '503 Patent is directed to a capacitive type touch panel having a transparent substrate having opposite top and bottom surfaces; an array of first and second conductors formed on said top surface of said transparent substrate; an array of second conductors; and a plurality of spaced apart conductive first and second bridging lines."
Getting to the heart of the matter, Hilltop states in their complaint before the court that "On information and belief, Apple has been and now is infringing the '503 Patent in the State of Texas, in this judicial district, and elsewhere in the United States by making, using, importing, selling or offering to sell touch panel devices that incorporate the touch panel structure according to the '503 Patent.
On information and belief, examples of Apple's products that infringe the '503 Patent include, but are not limited to, all Apple products having a capacitive type touch panel, including its iPad Air having capacitive-type Touch-On-Lens (TOL) touch panels."
The patent that Hilltop Technology is using was originally invented by Yu-Huei Chang of Taiwan. Sense Pad Tech Co of Western Samoa was the original assignee.
The patent infringement case presented in today's report was filed in the Texas Eastern District Court, Marshall Office. At present, no Judge has been assigned to the case.
A Note about Patent Trolls
A 2011 study showed that Patent Trolls cost tech companies $29 Billion and a 2012 study made the case that patent trolling was out of control. In the first half 2013, Apple remained the #1 Target of Patent Trolls. In the second half of 2013 Apple remained in the top three.
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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