Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is being sued by a non-practicing company based in Texas, ‘Remote Locator,’ for patent infringement over features like ‘Find my Friend’ and ‘Find my iPhone’, according to a report from GigaOM. Remote Locator has asked for a Jury trial and damages along with an injunction and payment for past infringement.
The invention itself is US Patent 5548637, which covers a method for “locating personnel and objects in response to telephone inquiries,” through which calls to individuals or objects can be routed in large buildings, like a hospital, with the help of infrared transmitters.
Google sued along with Apple
Apart from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), other entities like Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and carriers have also been slapped with suits over this patent. Remote Locator filed a total of seven suits this week asking the court to ban Google, Apple and other phone companies from using their location services along with paying for damages.
Identity of the suing company unclear
As of now, it is unclear who actually owns the patent, or who is funding this lawsuit, which is believed to a multimillion dollar litigation campaign. An attorney from Remote Locator declined to discuss the investors of this shell company, and in the State of Texas company records it is mentioned that the LCC is not conducting any business activity other than litigation. This company was formed in August, according to the record.
Patent trolls on the rise in tech industry
In the recent times, Patent trolls have become usual in the technology industry. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) seems to be the soft target by sitting on billions in the cash pile. But there are enough cases where small firms, who often lack resources to meet up their requirements, are slapped with such lawsuits.
Obama’s administration on identifying the current nuisance of patent trolls has proposed some new guidelines that will come as a serious warning to the companies.
According to PatentFreedom, there has been a 1300 percent increase in patent cases between 2004 and 2013. Further, the site says that the increase in the number may be due to a 100 percent increase in the number of patents granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) during the same period. The site also revealed that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the number one target for “patent trolls“, with 171 cases in last five years.