Immersion Charges Apple, AT&T With Patent Infringement - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Devices
News
2/16/2016
11:05 AM
50%
50%

Immersion Charges Apple, AT&T With Patent Infringement

Apple gets hit with another lawsuit targeting the iPhone and Apple Watch, this time from haptic feedback pioneer Immersion. The lawsuit, as well as the ITC complaint, also involve alleged patent infringement by AT&T.

Where 2016 US Presidential Contenders Stand On Tech Issues
Where 2016 US Presidential Contenders Stand On Tech Issues
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Touch feedback technology specialist Immersion has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) against tech giants Apple, AT&T, and AT&T Mobility in a dispute over patents covering haptic feedback systems and methods in electronic devices.

Immersion also filed a patent infringement complaint against Apple, AT&T, and AT&T Mobility in US District Court for the District of Delaware. The company announced the lawsuit and ITC complaint on Feb. 11.

The complaints allege that the Apple iPhone 6, Apple iPhone 6 Plus, Apple iPhone 6s, Apple iPhone 6s Plus, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition infringe on certain Immersion patents pertaining to haptic technology.

(Image: guvendemir/iStockphoto)

(Image: guvendemir/iStockphoto)

Specifically, Immersion claims Apple infringed on US Patent No. 8,619,051, "Haptic Feedback System with Stored Effects," and Patent No. 8,773,356, "Method and Apparatus for Providing Tactile Sensations."

The complaints also assert infringement by the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus on Immersion's US Patent No. 8,659,571, "Interactivity Model for Shared Feedback on Mobile Devices."

The '051 patent relates to haptic feedback in handheld electronic devices, while the '356 patent relates to haptic feedback in handheld electronic devices that have a touch screen. The '571 patent relates to haptic feedback in electronic devices.

In the ITC complaint, Immersion is seeking an exclusion order preventing the importation, sale for importation, and sale after importation of infringing Apple devices into the US, as well as cease-and-desist orders.

In the US District Court suit, the company is alleging infringement of the same patents and is seeking to stop further infringement by the defendants, and to recover unspecified damages.

So far, neither Apple nor AT&T has publicly responded to either the lawsuit in federal court or the ITC complaint. However, Immersion has been firing off public statements, including one by CEO Victor Viegas:

Immersion and its employees have worked diligently for over 20 years to invent solutions and build an ecosystem of content and playback devices that enable realistic and rich digital experiences. Touch matters, as it informs, excites and humanizes the digital world we interact with every day. Many of our licensed customers are market leaders that benefit from our innovation in touch technology.

[Read about Apple recalling some USB-C cables.]

The timing of the compliant could be due, at least in part, to the difficulties Immersion has had renegotiating Samsung's licensing of its technology on their Android-based mobile devices. In essence, the company maybe putting positive pressure on Apple's rival by responding to criticism that it is letting Apple get away with patent infringement.

In his statement, Viegas added:

While we are pleased to see others in the industry recognize the value of haptics and adopt it in their products, it is important for us to protect our business against infringement of our intellectual property in order to preserve the ecosystem we have built and the investments that we have made in continuing to advance haptic experiences.

An in-depth analysis of the lawsuit by Seeking Alpha pointed out that Immersion's legal team indicates the company is ready to go to the mattresses to defend its patent claims.

The company is represented by Irell & Manella, the law firm that won the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) its legal battle against Apple last October.

In that case, the jury found that Apple infringed a WARF-owned patent claiming an invention that improves the efficiency and speed of computer processing.

Are you an IT Hero? Do you know someone who is? Submit your entry now for InformationWeek's IT Hero Award. Full details and a submission form can be found here.

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Slideshows
Reflections on Tech in 2019
James M. Connolly, Editorial Director, InformationWeek and Network Computing,  12/9/2019
Slideshows
What Digital Transformation Is (And Isn't)
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/4/2019
Commentary
Watch Out for New Barriers to Faster Software Development
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  12/3/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
The Cloud Gets Ready for the 20's
This IT Trend Report explores how cloud computing is being shaped for the next phase in its maturation. It will help enterprise IT decision makers and business leaders understand some of the key trends reflected emerging cloud concepts and technologies, and in enterprise cloud usage patterns. Get it today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll