Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is being sued for patent infringement by DSS Technology Management, the intellectual property management unit of Document Security Systems Inc. According to PCWorld, the patent portfolio company has accused Apple of infringing on two of its patents that cover technologies related to the use of wireless peripheral devices.
Both patents are titled “Personal data network” and were obtained by DSS Technology Management last quarter. According to the company’s complaint, many of Apple’s products are infringing on these patents, including the iMac, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod nano, and Mac mini. PCWorld reports that many of Apple’s devices use a wireless communication system that employs “low duty cycle RF bursts,” a technology that is claimed in DSS Technology Management’s patents.
PCWorld says DSS Technology Management is seeking monetary damages and royalties for unlicensed use of the technology covered by the two patents. Damages may also include any profits DSS Technology Management lost due to Apple’s alleged infringement.
DSS Technology Management filed its suit in the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, a popular venue for many patent portfolio companies. According to The Wall Street Journal, the case is “DSS Technology Management Inc. v Apple Inc., Civil Action No. 6:13-CV-919.”
As a company that derives “the majority of its revenue from the licensing or enforcement of its intellectual property,” DSS Technology Management is considered a non-practicing entity, or NPE, by PatentFreedom. These entities are often popularly referred to as “patent trolls,” although PatentFreedom prefers to avoid the use of that term. PatentFreedom is an organization that caters to companies that are being sued by non-practicing entities.
According to PatentFreedom, since NPEs hold patent portfolios for the express purpose of suing practicing companies and do not actually use those patents, they are “essentially invulnerable to the threat of counter-assertion.” This makes NPE lawsuits “particularly challenging” for practicing companies like Apple. PatentFreedom ranked Apple as the No. 1 target of NPE lawsuits, with 24 separate lawsuits in the first half of 2013.
Follow Nathanael on Twitter @ArnoldEtan_WSCS