U.S. International Trade Commission investigating Apple for patent infringement

Before We Get Started

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According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, it is busy investigating various current and past Apple products that use AirPlay Mirroring and Screen Sharing. This comes after a company and its licensing affiliate, both of which create cross-platform remote-access solutions, filed a complaint.

The companies involved are Aqua Connect and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Strategic Technology Partners.

Reuters recently said the products under investigation included some Mac models, iPads, iPhones, Apple TV and iPods.

The two firms filed a complaint last month regarding Aqua Connect’s terminal server and remote desktop tools. According to Aqua Connect, Apple was closely involved with the development of these applications until as recently as six years ago.

Apple introduced Lion and launched Screen Sharing in July 2011 – and Aqua Connect claims that these features use its patented technology. The firm also claims that AirPlay Mirroring violates the same patents.

They cite two patents in their application: US 8924502 and RE 46386.

It is unclear how Apple Remote Desktop – which made its debut in 2002 and has more features than AirPlay Mirroring or Screen Sharing – fits into the whole issue, since Aqua Connect wasn’t formed until 2007.

The company claims that before starting to use its brainchild, Apple was only offering ‘rudimentary screen sharing functionality’.

Although it is unclear at this stage whether the remote access patents are what the two companies are raising concerns about in the complaint, it appears to be likely. The grievance is case number 8:17-cv-1762 and it was filed in the Federal Court system of Southern California.

Few people would expect a speedy outcome to this conflict. USITC examinations are known to take their time. The average case takes well over a year to be resolved, but some cases have dragged on for three years and even longer.

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