Apple and Others Sued Under False Marking Statute

Obviously Apple is one of the big targets for lawsuits, and another lawsuit has been shot at Apple accusing the iPhone maker of falsely marking products with expired patents or patents which do not cover the marked products, “with the intent to deceive the public about the patent coverage for their products.”

According to Apple Insider, the law suit was filed by Americans for Fair Patent Use against Apple, Samsung America, Sprint and Verizon Wireless in the US District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, and covers the Apple iPhone, 5th and 6th gen iPod classic, iPod Touch, and 3rd and 4th gen iPod Nano.

Apparently the 5th gen iPod is marked with user guides, manuals and product info guides referring to US patent numbers…4,577,216, 4,631,603, 4,819,098, and 4,907,093, while the other Apple devices reference US patent numbers…4,577,216, 4,631,603, 4,819,098, and 4,907,093.

According to the lawsuit, US patent numbers 216, 603, 098 and 093 all expired before Apple making the respective devices available.

The lawsuit reads…”Despite the fact that all of the ‘216, ‘603, ‘098 and ‘093 patents expired prior to the first sale in the United States of any Apple Product, Apple knowingly and intentionally marked the user manuals, user guides, or product information guides (or the equivalent) for these products at various times with the patent numbers of these patents. Apple knows that the ‘216, ‘603, ‘098 and ‘093 patents do not and never covered any of the Apple Products.”

Americans for Fair Patent Use brought the complain under the False marketing Statute that was apparently passed by Congress which enables a customer to quickly and easily locate patents associated with products. Americans for Fair Patent Use is asking for the court to fine all firms named $500 per falsely marked product with half going to the government and the other half going to the Americans for Fair Patent Use.

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