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Bern firm says iPhone violates patent

A firm headquartered in Switzerland has sued Apple, claiming the computer manufacturer's iPhone smartphone infringes on a 2002 patent for an electronic book.

Bern-based Monec sued California-based Apple in eastern Virginia on Monday, also accusing the company of unfair trade practices, monopolisation and tortuous interference with prospective business advantage.

On its website, the company states it is "a leading innovator for mobile, globally usable communication solutions". It does not list any products.

Seven years ago, a man named Theodor Heutschl was awarded a United States patent for an "electronic device, preferably an electronic book" that receives information over a telephone line or radio. Court documents do not list Heutschel's relationship to Monec.

The patent also describes the device as having an illuminated LCD touch screen, a built-in rechargeable battery and the ability to allow users to read a book on the screen.

Last April, it sued HP in the same court for infringing on the same patent with one of its notebook computers. Monec has not sued Amazon, which sells an electronic book reader called the Kindle.

swissinfo with agencies


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