Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is one of the most popular stock picks among hedge fund managers, including billionaire David Einhorn (see his portfolio, with Apple at the top of his holdings), but it also seems to be a favorite pick of those who have or claim to have patent rights. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) also manages to see its share of patent lawsuits in a highly competitive tech world, but its battles are more infrequent, and the majority of Amazon’s battles usually have to do with its business model rather than any patents or products it develops.
But there is one thing Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) have in common – a major university in a major metropolitan city is claiming that both companies, along with a few others, have infringed on an established patent. So these companies have that going for them, which is nice.
The new lawsuit comes courtesy of Boston University, which filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd and others for using a thin film technology in some of its devices. In Apple’s case, this claim is against the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air. In the filing, Boston claims that that it received a patent for the technology in 1997 after it was invented by one of its engineering professors, Theodore Moustakas. The official patent name is “highly insulating monocrystalline gallium nitride thin films.” Okay then.
As the lawsuit was just filed, there is no word on a court date or what might be discussed at trial in terms of this technology and how it is being used in the various devices. And yes, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is also being sued for similar technology, though what devices or services are potentially infringing are not disclosed.
As with all lawsuits once they are filed, there is no public comment as of yet from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) – a company that is much favored by fund managers like Bill Miller of Legg Mason (see his 13F portfolio) – or the others mentioned in this litigation.