Apple sued for iPhone keyboard patent infringement

Written by Tim Smalley

August 7, 2007 // 12:05 p.m.

Tags: #apple #infringement #iphone #keyboard #patent #screen #sp #sued #suing #technologies #touch

SP Technologies, a small Florida-based firm, has alleged that the touch screen keyboard interface on Apple’s popular iPhone device infringes on patents that were filed over seven years ago.

The company originally wrote to Apple in February, but received no response. Last Thursday, SP Technologies decided to it was time to file a complaint and it did so in a litigation-friendly federal court in Texas. The claim didn’t detail how much SP Technologies is seeking in damages or royalties from the fruit company.

According to Apple Insider, the complaint alleges that the iPhone’s keyboard treads on four claims outlined in a US patent that was filed on 4th August 2000. The patent describes a “method of providing a user interface for receiving information from a user using a user immutable graphical keyboard linked to an input area.”

SP Technologies says that “Apple’s advertisements, operating instructions and product descriptions direct users to purchase and use the iPhone as called for in the asserted claims.”

Interestingly there’s another side to this story though, as the owner of the patent, Peter V. Boesen, was sentenced to prison back in May on grounds of healthcare fraud but is free pending appeal. He was convicted of defrauding Iowa’s Medicare and Medicard programmes by filing false claims and was ordered to pay the state and private insurers more than $900,000 USD.

Apparently, civil court records show that Boesen, through SP Technologies, has filed a number of suits in the past and this isn’t the first big guns he’s gone after – he previously filed complaints for patent infringements against Canon, LG Electronics and Kyocera but it’s unclear how he fared in those cases.

Apple hasn’t issued a formal response to the claim yet, but Boesen’s past record makes for an interesting case.

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