Another day, another lawsuit filed against Apple. California-based firm SpeakWare on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Apple, alleging it is violating a U.S. voice control panel held by SpeakWare.
Apple is allegedly infringing on the patent — “Hands-Free, Voice-Operated Remote Control Transmitter” — by way of developing products that control accessories. These include iPhones, iPads, and the HomePod, as well as linking platforms, namely Siri and HomeKit.
The patent was awarded in 2002, and Apple has supposedly been aware of it since at least March 2014, when it was cited in a patent application. The company is in fact claimed to have cited it repeatedly, listing it as prior art in 46 patents and patent applications.
SpeakWare is asking for damages with pre- and post-judgement interest, as well as legal fees.
As AppleInsider mentions in its report, the filing firm appears to have little presence online, an is likely a “patent troll” looking for a quick payday via an out-of-court settlement. Apple is a regular target of such lawsuits.
While many patent troll-filed lawsuits are thrown out before going to trial, there are exceptions. Earlier this year, Apple was ordered to pay VirnetX $502.6 million for infringing patents the firm held in their FaceTime and iMessage platforms.
The legal battle between the two companies was initiated in 2010 with a VirnetX lawsuit against Apple alleging Apple’s FaceTime connection technology infringed on patents held by VirnetX. The patent holding firm was originally awarded $368.2 million in damages in 2012. That case is still being appealed. October 2017 saw Apple being told to pay $439.7 million in damages as part of a final judgement of the original case. Apple has said it would appeal the decision.