Patent Troll Suing Apple, Car Industry over Smartwatch Filing
Ah, patent trolls. These insignificant shrews claim patents that are typically broad and vague, and try to cash in when someone actually tries to build a product by claiming their idea was stolen. Common grubs have a higher regard in society, as these trolls continue to impede innovation. And today we have another example of their meaningless existence. According to 9to5mac, one such troll is suing Apple, Samsung, as well as a number of automakers over a patent it filed years ago. Intellectual Capital Consulting is the plaintiff, and claims that these players are using its patent. Filed in 2003 and issued in 2006, it describes its idea as: “A remote watch design for a car security system, comprising of a display screen and base with keypad. A user of the remote watch will not only be able to keep track of the time but also will be able to arm/lock, disarm/unlock and remotely start their vehicle by pushing specific buttons on the watch. It is common for people to lose or misplace their keys along with the keyless remote that is attached to the keys.” RELATED: Have a Smartwatch? Park Your BMW with It
The problem is, it never built anything with its idea, and even if it did, the diagram clearly shows a product that is not a smartwatch. It shows a traditional watch, with hard buttons for the various functions. Meanwhile, smartwatches use software and its touch-sensitive face to interact with vehicles.
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Intellectual Capital Consulting is in Colorado and the defendants are all over the country and the world, but the LLC is filing in East Texas. Why would it do that? Because the district court there has a notorious history of ruling in favor of the trolls. According to a report from ArsTecnica, 44.4 percent of all patent cases nationally in the first half of 2015 were filed in the East Texas District Court. And most of these cases were filed by companies like Intellectual Capital Consulting, which do nothing but license patents.
The plaintiff is asking for individual companies to pay $2 million upfront and $1 million per year to license the product. As the report point out, many of the smaller app developers that are working with the automakers will not make enough in one year to justify the costs.
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