It's looking like Apple isn't going to see any downtime from courtrooms this month. Only one week after Apple lost a court ruling in which the company had to pay $625 million to VirnetX for patent infringement, Apple is in the legal cross hairs once again. This time it's said that the folks at Cupertino have infringed upon three different patents with the latest iPhone and Apple Watch devices.
These patents are directly targeted at what Apple calls its "Taptic Engine", which powers the "3D Touch" and "Force Touch" features on the iPhone 6/6 Plus and the 6S/6S Plus - in addition to the three versions of AppleWatch. Two of the infringements in question that blanket all of these devices are U.S. patent nos. 8,619,051 (Haptic Feedback System with Stored Effects) & 8,773,356 (Method and Apparatus for Providing Tactile Sensations). The third alleged infringement, U.S. patent no. 8,659,571 (Interactivity Model for Shared Feedback on Mobile Devices), is directed solely at the iPhone 6S/6S Plus.
Immersion CEO Victor Vegas didn't seem overly-heated in his comments to the press regarding the alleged violation of the company's patented technology:
"While we are pleased to see others in the industry recognize the value of haptics and adopt it in their products, it is important for us to protect our business against infringement of our intellectual property in order to preserve the ecosystem we have built and the investments that we have made in continuing to advance haptic experiences... We will vigorously defend the intellectual property we have developed when it is infringed."
Not only is Immersion pushing for compensation for the patent violations, but Immersion is also filing an ITC complaint to put an injunction on the sales of these devices within the United States. It's no stretch of the imagination that, if the legal system finds Apple guilty and the ITC bans the sales of these devices, Apple would be in a world of hurt with its hardware sales.