Well this is certainly a fitting story given a recent report that Apple remains the top target for patent trolls.
Gigaom is reporting that a nonpracticing entity based out of Texas is suing Apple, alleging that services such as Find my Friends and Find my iPhone infringe upon their patents. The company in question is called Remote Locator, and per usual, information regarding ownership interests in the company and the patent itself are hard to come by. Notably, Apple isn’t the only one being targeted by this particular patent as several other suits have been filed against Google and carriers as well.
The invention itself is US Patent 5548637, which covers a method for “locating personnel and objects in response to telephone inquiries,” and describes a system for using infrared transmitters to route calls to individuals or objects in large buildings like a hospital.
Remote Locator is requesting a jury trial, and with respect to damages, is seeking an injunction and payment for past infringement.
Patent trolls in recent years have become an increasing nuisance in the tech sphere, and with Apple holding billions upon billions in the bank, it makes sense why they’re often targeted. Unfortunately, though, patent trolls have also taken to suing and arguably shaking down small time developers who often lack the resources to adequately defend themselves against what are often frivolous lawsuits. The flurry of lawsuits filed by Lodsys in recent memory serves as a stark example.
Thankfully, the Obama administration has taken notice of the patent troll phenomenon and has proposed some new guidelines which will hopefully serve to lessen the impact of patent trolls.
All that said, we’ll keep an eye on this case and see how Apple responds.