Nokia and Sony Backed Patent Troll Screen Rotation Suit Can Proceed

Rotated iPhone

A federal judge in Delaware is allowing a suit by a “classic patent troll”—backed by Sony and Nokia, it’s worth noting—on three parts of iOS: screen rotation, rejecting incoming calls, and GPS/mapping functions.

While you can file this under “attacking deep pockets” or “failures of the U.S. Patent System”, what’s more interesting to me is who backs MobileMedia Ideas, the company suing Apple:

MobileMedia Ideas is an unusual company: it’s jointly owned by Apple competitors Sony and Nokia, which make smartphones, and a Denver-based company called MPEG LA that licenses patents for the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 standard. The U.S. Department of Justice has reportedly been probing MPEG LA over antitrust violations, and it was the target of an antitrust lawsuit, now settled, in a Los Angeles court. MobileMedia and MPEG LA share the same chief executive, Larry Horn.

Uh huh. So instead of Sony and Nokia hitting Apple directly (and according to CNET potentially incurring the wrath of Apple, and its legal team), they back a third party. Sounds kinda like the CIA backing one slimy dictator to take out another slimy dictator (the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” paradigm). Several of these patents are given long, long before the iPhone existed and the rotation patent in fact talks about physical buttons to make the magic happen (not internal sensors).

Will Apple eventually prevail? Who knows, the court battle has been going on for over two years now, so I don’t expect it to wrap up anytime soon.

Good luck Apple!

Via: CNET News

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