Lawsuit over iPod could hit iPhone

by Saleem Khan, CBC News Online

Apple's been enjoying a lot of buzz on news of its iPhone but it has been silent about a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Quantum Research Group of Southampton, U.K. in December 2005 that could affect the much-hyped device.

According to Electronics Weekly, the lawsuit involves touch-sensing technology used in some iPods — and possibly the iPhone.

The article quotes Quantum CEO Hal Philipp as saying settlement talks are in progress but he expects the case to go to trial. “I am hoping iPhone does not contain Quantum-patented charge-transfer technology.”

Apple is probably hoping that it can avoid court and settle the dispute relatively cheaply. The reason? With all of the features and technology Apple is packing into its next major device, the iPhone's profit margin is more likely than not to be relatively thin, so they'll need to sell a lot of them to cover costs — especially if they lose a court fight.

Quantum isn't the only company suing Apple. Cisco-owned Linksys launched its iPhone for Skype Voice over Internet Protocol software in December, Cisco is suing Apple over the iPhone name and in Canada the iPhone trademark is owned by Commwave, a VoIP telecom.

The potential legal and financial ramifications beg the question: How much cash does Apple have saved up in its iPiggy-bank?

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Apple spent 3 years creating the iPhone and has been planning to use that name for years as well, so I don't know why they wouldn't have dealt with these issues before launching their new product. I guess they may have to spend some of that $11.9 billion in cash they currently have saved up.

Posted January 24, 2007 07:35 PM

sharon bramner


No, it doesn't "beg the question" it "raises the question." Shame on you CBC.

Posted January 25, 2007 10:10 AM



When you really think about it a company other then Apple using the "i" prefix in a product name is pretty much just looking to drum up some rediculous law suit. I think everyone on the face of the earth knows that is something Apple has used for years and would intend on carrying on with the trend. Personally I think there needs to me more ethics shown in business because trying to name a product based on another companies legacy, then going to court over it is just wrong.

Posted January 25, 2007 11:57 AM

James Baldwin


Why did they bother to call it the iPhone anyways?? Because of the iPod, it doesn't matter WHAT the phone is called! All they had to do was call it Apple Phone or some other terribly generic name that wasn't copyrighted. No one would have cared, and called it the iPhone anyways. In Britain, they call every mp3 player an "iPod", even though it may be a Zen or some other brand. Apple doesn't need to officially call this thing the iPhone. Trademarks rulings can't determine what people will casually refer to the phone as.

Posted January 25, 2007 03:15 PM

Link Mack

Well maybe Apple should take all these other guys to court that have copied their trend setting "i"Mac/Pod/Whatever to court. See how that sits in their collective hats.

Posted March 17, 2008 03:16 PM

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