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3/26/2009
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Apple iPhone Sued Over Multiple Patents

The company faces multiple lawsuits regarding the iPhone's camera, the manner by which it accesses iTunes, and its e-book capabilities.

When you get as popular as the iPhone 3G, lawsuits are bound to follow, and three new lawsuits were filed this week regarding the popular smartphone. Companies are claiming Apple is illegally using patented technology for its camera, streaming content to a cell phone, and displaying electronic books.

Accolade Systems alleges that Apple is indirectly violating a CMOS patent with the iPhone's 2-megapixel camera. The suit, filed in Texas, said Aptina Imaging and Micron are infringing on a way for the camera's sensor to determine saturation. Apple uses this technology in its handset's camera, so it has been added to the lawsuit. Accolade is seeking an injunction against Apple and unspecified damages.

Another lawsuit filed in Texas alleges Apple is infringing on three patents for wirelessly sending content to a portable device. Affinity Labs' lawsuit said the technology Apple uses to transfer voice mails and music streaming is a violation of patent law. It's also targeting the iTunes and App Store juggernauts, claiming these popular virtual stores utilize protected technology for browsing, downloading, and transferring content.

Apple also is facing legal pressure for the iPhone's ability to display e-books, as Monec Holding filed suit in a Virginia district court accusing Apple of violating its patent for a "lightweight" electronic device with a "touch-screen" LCD display. The lawsuit was likely spurred by the announcement that Amazon.com's Kindle content was coming to the iPhone, as there had been other e-book readers available in the App Store for months.

Apple did not comment on the various lawsuits, and generally does not talk about pending litigation.


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