Can Apple Swat This Lawsuit Away?

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been slapped with a $3 million patent infringement lawsuit by what appears to be a shell company for including headphones with its iPhones.

What is the Lawsuit All About?

A company called Intelligent Smart Phones Concepts has sued Apple on the allegation that the iPhone maker violated its patent related to a wireless mobile phone including a headset. The patent describes an interface that allows a removable headset “to receive at least telephony audio signals from the phone, and to provide audio signals to the phone.”

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Through the filing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, ISPC is seeking $3 million in lost revenue and royalties and an injunction to prevent Apple from future violations. According to CNET, ISPC is a non-practicing entity created with the purpose of extracting licensing fees from other companies.

Does Apple Have a Reason to Worry?

The lawsuit was, coincidentally, filed on the same day that David Kappos, the outgoing head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, said critics of the patent system should “give it a rest already.” The structure of the intellectual property system has been criticized for its willingness to allow apparently petty allegations and counterclaims. According to a study, patent infringement lawsuits cost U.S. companies $29 billion last year.

ISPC has asked for jury trial, but on the face of it, does not seem to have much of a case. The patent was originally granted in 2008 to Varia Mobil, whose parent company sued Samsung and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) earlier this year for installing emoticon shortcut menus on their mobile phones.

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