Apple is no stranger to legal battles, especially in terms of patents, but this latest litigation against the company may take the cake.
Thomas S. Ross is a Florida resident and he’s gone ahead and filed a lawsuit against Apple this week, within the Florida Southern District Court. It was filed on June 27, and it claims that Apple infringed upon his drawings of an “Electronic Reading Device” or ERD, based on Apple’s devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. Based on the court filings, Ross says he is the “first to file a device so designed and aggregated,” and points out that he did so nearly 15 years before the first iPhone was released.
Ross actually designed three different “ERD” units, with technical drawings that were created between May 23, 1992 and September 10, 1992. The drawings do indeed show a device that has an overall rectangular design, with rounded corners, and what Ross says “embodied a fusion of design and function in a way that never existed prior to 1992.”
“What Ross contemplated, was a device that could allow one to read stories, novels, news articles, as well as look at pictures, watch video presentations, or even movies, on a flat touch-screen that was back-lit. He further imagined that it could include communication functions, such as a phone and a modem, input/output capability, so as to allow the user to write notes, and be capable of storing reading and writing material utilizing internal and external storage media. He also imagined that the device would have batteries and even be equipped with solar panels.”
Back in November 1992, Ross applied for a utility patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, but it was declared abandoned in April of 1995 by the USPTO, because Ross never paid the applicable fees associated with it.
Ross is looking for restitution of “no less than $10 billion” that also includes a royalty from Apple up to 1.5% of the company’s worldwide sales from the devices he believes infringed on his design. Ross says that he is suffering from “great and irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money.”