What you need to know

  • Apple lawsuit seeks to prove it does not use "Universal Keyboard" patent.
  • Patent is owned by patent holding company Princeps.
  • The patent is at the centre of a lawsuit filed against Apple in June. .

Apple has filed a lawsuit in a bid to prove that it does not use a "Univeral Keyboard" patent at the heart of a separate lawsuit against the company. As reported by AppleInsider, the suit filed relates to a patent named "Universal Keyboard', which is owned by Princeps, a company holding the patent on behalf of inventor Timothy Higginson.

In June of this year, the company filed a lawsuit against Apple, over claims that Apple's iOS keyboard violates the patent, which was filed way back in 2002. According to the report:

The parent suit that Apple is acting against was filed in June, and alleges that Apple stands in violation of U.S. Patent No. 6,703,963 for a "Universal keyboard."

Inventor Timothy Higginson, through patent holding company Princeps, believes that the '963 patent resolves "technical problems related to data input devices, and particularly, to problems related to the utilization of small profile data input devices." More specifically, the input device adapts the QWERTY keyboard for one-handed or two-thumb use, and is specifically applicable to how Apple has implemented the keyboard in the iPhone and iPad.

Apple notes in the suit that modifications that Higginson made to the patent after a refusal by the USPTO in 2003 prior to the award in 2004 are the key to Apple's defense and nonviolation. In the court filing, Apple delves heavily into minutiae of patent wording, saying that the execution in the iPhone isn't the same as the patent filing, mostly for reasons of varying "domain controls."

It seems that the suit filed by Apple is a direct counter to the claim lodged against the company, with Apple seeking a declaration that it is not in violation of the patent. Of course if successful, the ruling would totally undermine the cause of the patent suit filed by Princeps. According to AppleInsider, the crux of Apple's argument in the case is that the Globe and Emoji controls found at the bottom left corner of the iOS keyboard make it sufficiently different from the keyboard invented by Higgins.