Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) receives a mixed review when it comes to its practices and use of patents. That being said, Smartflash has now garnered the name of “patent trolls” as the company announced that it would be suing Apple for a second time, after the company had just won an award worth nearly $533 million. This time though, the lawsuit is focused on newer products that weren’t named in the original lawsuit – that Smartflash had originally been seeking more than $800 million for.
Smartflash is a patent licensor and there are a lot of companies out there that exist – to merely hold licenses and collect on them when companies like Apple, or Google use the pieces of technology in their product. The first lawsuit that the company brought to Apple succeeded and was over violation of select patents as it related to digital rights management and much more in the mobile payment space. Smartflash outright believes that Apple used their patented inventions in the iTunes Store as well as the App Store. Claims that Apple vehemently deny.
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The latest lawsuit is said to include devices and products that weren’t included in the first round of litigation. Some of the devices include the iPad Air 2, as well as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. One Smartflash lawyer said in a statement that “Smartflash filed the complaint to address products that came out too far into the last proceedings to have been included.” He concluded the statement by pointing out the strength of their argument due to the fact that “Apple cannot claim they don’t know about these patents or understand that they are infringing. A diligent jury has already rejected those arguments.”
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A sound argument for a company that seems to be seeking money and nothing more than that. Ultimately though, Smartflash has already sued Google and is in the process of suing Samsung as well – so this only goes to show the instability when it comes to these companies who hold these patents. At the end of the day, it matters who has them and who uses them. The companies that license them are in the business to make money, and if the companies are going to put themselves continually in these situations then they are going to find themselves being sued quite frequently – as Apple has found out. At this point though it’s far too early in the process to know for sure how this one will end. Some have contended that the fact that one case has already gone to a settlement won’t play in favor of Smartflash since they know would appear as if they’re simply trying to cause a stir with most tech companies who are producing smartphones or smart devices as a whole.