Apple is facing a new lawsuit for alleged patent infringement, this time involving FaceTime. The video call system of the Apple is the protagonist of a lawsuit filed by Uniloc, a company known in the courts for being a “patent troll”, that is, owner of several patents that tries to file lawsuits against other companies.
Filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Uniloc’s latest attempt at Apple’s cash claims FaceTime’s backend systems rely on technology that infringes on a patent covering intelligent-client features in IP telephony networks. A report from the Apple Insider website states that the patent in question concerns only two devices that communicate over a packet-based network. It was originally requested by 3Com, then in 2010, was passed on to HP and finally in 2011, it was owned by Hewlett Packard Development. Only in 2017 did Uniloc become the owner of the registry.
Uniloc in its suit asserts Apple’s FaceTime relies on the same basic communications structure outlined in the ‘552 patent. Specifically, FaceTime servers communicate with FaceTime-enabled devices over packet-based networks like Wi-Fi or 3G and LTE cellular. The devices then register an address, like an Apple ID or phone number, with said servers for later identification. The suit cites iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad Mini, the fourth-generation iPod Touch and later, and MacBooks “running OS X and later” as utilizing infringing FaceTime technologies.
Uniloc seeks unspecified damages, reimbursement of legal fees and other relief deemed fit by the court. The company is one of the most active patent trolls in the U.S., leveraging reassigned patents or vaguely worded original IP against a number of tech firms including Activision Blizzard, Aspyr, Electronic Arts, McAfee, Microsoft, Rackspace, Sega, Sony, Symantec and more.