These patent lawsuits over the last few years have been ridiculous. It has been one low blow after the other and the only real casualties are competition and innovation. Perhaps the worst part of this whole scenario is the patent trolls who have climbed out of the wood work. Now, one of them is suing Apple.
For those who don’t know, patent trolls are companies that hold a patent but don’t produce a product that uses it. In this case, it’s Mobile Media Ideas. According to CNet, the patent involved is essentially a screen rotation patent as described below:
- No. 6,441,828 – This is essentially a screen rotation patent. The ability of a device’s user to rotate an image so that it shows a certain way so that it can be viewed properly if the display is rotated.
Apple tried to have the case thrown out. However, a judge in Delaware has determined that there is enough there for the case to be decided for a jury. Thus, Apple and Mobile Media Ideas will be squaring off in court soon.
What’s supremely interesting about this case is that Mobile Media Ideas is a company that is jointly owned by Nokia and Sony. It has over 300 of its own patents. However, most of those patents came from Nokia and Sony. As CNet so eloquently put it, the company acts as a patent buffer for the electronic giants.
Does Mobile Media Ideas have a chance against Apple?
Given the generally vague wording of pretty much everything in law, yes they do. Apple does have some tricks up their sleeve though. Apple is trying to get the patent invalidated due to prior art. Patent No 6,563,535 is another vaguely worded patent which deals with an image showing up correctly on a device no matter its orientation.
Apple has had a really bad time in court recently. In fact, they’ve been losing more than winning over the last few months. Those who saw the Samsung v Apple case as highway robbery may be getting a little chuckle out of Apple’s current misfortune. However, in the patent wars, everyone is a loser. Give us your take on the Delaware ruling.