Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Intel and Motorola are just six of the 19 electronics manufacturers being sued by Canadian patent holder Wi-Lan, whose portfolio includes more than 800 issued or pending patents. Wi-Lan is accusing the manufacturers of infringing on a patent it holds regarding Bluetooth connectivity in cellular handsets and notebook computers.
Wi-Lan filed the suit April 7 in a federal court in Texas, and the list of defendants also includes Acer, Atheros Communications, Belkin International, Broadcom, D-Link, Gateway, LG Electronics, Marvell Semiconductor, Sony Electronics, Texas Instruments, Toshiba America and UTStarcom.
"If the company has a valid claim, then a small licensing settlement is appropriate," analyst Roger Kay, with Endpoint Technologies, told eWEEK.
Kay's sentiment echoed that of Peter Strand, with the international organization of civil defense attorneys, DRI. Strand told Bloomberg that while a permanent injunction is difficult to get, it could be a "pretty nice payday" for Wi-Lan, if the company were able to settle on even $50,000 in damages from each of the 19 defendants.
For iPad maker Apple, the suit represents just one more piece of business on its legal team's stacked-high plate.
On Oct. 22, 2009, Nokia filed a suit against Apple, also for patent infringements, and on Dec. 12, Apple answered with a patent-infringement suit of its own. On Dec. 29, Nokia shot back with still another suit, pointing out additional patent infringements.
The suits have been filed with U.S district courts, as well as with the International Trade Commission, which has agreed to weigh in. A resolution, however, isn't expected anytime soon, as the two companies have requested that a trial be held in mid-2012.
Apple is additionally busy with the lawsuit it filed against Taiwan handset maker HTC March 2. The suit - which comes as Google's Android OS, run on several phones made by HTC, has become the fastest growing smartphone OS in the United States - alleges that HTC is violating 20 Apple-held patents surrounding the iPhone's interface, architecture and hardware.
Wi-Lan, in its suit, is seeking unspecified damages and that the defendants be made to stop using the technology, according to reporting from Bloomberg.