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Apple TV Remote app target of latest Uniloc patent lawsuit

Continuing its withering legal barrage against Apple, so-called "patent troll" Uniloc on Wednesday filed a patent lawsuit claiming the Cupertino tech giant's Apple TV Remote app for iOS infringes on IP dating back to 1999.




Lodged with the patent holder friendly U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Uniloc's favorite venue for attacks against Apple, the suit alleges Apple's software is in infringement of a single patent reassigned by 3Com.

Filed for in 1999 and granted in 2001, U.S. Patent No. 6,216,158 for "System and method using a palm sized computer to control network devices" details a technique of remotely controlling internet-connected hardware from a handheld device.

Uniloc in its suit argues Apple infringes on multiple claims of the property by employing similar remote control methods with its Apple TV Remote app for iOS. Available for download through the App Store, Apple TV Remote provides users quick access to core Apple TV functions like media playback, user interface navigation and power control.

The latest version of the software launched in 2016 as an accompaniment to the fourth-generation Apple TV. Still offered today, the Apple TV Remote's GUI mimics the physical Siri Remote, complete with touchpad and dedicated soft buttons for play/pause, Siri and the recently added "TV" app.

Today's legal action is the latest in a string of Uniloc complaints against Apple technology and hardware. The non-practicing entity first filed against Apple in 2016, claiming Messages infringes on four owned patents. More recently, however, Uniloc has accelerated its filing rate to about one every two to three weeks.

Last month, the patent troll leveled two suits alleging Apple is in infringement of three separate patents with its AirPlay and Continuity features. Connected to today's lawsuit, the AirPlay litigation also names the Apple TV Remote app as infringing software.

In June, Uniloc lodged three suits alleging infringement of motion monitoring IP developed by tech inventor Philippe Kahn. Before that, the firm hit Apple with a lawsuit alleging infringement of three patents developed by HP and 3Com, while a suit in April leveraged another trio of patents.

Uniloc is one of the most prolific patent trolls in the U.S., and wields reassigned patents or vaguely worded original IP to sue high-profile tech firms in hopes of reaching an out of court settlement. Prior to Apple, the NPE's targets included Activision Blizzard, Aspyr, Electronic Arts, McAfee, Microsoft, Rackspace, Sega, Sony, Symantec and more.

Uniloc in today's filing seeks unspecified damages, reimbursement of legal fees and other relief deemed fit by the court.