US International Trade Commission Launches Apple Probe Over Patent Infringement Allegations 

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) has opened a new investigation over an Aqua Connect statement which alleges that Apple has infringed on certain patents.  Of course, the announcement is still preliminary so we know very little more about the details, but we can extract that the lawsuit alleges Apple is guilty of several infringements.

According to the International Trade Commission, the agency opened the investigation after Aqua Connect Inc and Strategic Technology Partners of Orange California combined complaints, suing Apple in October over specific macOS features.  However, the international complaint apparently also appears to be much more encompassing; it could relate to select Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV products as well, though the exact models and features have not yet been revealed.

Indeed, Aqua Connect CEO Ronnie Exley explains, “Aqua Connect invented and built the first fully functional emote desktop and terminal server solution for Mac in 2008.  Initially, our product had Apple’s full support. But year’s later, Apple built our technology into its macOS and iOS operating systems without our permission. These lawsuits seek to stop Apple from continuing to user our technology in their macOS and iOS operating systems.”

The Aqua Connect complaint asks the International Trade Commission (ITC) to issue an exclusion order as well as a cease and desist order which would bar Apple from the import of its products into the US.

The ITC responds, “The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Aqua Connect, Inc., and Strategic Technology Partners, LLC, of Orange, CA, on October 10, 2017. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain personal computers, mobile devices, digital media players, and microconsoles that infringe patents asserted by the complainants. The complainants request that the USITC issue a temporary exclusion order and a temporary cease and desist order based on a motion for temporary relief, and that the USITC ultimately issue a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order.”

As you may or may not know, Apple is already under ITC investigation regarding patent infringement allegations from Qualcomm, though this appears to be quite different from the Aqua Connect lawsuit.

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