These patent lawsuit stories are basically madlibs anyway, so what the hell: ST CLAIR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CONSULTANTS has sued APPLE COMPUTER over CAMERA TECHNOLOGY in the IPHONE. They have a history of WINNING LAWSUITS, and BUTT FARTS.
The suit bears a lot of the stamps of hollow patent trollery, from the outside-the-industry plaintiff company to the oddly late filing. (The iPhone has been out for a couple years now, and it's had a camera the whole time.) But these guys aren't bullshitting: they have a history of winning similar suits against major camera maufacturers, including Sony, which paid them $25m in 2001, and Canon, which paid them $34m in damages in 2003. They've entered into licensing agreements with "many" of the companies they've sued, which include the likes of Samsung, Nokia and Nikon. So, what's their secret? Patents like this:
Digital cameras, have you ever heard of them?
To have a patent as fundamental as this—among others, including a patent on digital shutter buttons, and one for storage and display methods for digital images—awarded in the early 90s and upheld by the courts is nothing to scoff at. When this thing finally kicks off—the scheduling conference isn't until January, so it'll probably be a few months before we see fireworks—it'll be one to watch, since companies who land in court with Apple have a tendency to—one sec—DIE HORRIBLY. There. [LoopinSight, specific patent list here]