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Apple Sued Over iPhone Web Browser

iPhone says: can't we all just get along?

According to a report from Reuters, Gottfurcht and his two co-inventors obtained a patent last month based on their technology that displays website content on small screens. The three men claim that Apple’s iPhone - because of its ability to access the Internet - infringes on their patent, thus filing the lawsuit on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas. Gottfurcht filed the lawsuit under the name of his business, EMG Technology LLC, a one-man company based in Los Angeles with an office in Tyler. This particular Texas court has become popular due to the number of patent cases it handles, seeing fourteen filings in November alone.

EMG patent provides exclusive rights to an "apparatus and method of manipulating a region on a wireless device screen for viewing, zooming, and scrolling internet content." The patent describes how the process takes place, taking an HTML web page and converting it into an XML format that is displayed and navigable through a simplified navigation interface on a "television, web appliance, console device, handheld device, wireless device or cellular phone." This would mean that EMG could actually go after any company that manufactures the listed devices.

However Gottfurcht’s lawyer, Stanley Gibson, a partner with the Los Angeles law firm Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro, says that his client has not considered filing suit with other mobile phone manufactures such as Research in motion (Blackberry) and HTC Group (Google’s G1). "We haven’t looked at anything other than the iPhone," Gibson told Reuters. "That was the device that we looked at. Obviously it’s very popular." Gibson recently lead a successful case against Medtronic that earned a whopping $570 million for his clients, and $1.35 billion for the doctor behind the violated IP.

For the moment, Apple has declined to comment on the lawsuit, however it’s not the first suit the company has faced in regards to its popular iPhone. One of the first suits filed against the company disputed the origins of the iPhone name, as Cisco’s VOIP communications device also donned the same title. LG electronics was next in line to attack Apple, claiming that the company stole the overall look and feel from LG’s Prada phone. Quantum Research also wanted a piece of the pie, accusing Apple of using the QR patented capacitive touch-sensing technology on the iPod click-wheel. Even an Alabama woman chimed in on the attack, taking her lawsuit to federal court, claiming that the iPhone 3G couldn’t reliably connect to AT&T, dropped calls and performed slower than Apple advertised.

We’ll keep you posted on the latest developments of this litigation.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • outlw6669
    Will someone fix this fracked up patent system already?
  • I'm going to break down and patent the biochemical process everyone uses to breathe... Such general and broad patents like this shouldn't exist. If someone wants to make a patent they should have an actual product/process utilizing the specific technique.
  • E7130
    This is stupid. So many of these patents are fuzzy and really poorly conseved, let along the person that made it has no real desire or knowledge to building what they are drawing. And this guy just had an idea, a poor general one at that. This is the real American dream, to make money off of others hard work.
  • antilycus
    Patent system is a complete joke. learn to DECLINE patents already...the problem is, the people that assign the patents don't know what they are patenting exactly. They just look at the drawing and pretend they get it.
  • zodiacfml
  • frozenlead
    Excuse me, but I just patented the English language. You all owe me $5 billion per spoken or written word.
    Thank you for your cooperation.
  • Niva
    When something like this happens and a patent is granted which clearly mimics already existing technology/methods it should be taken away. Based on this article it seems a case of someone trying to milk the system rather than a real infringement on new technology/research.
  • mtyermom
    Incredible. He gets a patent last month and then claims it is violated by a device that has been out over a year... wtf???
  • I've patented the process by which humans process carbon based refuse, and dispose of it through long, soft, compressible tubes that absorb nutrients through porous membranes. This process also encompasses the excretion by peristalsis of the said waste through a small opening that is controlled by muscles that allow the portal to open when waste comes out, and close again after the process is completed.

    Anyone want to bet they'll grant my patent?
  • Their patent, if concerning an already existent technology, should never have been granted. You can't patent something that already exists.

    They are just trying to milk the system, by taking advantage of the poor work of the US Office of Patent (the patent examiner is supposed to do a serious research for prior existence of the technology covered by the patent ; also the patent examiner is supposed to have a good knowledge of the patent domain).

    I guess the examiner was afraid of the sheer size of their patent and of the works necessary to decline it (76 claims where most patent have less than 5, etc.) so he decided to grant it. So yes i suppose Joeklein234234 can have his patent too.

    Even if their patent was granted, it will not hold in court if Apple can prove the technology existed before the patent was deposited (about 18 month ago at most).
    That was before the release of the Iphone I think, but basically you can browse the internet on small device since the Palm Pilot I think.
    I guess they are looking for an out-of-court settlement. This is lame bullying.