Another day, another lawsuit for the crew out at Apple (News - Alert), who today is facing legal trouble in California’s Northern District Court in San Francisco from a small Pennsylvania company over patent infringement, this time on Apple’s touch screen control systems.
FlatWorld, the company in question, is suing over the alleged infringement of Patent RE43,318, a patent which revolves around “a testing tool with a touch screen programmed to allow children to directly manipulate or move objects on the screen and then ‘hide’ them behind other objects.”
FlatWorld in turn has listed pretty much all of Apple’s recent developments over the last several years, including the iOS suite of devices--the iPod (including the sixth-generation version of the iPod Nano), the iPad, and the iPhone (News - Alert)--as well as the combination of the Magic Mouse and any Mac running OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.1 and the combination of the Magic Trackpad and any Mac running OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.4.
That’s a laundry list of devices, and the little Pennsylvania company will likely be hard pressed to take on Apple’s massive array of lawyers with such a claim. It seems like a rather ambitious claim, though just how far FlatWorld’s prepared to go with this is unclear. They’re seeking, at last report, a jury trial, along with a permanent injunction against Apple and an unspecified amount in damages in light of “irreparable harm” done to the company. Considering that FlatWorld’s primary market was in museum display touch screens, it’s debatable just how “irreparable” that harm actually was.
An initial case management conference is set for August 9, 2012, which will give both parties a chance to bring out the issues in the litigation with an eye toward possibly making a settlement. Apple, of course, wasn’t commenting on this newest round of pending litigation, but a settlement may well come out of such an event.
Still though, it will be one to watch, considering just how many lawsuits Apple is already engaged in around the globe. Hopefully a mutually beneficial solution can be reached with minimal disruption to those customers who already enjoy Apple products.
Edited by Jennifer Russell