Friday, May 13, 2011

Next smartphone patent suit: MyPort IP vs. HTC, LG, Nokia, RIM, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony

Earlier today I reported on patent threats that a company named Lodsys sent to various iOS app developers, but there's also an actual smartphone patent lawsuit that was filed today: Texas-based MyPort IP, Inc. filed a patent infringement suit with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against HTC, LG, Nokia, RIM, Samsng, Sharp, and Sony.

All defendants are accused of infringing U.S. Patent No. 7,778,440 on an "apparatus and method for embedding searchable information into a file for transmission, storage and retrieval" by capturing, geotagging and transmitting information on a cell phone as described and claimed in that patent.

Geotagging is a functionality that's already at issue in other smartphone patent suits including Tierravision's lawsuit against Google, Microsoft and RIM, Nokia's second ITC complaint against Apple (investigation no. 337-TA-771), and Skyhook's patent infringement suit against Google (which is also a response to Google's alleged bullying of Android device makers). While not smartphone-related, it's worth noting that GeoTag Inc. has already sued hundreds of companies over geotagging functionality.

The accused devices run different operating systems. Most of the accused HTC products are Android-based; so are the Galaxy S, one of the accused Samsung products, and the Xperia x8, one of the accused Sony devices. The accused products also include a few products based on Windows Mobile, which became obsolete when Microsoft introduced Windows Phone 7. The accusations are phrased in a way that other products than the ones specifically named are also included.

Even though this lawsuit is not Android-specific, it is in no small part Android-related. By my count, this takes the number of Android-related patent infringement suits filed since March 2010 to 42. Five of those were filed during the last six weeks, so there's no slowing down just yet...

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