TracBeam LLC has filed a lawsuit for four counts of patent infringement in the Texas Eastern District Court, Tyler Division against Apple over the company's location services.
The location services in question include those for the iOS mobile operating system and the Mac OS desktop, in addition to the applications and services that are used in Safari and Siri.
Other applications and services that are included in the lawsuit are Apple's Maps, Camera, Find My iPhone, and iAds network.
TracBeam is a Colorado-based company that holds several patents on innovations in technology for wireless location services, which can be used for both consumer and enterprise applications within either indoor or outdoor locations.
The four U.S. patents involved in the case are 8,032,153, 7,764,231, 7,525,484 and 7,298,327. TracBeam is requesting that the court come to a judgment that Apple has infringed willfully on the last three mentioned patents, which would lead to TracBeam being awarded triple damages.
An online search made by website Patently Apple revealed that TracBeam has no website that describes the company's products or services. The search results on TracBeam only returned a list of lawsuits for patent infringement against several companies that include AT&T, Google and T-Mobile.
Patently Apple's investigation places TracBeam under the category of being a patent assertion entity, or as is known more popularly, as a patent troll.
Patent trolls are companies that are formed only to purchase or license patents, and then subsequently file litigations over them against bigger companies such as Apple that are already using the technology contained within the patents.
A study released in 2011 revealed that patent trolls have cost technology companies an amount of $29 billion, with a 2012 report stating that patent trolling has gone out of control.
Apple was the top target of patent trolls in the first half of last year, and continued to remain in the top three for the second half of 2013.
To combat patent trolls, the Innovation Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 5, 2013. The act aimed to discourage the practice of patent trolls, and has received support from Apple and other companies such as Google, IBM and Cisco.
In addition to the Innovation Act, the Federal Trade Commission has launched investigations into the practices of patent troll companies.
Last month, a group of technology companies that include Google, Canon, Dropbox, Newegg, SAP and Asana was formed to combat patent trolls. The coalition is known as the License on Transfer Network, which contains an agreement for cooperative patent licensing among all the companies that are members of the network.