A Colorado Company by the name of TracBeam, LLC has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. The patent infringement lawsuit concerns Apple's location service for their iOS and Mac OS devices, respective applications and services found in Safari, Siri and beyond.
Plaintiff TracBeam is an inventor-owned company that has been awarded numerous patents relating to fundamental innovations in wireless location technology for use in consumer and enterprise settings, and for both outdoor and indoor location. TracBeam is a limited liability company organized and existing under the laws of the State of Colorado.
In all four Counts filed against Apple for allegedly infringing TracBeam's patents they state that Apple has directly infringed their patents and will continue to do so unless enjoined, by making, using, providing, selling, and offering for sale products and services that infringe the claims of their patents which includes Apple's location service for the iOS and Mac OS devices and the applications and services that consume or make use of the location information collected and provided by Apple's location service, including Maps, Siri, Safari, Find My iPhone, Camera, and the iAds network.
The four patents in this case include US patent #8,032,153, 7,764,231, 7,525,484 and 7,298,327. One of TracBeam's requests before the court is for them to find a judgment that Apple has willfully infringed the '231, '484, and '327 patents – which legalese for wanting a judgment against Apple that awards them triple damages (which is rarely awarded).
The patent infringement case presented in today's report was filed in the Texas Eastern District Court, Tyler Division. At present, no Judge has been assigned to the case.
When looking up the company TracBeam in a general search, Google results do not show a TracBeam website describing their products or services. All we found was a list of patent infringement lawsuits filed against other companies that include Google, AT&T, T-Mobile and others which would put them into the category of being a Patent Troll or Patent Assertion Entity.
A Note about Patent Trolls and Action Being Taken
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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