Another day, another lawsuit. Today we have the case of Openwave against Apple and RIM. Openwave is effectively filing a lawsuit against these two companies to defend its intellectual property for mobile Internet access. In a statement, Openwave CEO Ken Denman said:
“Openwave invented technologies that became foundational to the mobile Internet. We believe that these large companies should pay us for the use of our technologies, particularly in light of the substantial revenue these companies have earned from devices that use our intellectual property. Before filing these complaints, we approached both of these companies numerous times in an attempt to negotiate a license of our technology with them and did not receive a substantive response.”
In 1997, Openwave was the first company to allow operators to deploy the use of Internet on mobile devices. They also invented the technology for photo messaging in 2001. The company was acquired by Purple Labs in 2008. Some of their patents include functionality such as allowing a user “to use e-mail applications on a mobile device when the network is unavailable – such as when a user is on an airplane” or “to experience an improved user experience in navigating through various pages of information without delay”. R.I.P., experiencing user experiences.
Openwave is seeking to ban the imports of a large set of very popular products. The patents apparently affect the Apple iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch, iPad, iPad 2, RIM’s BlackBerry Curve 9330, and the BlackBerry PlayBook. If by any slim chance Openwave were to win this case, Apple in particular would lose an awful lot of money.
Denman had some closing remarks on Openwave’s ability to succeed in this lawsuit:
“As it became clear that these large companies would not substantively cooperate with us, the Company carefully evaluated its legal position and litigation prospects. We believe that our legal position is strong and our prospects of prevailing are very good.”
Admittedly, Openwave’s patents aren’t as broad or senseless as many others we’ve seen, though the lawsuit for mobile Internet access sure is. The company says they are filing a complaint specifically against Apple and RIM due to their inability to cooperate with the supposed infringements. It will be interesting to see how Openwave deals with the plethora of other companies also using mobile Internet access in their products.