Another day, another lawsuit — and so goes the story that appears to be the new normal up at 1 Infinite Loop, right? Of course, just as we’ve seen plenty of times before, Apple is quite often the target of potentially destructive lawsuits filed by non-practicing, patent-only entities that are merely hoping to cash in on the Cupertino-company’s lucrative business flow.
And, ironically enough, so appears to be the case in this latest instance of litigation out of Silicon Valley, too. Filed on Tuesday morning — in the same, Eastern Texas District Court that’s become somewhat of a breeding ground for patent litigation in recent years, this latest case is related in some way to Apple’s alleged infringement of a 2010 patent belonging to a company known as Somalthus LLC.
As MacRumors originally reported, Somalthus is going after Apple in regards to the firm’s 2010 “fast charging” technology patent that Apple allegedly employed in its 2015 flagships — the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. The feature in question, which is primarily meant to foster battery longevity, is said to automatically switch the iPhone 6s’s battery charging method to a “rapid trickle” whenever its capacity drops below 80% — and is subsequently plugged into a power source.
According to attorneys representing Somalthus in the case, that same technology allegedly violates at least a portion of its U.S. Patent No. 7,657,386 — which is related to a similar “fast charging” protocol.
As compensation for the alleged infringement, Somalthus is asking the court for either unspecified damages, or ongoing royalty payments in accordance with iPhone sales.
Ironically enough, Apple isn’t the only tech-giant that’s been served litigation in accordance with Somalthus’ “fast charging” patent. The epic patent troll has also filed separate suits against Samsung, ASUS, Lenovo, Sony, Toshiba, and others, according to AppleInsider.
Unfortunately for Apple, however, it appears that Somalthus has already been settling out of court with other big-brand companies — such as auto-makers Ford and Nissan, among others — in relation to their infringement on other clauses of the same patent. And even though Somalthus is, like many other company’s who pursue legal action against Apple, a non-practicing entity, Apple could still ultimately be liable for a considerable compensation package — even if just in light of Somalthus’ success thus far.
And, of course, it would probably be a lot cheaper for Apple to settle out of court — rather than try to fight the case and ultimately end up paying out a small ransom.
What do you think about this recent “fast charging” patent litigation? Let us know in the comments!