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U.S. Federal Circuit Gives Green Light to Patent Infringement Case against Apple over the iPhone's Touch Display

17 Patently Legal News


Back in 2015 Patently Apple posted a report titled "One of the Most Compelling Legal Cases Filed against Apple in Years was filed in California Yesterday," Zeroclick v. Apple. It was a case regarding the use of a touch screen.


Our report noted that "A Patent troll by the name of Zeroclick, LLC, legally acquired two very interesting patents from inventor Dr. Nes Irvine, a medical doctor who, according to the court filing, "possessed the prescient vision" to develop touch-only user interface technologies that would enable significant benefits to his medical work and any field where users interacted with graphical user interfaces. Dr. Irvine claims to have "faxed" a letter to Apple's then Director of Software Development, Avie Tevanian back in 2002. Apple never formally replied.


Although the case references several Apple patents, the case interestingly makes a big deal out of the "Slide-to-Unlock" patent infringing their Zeroclick patents. When reviewing the case's "Certification of Interested Entities or Persons" filing with the court it was revealed that two other patent trolls were involved in the case: Granicus IP, LLC and Erich Spangenberg.


Whether either of these listed entities has any connection to Samsung in any capacity is unknown. It was also interesting to learn in Zeroclick's filing that Dr. Irvine also sent a letter directly to Judge Koh regarding Apple's alleged infringement of his touch related patents.


Fast forwarding to today and Law360 reports that "In a precedential opinion, the Federal Circuit on Friday revived an infringement suit alleging that Apple used another company's intellectual property for its iPhone touch screen, finding that a California federal judge erred by invalidating two patents because he hadn't done the proper analysis to find they were indefinite.


Apple had provided "no evidentiary support" for its allegation that the patents failed to show how the touch screen functions would be performed, the panel said." The patents listed in the Law360 report include Patent #7,818,691 and #8,549,443, asserted by Zeroclick LLC. "


In the end, legal cases aren't based on logic – they're based on patent claims alone that are blind to real-world applications. This is the craft of a patent troll to seek out broad patent claims that they could argue and twist to their favor.  How this will play out in court is unknown at this time.


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