Haptic feedback developer Immersion sues Apple for patent infringement

Taptic Engine inside Apple Watch

Immersion, a company that specializes in developing and licensing haptic feedback technologies for touch devices, is suing Apple for patent infringement. The lawsuit filed today cites 3D Touch, Force Touch, the Taptic Engine, and more.

Immersion claims the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s series, plus the Apple Watch series, all infringe several of its patents that cover haptic feedback technologies. Here’s a statement from the company that was released today:

“Immersion and its employees have worked diligently for over 20 years to invent solutions and build an ecosystem of content and playback devices that enable realistic and rich digital experiences. Touch matters, as it informs, excites and humanizes the digital world we interact with every day. Many of our licensed customers are market leaders that benefit from our innovation in touch technology,” said Immersion’s CEO Victor Viegas.

“While we are pleased to see others in the industry recognize the value of haptics and adopt it in their products, it is important for us to protect our business against infringement of our intellectual property in order to preserve the ecosystem we have built and the investments that we have made in continuing to advance haptic experiences,” added Viegas. “We will vigorously defend the intellectual property we have developed when it is infringed.”

According to MacRumorsImmersion is claiming that all of the Apple products listed above infringe the following two patents:

  • U.S. Patent No. 8,619,051: “Haptic Feedback System with Stored Effects”
  • U.S. Patent No. 8,773,356: “Method and Apparatus for Providing Tactile Sensations”

It is also claimed that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus — which offer 3D Touch and Apple’s new Taptic Engine — also infringe U.S. Patent No. 8,659,571 for “Interactivity Model for Shared Feedback on Mobile Devices.”

Immersion is also suing AT&T for patent infringement, but it’s not totally clear why. It states that the carrier sells Apple products and offers guides that encourage infringement by others, but the company doesn’t target any other carriers or retailers that also sell Apple products.

Immersion doesn’t just want damages out of this suit; the company has also filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission in the hope that it can get the accused Apple devices banned in the U.S.