Apple’s iPhone Joins a Long List of Plaintiffs in Yet Another Patent Lawsuit

My hat goes off to the lawyers of the tech world. How do you keep track of who’s suing whom, and for what? If you’re an Apple attorney, it seems like that would be extra tough.

Just like in sports, the team doing the best has the biggest target on their backs. And as of right now, there isn’t anyone hotter than Apple in the portable electronics market.

Unlike sports, teams in the electronic industry don’t go for the target by trying to get better; they sue you. While that was meant to be more of a joke, if you were in Cupertino’s law offices right now, nobody would be laughing. Apple Insider is reporting on yet another lawsuit involving Apple and the iPhone…

For those who haven’t been keeping up, the iPhone and other products have been taking the brunt of several Nokia lawsuits. Just days after winning a round in ITC court on a patent infringement case, Apple found itself involved in another complaint with the International Trade Commission with the Finnish mobile giant.

Lawsuits like these are generally over patent infringements when companies believe that another corporation is profiting off stolen ideas. They can also be over copyrighted content. Apple itself is guilty of going after Amazon over the “App Store” trademark. They even went to war with Microsoft over the moniker because the creators of “Windows” felt that the term “App Store” was too generic to trademark. Are you kidding me?

The latest case to go public involving Steve Jobs and company is a patent infringement complaint by H-W Technology LC, a Texas-based company. They claim that Apple is using their patent in their iPhone lineup. The invention was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2004, entitled “Internet Protocol Phone with Search and Advertising Capability.”

After reading through the patent in question, it seems like H-W Technology envisioned a wireless home handset that used VOIP services. Also, the advertisement feature mentioned sounded more like an embedded yellow pages than anything else, but I know nothing about the legal stuff. Either way, they seem to be pretty serious about their inventions, as Apple is just 1 of 32 plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit.

I can’t imagine Apple’s bankroll for their multitude of talented attorneys. Maybe lawyers and lawsuits are really necessary in the tech industry. I think it’s all needed to a certain extent, but only if you’ve got a legitimate complaint. I certainly don’t think H-W Technology’s case holds water, but obviously they’re pretty confident.

What do you think?