Apple Inc. (AAPL) Sued Over Spreadsheet Patent

Apple Inc.Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is making a lot of legal headlines with its ongoing patent battles against Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which had a new chapter in The Netherlands. But while Apple Inc. (AAPL) is globe-trotting in pursuit of Samsung, a small company in Texas is going after the big man on campus over a patent that it claims Apple infringed for its spreadsheet applications, which was expected to compete against the Excel spreadsheet program by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is one of the most-watched companies and most-popular stock picks among hedge funds, including the portfolio of billionaire David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital. For the benefit of investors, here is a look at the latest legal wranglings.


Wednesday in a Texas federal court, Data Engine Technologies LLC filed a patent-infringement suit against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), accusing the tech giant of copying an interactive feature patent that Apple Inc. (AAPL) uses in its Numbers spreadsheet application. The patent was warded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1995, and Data Engine Technologies claims that Apple knew about that patent when Apple was granted a 2007 patent for its technology to cut and copy spreadsheet cells in 2007. As expected, Data Engine Technologies is seeking damage and interest for the infringement, plus an injunction on the infringing products being available in the market.


In The Netherlands, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. told a three-judge Dutch panel that it had fixed its Galaxy devices so that they no longer infringe on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) patents, and it was ready to have its preliminary sales ban lifted in the country. But when the judges pressed Samsung to provide evidence of the changes, Samsung essentially said, “Trust us.” The judges basically said, Why? “And now at the hearing you come without any substantiation with the bare assertion that this is the case and that we should believe you?” said Rian Kalden, one of the panel judges.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is seeking damages and wants to share profits from Samsung on sales from the infringing devices. The three-judge panel is due to rule on the case in mid-November.