updated 05:55 pm EDT, Tue March 24, 2009
Apple sued over ebook
A Swiss company, MONEC Holding AG, has targeted Apple in yet another lawsuit involving the iPhone. The company claims the handset violates a patent entitled "Electronic device, preferably an electronic book." MONEC seeks triple compensatory damages, including lost profits, interest, attorneys fees and costs. The company also aims to receive royalties, along with the assessed value of Apple's gains, profits or benefits resulting from the patent infringement.
"This is an action for patent infringement, unfair trade practices, monopolization and tortious interference with perspective business advantage," the filing reads.
The patent describes a general electronic device with a housing, display, input means, microprocessors, controls and interfaces for data exchange with peripherals. The "preferably provided" touchscreeen display "has dimensions such that with it approximately one page of a book can be illustrated at normal size."
Using a radio network, the patent claims also include provisions for data exchange for e-mail, fax or Internet browsing. Although a large number of handsets and other mobile devices offer the described capabilities, MONEC likely is focusing on Apple because of App Store offerings, such as Kindle for iPhone, and related marketing material.
"Apple makes books and book applications accessible through Wi-Fi and cellular networks from their App Store," the filing asserts. "Apple advertises reading books using an application developed for just that purpose."
MONEC claims that it has suffered injury to its business and property, and "will continue to suffer damages in the future." The lawyers seek a jury trial. It is unknown if the holding group plans to go after other devices, such as Amazon's Kindle.