Apple Hit with a Lawsuit over Products Infringing MIMO Wireless Patent

iPhone 12 rear

XR communications, a wireless communication company, has filed a lawsuit against Apple. The lawsuit alleges specific patent infringement on several Apple products. In addition, XR Communications claims that Apple has infringed the patent by deploying MIMO technology.

The lawsuit includes several Apple devices that use MIMO or “multiple-input, multiple output” technology. Furthermore, the lawsuit uses intellectual property by now-defunct Vivato technologies and includes multiple Apple products. The complaint is registered with the US District Court for the Western District of Texas.

XR Communications specifically mentions infringement of US Patent No 10,715,235. The patent is titled “Directed wireless communication,” The scope includes wireless devices with MIMO beamforming capabilities. Thus all Apple products equipped with MIMO-compatible WiFi fall into the gambit of the lawsuit.

Apple devices, including iPhone 6s, iPad Air, iPad mini 2, and MacBooks released after 2016, use MIMO in one form or the other. For instance, iPhone XS Max is equipped with MIMO and thus capable of processing multiple streams of signals simultaneously. The setup uses beamforming techniques to optimize reception.

Interestingly the processes mentioned in the filing are generic and used by many devices with WiFi capabilities. However, the technology mentioned is specific, and this is where Apple could be in trouble. Multiple cellular standards, including LTE, are based on MIMO and other protocols.

Vivato was founded in 2000 and worked on “Carrier Class” WiFi. The resulting technology-enabled devices send data across long distances with the help of wireless base stations that use beamforming array antenna designs. Since 2017 XR Communications began imposing Vivato’s patents on several tech companies, including Asus, Belkin, Cisco, Netgear, and others. XR Communications is seeking damages for past and ongoing royalty alongside court fee reimbursement.

[via Apple Insider]