Immersion, a company that develops and licenses haptic touch feedback technology, today filed a lawsuit against Apple and AT&T accusing the two companies of patent infringement. Citing technologies like 3D Touch, Force Touch, the Apple Watch Taptic Engine, and vibration patterns for ringtones and notifications, Immersion says multiple Apple devices use its intellectual property.
According to Immersion, the iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition infringe on several Immersion patents that cover haptic feedback systems. Immersion says all of the above listed devices infringe on two patents related to tactile sensations:
– U.S. Patent No. 8,619,051: “Haptic Feedback System with Stored Effects”
– U.S. Patent No. 8,773,356: “Method and Apparatus for Providing Tactile Sensations”
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are further accused of infringing on an additional patent, U.S. Patent No. 8,659,571, titled “Interactivity Model for Shared Feedback on Mobile Devices.”
“Immersion and its employees have worked diligently for over 20 years to invent solutions and build an ecosystem of content and playback devices that enable realistic and rich digital experiences. Touch matters, as it informs, excites and humanizes the digital world we interact with every day. Many of our licensed customers are market leaders that benefit from our innovation in touch technology,” said Immersion’s CEO Victor Viegas.
“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 against infringement of our intellectual property in order to preserve the ecosystem we have built and the investments that we have made in continuing to advance haptic experiences,” added Viegas. “We will vigorously defend the intellectual property we have developed when it is infringed.”
While Apple is named in the lawsuit because it produces the devices that allegedly infringe on Immersion patents, it is less clear while AT&T is named. In the filing, Immersion claims AT&T sells Apple products and offers guides, directions, and other materials that “encourage and facilitate infringing use by others,” but other mobile carriers are not mentioned or included in the lawsuit.
Along with the patent infringement suit, Immersion has also filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, seeking an exclusion order that prevents the sale of the accused Apple devices in the United States.