Apple Inc. (AAPL): New Year, Same Ol’ Patent-Suit Target

Can't imagine what it's like to be the king of the hill. (Though here at Insider Monkey, we're working to find out for ourselves.) When you're the most valuable and most transcendental tech company in the world like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is, you likely are a company with a target on its very large back. And though the calendar has turned to a new year (with no thanks from the Mayans), the same bug-a-boo has emerged for the tech giant.

A patent-infringement lawsuit. And it took just a week into the year for it to be filed, and of course Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the target.

Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) once again is finding itself on the receiving end of a patent-infringement suit, this one brought by Steelhead Licensing, which currently owns a patent that was originally established by BT - one of the world's largest telecom companies - in 1993. Steelhead is apparently on record as filing similar lawsuits against Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S), Research in Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) and Motorola.

The patent in dispute in this case is described technically here, but essentially it describes the way that radio signal quality is maintained when being sent and received between two base stations.

BT, the original patent owner, sued Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) in 2011 for infringing upon six of its patents relating to location and navigation services, according to a report by the BBC.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock is starting the first full week of the new year at $527.00 per share at the open of business Monday.

There is no more detail at this point in regards to the Steelhead suit - what devices are affected and how Steelhead is claiming infringement - so there is not much to go on at this point. Do you think this has any legs as a legal proceeding, or will this come down to licensing fees? We'd like your comments about these types of patent suits and the process of licensing use of patents. Would you change this process, and if so, how? What effect do you think these suits have on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)?

See these related AAPL articles:

Brookside Capital Really Likes Apple Stock

Gene Munster Gives His Thoughts on Apple in 2013

Apple Could Be Looking at Gorilla Glass?

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