Another day, another patent lawsuit. Earlier this week, Apple was served with a lawsuit from a Texas-based company called Bluebonnet Telecommunications which alleges that the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 include a call-forwarding feature that infringes upon a patent of theirs which covers a "method and apparatus for determining the telephony features assigned to a telephone."
The patent in question was originally granted to Bluebonnet Telecommunications back in 1996.
The lawsuit reads in part:
Apple induces end-user customers to use the accused smartphones, and specifically to use them in a manner that infringes the 511 patent. They do so by (1) providing instructions to their customers that explain how to use the features of the accused devices that are accused of infringement (specifically those features that allow call forwarding and the display of whether the feature is activated); and (2) by touting the accused features of the smartphone
Oddly enough, the lawsuit notes that Apple has had knowledge of the 511 patent "since at least as early as the filing of this lawsuit." The takeaway here is that Bluebonnet Telecommunications is effectively admitting that Apple was wholly unaware of the patent in question and chose to file a lawsuit without first attempting to secure a licensing agreement with Apple.
Of course, that is fully acceptable within the confines of the law, but it's then curious that Bluebonnet Telecommunications is quick to call Apple's alleged infringement "willful."
Bluebonnet Telecommunications is seeking damages, a permanent injunction and attorneys fees.
You can check out the patent in question over here.