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Protection of intellectual property at center of Apple litigation

Computer and electronic device manufacturers in Denver, Colorado, and elsewhere are keeping an eye on a federal courthouse on the West Coast. The courthouse is the site of a patent infringement claim by a Colorado company against Apple that could have far-reaching international business law implications. The focus of the litigation is the technology behind Apple's Siri feature on its iPhone and other devices. The lawsuit includes claims against manufacturers of products that employ the Siri and Google Voice Search features.

Apple had asked the federal court to dismiss patent infringement claims brought against it by a Colorado company that owns a 1998 patent on a method of controlling computers and digital devices through voice input. In ruling against the iPhone producer's motion to dismiss, the judge did not rule on the merits of the case. The decision allows the Colorado company to move forward with the litigation based upon the judge determining that the allegations might establish a claim for patent infringement if proven at a trial.

One of the claims alleges indirect infringement because Apple encouraged companies it did business with to use features created with the technology from the patent. The case originally named Motorola, Google, Samsung, Sony and other major manufacturers of computers and electronic devices as defendants against whom the owner of the patent was seeking damages based, in part, upon the indirect infringement claim. Apple succeeded in having the case against it severed from the other defendants, so the recent motion to dismiss the complaint and the decision by the court only affect the claims against Apple.

Intellectual property litigation involves complex law issues that might raise concerns or questions for an individual or business. An attorney might be a resource for answers and guidance.

Source: Courthouse News, "Patents Behind Siri Could Leave Apple Liable", Courtney Walters, January 08, 2014

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