Los Angeles real estate developer Elliot Gottfurcht has filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the company infringes on his patent.
According to a report from Reuters, Gottfurcht and his two co-inventors obtained a patent last month based on their technology that displays website content on small screens. The three men claim that Apple’s iPhone - because of its ability to access the Internet - infringes on their patent, thus filing the lawsuit on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas. Gottfurcht filed the lawsuit under the name of his business, EMG Technology LLC, a one-man company based in Los Angeles with an office in Tyler. This particular Texas court has become popular due to the number of patent cases it handles, seeing fourteen filings in November alone.
EMG patent provides exclusive rights to an "apparatus and method of manipulating a region on a wireless device screen for viewing, zooming, and scrolling internet content." The patent describes how the process takes place, taking an HTML web page and converting it into an XML format that is displayed and navigable through a simplified navigation interface on a "television, web appliance, console device, handheld device, wireless device or cellular phone." This would mean that EMG could actually go after any company that manufactures the listed devices.
However Gottfurcht’s lawyer, Stanley Gibson, a partner with the Los Angeles law firm Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro, says that his client has not considered filing suit with other mobile phone manufactures such as Research in motion (Blackberry) and HTC Group (Google’s G1). "We haven’t looked at anything other than the iPhone," Gibson told Reuters. "That was the device that we looked at. Obviously it’s very popular." Gibson recently lead a successful case against Medtronic that earned a whopping $570 million for his clients, and $1.35 billion for the doctor behind the violated IP.
For the moment, Apple has declined to comment on the lawsuit, however it’s not the first suit the company has faced in regards to its popular iPhone. One of the first suits filed against the company disputed the origins of the iPhone name, as Cisco’s VOIP communications device also donned the same title. LG electronics was next in line to attack Apple, claiming that the company stole the overall look and feel from LG’s Prada phone. Quantum Research also wanted a piece of the pie, accusing Apple of using the QR patented capacitive touch-sensing technology on the iPod click-wheel. Even an Alabama woman chimed in on the attack, taking her lawsuit to federal court, claiming that the iPhone 3G couldn’t reliably connect to AT&T, dropped calls and performed slower than Apple advertised.
We’ll keep you posted on the latest developments of this litigation.