Apple's iTunes Store Allegedly infringes Several Smartflash Patents
Smartflash has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. The patent infringement lawsuit basically concerns Apple's iTunes Store, the App Store, Apple TV, iOS and much more. A number of gaming developers are a part of this suit for using Apple's iTunes Store to sell their wares. Smartflash is claiming that Apple has allegedly infringed on their six standing patents which all relate to "Data Storage and Access Systems."
As part of Smartflash's infringement lawsuit filing before the court they present their "Factual Allegations" against Apple as follows:
The patents-in-suit generally cover a portable data carrier for storing data and managing access to the data via payment information and/or use status rules. The patents-in-suit also generally cover a computer network (i.e., a server network) that serves data and manages access to data by, for example, validating payment information.
In or around the year 2000, Patrick Racz, one of the co-inventors of the patents-in-suit, met with various personnel of Gemplus (now Gemalto S.A.) to discuss the technology claimed in the patents-in-suit. Mr. Augustin Farrugia was one of the people at Gemplus who learned of the technology of the patents-in-suit.
Mr. Farrugia subsequently joined Apple and is currently a Senior Director at Apple Inc.
iTunes is an Apple application that supports the purchase, download, organization and playback of digital audio and video files and is available for both Mac and Windows-based computers.
iTunes Store is an Apple service that allows customers to discover, purchase, rent, and download applications and other digital content.
iTunes is integrated with the iTunes Store.
Apple sells and delivers digital content and applications through the iTunes Store, which includes Apple's App Store and iBookstore.
The Mac App Store is an Apple service that allows Apple's customers to purchase, download and install Mac applications.
Apple's end-user customers can use the App Store app on their portable Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini and iPad Touch, to purchase and download digital content and applications.
An application developer or publisher can use Apple's in-application payment functionality to collect payment for enhanced functionality or additional content usable by the application.
Apple provides its in-application payment functionality through its Store Kit framework.
Apple's Store Kit connects to the App Store on behalf of an application to securely process payments from the user.
Apple's Store Kit prompts the user to authorize the payment and then notifies the application that called Store Kit so that the application can provide items the user purchased.
An application developer or publisher can use Apple's iAd advertising platform to deliver ads to users.
Apple sells the ads through its iAd advertising platform and serves such ads to iAd enabled apps.
Apple provides its iAd advertising platform through its iOS SDK.
Apple provides its iAd advertising platform through its iAd Creative Toolkit.
Apple provides its iAd advertising platform through its iAd Bundle Development Kit.
Robot Entertainment sells an app through Apple's App Store called "Hero Academy."
"Hero Academy" uses Apple's in-application payment functionality to collect payment for enhanced functionality or additional content.
"Hero Academy" contains in-application advertising functionality.
KingsIsle sells apps, specifically "Grub Guardian" and "WizardBlox," through Apple's App Store.
"Grub Guardian" uses Apple's in-application payment functionality to collect payment for enhanced functionality or additional content.
"WizardBlox" uses Apple's in-application payment functionality to collect payment for enhanced functionality or additional content.
Game Circus sells apps through Apple's App Store and develops apps that are sold through Apple's App Store.
Game Circus sells and develops apps that require payment (such as "Coin Dozer Pro"), apps that use Apple's in-application payment functionality to collect payment for enhanced functionality or additional content (such as "Coin Dozer - Halloween"), and apps that use Apple's iAd functionality (such as "Coin Dozer – Halloween").
Apple has committed and continues to commit acts of infringement (i) with any version of iTunes that can access iTunes Store; (ii) with any version of the App Store app; (iii) with any version of any Apple hardware or software product (e.g., Apple's various iPhone products, Apple's various iPad products, Apple's various Apple TV products, Apple's various Mac computer products, Apple's various operating system software, etc.) that includes any version of iTunes or the App Store app that can access iTunes Store; (iv) with any version of Mac App Store; (v) with any Apple hardware or software product that includes any version of Mac App Store; and (vi) with Apple's internal servers involved in operating Apple's iTunes Store, Apple's Mac App Store as well as Apple's servers involved in Apple's in-application payment functionality as well as Apple's servers involved in Apple's iAd Network (collectively referred to as "Apple's Accused Instrumentalities").
In committing these acts of infringement, Apple acted despite an objectively high likelihood that its actions constituted infringement of at least one valid patent, and Apple actually knew or should have known that its actions constituted an unjustifiably high risk of infringement of at least one valid and enforceable patent.
The Patents In-Suit
Smartflash's lawsuit filing includes the following list of patents that they're claiming Apple has infringed upon: 7,334,720, 7,942,317, 8,033,458, 8,061,598, 8,118,221 and 8,336,772. All of the patents are respectively entitled "Data Storage and Access Systems."
One of the remedies that Smartflash is asking the court for specifically states: "A judgment that Apple's infringement of the patents-in-suit has been willful." That's legalese for – we want Apple to pay us triple damages if they're found to be guilty.
The patent infringement case presented in today's report was filed in the Texas Eastern District Court, Tyler Office. At present, no Judge has been assigned to the case.
Just for the record, in one area of the patent infringement filing brought before the court by Smartflash, they identify themselves as Smartflash LLC, a limited liability corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Texas. In another area of the filing they identify themselves as Smartflash Technologies Limited, a limited company organized and existing under the laws of the British Virgin Islands, maintaining a principal place of business on the island of Tortola.
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