Apple iPhone & Watch: thieves of haptic says Immersion Corp.

Apple iPhone Immersion patents

“Immersion and its employees have worked diligently for over 20 years to invent solutions and build an ecosystem. ... Many of our licensed customers are market leaders that benefit from our innovation. ... 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. ... We will vigorously defend the intellectual property we have developed when it is infringed.”

Immersion CEO Victor Viegas values vigorous vibration
[You're fired -Ed.]

Apple and AT&T sued by Immersion Corp. (NASDAQ:IMMR), because they allegedly infringed patents on to haptic technology. The “non-practicing entity” accuses Cupertino of stealing its intellectual property, building it into the most recent two generations of iPhone, and into the Apple Watch.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Immer-who?” The company says it’s, “The leading innovator in haptic technology.” Over the past decade and a half, it’s successfully sued both Microsoft and Sony for buzzy game controllers, and has licensed haptic tech to several Android phone firms.

Yes, that Immersion. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers resist the temptation to use the phrase “patent troll.” Not to mention: Bitcoin FAIL...

curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.


Can you feel it? Roll me over, Juli Clover—Haptic Feedback Company Immersion Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Apple:

Immersion, a company that develops and licenses haptic touch feedback technology, today filed a lawsuit against Apple and AT&T. [It] says multiple Apple devices use its intellectual property.

While Apple is named...because it produces the devices that allegedly infringe...it is less clear while AT&T is named. ... Immersion claims AT&T sells Apple products and offers...materials that "encourage and facilitate infringing use"...but other mobile carriers are not mentioned.


Oopsie. Eric Jhonsa seeks to add detail—Immersion sues Apple and AT&T over haptics IP; shares +13%:

The iPhone 6/6+, 6S/6S+, and Apple Watch are covered by the suit.

[It] has inked IP licensing deals with Samsung, Huawei, HTC, and various other Android OEMs. [It] has previously said it "intends to license Apple."

Immersion has jumped to $8.00 in after hours trading.


This is Sparta? Jack Purcher sees a New Patent War:

It looks like a new patent war front has just opened up against Apple. ... Immersion Corporation...both filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission ("ITC")...and a patent infringement complaint...in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

The complaints allege that the Apple [devices] infringe certain Immersion patents covering haptic feedback systems and methods in electronic devices. ... In the ITC complaint, Immersion is seeking an exclusion order preventing...importation...and sale...of infringing Apple devices.

According to Immersion, [the] patents [are] U.S. Patent No. 8,619,051: "Haptic Feedback System with Stored Effects,"...8,773,356: "Method and Apparatus for Providing Tactile Sensations" [and] 8,659,571: "Interactivity Model for Shared Feedback on Mobile Devices."

Something tells me that Apple is going to respond very sharply, very soon.


This is giving me the excitations. Jon Mundy is picking it up, too—Apple being sued for familiar vibrations:

Apple has long used vibration motors in its devices for notifying of calls and alerts. However, it has switched to more advanced systems in recent models.

Immersion is seeking compensation as well as a sales injunction.


“More advanced”? Mikey Campbell soups it up—Immersion files lawsuit, ITC complaint against Apple's haptic technology:

The company announced a more advanced haptic feedback system with Apple Watch in 2014. ... The "Taptic Engine"...incorporates a refined linear actuator driven and sophisticated software capable of reproducing taps, bumps and other...events to deliver an immersive sensory experience.

Apple introduced similar technology, called "Force Touch," in its MacBook lineup and later the Magic Trackpad 2. ... Apple debuted its most comprehensive haptic experience in 3D Touch on iPhone 6s...to create what is in effect an entirely new GUI layer.


Well, that reportage rather verges on the fanboi. But Carly Page turns to Apple faces lawsuit over iPhone 6S 3D Touch technology:

Immersion's lawsuit isn't the only legal hot water Apple has been dunked in recently. ... Law firm PCVA has filed a class action...on behalf of people whose iDevices have been rendered worthless by...'Error 53'.

Apple might find itself in legal trouble...in the UK as well. A London-based barrister said that Error 53 could be viewed as an offence under the Criminal Damage Act 1971.

Apple has yet to comment.


Aand here come the armchair lawyers. For example, entropys:

immersion have been around for a long time and android manufacturers and MS pay royalties...to Immersion. And immersion have won court cases. ... Apple would know about immersion. So one of the below could be true:

1. Apple's implementation is quite a different process. ...
2. The implementation is similar and negotiations failed. ...
3. Apple decided it would try to get away with it. ...
4. Immersion are defending their patent to make sure none of the current haptic licensees get any ideas.

Given the massive publicity about anything Apple, 3 is unlikely. Discovery will doubtless find an internal email or other correspondence discussing Immersion's patents. ... Deciding to just bull it out would be beyond stupid [and] the punitive results would be very damaging.

It is most likely option one, and the courts will decide who's view is right.

And Finally...

Bitcoin FAIL [...and crime]


You have been reading IT Blogwatch by , who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or itbw@richi.uk.
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

From CIO: 8 Free Online Courses to Grow Your Tech Skills
View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies