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Lawsuit tries to collect from Apple, HTC, RIM on basic touch

updated 11:50 am EDT, Thu April 12, 2012

Touchscreen Gestures may face prior art challenges

Previously unknown firm Touchscreen Gestures has sued Apple, HTC, RIM, and Samsung this week for allegedly violating four patents for some of the simplest elements of touchscreen input. iOS devices, newer BlackBerrys, and Android devices allegedly copy methods for single taps, double taps, dragging, and scrolling. The patents had been transferred at some point from notebook trackpad developer Sentelic, although whether they were bought or handed over with hopes of a payout aren't clear.

The lawsuit, filed in the patent lawsuit-friendly Eastern District of Texas, may face a difficult time in court. Although Touchscreen Gestures may be counting on specific implementations to win its case, the patents themselves were granted to Sentelic in 2007 and 2008, after the iPhone had been introduced using at least the superficial ideas of the patents. Earlier smartphones and PDAs had also implemented some of these methods as well.

While proxy companies like Touchscreen Gestures occasionally represent real patent holders hoping to get compensation, the timing of the patents, the specific naming, and the targets suggests behavior more common to a patent troll, a company that exists to profit exclusively on its own from patents it either didn't invent or as a fallback for an inability to compete fairly in the marketplace with those patents. Most such lawsuits are either quietly settled out of court for relatively small amounts or see the plaintiff lose.

Neither Apple nor HTC, RIM, or Samsung has commented on the lawsuits. [via paidContent]

Touchscreen Gestures vs Apple



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. thinkman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2005

    +9

    Another day another law suit

    f*** YOU ALL.

  1. Bobfozz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008

    +11

    Proof that these types of

    litigant lawyers and companies are dain bramaged.
    I would certainly like to see some judges or appellate courts rule these frivolous lawsuits should be charged with tremendous court costs.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +2

    um, guys....

    Although Touchscreen Gestures may be counting on specific implementations to win its case, the patents themselves were granted to Sentelic in 2007 and 2008, after the iPhone had been introduced using at least the superficial ideas of the patents. Earlier smartphones and PDAs had also implemented some of these methods as well.

    When the patent was GRANTED is immaterial. It's all about when the patent was FILED!

  1. Eriamjh

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Oct 2001

    -5

    font-size:13px

    Look it up.

  1. TomMcIn

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2001

    +6

    Texas You Say

    filed in the patent lawsuit-friendly Eastern District of Texas - Who would have suspected this filing location?

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    In 2012?

    There honesty should be some rule (maybe there is?) that if you're suing with a patent granted 5 years ago, against companies that have been theoretically infringing for the entirety of that 5-year period, your case is automatically thrown out of court.

    Is there ANY legitimate excuse/reason for waiting 5 years to sue more or less the entire tech industry over products literally owned by around half of the people in the country? Can't exactly claim you didn't notice that the products existed until now, or that it'd be hard to figure out that the infringing-ness of touchscreen behavior would be hard to notice.

    Well, apart, of course, from wanting to produce the biggest shakedown possible.

    I could imagine this being abused, but there really should be punitive damages for bringing blatantly spurious patent-troll lawsuits. The lack thereof is what allows lawyers to hang around East Texas fishing for silly patents to sue for vast sums of money over.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    Re: In 2012?

    There honesty should be some rule (maybe there is?) that if you're suing with a patent granted 5 years ago, against companies that have been theoretically infringing for the entirety of that 5-year period, your case is automatically thrown out of court.

    Um, you have 17 years. That's the life of a patent. How you use your rights is up to you.

    And what if it took you 6 years before you found out you were being infringed upon?

    Is there ANY legitimate excuse/reason for waiting 5 years to sue more or less the entire tech industry over products literally owned by around half of the people in the country?

    And is there any excuse for more or less the entire tech industry to infringe on a patent? Oh, right, it isn't infringing unless someone sues.

    And to answer your question, yes there is. What if they were trying to get licensing deals? What if the patent holder couldn't afford to sue? What if the patent holder at first thought "Nah, I don't need to sue over this" but then later decided "Wait, I could really use the money, and I'm not getting the business I thought I'd be getting by being the patent owner!".

    Or, as in this case, the suer didn't own the patent 5 years ago, they just got it.

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