California - FlatWorld Interactives is suing Apple for patent infringement alleging that Apple's touch technology infringes one of FlatWorld's patents. The company out of Pennsylvania is seeking a permanent injunction from the infringement and for compensatory damages as well.
According to the complaint filed with the United States District Court for the Northern California District of California, FlatWorld is accusing Apple of knowingly infringing its patents with products such as its iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad. FlatWorld is a designer of touchscreen systems used in museum displays.
In addition to seeking a jury trial, FlatWorld is requesting an immediate injunction to ban Apple from the alleged infringement. Patent attorneys representing FlatWorld claim that Apple's infringement has been on such a large scale that it has caused the company irreparable harm. Flatworld is seeking monetary damages appropriate to the level of infringement, however the amount was not specified.
The FlatWorld patent at issue involves technology that allows users to manipulate images using gestures such as flicking images off the screen and selecting the image by touching it. The goal of the gesture recognition technique is for children to have an easier and more intuitive way of interacting with computers.
FlatWorld Interactive was founded in January 2007 by cognitive science and digital design professor Slavko Milekic. Ten years earlier in 1997, Milekic had filed a provisional patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the technology, claiming priority of use from that date. He was then granted U.S. Patent No. 6,920,619 in July 2005. After creating FlatWorld in 2007, Milekic assigned the patent to the company.
The companies are scheduled to appear in a case management conference later this year to discuss the important issues in the case to avoid an unnecessary and demanding discovery process when preparing for trial.
No comment was available from Apple on the pending litigation.