Immersion, a California software company, has filed legal complaints in a federal district court and with the U.S. International Trade Commission against the technology titan Apple Inc. At issue are responsive touch technologies within Apple iPhones that Immersion alleges bear substantial similarity to its patented haptic technology.
Three patents held by Immersion have been specifically cited in the lawsuit. The software patent for a feedback system with stored effects creates a preview from a light press on a screen. A firm press triggers actions in a device. According to Immersion's lawsuit, this resembles the "peek and pop" feature on an iPhone. Apple has allegedly infringed on a second patent for technology that provides a tactile response such as a vibration. The third patent in question involves interactivity and shared feedback in mobile devices. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were specifically named as using these features.
The CEO of Immersion said that the company initiated the legal action to protect the investments made in its technology. The company's request before the International Trade Commission wants sales of the Apple devices in question to be suspended in the United States. The lawsuit asks for damages.
Companies that have developed proprietary software may want to consult with an an attorney when infringement issues arise. Patents are the lifeblood of many companies, and owners stand to lose considerable sums when they are used by other parties in an unauthorized manner. An attorney who has experience with these matters could examine the documentation for the patent with a view towards seeing whether an injunction or other relief should be sought.