Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Affinity Lab sues Apple et al. - Not for the first time !

July 26, 2011: Lawyers at Apple are going to be busier than usual. Affinity Lab, a Texas limited liability company has sued Apple and AAMP of Florida for two counts of patent infringements in the patent-infringement friendly Texas Eastern District Court. The patents-in-suit are US7634228 (the ‘228 patent) and US7778595 (the ‘595 patent) and are related to digital content storage and content delivery system. According to Affinity Lab’s website, the information provided on the website reveals that Affinity Lab is an innovation company that is involved in generating new products and business ideas. Affinity Lab is also involved in promoting and fostering the innovation skill of others.

This is not the first instance where Affinity Lab has sued Apple. In an earlier patent lawsuit filed in 2009, Affinity Lab had sought an injunction against Apple, basing their allegation on three patents that Apple’s products such as iPod and iPhone were infringing. Apple was also named as a defendant in addition to Nike in a lawsuit filed in California Northern District Court by Affinity Lab in December 2009.

In addition to Apple which manufactures, distributes, and markets iPod and iPhone, the lawsuit filed on July 26, 2011 also states AAMP as a defendant. AAMP is involved in developing, marketing, and distributing products for integrating portable digital devices into a car audio system under the iSimple brand, which according to Affinity Lab, infringe the ‘228 patent and the ‘595 patent.

Further details about the ‘228 and the ‘595 patent:

The ‘228 patent is a continuation application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/537,812 (Now US7187947) and was issued on December 15, 2009. The first independent claim of the’228 patent is reproduced below from the USPTO website:

A media managing method comprising: storing a media file in a memory system of a portable hand-held device that is not a conventional personal computer or a laptop computer, wherein the portable hand-held device further has a display and a processor; storing a collection of information about the media file in the memory system, wherein the collection includes data representing a name for the media file; communicating at least some of the collection from the portable hand-held device to a different electronic device in order to allow a user to view a soft button comprising the name on an associated display of the different electronic device; and thereafter receiving a signal in the portable hand-held device to begin playing the media file by the portable hand-held device in response to a selection of the soft button at the different electronic device; and outputting a played version of the media file across a physical interface of the portable hand-held device while the media file remains stored on the portable hand-held device, wherein the physical interface is configured to facilitate a communicative coupling of the portable hand-held device and the different electronic device, further wherein the physical interface is not circular and has a width dimension and a length dimension that is longer than the width dimension.”

The ’595 patent was issued on August 17, 2010 and is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/947,755 (Now US7324833), which in turn is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/537,812 (Now  US7187947). The first independent claim of the ‘595 patent has been reproduced below from the USPTO website:

An audio system comprising: a portable device having a single physical interface configured to releasably engage a contacting portion of an interconnection system to form at least a portion of a communication path between the portable device and a separate electronic device, wherein the physical interface has a generally rectangular shape and is configured to couple a first conductive element of the interconnection system with a component of the portable device that outputs data and couple a second conductive element of the interconnection system with a recharging circuit of the portable device, wherein the portable device is configured to accept an over the air download of an application that allows the portable device to request an audio stream representing a local broadcast signal for a channel located remote from a then current location of the portable device; the portable device having a wireless communication module operable to receive an incoming telephone call and the audio stream; and the portable device having an audio output engine configured to output information representing a played audio file to the separate electronic device via the physical interface and to alter an outputting of the played audio file in connection with a receipt of the incoming telephone call and configured to output the audio stream.
Apple needs to act quick on this one as Apple and Nike's motion to stay was denied by the judge citing delay in requesting inter partes re-examination and filing their stay motion in previous patent lawsuit

Image Source: Freepatentsonline.com

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