By The Associated PressA Washington state judge has issued an order allowing a class-action lawsuit to go forward against Google, Apple and others over the company’s new patent for “siphon-proof” wireless earphones.
The class-actions lawsuit claims that the devices are “slimming” and that they’re “not actually wireless” but instead use special “smartphones” that are actually wireless.
The suit says the new patent was issued by an unnamed company without the consent of the patent owner.
The plaintiffs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, filed a lawsuit in April, claiming that the earphones infringe on five patents owned by Apple and Google, and one each by Apple, Motorola and Nokia.
The patents were created after Apple invented wireless earphone technology, and Google and Samsung then created “smartphone-like” earphones that fit under their earbuds.
Apple sued the plaintiffs in May, saying that the patents violate Apple’s rights to privacy, fair use and inventiveness.
In the lawsuit filed Monday, Judge Joseph S. Robart of the U:U District Court in Seattle dismissed the case, ruling that the plaintiffs’ claims did not meet the definition of a valid class action.
The judge also said that it was not possible for him to determine whether Apple had adequately demonstrated that the claimed patents were infringed.
Robart ruled that the lawsuit could proceed and said he was unlikely to rule in Apple’s favor, but said that the case should be dismissed because it could be difficult to prove infringement of the patents and because Apple’s arguments could be “highly speculative.”
Robart said the lawsuit “may be dismissed as moot because the parties have reached an agreement on the terms and conditions of the dismissal.”
He also said the class action should be allowed to proceed.
Robarts ruling does not prevent the case from going forward, but says that Apple has a strong case for bringing it to court.