Immersion, a company that owns several patents related to haptic technology, has filed several actions directed at Apple alleging patent infringement related to Apple’s implementation of 3D Touch and Force Touch technology. The complaints allege violations of Immersion patents in the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S Plus and in various versions of the Apple Watch. In particular, Immersion says Apple’s features involving vibration feedback for different touches and the feature that uses light touches to display previews of actions infringe on their intellectual property.
Immersion’s complaints are seeking damages related to Apple’s infringement. In addition, AT&T is named in the complaints. The complaints were filed in both U.S. District Court and with the U.S. International Trade Commission. Along with damages, the company is also seeking a cease-and-desist order aimed at stopping the sale of the questioned products in the U.S. Immersion’s CEO, Victor Viegas, says,
“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.”
Some may see Immersion as a borderline patent troll given their active history of litigation. However, they tend to be quite successful in their efforts, led by a big win over Sony regarding the haptic feedback in Sony game controllers. They have won cases involving Google and Microsoft. Immersion is pursuing an action against HTC.
Along with this latest lawsuit, Apple is also defending itself in a class-action lawsuit over “Error 53” problems that are bricking iPhone 6 smartphones and another suit regarding the impact of iOS 9 on iPhone 4 models.