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Boston University Wants a Piece of Apple's Pie

Boston University Wants a Piece of Apple's Pie

In 2012, Proview sued Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) over the use of the "iPad" trademark.

Proview, a Chinese company, announced that it had obtained legal ownership of the iPad name before Apple.

Apple had paid to purchase the trademark before, but a Chinese court sided with Proview, which claimed that it had only sold the trademark outside of China. This made for a tough lawsuit that ultimately cost Apple $60 million in settlement fees.

When Proview first filed its lawsuit, the iPad was less than two years old. Proview wasted little time in filing its claim against the Mac maker.

Related: Will Apple Earn Another $1 Billion from Samsung After Patent Victory?

The same cannot be said for a new lawsuit filed by Boston University. The esteemed school claims that Apple violated one of its patents when it released the iPhone in 2007.

This patent is not new, however -- it dates back to 1995, the year in which it was first filed by a BU professor. The patent was granted in 1997, exactly 10 years before the first iPhone was released.

Why did the college wait until now to file the suit?

According to GigaOM, the patent will expire in 2015. This gives BU less than two years to cash in on the iPhone's massive global success.

That explains why BU filed the suit this summer, but it does not reveal why the school waited six years before taking action.

This is one of the many challenges that corporations face with the current domestic patent system. While the U.S. government cannot change the patent policies of other nations, it could enact new rules to protect those who actually conceive and produce fresh products.

Under the current system, Apple could feasibly win a lawsuit against Samsung, which has developed several smartphones, but lose another suit against a school that has not produced a single device.

BU joins the ranks of Samsung and other litigious organizations by asking for a ban on the sale of iPhones.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: Apple GigaOM iPad iPhoneNews Legal Tech Best of Benzinga


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