updated 03:15 pm EDT, Wed August 31, 2011
Adds to glut of technology industry patent cases
Software company Openwave has filed complaints with the International Trade Commission and a Delaware district court, accusing Apple and Research in Motion of patent infringement, Reuters reports. In particular the electronics firms are charged with violating five patents used to connect smartphones and tablets to the Internet. "Before filing these complaints, we approached both of these companies numerous times in an attempt to negotiate a license of our technology with them and did not receive a substantive response," says Openwave CEO Ken Denman.
"In the end, litigation is the only way we can defend our rights against these large companies that have effectively refused to license the use of the technologies we invented," Denman claims. A victory with the ITC would theoretically block Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod touch from being sold in the US; RIM would be unable to sell the PlayBook or the BlackBerry Curve. In practice though ITC bans are rare, leaving dismissal or a negotiated settlement as the most probable outcomes.
Reuters notes that Openwave recorded a loss in its last financial year, and recently paid $12 million to the Myriad Group to end the latter's claims on its patents. Openwave owns roughly 200 patents in all. During the past year patent lawsuits have begun to plague the mobile industry, where in some cases they have become anti-competitive weapons. Apple is believed to be using lawsuits against firms like HTC and Samsung to stall the progress of Android devices, which could eventually overtake Apple's iOS platform.