InformationWeek reports that a third-party MacBook power adapter manufacturer is being sued by Apple for allegedly violating one of its patent designs.
On Monday, Apple filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Media Solutions Holdings in federal district court in California. Apple says that the company is using various different websites and business entities to sell what they describe as a ‘knock-off’ MacBook power adapter. “Through various Web sites and otherwise,” Apple says in the suit, “…the Defendants market these knock-off power adapters for use with Apple portable computers, such as the MacBook.”
The websites include laptopsforless.com, laptopacadapter.com and ereplacements.com. Apple says these sites sell “various consumer electronic accessories at retail,” and the naughty power adapter is amongst the products they sell.
The other named defendents also include companies eReplacements and Laptops For Less.
Apple also adds in the claim that, “The Defendants’ infringing conduct has damaged Apple and inflicted irreparable harm.” They don’t elaborate on the monetary value of that “harm” but they do seek an injunction against the defendants that stops them selling their knock-off adapters. For now, the offending power adapters have been removed from sale from the websites listed in the suit (but although they can no longer be ordered, they are still listed on those sites).
The suit includes line-drawing illustrations comparing designs from Apple’s power adapter patent with photographs of the power adapter sold by the defendants. The patent was awarded to Apple by the United States Patents and Trademarks Office over six years ago, in August 2003.
InformationWeek notes that Apple is not accustomed to being the Plaintiff in patent disputes; of the 15 patent lawsuits filed during the second half of this year, Apple has been the defendant in every case but this one. At an average litigation cost of $4.5 million (through trial), that’s a tremendous expense created — for the most part — by what InformationWeek calls “non-practicing entities” but what the rest of us call Patent Trolls.