Phew, we were starting to worry we'd get through the week without someone suing Apple. This time it's a patent lawsuit by a Massachusetts man named Romek Figa, who claims to have patented a caller ID system infringed by the iPhone. Figa's patent, which was granted in 1990 and references two-line LCD screens and external caller ID equipment, describes a way to associate incoming numbers with stored contact names, and he's looking to halt sales of the iPhone and have Apple pony up some hefty damages and license his patent, which the company has thus far declined to do. We wonder why. We also wonder why Figa hasn't sued Nokia, Microsoft, HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson, since, you know, all those companies make phones with caller ID as well, but maybe that's coming next -- he could probably end up simply owning Moto's flailing phone division, if his lawyers play their cards right.
Update: According to statements by Figa's attorneys this morning, Moto, Nokia, and Samsung have already licensed the patent, but Apple "refused to take a license on the terms offered." Interesting -- but they also said Figa sent his demand letter directly to Steve Jobs, which seems like the least efficient way possible of handling this deal.
Disclaimer: Nilay is a lawyer, but he's not your lawyer, and none of this is legal advice or analysis.