Apple’s Latest Patent Battle is over Battery Charging Technology

Apple is the target of a patent lawsuit again, and this time it’s over battery charging technology.

According to 9-to-5 Mac, Texas-based Somaltus, LLC has claimed that the charging system used by the iPhone violated a patent it acquired in 2010 from Snap-On Technologies for an “integrated battery service system” that performs a “plurality of services related to devices/components that are coupled to the battery.” Specifically, Somaltus is targeting the fast-charging technology used by the iPhone 6s that, uses a  slower, trickle-charge method after the battery reaches 80%, which improves battery performance over time.

Somaltus is a non-practicing entity (NPE) that has sued Nissan, Ford, and others over the same patent. The patent makes no mention of smartphones, tablets, or computers.

This can’t be a surprise for Apple, as Somaltus has been particularly aggressive litigating this patent. But once again, it underscores the importance for both exhaustive patent searches and the need for patent reform in the United States.

With NPE’s constantly knocking on doors of some of the most innovative firms in the U.S., one would figure there has to be a tipping point where productivity is hindered or comes to an outright halt. This patent, which has been litigated time and time again is a perfect example of the problem caused by NPEs, and the threat they pose to American innovation.