Apple hit with China lawsuit over FaceTime patent

It just doesn’t seem like Apple’s legal team can catch a break these days. Even when it’s not fighting major handset-makers in high profile patent trials, it’s still dealing with smaller lawsuits over Siri and other features.

And today we add another one to the list. A Taiwanese man is claiming that Apple’s FaceTime service directly infringes on a patent he holds regarding “voice network personal digital assistant,” and has just filed a lawsuit…

MIC Gadget points to the case, which the plaintiff, known as ‘Lee,’ just filed in the Zhenjiang Intermediate People’s Court. He hasn’t named a specific amount for damages yet, but he has asked Apple to cease the violation.

“Lee is a technician of a Taiwanese tech company, he needed to travel aboard to various cities for work, therefore he always made international cal to his company, parents and friends. Due to this reason, Lee was inspired and came up with an idea of implementing internet call feature on phones. Subsequently, he applied for a patent for this idea in 2003.”

The report says that at the time, the patent belonged to Lee’s company, but it has since been transferred into his name. Lee says he recently discovered that the FaceTime function violated his patent, while using the feature on his new iPhone 4S.

Now, this may seem like a minor ordeal to Apple now, but it could blow up into something bigger. Remember, a tiny lawsuit over the iPad trademark ended up costing the company $60 million dollars and several months in lost iPad sales.

That being said, we wouldn’t be surprised if we never heard about this again. But we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for any further developments.