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Lawsuit claims iPhone and other Apple devices infringe on wireless patents

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsiderCredit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Apple has been hit with a lawsuit alleging that virtually all of its products that support Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity infringe on a set of wireless communication patents.

The complaint, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, claims that Apple products — like iPhones and iPads — infringe on specific claims in 13 different patents owned by non-practicing entity Smart Mobile, LLC.

Virtually all of the patents share a common specification, and several of them are continuations-in-part of a patent application filed in 1999.

The patents deal with wireless communications systems and devices that have voice and data communications capabilities, devices with the ability to switch dynamically between wireless networks, and devices that can connect to a server to enhance their functionality.

It goes on to target Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, specifically naming products from the iPhone 5S to the latest iPad Pro models.

The complaint also calls out certain Apple wireless technology features like multi-path TCP (MPTCP) and MIMO. The first technology allows a device to support the use of cellular and Wi-Fi networks simultaneously, while the latter uses a multi-antenna system to enhance wireless connection.

The lawsuit claims that Apple has had knowledge of at least eight of the patents, as well as several patent applications filed by Smart Mobile, since the latter half of 2015. At the time, the company attempted to sell off its IP stash through patent middleman Global Technology Transfer Group, which contacted Apple about a potential sale.

In the complaint, the plaintiff demands a jury trial. It also seeks damages, a permanent injunction barring Apple from manufacturing or selling the alleged infringing products, and other prayers for relief.

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