bit-tech.net

Apple sued for iPhone keyboard patent infringement

Apple sued for iPhone keyboard patent infringement

Apple is under fire as the iPhone's keyboard apparently infringes on a patent filed in August 2000.

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.

What are your thoughts? Share them with us in the forums.

19 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
steveo_mcg 7th August 2007, 12:16 Quote
Seven years and no product, i don't see how there can be any legal backing for these kind of suits
mmorgue 7th August 2007, 12:24 Quote
Sheer rubbish! Exactly as steveo_mcg said -- 7 years and they have nothing to show? Seems to be the American thing now -- get a patent for something blatently obvious or common sense and then wait to see who implements a money generating product near or around that patent and then sue.
Spacecowboy92 7th August 2007, 12:43 Quote
Has anyone patented the wheel yet?
Pie_uk 7th August 2007, 12:44 Quote
^ lmao
Tim S 7th August 2007, 13:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spacecowboy92
Has anyone patented the wheel yet?

:)
Pricester 7th August 2007, 13:09 Quote
Better yet... patent "A device for moving matter instantaneously or near-instantaneously through space"... then sue when someone finally creates a Star-Trek like transporter...
bilbothebaggins 7th August 2007, 14:09 Quote
Quote:
“method of providing a user interface for receiving information from a user using a user immutable graphical keyboard linked to an input area.”
If it's possible to file such patents then surely someone has already patented "a means for overcoming friction by attaching rotateable discs of equal diameter" ... or whatever a wheel would be in Patent-Sprech ... :(
DXR_13KE 7th August 2007, 15:30 Quote
this is one of the reasons i hate the current patent system....
Bluephoenix 7th August 2007, 15:36 Quote
another troll; move along, nothing to see here......
mikeuk2004 7th August 2007, 17:24 Quote
MS, Apple, Sony and pretty much every big name cant escape these patent infringments. Isnt it crazy these days that when you design a new product you have to seach through millions of patents to check that some you thought of has not already been thought of and protected.

Just think of all the cool gadgets we dont get to see because someone has the patent. Scrap patents and just design and build and move forward, stop putting brakes on
Amon 7th August 2007, 17:44 Quote
I'd like to patent the patenting system. That way, I'd have the final word on any beef involving patents and lay teh smackizzle down on them.
DLoney 7th August 2007, 19:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
Seven years and no product, i don't see how there can be any legal backing for these kind of suits
the whole point that the patent system was setup in america was so advancement could be made with or without means to produce the product, thereby giving power the common person who could not otherwise compeate against large corperations in the free market.

"sitting" on a patent is fine. you have to take the good with the bad.
cyrilthefish 7th August 2007, 19:01 Quote
Anyone else seen this yet? :D

http://theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=41531
Quote:
Peter Boesen is a surgeon who runs an outfit called SP Technologies. It has been suing lots of companies for nicking his patents including LG Electronics and Canon.

Now Apple's touch screen has attracted his attention. He claims the iPhone's touch-based keyboard violates a patent the company received in 2004. The patent, filed under US patent number 6,784,873 B1, describes a "method and medium for a computer readable keyboard display incapable of user termination" and lists Boesen as the inventor.

But Boesen is currently on bail while his lawyers work out an appeal to his prison sentence for healthcare fraud.

He was sentenced to prison in May following a conviction on defrauding Iowa's Medicare and Medicaid programs by filing false claims. He was also ordered to repay the state and private insurers more than $900,000.
DLoney 7th August 2007, 19:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeuk2004
Just think of all the cool gadgets we dont get to see because someone has the patent. Scrap patents and just design and build and move forward, stop putting brakes on

that would have the adverse effect. Think of it this way- why bother with expensive R&D when you can just wait for someone else to do it and then mimic it for a 1/3 of the cost. All companys doing this would lead to no advancement.
steveo_mcg 7th August 2007, 19:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DLoney
the whole point that the patent system was setup in america was so advancement could be made with or without means to produce the product, thereby giving power the common person who could not otherwise compeate against large corperations in the free market.

"sitting" on a patent is fine. you have to take the good with the bad.

Perhaps but if you've actually got an idea and not just a patent lawyer then i'm sure you could manage to raise the capital in the venerable free market else whats the point in filing the patent except to catch folk unawares when they do have a good product or an excellent idea. Just because no one wants to make your product doesn't mean you sit on your hands look in to the history of the dyson vacuum cleaner.
Asphix 7th August 2007, 21:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
Quote:
Originally Posted by DLoney
the whole point that the patent system was setup in america was so advancement could be made with or without means to produce the product, thereby giving power the common person who could not otherwise compeate against large corperations in the free market.

"sitting" on a patent is fine. you have to take the good with the bad.

Perhaps but if you've actually got an idea and not just a patent lawyer then i'm sure you could manage to raise the capital in the venerable free market else whats the point in filing the patent except to catch folk unawares when they do have a good product or an excellent idea. Just because no one wants to make your product doesn't mean you sit on your hands look in to the history of the dyson vacuum cleaner.

Because usually, if a company sees a patent that would work in tech they want to develop, they can (i assume) purchase the patent the same way someone would purshase a domain name. Of course, you dont tell the person your buying from what you intend to do with it and let them guage it's value.

If I have a great idea, but no means to implement it.. I can patent that idea. If someone else wants to take the ball and run with it, they can pay me the rights to grab it from me, or wait until 7 years pass (the new time frame I think, i tused to be something like 20+!!!!) and then go about doing it. If I ever get around to marketing a device based on the patent, I can then have grounds to re-new it after the expiration date.

Course, I admit my knowledge on this stuff is very, very thin and I could be completely off the mark here. Its how I always justified this stuff... I hate patent trolls and in no way think whats going on here is "right" and thinking about things that way makes me sleep better at night ;)
Breach 8th August 2007, 00:53 Quote
It seems like these patents are so impossibly vauge, they only describe the idea of a generic technology without actually having to produce a real world demonstration or device of it. Sheer BS in my opinion.

Why these troll companies are allowed to exist is beyond me...
completemadness 8th August 2007, 04:42 Quote
jeez these patents get more and more ridiculous every day, i mean, how on each can you patent a touch screen keyboard
There's practically one built into windows anyway

Why not just patent any device that bears human weight, zomg i can sue all Ferrari, MFI, and who knows who else
steveo_mcg 8th August 2007, 10:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asphix
Because usually, if a company sees a patent that would work in tech they want to develop, they can (i assume) purchase the patent the same way someone would purshase a domain name. Of course, you dont tell the person your buying from what you intend to do with it and let them guage it's value.

If I have a great idea, but no means to implement it.. I can patent that idea. If someone else wants to take the ball and run with it, they can pay me the rights to grab it from me, or wait until 7 years pass (the new time frame I think, i tused to be something like 20+!!!!) and then go about doing it. If I ever get around to marketing a device based on the patent, I can then have grounds to re-new it after the expiration date.

Course, I admit my knowledge on this stuff is very, very thin and I could be completely off the mark here. Its how I always justified this stuff... I hate patent trolls and in no way think whats going on here is "right" and thinking about things that way makes me sleep better at night ;)

If actually worked like that it would be great and i'd be all for it, but things like this and the creative V apple fiasco really make me dispair. Vauge patents with no intention of developing them are unfair this time it was apple who can afford to purchase the company and move what if next time its some dude with a solution to free energy but a vauge patent is owned by BP and just burries the guy under litigation (I know its a stupid example buts its early and the coffee hasn't started working yet.)
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums