It has been reported that Apple has transferred a number of its patents to another company which is in turn using them to file lawsuits against many Android based phone manufacturers, increasing the legal hurdles in the path of the Google platform. Digitude Innovations, which is based in Virginia, has filed a lawsuit with the International Trade Commission, alleging that a number of technology companies such as LG, HTC, Motorola, Sony, Samsung, Research In Motion and Amazon have infringed upon its patents.
Apple, however, has been excluded from the list of the accused. The patents involved in the case were obtained by Digitude after they were transferred by Apple to another company, which in turn handed them over to Digitude. The Virginia based Digitude is a company which collects patents such as these hoping to get licensing fees from them. The owners of the patents often try to negotiate with the companies which use those patents, and on several occasions, they also file lawsuits and claims against them over the concerned patents.
Most of the technology related companies try to resolve the situation by settling with the owners of the patents rather than having to face long stretched trials in the court room which often turn out to be much more expensive. Even as it isn’t typical for courts to order a product to be banned, it is a common ploy of companies like Digitude to threaten the other companies with blocked sales in order to force them to settle. It is likely that the patent owner filed its case with the ITC rather than approach the courts as the regulator is capable of coming out with a quick verdict and it can also possibly ban the import of a product before the finishing of a legal challenge.
There was no comment from either Apple or Digitude; however, analysts believe that there are only two possible scenarios, either Apple is trying to use Digitude to indirectly get royalties for its patents, or that Digitude had also targeted Apple, and that the company based in Cupertino, California settled by surrendering its patents. Apple has been known to be quite proactive in going after the companies that it believes violate its patents on its own. The company currently has more than 10 lawsuits all over the world filed against its biggest rival, Samsung.