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Apple has settled out-of-court with a company called E-Watch, which claimed that Cupertino infringed on two of its patents.
In a three-page joint motion, both companies told the court that they had reached a settlement regarding E-Watch’s claim that Apple infringed on its U.S. patents related to cell phone cameras and the handling of digital images, Law360 reported. The terms of the settlement aren’t currently known.
In 2013, the San Antonio-based E-Watch launched a volley of identical complaints against various tech giants and electronics manufacturers — including Apple, Sony, Sharp, Nokia, BlackBerry and Kyocera. All in all, E-Watch filed complaints against about a dozen companies. The company’s two patents cover “capturing, converting and transmitting a visual image signal via a digital transmission system.”
E-Watch alleged that Apple — and other manufacturers — was infringing on its patents via smartphones and other devices, such as the iPhone 4s. Apple isn’t the first company to settle with E-Watch, only the latest. In August 2015, Sony settled a similar case with the Texas firm.
E-Watch is a software development company that’s apparently focused on the traffic management, security and surveillance, and commercial transportation markets. Its two patents — 7,365,871 and 7,643,168 — were filed for in 2003 and 2006, respectively, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Looking at past lawsuits, Cupertino usually tries to avoid increasing the royalties on its products, so it’s likely that the E-Watch settlement involved a one-time payment, AppleInsider points out.
Case in point, Apple is currently in the midst of another lawsuit against San Diego-based Qualcomm, which is the primary chip supplier for Cupertino. In that case, Apple argued that around $1 billion in royalty rebates was being withheld because it had cooperated with regulators in investigations of Qualcomm’s alleged anticompetitive practices, Forbes reported.