updated 01:55 pm EST, Wed December 22, 2010
Hybrid Audio sues Apple, Dell and HTC
Hybrid Audio LLC late Tuesday joined in a spate of recent lawsuits by suing Apple, Dell and HTC. The Tyler, Texas-based complaint accuses all three of violating a patent for processing MP3 songs using a tree-structured array. The lawsuit claimed that Apple's iPad, iPhone 4, iPod nano, iTunes and MacBook Pro all violate the patent; Dell's Adamo, Alienware, Inspiron, Studio and XPS systems have been similarly named, as have its Aero smartphone, the Streak tablet and HTC's Evo 4G.
Unlike a lawsuit from Monday, the patent is still active and itself was a reissue of a patent originally filed in 1997 by a different company, Aware.
The lawsuit doesn't target MP3 use as a whole, which could have triggered a confrontation with MP3 pioneer Fraunhofer. It also didn't set any specific licensing requirements and instead suggested just an injunction banning sale. Such calls are usually an attempt to force a settlement before it gets to trial.
Hybrid Audio's filing has the traditional characteristics of a patent troll. The company has no known online presence or shipping products, and many patent lawsuits are filed in Tyler and otherwise in Eastern District of Texas courts knowing that they tend to side with patent holders. [via Florian Mueller]