Apple sued over iPhone's Safari Web browser

Just weeks after being issued a web navigation patent, a Texas company is using it to sue Apple, charging that the mobile Safari browser on the iPhone infringes the patent. The suit was filed today by EMG Technology LLC. In the court document, the company's offices are listed as being in Tyler Texas, but its principle place of business in Los Angeles, Calif. The law suit was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. It seeks unspecified, but undoubtedly astronomical, damages from Apple. [What do you think Apple should do? Take our poll, or add your own suggestion: keep it clean, please!]

The suite charges that Safari infringes on U.S. Patent 7,l441,196, issued by the U.S. Patent Office to barely four weeks ago, on October 21. One of the patent's named inventors is EMG Managing Member Elliot Gottfurcht, described in several online stories as an inventor and Los Angeles real estate developer. A statement by the law firm representing EMG says the patent covers the "display of Internet content reformated from HTML to XML on mobile devices," a description which applies to the iPhone. Other patent claims cover "technology for manipulating a region of the screen for zooming and scrolling." Safari, manipulated by the iPhone's break-through touch-screen, has been a key factor in the iPhone's spectacular success, making possible such things as smartphone blogging. A number of other mobile browsers such as the pioneering Opera mobile versions, and several other recently introduced products (Fennec from Mozilla, ThunderHawk, and Skyefire), have given users a much improved Web experience even without a touch screen. EE Times reports that EMG is a newly minted company, created to exploit the patent, citing as its source a partner in EMG's law firm. The article says that Safari on the iPhone was simply the first product to be investigated by EMG.

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