Patent troll hits Apple with a new lawsuit targeting iPhone battery technologies

iFixit iPhone 6s teardown image 004 Battery

Another day, another anti-Apple lawsuit. In addition to being sued over iOS 9’s performance on older iPhones and bricking iPhones that use non-sanctioned Home button and Touch ID replacement parts, the Cupertino firm now faces a new patent lawsuit targeting the iPhone’s battery technologies and an associated trickle-charge system.

As initially reported by MacRumors, a Frisco, Texas-based limited-liability company named Somaltus today filed a complaint against Apple in an Eastern Texas district court, accusing the iPhone maker of infringing upon its 2010 patent related to complex battery technologies.

Like many patent trolls, Somaltus doesn’t utilize its prized patented technology in any shipping product or service.

The complaint alleges that the iPhone 6s and Apple’s other iOS devices infringe upon Somaltus’s patented technology for an integrated battery service system. Apple’s iPhone 6s sports “a battery service” and its A9 processor is “configured to receive signals from connectors coupled to a battery,” reads the complaint.

The infringement claim takes issue with so-called trickle-charge mode which an iOS device enters when the battery reaches 80 percent capacity.

Apple’s product sports a charging system “according to which the system operates in fast-charge mode until the battery reaches 80 percent capacity and then adjusts to trickle-charge mode when the capacity exceeds 80 percent,” reads the complaint.

“When the capacity drops below 80 percent, the system gain adjusts to fast-charge operation. The purpose of the system is to reduce the charging level applied to the battery at high capacity in order to extend the battery lifespan.”

The plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages, but it would also accept a running royalty on sales of infringing devices from the time of judgment going forward, which could potentially earn them hundred of millions of dollars.

It should be noted that Somaltus filed similar lawsuits against Asus, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba over the same patent and has successfully leveraged the invention to reach out-of-court settlements with car makers Ford and Nissan.


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