Apple Is Accused of Stealing Patents from Immersion

Apple is accused of stealing patents from Immersion, unlike its competition.

Apple is accused of stealing patents from Immersion Corporation for its Force Touch, Taptic engine and 3D Touch. The corporation is suing the major company for infringing its IMMR patents and a third-party patent by using them on Apple iPhone 6, 6s Plus and 6 Plus, Watch, Watch Edition and Watch Sport.

Most smartphones on the market use the touch technology and license Immersion technology. According to the CEO of Immersion, Vic Vegas, his corporation is currently the leader in haptic technology. Immersion has been inventing, designing, promoting and commercializing such haptic feedback technologies for over twenty years. Therefore, the company managed to compile a wide portfolio of more than 2,100 patents, be they pending or issued. These patents cover haptic technology commercial applications and foundational aspects.

Immersion Corporation started out as a spin-off in university back in 1993. It does not seem likely that it would raise a lawsuit unless it had an actual issue. The infringements include three patents, all related to haptic feedback in electronic devices equipped with touchscreen that are handheld.

The ‘365 patent is responsible for teaching methods and systems for tactile sensations, such as the determination of interactions between graphical objects and the object that contacts the touchscreen and the way the device receives a sensor signal meant to indicate that an object is contacting the touchscreen.

The second patent is ‘051, which teaches methods and systems meant to generate haptic feedback. Among these is the retrieval of a requested effect by using the program interface of the application and the application of a drive signal for providing a haptic effect via the actuator.

Lastly, there is the ‘571 patent, whose purpose is to teach the methods and systems for producing haptic effects. These include the receiving of the first two gesture signals and the generation of a dynamic interaction by using those signals.

The case seems to be bigger than the lawsuit itself, since it will affect all devices equipped with touchscreens. All Android manufacturers have previously licensed the haptic technology from Immersion Corporation. The company has tried to negotiate with the iOS provider, but it seems this has led nowhere.

As Vegas has recently declared,

“We will vigorously defend the intellectual property we have developed when it is infringed.”

Apple is accused of stealing patents from Immersion because it did not wish to comply with its rules, as Microsoft, Sony, Google, HTC and others have done.

Image Source: Prime Inspiration