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Apple Faces Patent Lawsuit over iPhone Web Browsing Technology

Date: 12/4/2008 4:41:34 PM

Apple Inc. is facing a lawsuit alleging that the technology the iPhone uses to navigate and display websites infringes on a recently obtained patent.

The suit was filed by EMG Technology LLC, a small company owned by Los Angeles real estate developer, Elliot Gottfurcht, and two co-investors. Apparently, the company has just one employee, and the patent in question didn’t come into existence until last month.

EMG has not considered lawsuits against any other smartphone makers, such as HTC and Research In Motion, whose devices use similar technology to display full-sized HTML web pages on pocket-sized screens.

“We haven’t looked at anything other than the iPhone,” said Stanley Gibson, the lawyer representing EMG. “That was the device that we looked at. Obviously it’s very popular.”

But being popular doesn’t make a product guilty of patent infringement, just a target for patent sharks. It’s no surprise that EMG’s suit against Apple was conveniently filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, which has often been criticized for a (real or perceived) bias in favour of plaintiffs in patent, trademark, and copyright lawsuits.

Based on the information available, it would seem that EMG is more interested in abusing the patent system than standing up for any genuine intellectual property rights.

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