MAZ Encryption Technologies, a document security firm, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. The patent infringement lawsuit concerns Apple's iOS security system and architecture. This is their second patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in the past year. This time around, the lawsuit extends to security technology behind Apple's new iPhone biometric security feature Touch ID.
Background to the Case
MAZ Encryption Technologies formal complaint before the court provides background information as follows: "Stephen J. Zizzi is an accomplished electrical engineer and the inventor of United States Patent number 8,359,476. In 1996, Mr. Zizzi and Chris Mahne, an entrepreneur and co-inventor on another patent, launched MAZ Technologies, Inc. to develop software security products. Mr. Mahne was the President of MAZ Technologies, Inc., and Mr. Zizzi was the Chief Technology Officer.
While at MAZ Technologies Mr. Zizzi developed novel technologies relating to electronic information and document security using file-level and biometric encryption. The MAZ technology includes, among other things, information security that is transparent and seamless to the users.
What their background information doesn't provide us with is a list of the companies that actually use their technology. As from what we could tell, MAZ spends most of their time suing companies like Apple, Dell, Oracle, McAfee, HP and other companies like Lenovo, Fujitsu, BlackBerry, Toshiba and Microsoft with the same two patents. MAZ sued Apple a year ago with their other patent 7,096,358.
The Apple Products that Allegedly Infringe MAZ Encryption Technologies Patent
According to MAZ Encryption Technologies action against Apple, "The infringing products and services include, for example, Defendant's iOS security system and/or architecture with biometric (e.g. fingerprint) sensors, and Defendant's products and services incorporating the same (e.g. iPhone 5s), and various versions thereof.
The patent infringement case presented in today's report was filed in the Delaware District Court, Wilmington Office. The Presiding Judge in this case is noted as being Judge Leonard P. Stark.
Is MAZ Encryption Technologies a patent troll? This time it's a tougher call than most because Mr. Zizzi is the actual inventor of the patent who is suing Apple vs a patent assertion entity acquiring a patent for the sole purpose of filing a suit. If a small company invents something important but is simply ignored or steamrolled by larger and richer companies, their only recourse is to sue to defend their technology. Of course, that doesn't automatically mean that MAZ's claims of patent infringement against Apple are legitimate – so off to court they go. But by definition, MAZ Encryption Technologies doesn't appear to be a classic patent troll.
Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of certain legal cases/ lawsuits which are part of the public record for journalistic news purposes. Readers are cautioned that Patently Apple does not offer an opinion on the merit of the case and strictly presents the allegations made in said legal cases / lawsuits. A lawyer should be consulted for any further details or analysis. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments. On most legal cases, comments will be closed. See our Legal Archives for other patent infringement cases.