Apple is certainly no stranger to patent infringement lawsuits, whether it's launching them or finding itself on the receiving end of one. This time it’s the latter, as the Cupertino-based company is being sued by Californian haptic feedback developer Immersion over claims that Apple’s Force Touch and 3D Touch technology infringes on its patents.
Immersion has filed complaints against both Apple and AT&T in the US District Court and with the US International Trade Commission (ITC). The company alleges that the iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition infringe on several of its patents that cover haptic feedback systems.
As reported by The Next Web, the first patent, ‘Haptic Feedback System with Stored Effects,’ is described as software that shows previews of content after a light press and performs actions after a harder press, much like Apple’s 3D Touch technology.
Immersion also claims that Apple’s recent products infringe on its second patent, ‘Method and Apparatus for Providing Tactile Sensations,’ which is a specific type of haptic feedback in response to a particular action from a user.
The company goes on to allege that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s Plus violate a third patent - “Interactivity Model for Shared Feedback on Mobile Devices.”
"While we are pleased to see others in the industry recognize the value of haptics and adopt it in their products, it is important for us to protect our business against infringement of our intellectual property in order to preserve the ecosystem we have built and the investments that we have made in continuing to advance haptic experiences," said Immersion CEO Victor Viegas. "We will vigorously defend the intellectual property we have developed when it is infringed."
The reason why AT&T is named in the suit is because, according to Immersion, it sold Apple’s products, offered guides, directions, and other materials that "encourage and facilitate infringing use by others.”
Apple has yet to comment on the lawsuit.