Apple’s iCloud Accused Of Patent Infringement

Max ‘Beast from the East’ Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope.

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Innovative Automation also sues Amazon and Spotify

Apple is being sued by Silicon Valley neighbour Innovative Automation (IA), a company specialising in industrial system integration, over the patents used in its iCloud service.

On Friday, IA accused Apple of “wilfully” infringing two software patents, filed way back in 2000 and granted in 2007.

On the same day, it had filed another lawsuit, claiming Amazon’s Kindle and the tech giant’s related cloud services infringed on the same two patents, and later added cloud music service Spotify to the list of alleged wrongdoers.

iCloud patents

IA was founded in 1989 and is based in San Jose,California. The company provides system integration solutions to customers in Canada, US, Mexico and the UK.

One of the machines made by            Innovative Automation

According to Patently Apple, IA filed a lawsuit against the iPhone manufacturer in the US District Court for Eastern Texas, claiming the iCloud service infringes patent 7,174,362, called “Method and System for Supplying Products from Pre-Stored Digital Data in Response to Demands Transmitted via Computer Network”, and patent 7,392,283, which shares the same name as the first one.

In its filing, IA claims that Apple “infringed and continues to infringe” its intellectual property by “making, using, offering to sell, selling, and/or importing into the United States the patented invention.”

“As a result of Defendant’s infringing activities with respect to [both] patent[s], Plaintiff has suffered damages in an amount not yet ascertained,” continues the filing. And now, IA is set on recovering those “damages”. The company has also called the infringement “wilful and deliberate”, which means more compensation if it wins the case.

After Apple’s recent patent infringement settlement with HTC, many analysts have suggested the company is changing its approach to litigation.

However, patent expert Florian Mueller has warned that a soft stance on patents would cost Apple’s shareholders hundreds of billions of dollars. “The only entrance barrier that can make Apple’s financials sustainable is intellectual property protection,” wrote Mueller on his blog.

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