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Apple Sued For Violating Power Adapter Patent

Inventor Thomas Harvey claims the Apple Portable Power Adapter infringes his patents on an illuminated recharging device.

On Monday, Apple was sued in Texas for violating the patent rights of a Michigan-based inventor.

Attorney Joseph Zito of Washington, D.C.-based law firm Zito tlp filed the patent infringement lawsuit in a Texas federal court on behalf of Thomas Harvey, claiming that the Apple Portable Power Adapter violates two related patents granted to Harvey for an illuminated portable recharging device.

Harvey "invented a power adapter with an illuminated connector end," the complaint says, citing a patent applied for in 2002 and granted in 2004. "...Apple manufactures and sells a device referred to as the 'Apple Portable Power Adapter.' The power adapter, in combination with an Apple notebook computer, has all the elements of the claims of [Harvey's patents], including: a portable electronic device recharger, a rechargeable battery, a battery compartment, a power adapter, an illuminated connector terminus."

"There's unquestionable infringement and the patent is completely valid," said Zito. "It's not a business method patent," he added, referring to patents like the one granted to Amazon.com for its "One-Click" method, which remain highly controversial.

Harvey used to have a company that made an illuminated recharging device for the Palm Pilot based on his patent, Zito said. He couldn't recall the name of the firm, which is no longer in business.

Zito, who claims to have litigated against Apple before, said he's had discussions with Apple about licensing Harvey's patents. Apple "refused to license or cease infringement," according to the complaint.

The lawsuit seeks to impound Apple devices that infringe Harvey's patent and to enjoin Apple making further infringing devices.

"The goal [of this lawsuit] is to provide excellent representation to properly enforce the rights of my client," said Zito.

And the next step in the case? "They pay us millions of dollars, that's the next step," said Zito.

Apple did not reply to a request for comment.

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