Intelligent Smart Phone Concepts, a shell firm in California has filed an infringement suit against Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL) for $3m for allegedly ripping off a protected design that describes plugging headphones into a mobile phone.
The company in its legal action has claimed damages for the alleged infringement of its patent "Wireless mobile phone including a headset".
The patent was approved by the US Patent Office in 2008 with patent no 7,373,182 and awarded to Varia Mobil. The firm is related to Varia Holdings which has already sued Samsung and RIM for using emoticons. The patent describes a removable audio headset with an optional microphone that can be connected to a mobe:
A wireless mobile phone is provided with an input-output interface and an output interface. The input-output interface may be employed singularly to facilitate removable attachment of a telephony headset to the phone to receive at least telephony audio signals from the phone, and to provide audio signals to the phone.
Similarly, the output interface may be employed singularly to facilitate removable attachment of an audio output only headset to the phone to receive at least a selected one of telephony and non-telephony audio signals from the phone.
However, the input-output interface and the output interface may also be used jointly to facilitate removable attachment of a two-plug headset to the phone to receive at least a selected one of telephony and non-
telephony audio signals from the phone, and to provide audio signals to the phone.
IPSC in the law suit has claimed damages amounting to $3m which can be trebled by the jury & sales ban on any products which infringing the patented design.
Patent troll is commonly used by patent holding companies to part with reasonably small amounts of money in royalties or settlements from big firms so as to avoid the cost of a full-blown trial.