November 24, 2008 / 6:55 PM / in 11 years

Apple sued over tech that helps iPhone surf Web

A customer examines his new Apple iPhone 3G in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, August 21, 2008. REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw

BOSTON (Reuters) - Apple Inc is the target of a lawsuit that claims a technology the iPhone uses to surf the Web infringes on a patent filed by Los Angeles real estate developer Elliot Gottfurcht and two co-inventors.

The lawsuit was filed by EMG Technology LLC on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas. EMG was founded by Gottfurcht, is based in Los Angeles with an office in Tyler, and has just one employee.

The suit alleges that the technology the iPhone uses to navigate and display some websites designed for small phone screens infringes on a patent obtained last month by Gottfurcht and his co-inventors and assigned to EMG.

Apple spokeswoman Susan Lundgren declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying that the Cupertino, California-based company does not discuss pending litigation.

EMG has not considered suing companies such as HTC Corp, maker of the G1 Google phone, and Research in Motion Ltd, maker of the BlackBerry, which also produce devices that can display mobile websites, according to Gottfurcht’s lawyer Stanley Gibson, a partner with the Los Angeles law firm Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro.

Mobile websites are essentially reformatted versions of ordinary websites, with their content manipulated to be easily viewed on tiny screens.

“We haven’t looked at anything other than the iPhone,” Gibson told Reuters. “That was the device that we looked at. Obviously it’s very popular.”

Gibson was one of several attorneys who prosecuted a recent patent infringement case against Medtronic Inc that resulted in a $570 million verdict for his clients, according to a statement issued by his law firm.

Reporting by Jim Finkle, editing by Richard Chang

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