This morning we ran a story about Apple’s victory in a patent lawsuit against Motorola. In that story I pointed out that one chapter in Apple’s ongoing patent battles appeared to be finished. Well, now it seems that Apple’s patent suits are doing a fair impression of a hydra: cut one head off, and two more take its place.
Apple has filed another suit in Germany against Samsung today, citing infringement of a patent relating to list-scrolling and display manipulation behaviors on a touchscreen display. This suit was filed as an extension to a prior complaint. The older complaint centered on a similar patent relating to scrolling within a photo gallery.
At the same time, a Swiss company called SmartData has filed suit against Apple for patent infringement. SmartData claims that the AppleTV, Remote app, and iPhone all infringe on SmartData’s lone patent, which “concerns a pocked-size computer comprising a central unit, an input device, a communication interface with a remove network and display and/or sound reproduction means.” According to SmartData’s website (whence comes the description I just quoted) the patent is for a product of theirs called Zukero. Interestingly, the website contains no option to purchase Zukero, nor any more details than a description lifted from the patent abstract and an animation purporting to show Zukero in action.
The “news” section of SmartData’s website consists of six items. The most recent item, dated May 5, 2008, says that “Smartdata is looking to license Zukero (modular computer) patent rights” and offers would-be licensees an email link. Otherwise, SmartData’s website is virtually barren.
All in all, SmartData smells like a troll. Their complaint, which was filed in U.S. Federal court in San Jose, accuses Apple of willful infringement on SmartData’s patent. SmartData asks for a permanent injunction barring the sale of the offending products, a percentage of royalties from the sale of the infringing products, and that all damages be tripled due to “the willfulness of Defendant’s infringement.” The complaint also asks that the court order Apple to pay SmartData’s costs and attorney fees.