Apple again beats email app maker's patent, antitrust lawsuit

The Apple Inc logo is seen at the entrance to the Apple store in Brussels, Belgium November 28, 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman
  • Blix accused Apple of stealing technology, crushing competition
  • Appeals court affirms dismissal of allegations

(Reuters) - Apple Inc persuaded an appeals court on Tuesday to reject a U.S. patent and antitrust lawsuit by email app maker Blix Inc that accused the tech giant of copying Blix's technology for its single sign-on (SSO) system and stifling competition.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed without comment a Delaware federal court's decision to dismiss the case last year.

Representatives for the companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Blix's 2019 lawsuit said Apple had copied patented features of its BlueMail app in "Sign In With Apple," which allows users to sign in to third-party applications and websites with Apple IDs.

Blix also accused Apple of violating antitrust law by forcing app developers that offer a third-party SSO to also offer "Sign In With Apple" and using monopoly power to build a "moat" around its user base by making it difficult and expensive to leave its iOS operating system.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark dismissed Blix's allegations last year, invalidating Blix's patent and finding the company did not explain how Apple was "eliminating competition in any market."

Blix had argued on appeal that Stark disregarded an "entire pattern of anticompetitive conduct" from Apple, including what Blix called Apple's "hostile" actions toward it and its alleged practice of "Sherlocking," using its third-party app review process to steal developers' ideas.

The case is Blix Inc v. Apple Inc, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, No. 21-2203.

For Blix: Thomas Burt of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz

For Apple: Mark Perry of Weil, Gotshal & Manges

Read more:

Apple escapes email app maker's antitrust claims over sign-on feature

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Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com