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Apple under investigation in patent infringement dispute

The US International Trade Commission will investigate a complaint that accuses Apple of using patents without permission.

Aqua Connect and its wholly owned subsidiary claim that Apple is using their technology without permission.
Sarah Tew/CNET

The US International Trade Commission is putting Apple under the microscope again.

The commission, which is already investigating complaints against Apple over its legal spat with Qualcomm, said Tuesday that it's investigating a patent infringement dispute related to a lawsuit filed by Aqua Connect and its wholly owned subsidiary Strategic Technology Partners. Aqua Connect is a Nevada company but has its headquarters in Orange, California.

The companies claim that Apple is using patented designs without permission to build screen-sharing and remote desktop server features for Macs, iPods, iPhones, iPads and Apple TV. They filed the complaint on October 10 in US District Court for the Central District of  California.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"Initially, our product had Apple's full support. But years later, Apple built our technology into its macOS and iOS operating systems without our permission," Ronnie Exley, Aqua Connect's CEO, said in a statement. Aqua Connect said it wants Apple to stop using its technology in devices.

The commission has the power to ban products from entering the US, which is often enough of a threat that companies will settle their issues out of court.