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A Korean Company is Considering a Patent Lawsuit against Apple over Touch ID



It's being reported today that Korean mobile technology solutions firm Firstface will be filing a patent infringement suit against Apple for allegedly copying their feature to unlock smartphone screen through biometric sensor-based user authentication.


Firstface co-CEO Jung Jae-lark has registered its own patents in multiple nations including Korea, Japan, and the US since 2011 on a solution that enables users to unlock the smartphone home screen immediately after they authenticate themselves by pressing their fingers on the fingerprint sensor-installed home button.


2 lawsuit

Apple introduced Touch ID in the iPhone 5 which debuted on September 21, 2012. The Korean company Firstface contends their US patent application US2015077859 A1 predates the iPhone 5 .However, patent applications don't count in court. On record is a granted patent for their invention in the U.S. dated 2017 which was filed back in 2015. The application number that is listed associated with the granted patent is US 20150378595 A1. We we unable to find their US2015077859 A1 nor a granted patent related to it.


The patent figures of the 2017 granted patent 9,779,419 show a home button identical to Apple's, how convenient.


Shim Young-tack, another Firstface co-CEO who also serves as a professor at the Korean campus of New York State University, was quoted by local news outlet FN News as saying "The solution that activates the smartphone screen upon authenticating a user's fingerprint was something unprecedented before Jung's invention."


Shim said he and Jung are working together with US attorney and patent lawyer Lee Jae-gyu. He also said the CEOs approached Apple to find a middle ground for the case by inking a licensing deal, but the US firm has rejected the offer.


The company appears to only have a single granted patent dated 2017.  It's the Korean company who told the Korean publication that they were considering the lawsuit based on a patent application and not a granted patent. It's difficult to see how they'll be able to sue based on a patent application. For the record we couldn't find a 'Firstface' website, only a useless Facebook page


Update 4:15 am PST: A second Korean report definitively claims that the company did file a lawsuit yesterday against Apple and Samsung sometime yesterday. The second report claims the company has three patents. The patents may be foreign patents. When the lawsuit comes to light we'll follow up accordingly.


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