Is Apple In Cahoots With A Patent Troll?

Is Apple In Cahoots With A Patent Troll?

Founded in 2010, Digitude Innovations is a company based in Virginia that has decided against selling products or services, but chooses instead to sue other companies for patent infringement. Yes, it’s a patent troll. And according to one report, it’s doing all of Apple’s dirty work.

Digitude is working off a $50 million investment from Altitude Capital Partners to file patent infringement claims with the International Trade Commission (ITC) against companies such as Amazon, HTC, LG, Nokia, Research in Motion, Samsung, and Sony.

One company missing from that list is Apple, and according to a TechCrunch report, that’s because Apple and Digitude are in cahoots.

The patents used against the companies listed above are:

  • USPTO #6208879 — Mobile Information Terminal Equipment and Portable Electronic Apparatus
  • USPTO #6456841 — Mobile Communication Apparatus Notifying User Of Reproduction Waiting Information Effectively

Both of these patents were previously held by Apple, but were then transferred to a company called Cliff Island LLC earlier this year. TechCrunch attempted to locate Cliff Island, but it seems the company exists in name only. It has an address on one of the patent fillings, which is the same address of Altitude Capital in New York City — its lead investor.

It appears, then, that Cliff Island is simply a shell company that Apple’s patents were routed through before they made their way to Digitude. But why did Apple transfer the patents? We all know the Cupertino company isn’t afraid of entering into a lawsuit, so why is Digitude doing its dirty work?

Well, TechCrunch suggests two explanations:

  • In a bid to avoid the bad press, Apple could be hiding behind Digitude while the company does its dirty work — suing others for patent infringement. Though, you have to wonder why Apple didn’t consider that its partnership with Digitude might be uncovered.
  • Apple was forced to settle another lawsuit with Digitude and offered these patents as part of its settlement. However, the company hasn’t previously settled so quickly without fighting its corner.

It certainly seems as though Apple and Digitude are in cahoots. Both companies have declined to comment on the situation, and Digitude has taken down its website that was previously live on December 4.

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About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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