Patent news: Apple sues SoftBank-owned investment group and publishes SEP licensing statement, GM and other big-name automakers sued for patent infringement, and more top stories.
The patent news IP professionals are talking about now, curated by InQuartik’s editors. Join the conversation about today’s stories in the comments.
Apple has joined Intel in a second antitrust lawsuit against SoftBank-owned Fortress Investment Group. Following on from the first case filed in October — now withdrawn — the complaint states that a group of firms connected to Fortress have been stockpiling patents in order to hold up technology companies with lawsuits demanding as much as $5.1 billion. Up until now, Apple has been targeted in at least 25 lawsuits, mainly from Fortress-connected firms Uniloc USA and Uniloc Luxembourg. • Read the full story.
A Texas company has sued car manufacturers General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Maserati North America over device integration patents. The technology covered — which allows drivers to connect their smartphones to the car system to take hands-free calls and listen to music — is allegedly featured in several of the car models produced by the defendants. This is the fifteenth lawsuit against the world’s largest automakers that the Texas company has filed in four years. • Read the full story.
Google has successfully invalidated AGIS Software Development’s messaging patent. The patent was challenged by Google in May 2018 after several of its partners were accused of infringing it, and after the Mountain View company was sued itself this month. Previously, other big-name tech companies such as Apple and HTC challenged the patent but failed. This time, the PTAB ruled that all the eight claims were invalid because of obviousness in light of two pieces of prior art. • Read the full story.
Apple has published a statement on SEP licensing. The document, published in the Intellectual Property section of Apple’s website, states the core principles that the Cupertino company follows in SEPs licensing, both as a licensee and licensor. This shift — Apple doesn’t usually go public about its IP position — might well be due to the recent deal with Intel, thanks to which the iPhone giant’s wireless portfolio will reach more than 17,000 patents by the end of the year. • Read Apple’s statement here.
Cisco sued three of its former employees for trade secrets theft. According to the complaint, the trio — who left the company earlier this year to join the Santa Cruz-based competitor Poly — is accused of downloading thousands of confidential documents and utilizing market strategies that they had developed at Cisco. The company’s spokeswoman stated: “Our goal is to protect our significant research and development investments and valuable intellectual property.” The three are also accused of destroying evidence of the theft. • Read the full story.
Ubisoft has followed up on this August’s Rocksmith patent suit. At the time, the French video game company sued the makers of the music tutorial service Yousician for infringing US patent 9,839,852; the judge dismissed the case with prejudice, affirming that the patent was “an abstract idea” which lacked “an inventive concept”, eventually invalidating it. This week, Ubisoft told the Federal Circuit that the claims had been “overgeneralized”, and that the technology covered goes well beyond the basic idea of teaching music. • Read the full story.
The California-based startup Olaplex has obtained a victory in its case against L’Oréal. On November 18, the English Court of Appeal ruled that the startup’s patent is valid, after the French cosmetics giant appealed against it. The trial, which has been going on for over three years, revolves around a product used to protect hair during bleaching, which Olaplex affirms has been copied by L’Oréal. The latter already appealed a US District Court decision that agreed with the infringement and trade secret misappropriation claims. • Read the full story.