Apple Sued by the Inventor of a Remote Control Electronic Deadbolt Keyless Entry System for Patent Infringement
Inventor of the 'Remotizer' remote control electronic deadbolt keyless entry system Mark Kilbourne has sued Apple for patent infringement. The patent titled "Universal remote deadbolt adapter' was issued to Mr. Kilbourne under number 7,373,795 in 2008. Mr. Kilbourne's company, Mr. Butler LLC, is a Texas-based company operating out of Richmond, Texas. Apple began selling he August Smart Lock after introducing HomeKit and the device infringes Mr. Kilbourne's invention. Because Apple was made aware of this infringement and continued to sell the August Smart Lock on the Apple Store, Apple is infringing Mr. Kilbourne's patent according to their complaint.
The formal complaint before the Huston Texas Court in-part states that "In late 2014, as part of an effort to promote and sell his patented Remotizer® system, Mr. Kilbourne worked to develop a software application that could permit Apple products, such as the Apple iPhone, to be used as a remote control to open and close deadboltlocks retrofitted with the Remotizer system.
Around the September, 2014, time frame, Mr. Butler LLC approached Apple to seek approval to offer the application for its Remotizer® system through the Apple App Store.
In general, review of software applications for possible offering through the Apple App Store involves submission of printed or electronic materials, including copies of the software at issue. With respect to the efforts to offer the Remotizer® system app through the Apple App Store, however, Apple deviated from that process. In around the September, 2014, time frame, Apple responded to the request for approval to offer the Remotizer® system app through the Apple App Store with a message indicating that: "We began review of the app but are not able to continue because we need the associated hardware to fully assess your app features."
The request by Apple for the hardware associated with the Remotizer system app was unusual, as receipt and inspection of hardware associated with apps submitted for sale through Apple's App Store is typically not required.
Unbeknownst to Mr. Kilbourne, around the same time that he was submitting his Remotizer® system app to Apple and Apple was requesting to be provided with the Remotizer® hardware, Apple was working on unveiling the Apple HomeKit. The Apple HomeKit is a framework developed by Apple to permit Apple devices to interact with a variety of home automation products, many of which are to be sold and offered by Apple through Apple's retail and online sales channels.
One of the products offered for use with Apple's HomeKit is the August Smart Lock.
The August Smart Lock is a system for remotely opening and closing a pre-existing deadbolt lock that has been, and is currently, offered for sale by Apple, both through its online stores and through its retail stores, such as its Apple Stores.
The August Smart Lock has been sold and offered for sale by Apple through its Apple stores in the Southern District of Texas and is currently being offered for sale and sold by Apple in the Southern District of Texas.
Operation of the August Smart Lock, as sold by Apple, infringes upon one or more claims of Mr. Kilbourne's '795 Patent.
Patent FIG. 5 illustrates the apparatus as attached to a door in a partially exploded view
Under Count 1, Patent Infringement, it reads:
"For purposes of this Count, the term "Accused Products" refers to the August Smart Lock products sold and offered by sale by Defendant.
Defendant has committed, and continues to commit, acts of infringement of the '795 Patent at least by selling, and offering to sell, the Accused Products.
Among other things, Defendant is liable for contributory infringement by contributing to the direct infringement of the '795 Patent by purchasers and users of the Accused Products as sold by Apple.
Given that operation of the Accused Products as intended and sold by Apple directly infringes at least one claim of the '795 Patent, the Accused Products constitute a material part of the invention of the '795 Patent.
At least as early as the filing date of this complaint, and—on information and belief based on Apple's prior request for the Remotizer® system hardware—prior to that date, Apple is (and was) aware of the '795 Patent and that the Accused Products that it is offering and selling have no substantial uses other than to infringe the '795 Patent.
The patent infringement case presented in today's report was filed in the Texas Southern District Court, Houston Office, Fort Bend. At present, no Judge has been assigned to the case.
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