Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sony and Nokia (NOK)-held NPE lawsuit against Apple (AAPL) continues

Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL)’s attempts to set aside a lawsuit brought by MobileMediaideas over a patent violation related to screen rotation technology has been refused by a U.S. district court judge.

Delaware district court judge Sue Robinson said that the question of whether Apple's iOS devices infringed on MobileMediaIdeas' patents was suitable for determination by a jury.

MobileMediaIdeas is a patent troll and is jointly owned by Sony Corporation (ADR)(NYSE:SNE), Nokia Corporation (ADR)(NYSE:NOK) and licensing group MPEG LA. The company has no products of its own but holds more than 300 patents which have been acquired from Sony Corp and Nokia.

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The existence of the company protects the two manufacturers from defensive countersuits from targets of suits brought by the company.

The history of the screen rotation patent is interesting. Originally it was granted to Sony in 1999. However Apple has raised an objection to that.

According to the iPhone maker, the Sony patent is invalid because of prior art addressing device rotation sensing by potentiometer or sensor, rather than by a button which is what is specified in Sony's patent being asserted.

Judge Robinson has held that Apple has not been able to demonstrate the obviousness of the asserted patent, and the matter will have to be heard at a trial.

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