This is becoming surprisingly often now. Apple is back into the ‘getting-sued’ business, as it has now been sued by Immersion Corporation. Immersion is known for developing and licensing the touch feedback technology to manufacturers.
The lawsuit involves some of Apple’s highlight features of its latest generation of devices, including 3D Touch and Force Touch along with vibration patterns for ringtones and notifications.
According to the lawsuit, Apple has infringed upon as many as three patents of Immersion in its devices. The devices under scanner are iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition.
Immersion said that the haptic feedback system of these devices incorporates the technologies patented by Immersion in two patents namely “Haptic Feedback System with Stored Effects” (U.S. Patent No. 8,619,051) and “Method and Apparatus for Providing Tactile Sensations” (U.S. Patent No. 8,773,356).
The first patent involves a software that shows previews after a light press and actions after a firm press similar to the Peek and Pop function on iPhone.
The second patent involves the technology used to provide the vibration feedback for various touches. Both these patents, according to Immersion, have been utilised by Apple for its Force Touch and 3D touch functions in its products.
There is a third patent as well named “Interactivity Model for Shared Feedback on Mobile Devices” (U.S. Patent No. 8,659,571). Immersion claims that iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have infringed upon this patent also.
While we are pleased to see others in the industry recognize the value of haptics and adopt it in their products, it is important for us to protect our business against infringement of our intellectuals is is becoming su property in order to preserve the ecosystem we have built and the investments that we have made in continuing to advance haptic experiences.
said Immersion’s CEO Victor Viegas announcing their decision to vigorously defend the intellectual property they have developed upon its infringement.
The company has sought damages from Apple and has also filed a complaint with ITC (International Trade Corporation) demanding to prevent sales of the said Apple devices in the US. There has not been any official comment by Apple yet on the lawsuit.
It is interesting that Immersion was once rumored to provide haptic tech for the iPhone back in 2008. Interestingly, it is not the first time that California-based company has dragged a tech giant into the court for similar issues. Previously, it was involved in court battles against Microsoft in 2007 and against Motorola/Google in 2012.