STMicroelectronics is a French-Italian multinational electronics and semiconductor manufacturer headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is commonly called ST, and it is Europe's largest semiconductor chip maker based on revenue. The company sold Apple low-powered three-axis gyroscope for the iPhone 5. But when it came to the popular iPhone 6, Apple chose technology from InvenSense over similar components from STMicroelectronics. Interestingly though is the fact that the company gained orders for their accelerometer/gyroscope part in the new Apple Watch as noted here and here. So it's a little baffling that STMicroelectronics sold several patents to a patent troll that is now using them to sue Apple with. Did STMicroelectronics just shoot themselves in the head with that move? In the bigger picture, why would Apple ever want to deal with a backstabbing supplier like that in the future? For that matter, why would any company want to deal with STMicroelectronics if their patents could come back to haunt them via patent trolls?
The Plaintiff in this patent infringement case against Apple is a patent troll by the name of Parthenon Unified Memory Architecture LLC ("PUMA" or "Plaintiff").
According to PUMA's complaint before the court, they state that "Upon information and belief, Apple has infringed directly and continues to infringe directly" seven patents that we noted below. "The infringing acts include, but are not limited to, the manufacture, use, sale, importation, and/or offer for sale of products and/or methods encompassed by the claims of the" of the seven patents.
No specific claims against Apple and their products are presented in PUMA's formal complaint before the court. Their lawsuit seems to be taking a shotgun approach to patent infringement against Apple.
PUMA's complaint continued by stating that "Apple's infringing products include, but are not limited to, at least the Apple iPhone products, including but not limited to the 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6 and 6 Plus; the Apple iPad products, including but not limited to the iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Mini; the iPod Touch; and the Apple TV media player."
Interestingly STMicroelectronics sold Apple parts for the iPhone 5 before being replaced by Bosh parts.
The Seven STMicroelectronics patents that Apple Allegedly Infringes
1) 5,812,789 entitled "Video and/or Audio Decompression and/or Compression Device that Shares a Memory Interface."
2) 5,960,464 entitled "Memory Sharing Architecture for a Decoding in a Computer System."
3) 7,321,368 entitled "Electronic System and Method for Display Using a Decoder and Arbiter to Selectively Allow Access to a Shared Memory."
4) 7,542,045 entitled "Electronic System and Method for Display Using a Decoder and Arbiter to Selectively Allow Access to a Shared Memory."
5) 7,777,753 entitled "Electronic System and Method for Selectively Allowing Access to a Shared Memory."
6) 8,054,315 entitled "Electronic System and Method for Selectively Allowing Access to a Shared Memory."
7) 8,681,164 entitled "Electronic System and Method for Selectively Allowing Access to a Shared Memory."
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 simple Google Search indicates that PUMA doesn't make anything. Their sole mission as a company is simply to sue tech companies like Apple, LG, HTC, Huawei and others for patent infringement.
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