Innovative Display Technologies is alleging that Apple Inc. infringes upon a series of their legally owned patents carrying the same title "Light emitting panel assemblies." The specific patents noted in their formal complaint before the court include 6,755,547, 7,384,177, 7,300,194, 7,404,660, 7,434,974, 7,537,370, 8,215,816. Collectively, they're referred to in the filing as the "IDT patents," all noting "Jeffery Parker" as the original inventor and "Solid State Opto Limited" as the original patent assignee.
The filing notes that "On June 26, 2013, IDT was assigned all of the right, title, and interest in the IDT patents, including the exclusive right to sue and collect for its own use and benefit all claims for damages by reason of past infringement or use of the IDT patents."
In a separate Corporate Disclosure Statement filed with the court, it was revealed that IDT is identified as an affiliate of Acacia Research Group.
In November 2012 Business Insider posted a report titled "Tech's 8 Most Fearsome 'Patent Trolls'" whereby they listed Acacia Technologies as the eighth most feared troll. Yesterday we reported on another lawsuit against Apple where there was an Acacia connection.
Seven Counts against Apple
In this particular case, IDT claims that the infringing display products of Apple's include "desktops, laptops, monitors, mobile phones, music players, and tablets with an LCD (e.g., the iPad 3, iPad 4, iPhone 4, iPhone 5, and MacBook Air)."
IDT further notes in their fling before the court that "By incorporating the fundamental inventions covered by the patents-in-suit, Apple can make improved products, including but not limited to, products with longer displays, thinner displays, and/or displays with a higher light output, a more uniform light output, a lower power requirement, and/or a longer battery life."
The seven counts against Apple are based on the seven patents that we presented at the top of our report. The patents that are noted in each of the counts don't point to any particular patent claims that are infringed upon.
As with most patent troll lawsuits, IDT is seeking the court to triple the damages for willful infringement if Apple is found guilty along with an ongoing royalty from Apple.
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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