Apple, others settle with patent troll SimpleAir

Apple and a number of other technology companies have settled with licensing company SimpleAir, bringing to a close a two-and-a-half-year patent-infringement complaint.

SimpleAir said that it has settled with Apple, and entered into a confidential agreement to license its patents, which relate to mobile notifications.

Apple was one of 11 companies named in a complaint filed on 23 September 2009, in the US Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Also included was Research In Motion (RIM), which requested a re-examination of two of SimpleAir's patents last May.

Court filings show that settlement agreements were reached with all of the companies on 21 April 2012.

The patents in question were US Patent numbers 6,021,433 and 7,035,914, both entitled "System and Method for Transmission of Data", as well as 6,735,614 and 6,167,426, both entitled "Contact Alerts for Unconnected Users". In its complaint, SimpleAir said that the companies were infringing on the "generation, processing and/or delivery of content, notifications and updates to or for mobile computing devices" outlined in the patents.

Formally, SimpleAir is called a non-practicing entity (NPE) — a company that licenses patents, but doesn't actually have any other business. Informally, such companies are known as "patent trolls". The Texas-based company took aim at Microsoft, Motorola, Samsung and a number of other mobile companies in a separate suit filed last September, citing two of the same four patents, which remains ongoing.


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