Apple Inc. (AAPL): Some FaceTime for a Taiwanese College – In Court?

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has certainly taken its shots when it comes to patents. Apple is notorious for aggressively defending its patents when claims are raised against them, as well as going after others who allegedly stole Apple’s patented  operations or innovations. In this case, there is nothing unusual on the face – but hat might be unusual is the claimant in this case, and the fact that this claimant is trying to take a second bite of the powerful Apple.

Examining Apple's Forward ValuationA lawsuit was filed late last week in U.S. federal court by a Taiwanese university, which claims patent infringement against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and is requesting that Apple stop selling products that run FaceTime or QuickTime, due to the video-compression technology that those programs use to operate. The National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan is claiming that its patent is being “willfully” infringed by Apple, which is a request that should Apple be found to inringe, that damages be triples due to the willfulness of the infringement.

Image: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

The legitimacy of this claim is unknown, other than the video-compression technology mentioned in the patent has become standard-essential in the tech world, being used in various other places, including YouTube, by Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ:ADBE) and even in Silverlight by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).

Keng Chung is not clear whether it is specifically targeting Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for using this standard-essential patent that others are using, or whether there is a delivery system of the patented activity that is of particular concern to the university and its patent. There is no mention of initial damages requested, but if the lawsuit is successful,virtually every one of Apple’s devices would be impacted.

This university filed an initial lawsuit against Apple last year, claiming patent infringement in Apple’s Siri voice assistant and the company’s voice-to-text capabilities. That case has not been resolved to this point. The university claimed those patents were acquired in 2007 and 2010, before Siri was introduced.

It is interesting to note that this latest lawsuit, like the first one, was filed in the Eastern District Court of Texas in the U.S. federal system, which has developed a reputation for being lenient in accepting patent cases – and even being seen as a little sympathetic to the claimants in cases. What do you think? Is this university just another patent “troll” looking to gain something from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), or do you think this might be different from some of the other cases? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.