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Apple settles with a patent troll

And gets sued again
Fri Jul 30 2010, 13:48
Bite that Apple

MAKER OF SHINY TOYS Apple has settled in an out of court agreement with patent troll Minerva Industries.

Minerva Industries doesn't make any products of its own but exists solely to take patent licensing chunks of cash out of companies that do. It waits until the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants its patent applications then goes after firms that it thinks infringe them. In this instance Minerva targeted the fruit themed toymaker Apple.

This time it used U.S. Patent Number 7,321,783, filed back in 2008. The patent is for a mobile entertainment and communication device and it reads like a generic definition of smartphone specifications and features.

That the US patent office granted Minerva this patent is insanity in action and Apple isn't the only target. Just minutes after being granted patent 7,321,783, Minerva sued every manufacturer that makes anything that so much as vaguely resembles a smartphone.

The company filed a lawsuit against Apple, Nokia, RIM, Sprint, Motorola, AT&T, Sony Ericsson, HTC, Helio and Samsung. Given the number of defendants there is a huge bucket of cash at stake.

According to Law360, the case was dismissed with regards to Apple because the cappuccino company and Minerva filed a joint motion to settle and pay off the lawyers.

However, before Apple has even had a chance put its feet up, the company is being sued again. Now a company called Emblaze Group has said that Apple is infringing patents on its media streaming technology. The company made some threats against Microsoft and Apple in February this year but now it wants a bite. µ


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