The first patent law suit filed in Ireland by a US company is being fought on the same day a major patent lawsuit in New Zealand is expected to be announced.
The case, brought by an Irish company called L2 Networks, alleges that a US firm, the Intellectual Ventures Group (IVG), infringed on several patents covering the use of the Wi-Fi chipset in iPhones.
The IVG filed the complaint with the Irish courts in October last year, saying that the iPhone uses a patented technology called a “Wi-Fi Access Point” (WiAP) and is designed to be used over the Internet.
The complaint alleges that the IVG has been using patents relating to the WiAP to create “unfair” competition in the smartphone market.
However, the company’s complaint against Apple is the first in the country to be heard in the Irish Courts, the Irish Times reported.
The suit alleges that L2, which manufactures the iPhone X, was a “subordinate” in a global patent infringement scheme and that Apple’s “preferred” competitor was the IVF.
The IIG, however, argues that it is not a “suspect party” in the patent dispute, and that the Irish Court has jurisdiction over all aspects of the case.
The Irish Times said the complaint against L2 is the largest patent case in Ireland since Apple’s decision in October to pay €3bn (£2.5bn) in damages to Nokia over a mobile patent that was based on the company using Nokia technology.
“The IIP’s actions are in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights,” the complaint stated.
“It is an outrageous breach of EU law that the IIP is not subject to its own domestic legal framework.
L2’s actions therefore constitute an unfair competition and a violation of Ireland’s patent law.”
Apple, in a statement, said it would not be commenting on pending cases and would “continue to work closely with our lawyers and regulatory authorities to defend our products against patent claims that are baseless and without merit”.
It said the IIG’s patent is invalid because it does not relate to the products it is alleged to have infringed, and because “no product is patented by the IIF”.
The IIF said that it had received the complaint and that it will defend the patents in the court.
L2 Networks was formed in 2010 and is a subsidiary of the IT giant IBM.IBM, however said it is a partner in the company, and it is in the process of negotiating a settlement with L2.”IBM has been a strong supporter of Irish businesses and the Irish patent system for over a decade, and is committed to working with our partners to develop a long-term settlement to resolve the matter,” the company said in a press release.
The ITC, however is yet to comment on the case, and the decision to proceed against Apple has not been made public.
“We believe the ITC is correct to move quickly and aggressively,” the ITP said in its statement.
“Apple has been involved in an extensive and complex litigation for a number of years and the ITS must be confident of the outcome.”