Major Taiwan university slams Apple with second lawsuit, this time over video technology patents

Major Taiwan university slams Apple with second lawsuit, this time over video technology patents

A recently-submitted document on indicates that National Cheng Kung University, a major, public educational institution in Taiwan filed a patent lawsuit against Apple on May 3rd.

According to the lawsuit, NCKU accuses Apple on infringing on US Patent #7,561,078, which details technology for a “encoding system for a data set, particularly for a video data set.” The patent was filed in late 2007 and published in late 2009.

Specifically, the patent covers “The encoding system includes a coding strategies represented as a tree-based structure, a cost projection system for each tree node, and a parameter searching algorithm for coding strategies to encode a data set. When the encoder parameters are obtained, the coding strategies and rate-allocation have better performance comparing to the related art.”

In the lawsuit, NCKU states that all Apple software that containing block-oriented motion compensating video infringes on its patent, including but not limited to FaceTime and QuickTime.

The university also states that the infringement has caused it “monetary damages in an amount not yet determined.”

This is not the first time NCKU, a highly-regarded university located in southern Taiwan, has sued the Cupertino firm for alleged patent infringement. In the summer of 2012, the school filed an additional lawsuit against Apple, claiming that its new Siri functionality infringed on two of NCKU’s patents pertaining to voice-to-text technology. The case, one of many in a seemingly ongoing battle between Apple and other OEM manufacturers, caught the attention of local and international media.

Curiously, when that case first made waves, Chen Xisan, director of NCKU’s legal department, was nothing if not direct with regard to why his university was proceeding with the lawsuit. When faced with media questioning, Chen stated that the move was a effort to fight back as Taiwan’s manufacturers (most notably Acer, ASUS, and HTC) faced similar threats from other international companies.

As with the previous case, NCKU is filing its lawsuit against Apple through a Texas court. In a Reuters piece published last year, another internal NCKU legal representative stated that they chose Texas because of its tendency to rule in favor of patent holders and award damages generously. This, however, would seem to be merely a sensible legal strategy, not necessarily a nefarious move.

In May 2012, a lawsuit filed by Apple against HTC claiming patent infringement caused a delay in the latter firm’s shipments of its HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE devices to the USA. In accordance with a ruling from the International Trade Commission, when the phones reached US shores, they had to undergo a customs inspection to ensure they did not infringe upon Apple’s trademarks.

TNW has reached out to representatives from NCKU for comment and will keep readers updated as developments unfold.

Image Credit: SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images

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