What you need to know

  • Apple has filed a complaint with the District Court in California.
  • The complaint seeks to prevent IXI Mobile relitigating a case dating back to 2014.
  • The case centers around Personal Hotspot, which allegedly infrings an IXI Mobile patent.

Apple has filed a complaint with the U.S District Court in Northern California, seeking to prevent Israeli mobile firm IXI Mobile relitigating a patent infringement case dating back to 2014.

Accorindg to the report from AppleInsider

In 2014, IXI sued Apple in New York court, claiming devices that incorporate personal hotspot capabilities infringe on claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,039,033 for a "System, device and computer readable medium for providing a managed wireless network using short-range radio signals." Also cited as infringed were certain claims from patent Nos. 7,295,532, 7,426,398 and 7,016,648. IXI leveled similar patent infringement claims against Samsung and BlackBerry.

The trial was resolved in favour of both Apple and Samsung, after the companies appealed to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to challenge the case, it was also upheld at an appeal hearing in 2018. IXI tried to circumvent this by having the claim re-examined, which results in one claim being amended and a further 68 claims being added.

Apple argued against amending the infringement complaint, saying IXI's motion should be barred by res judicata, meaning the case should not be relitigated because all appeals to the PTAB's decision on patent invalidity have been exhausted. In other words, IXI has no case because the '033 patent was deemed unpatentable.

The court ultimately denied IXI's motion to amend its original claims, finding the firm "did not demonstrate sufficient diligence" and that "Apple would be unduly prejudiced by the amendment." It fell short of deciding whether the new claims are barred by res judicata, however, and in a ruling said, "If Plaintiffs want to enforce their newly-minted claims, they can try to do so in a new case."

Apple's fresh complaint seeks that res judicata ruling which would confirm IXI Mobile cannot reassert this claim. It is also seeking judgements stating it did not infringe the patent in question, and a declaration that the asserted intellectual property is invalid.