Apple is facing a new patent infringement lawsuit, but unlike most that they face, this one is not from another company, but from an individual. Florida resident Thomas S. Ross has filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming Apple’s iOS devices infringe on his 1992 invention “Electronic Reading Device” (ERD).
What Ross contemplated, was a device that could allow one to read stories, novels, news articles, as well as look at pictures, watch video presentations, or even movies, on a flat touch-screen that was back-lit. He further imagined that it could include communication functions, such as a phone and a modem, input/output capability, so as to allow the user to write notes, and be capable of storing reading and writing material utilizing internal and external storage media. He also imagined that the device would have batteries and even be equipped with solar panels.
Ross’ court filing asserts he was the “first to file a device so designed and aggregated,” nearly 15 years before the first iPhone. Between May 23, 1992 and September 10, 1992 Ross created three hand-drawn technical drawings of the device.
Ross filed for a utility patent to protect his design in November 1992, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declared the patent application as abandoned in 1995, when Ross failed to pay the proper application fees. Ross also filed to copyright his drawings with the U.S. Copyright Office in 2014.
Ross claims he has experienced “great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money,” but he is seeking $10 billion and a royalty of up to 1.5% on Apple’s worldwide sale of iOS devices.