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Apple sued over microprocessor patents; Mass. to investigate iTunes fraud

Apple has been hit with a new patent infringement suit accusing it of infringing three patents related to microprocessors. Also, the attorney general of Massachusetts has said that her office will look into complaints about fraudulent purchases on Apple's iTunes Store.

Via Technologies sues Apple

Apple is accused of violating microprocessor technology patents owned by Via Technologies in a lawsuit filed this week, according to Bloomberg. The suit, issued in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, seeks to prohibit Apple from selling what it believes are offending products: the iPhone and iPad.

Via Technologies is a semiconductor company based out of Taipei, Taiwan. It seeks a jury trial.

"The products at issue generally concern microprocessors in a variety of electronic products such as certain smartphones, tablet computers, portable media players and other computing devices," the complaint reportedly reads.

Apple began designing and using its own custom processor last year with the introduction of the ARM-based A4 CPU in the first-generation iPad, and later in the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch. This year, Apple released a successor, the A5, which is found in the iPad 2, and is expected to power Apple's fifth-generation iPhone.

Massachusetts attorney general to investigate iTunes scams

Martha Coakley, attorney general of Massachusetts, was recently the victim of identity theft, as her stolen credit card was used to make unauthorized purchases on Apple's iTunes Store. That helped convince her to look into the issue, according to Threat Post.

Coakley revealed her own plight this week in statements made at an address to the Massachusetts Advanced Cyber Security Center. She said her office will be looking into the issue and "demanding answers" from Apple, which has not commented on the issue.

The attorney general said the fraudulent use of her credit card was detected when the purported thieves attempted to purchase a computer from Dell. However, "a slew" of fraudulent transactions allegedly went through Apple's iTunes Store without issue.

While Coakley's specific situation is related to identity theft, fraud on iTunes has been a persistent issue over the years, as iTunes accounts have credit card information tied to them. While there is no evidence that Apple's servers have been compromised, users do fall victim by having weak passwords, allowing outsiders to hijack their account.

Attention on the issue prompted Apple to bolster security for Apple ID accounts, requiring that customers verify their account information when they log into new devices. In addition, requirements for new iTunes account passwords were changed, and must now be at least 8 characters with mixed capitalization.