More legal trouble for Apple with WiLAN patent claim


It seems Apple can’t even go a full week without being targeted with a new patent violation claim. Friday, patent-holding firm WiLAN, which does little beyond seek licensing fees for its 800 wireless tech patents, announced that it had begun the process of litigation against Apple, as well as Dell, HP and others, for infringing on two of its patents related to CDMA, HSPA, Wi-Fi and LTE technologies.

WiLAN filed its claim with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, which is generally a go-to court for patent claims because it has a track record of favoring plaintiffs, with 88 percent of rulings siding with those laying claims, vs. a nationwide average of only 68 percent. WiLAN, an Ottawa, Ontario-based company will employ the services of McKool Smith, one of the best U.S. intellectual property law firms, and one with ample experience arguing cases in East Texas.

WiLAN has a history of pursuing claims against Apple, including in a suit related to Wi-Fi tech in 2007, and in a 2010 case over Bluetooth. Some companies have settled with WiLAN in these cases, Intel among them, but otherwise, they remain ongoing. Most recently, it was in the news for its ongoing attempts to acquire another patent-holding firm, MOSAID, through a hostile takeover bid. MOSAID has recently added more than 2,000 patents to its portfolio in a deal with Nokia.

Typically, companies like WiLAN just want to extract licensing fees from the companies involved in the suit, so you seldom see an actual verdict in these cases. You can see why, in the face of constant attacks from companies like WiLAN, Openwave and Lodsys that Apple and others would want to build deep patent portfolios. There’s also the motive of being able to hamstring your closest competitors through patent litigation, of course.

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