Apple, others settle with patent troll SimpleAir

Apple and several other technology companies have settled with patent troll SimpleAir to license four of the company's mobile patents.

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Apple and a number of other technology companies have settled with licensing company SimpleAir, bringing a close to a two and a half year old patent infringement complaint.

In a release today, SimpleAir said it had settled with Apple, and entered into a confidential agreement to license its patents, which relate to mobile notifications.

Apple was one of 11 companies named in a complaint filed on Sept. 23, 2009, in the U.S. federal district court for the Eastern District of Texas. Also included was Research In Motion, which requested a re-examination of two of SimpleAir's patents last May.

Court filings show that settlement agreements were reached with all of the companies on April 21, 2012.

The patents in question were U.S. Patent numbers 6,021,433 and 7,035,914, both entitled "System and Method for Transmission of Data," as well as 6,735,614 and 6,167,426, both entitled "Contact Alerts for Unconnected Users." In its complaint, SimpleAir said the companies were infringing on the "generation, processing, and/or delivery of content, notifications, and updates to or for mobile computing devices," outlined in the patents.

Formally, SimpleAir is called a nonpracticing entity, or NPE, which means a company that licenses patents but doesn't actually have any other business. Informally, such companies are known as patent trolls. The Texas-based company took aim at Microsoft, Motorola, Samsung and a number of other mobile companies in a separate suit filed last September citing two of the same four patents, and remains ongoing.

About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.


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