Lawsuit targets Apple over patented software licensing restrictions

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A new lawsuit accuses Apple's iOS mobile operating system of infringing on a patent related to restricting the operation of software through licensing.

The complaint from Ancora Technologies was filed in a U.S. District Court in the Central District of California. The company, based in Sherman Oaks, Calif., claims ownership of U.S. Patent No 6,411,941, entitled "Method of Restricting Software Operation Within a License Limitation."

The invention awarded on June 25, 2002, notes that illegal copying of software costs billions of dollars in lost profits. Ancora's solution is to restrict software operation with a license limitation.

Apple is accused of violating the '941 patent with devices that run the iOS operating system, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch — all of which are specifically named in the complaint. Ancora is arguing that it has suffered damages as a result of Apple's alleged infringement of the patent.

"Apple had knowledge of the '941 patent at least as early as December 11, 2002 and has not fulfilled its duty of care," the complaint reads. "Thus, Apple's infringement is willful, wanton, and deliberate."

Ancora has asked the court to prevent Apple from further alleged infringement of the '941 patent with its products and services. The company also seeks damages three times more than the federal government's recommended patent infringement damages law.

The '941 patent was first applied for in 1998 by Beeble, Inc., of Newport Beach, Calif. The credited inventors are Miki Mullor and Julian Valiko.