Last November we reported how Israel-based startup Corephotonics was suing Apple for infringing on patents that it owned. The company claimed that it had engaged in talks with Apple regarding the licensing of its dual-camera technology. Cupertino ultimately refused the partnership. Apple reportedly told the company that it could infringe on its patents "with little consequence."
Even though the smartphone maker already owns patents for dual-camera tech, Corephotonics filed a lawsuit claiming the iPhone 7 violated its patents upon their release. Now that company has entered a second suit that pulls the iPhone X and 8 Plus into the dispute.
The original complaint involved four patents owned by Corephotonics. Two of the designs were for a telephoto lens assembly, another covers the overall dual-aperture zoom camera itself, and the last is a patent for the "high-resolution thin multi-aperture imaging system." The new lawsuit adds another telephoto lens patent to the claim, but this one is confusing.
According to Patently Apple, the "miniature telephoto lens assembly" patent (9,857,568) that was listed in the complaint was not granted until January of this year, well after the iPhones in question were released. This raises the question: how could Apple willfully infringe on a patent that did not exist during the design process?
"It's basically a redo of their first patent infringement lawsuit."
It could be that since the patent was filed in January of 2017, that the legal team believes they have a claim. It appears that much of the merit in this case hinges on the relationship between Apple and Corephotonics. This has led to alterations of the original claims.
Many of the details of the first filing have changed with this new lawsuit. For instance, the relationship between Apple and Corephotonics was described in one paragraph in the first complaint. Now that section of the suit is 17 paragraphs and tells of a much more complex involvement.
The company also changed the breadth of some of its original complaints. In the first suit, it alleged that the iPhone 7 Plus camera infringed on patent 9,568,712. The new filing claims that the iPhone 8 Plus and X also violate this same patent.
"It's basically a redo of their first patent infringement lawsuit filed in November with the addition of one new patent that wasn't available at the time of the original lawsuit," says Patently Apple.