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Monday, November 24, 2008, 12:00 pm PT (03:00 pm ET)

Apple sued over mobile Safari as email retention policy questioned

Apple is facing a new lawsuit over the iPhone's Safari web browser just as the company's lax policy on employee email retention is brought into question regarding a separate suit.

EMG Technology, LLC on Monday filed a formal complaint in the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler Division) accusing Apple of patent violation through "the way the iPhone navigates the Internet."

The suit comes a little more than a month after EMG was granted the rights to U.S. patent No. 7,441,196 titled "Apparatus and method of manipulating a region on a wireless device screen for viewing, zooming and scrolling internet content."

Los Angeles-based real estate developer Elliot Gottfurcht is listed as one of the patent's investors. As the lone managing member of EMG, he's retained the services of JMBM's Stanley Gibson, one of the lead trial attorneys who won a $1.35 billion payment in the patent infringement case against medical technology firm Medtronic.

A copy of EMG's suit was not available as of press time, though Gibson claims the patent in question covers "the display of Internet content reformatted from HTML to XML on mobile devices — the industry standard currently displayed by the iPhone."

Additional patent claims in the suit, which seeks unspecified damages, include technology for manipulating a region of the screen for zooming and scrolling, Gibson said.

Meanwhile, the Standard is taking Apple to task for its employee email retention policy, or lack thereof. The publication reports that a recent filing in the Psystar vs Apple antitrust case reveals that Apple employees are responsible for maintaining their own documents such as emails, memos, and voicemails.

"In other words, there is no company-wide policy for archiving, saving, or deleting these documents," the Standard said. "This could pose a problem in the event of a lawsuit. In recent years, companies have been fined millions after failing to retrieve old emails and other files required as evidence."

The report goes on to cite an e-discovery lawyer who says Apple's lack of "organization or coordination" in regards to its employee email retention policy essentially makes it "incapable of compliance" with legal requirements surrounding document retention.