Minerva Wins Media Phone Patent, Sues Everyone
It’s time for our next installment of Who’s Sueing Apple Today. Today’s contestant is Minerva Industries, Inc., a small Californian company that was apparently granted patent No. 719,363 for a “mobile entertainment and communication device”.
The complaint alleges that that representatives informed Apple of their application in November, but Apple “waited until approximately one week before the patent was to issue before sending prior art” in an attempt to trump the patent.
Despite Apple’s filings, the patent office ruled in Minerva’s favor, stating that their claims were patentable despite Apple’s prior art and all other art that had been submitted to the office.
“On information and belief, Apple monitored the progress of [Minerva's Application during the continued reexamination, and became aware on or about November 20, 2007 that the Patent Office rejected its contention that the Apple Prior Art rendered the claims of [Minerva's] Application invalid and had issued a notice of allowance,” Minerva’s attorneys at Russ August & Kabat wrote in the suit.
“As a result of these Defendantsâ€™ infringement of the â€˜783 Patent, Minerva has suffered monetary damages in an amount not yet determined, and will continue to suffer damages in the future unless Defendantsâ€™ infringing activities are enjoined by this Court.”
Minerva is seeking a permanent injunction of Apple (as well as AtlanticRT) from further infringement, an award of enhanced damages due to their “deliberate and willful” conduct. For those of you unfamiliar with the termonology, a permanent injunction would essentially mean “no more iPhones”.
Excuese me, but does this sound absolutely insane to anyone else? From the patent description, it sounds a lot like the Patent Office awarded Minerva a patent for the concept of a smartphone that can connect to the internet, take pictures, and place calls. In fact, it sounds a lot like a whole lot of the phones out there. That might have something to do with Minerva’s next two suits; one targeting RIM and Cricket Communications, and the other against 29 defendants, including AT&T Mobility, LG, Palm, Motorola, Nokia, Alltel, Dobson Cellular, Helio, HP, MetroPCS Wireless, Sprint Spectrum, Nextel, T-Mobile USA, Tracfone Wireless, Cellco Partnership, Virgin Mobile, HTC, Kyocera Wireless, Pantech Wireless, Sanyo, Sony Ericsson, and Samsung.
Is there anyone that isn’t getting sued?