What's going on between Apple and Digitude Innovations?

According to a report from TechCrunch, Apple has entered into some kind of relationship with Digitude Innovations, seemingly one of those delightful non-practicing entities fondly referred to as a patent troll. Based in Virginia, founded in 2010 and working off $50 Million from Altitude Capital Partners, Digitude has filed patent infringement claims with the International Trade Commission (ITC) against the likes of RIM, HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, Amazon, and Nokia -- but notably not Apple -- all with what appear to be patents previously held by -- none other than Apple. The patents noted are:

  • USPTO #6208879 — Mobile Information Terminal Equipment and Portable Electronic Apparatus
  • USPTO #6456841 — Mobile Communication Apparatus Notifying User Of Reproduction Waiting Information Effectively

Transferred to a shell company called Cliff Island LLC earlier this year, these patents were then, at some point, transferred to Digitude Innovations whose sole basis of existence seems to be to buy technology patents and then sue companies with said patents until they give into licensing fees or cross-licensing agreements allowing Digitude to sue even more companies over more patents.

Techrunch offers two possible explanations:

  • Apple could be hiding behind Digitude to avoid the bad press that's been surrounding patent suits as of late. (Although they had to figure this would become known -- as indeed it has -- and make them look even worse?)
  • Apple was forced to settle with Digitude and offer the right to litigate these patents as part of the settlement. (Although why would Apple settle so quickly and quietly when they've fought so vigorously in the past?)

Apple and Digitude Innovations have declined to comment on the situation, but it goes without saying -- it's looking pretty shady on Apple's part right now. Hit the source link below for much more on the situation.

Source: Techcrunch