Apple and RIM targeted by Openwave in patent suit

In a new complaint filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission and a Delaware court, Openwave Systems says Apple and Research In Motion are infringing on five of its patents.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
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.
Josh Lowensohn
3 min read
patent illustration

Cell phone software maker Openwave Systems has taken aim at Apple and Research In Motion for infringing on its intellectual property.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based company today filed a complaint (PDF) with the International Trade Commission, as well as a lawsuit in the federal district court in Delaware, accusing Apple and RIM of infringing on five of its patents that cover technologies related to Web browsing, cloud computing, wireless networking, and using e-mail while offline.

In its complaint, which was reported earlier today by Bloomberg, Openwave takes aim at Apple's iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch, and iPad 1 and 2, as well as RIM's Blackberry Curve 9330 and Blackberry PlayBook tablet for infringing on its patents, and has asked for a ban on the sale and importation of those goods within the United States.

"Before filing these complaints, we approached both of these companies numerous times in an attempt to negotiate a license of our technology with them and did not receive a substantive response," said Ken Denman, Openwave's chief executive officer in a statement. "In the end, litigation is the only way we can defend our rights against these large companies that have effectively refused to license the use of the technologies we invented, are using today, and are continuing to develop for our customers."

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. A RIM spokeswoman said it was the company's policy not to comment on litigation.

Openwave filed a similar complaint of patent infringement against 724 Solutions in July of 2009 over one of the patents. That case was dismissed last October following a settlement between the companies that resulted in a licensing deal. In the suit, Openwave notes that it licenses all five of the patents it says Apple and RIM are guilty of infringing.

In a release about the suit, Openwave describes the basic functionality detailed in each of the patents:

• Openwave's 212 patent generally allows a user to use e-mail applications on a mobile device when the network is unavailable--such as when a user is on an airplane. For more information, please refer to the complaint, page 8.

• Openwave's 409 patent generally allows the mobile device to operate seamlessly, and securely, with a server over a wireless network. For more information, please refer to the complaint, page 10.

• Openwave's 037 patent generally allows access to updated versions of applications on mobile devices. For more information, please refer to the complaint, page 9.

• Openwave's 447 patent generally allows consumers to experience an improved user experience in navigating through various pages of information without delay. For more information, please refer to the complaint, page 12.

• Openwave's 608 patent generally relates to cloud computing. For example, the 608 patent enables data to be accessed or shared by different devices such as mobile handsets or computers. For more information, please refer to the complaint, page 6.

Both Apple and RIM are currently involved in another patent complaint with with the ITC. The two companies were targeted by Kodak last January, with the company alleging that Apple's and RIM's smartphones infringed on a patent it held covering image previewing functionality. The final judgement in that case was originally scheduled for the end of this month, though the chief administrative law judge who was overseeing it retired.