Being one of the largest tech companies on the planet makes Apple an easy target for patent trolls — organizations that obtain rights to patents to earn money via licensing or litigation instead of producing their own products or services — or just about anyone looking to bite into its coffers.
However, the tech giant has deep pockets for defending itself in the courtroom, and it knows how to throw its legal weight around when it sees fit.
While many cases involving Apple indeed have merit, many others are utterly absurd and are sometimes dismissed nearly as quickly as they are filed. Here are some of the worst offenders we’ve come across.
Corydoras Technologies owns the patents to what now?
When it comes to dialing up delusions, Corydoras Technologies takes the cake. The communications tech firm claimed to own the patents for digital voice communication, wireless emails, front-facing cameras, and geolocation displays, then sued both Apple and Samsung for patent infringement.
Perhaps Corydoras was trying to replicate VirnetX’s half-billion dollar victory in defending its patents for VPN-on-Demand technology and other software that, as per court findings, Apple willfully infringed upon.
Keep off the glass
Breaking your nose after colliding against a glass door at an Apple store is undeniably a painful and embarrassing experience, but suing the company $1 million for it seems excessive and twice as embarrassing. Nevertheless, that’s what 83-year-old Evelyn Paswall did. After smashing her face onto the front door of a Manhasset, New York Apple store, she claimed that Apple’s high-tech modern architecture posed a danger to people.
Apple stores are known for their tasteful interiors, well-thought-out displays, and pristine glass doors that people walk into all the time. While it's great that their stores are spotless, Apple should really consider accentuating their glass doors with markings that prevent visually challenged individuals from harming themselves. A year after the case was filed, Apple settled out of court.
Wait, unlike you, we actually sell fruit
Apple’s logo is known the world over as something that represents prestige and high quality. Many companies want to claim a chunk of its power by submitting applications for trademarks that look similar to Apple’s. They are promptly blocked by Apple, which needs to protect its brand against blemishes those companies could inflict.
But things take a bizarre turn when Apple sues firms that sell apples and other fruits. In 2012, the tech giant filed a complaint against A.pl, a Polish online grocer that had planned to use a round green shape with a leaf at the top as the logo for fresh24.pl, a regional website owned by A.pl.
Apple also took issue with A.pl’s name, claiming that the latter “is using Apple’s reputation.” However, that too bore no fruit since “.pl” is the country domain for Poland. Check out A.pl for yourself to see if an Apple to A.pl comparison can be made.
“A tap is a zero-length swipe”
Patent wars are nothing new, though its scale can reach ridiculous levels. When Apple claimed that its swipe to unlock patent must also cover tapping, Judge Richard Posner rejected it, saying “Apple’s… argument is that ‘a tap is a zero-length swipe.’ That’s silly. It’s like saying that a point is a zero-length line.”
Whether you have a large target on your back or you need to defend your business against titans such as Apple, you have an ally in Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams. Contact us — our legal experts are ready to protect you against any legal threat, be it frivolous or with merit.