The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on Tuesday announced that it is now probing into the allegations made by Aqua Connect over Apple infringing on some of its patents. In October, both Aqua Connect and its subsidiary Strategic Technology filed a patent lawsuit against the iPhone maker with the ITC and the District Court for the Central District of California.
What is the case about?
In the lawsuit, Aqua Connect states that Apple “worked closely” with the company on development and sales before abruptly ending the partnership without any explanation back in 2011. Just a few months later, the Cupertino, California-based company launched its Lion operating system with a built-in screen-sharing tool, which Aqua Connect claims is based on its intellectual property, according to Mashable.
Two patents under the probe are the U.S. Patent RE46,386, “Updating a User Session in a Mach-derived Computer System Environment” and the U.S. Patent 8,924,502, “System, Method and Computer Program Product for Updating a User Session in a Mach-derived System Environment.”
The products at issue are some Mac computers, iPods, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs. The ITC stated that they would try to complete the investigation within 45 days.
Not the first patent lawsuit this year
Just last week, Israeli tech firm Corephotonics, which is into dual-lens camera technologies for smartphones, filed a lawsuit against Apple accusing it of using its patented technology in the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus, according to MacRumors.
Corephotonics claimed that it approached Apple “as one of its first acts as a company” to establish a strategic partnership. Both the companies indulged in the discussion for some time, but it never lead to a license agreement for the Corephotonics dual lens technology.
“Apple’s lead negotiator expressed contempt for Corephotonics’ patents, telling Dr. Mendlovic (Corephotonics’ founder) and others that even if Apple infringed, it would take years and millions of dollars in litigation before Apple might have to pay something,” Corephotonics said in its lawsuit.
Last month, another patent lawsuit involving Apple was in the news. VirnetX, who won a retrial against Apple last year, stated that the total final judgment amount would be $439.7 million, around $140 million higher than previously disclosed. The sum constitutes the jury verdict of $302.4 million in addition to willful infringement of $41.3 million, interest cost and attorney fees of $96 million.
It is not that Apple loses all the time. The iPhone maker registered a big win against Samsung, when last week, the court ordered the Korean firm to pay for using Apple’s “Slide to Unlock” and other features. “One of Apple’s patents at issue, in this case, has been invalidated by courts around the world, and yet today’s decision allows Apple to unjustly profit from this patent, stunts innovation and places competition in the courtroom rather than the marketplace,” Samsung said in a statement.
Amid all the lawsuits and controversies, the sales of the iPhone X are encouraging. In a note, obtained by 9to5Mac, KGI securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo estimates that the iPhone X production will be somewhere between 25 million and 27 million units during the fourth-quarter, while the actual sales number would be between 22 million and 24 million.