FaceTime Could Face Patent Infringement Suit In China (edited)
It looks like Apple isn't quite free of legal trouble in China, one of its fastest growing markets. This time it might be in relation to FaceTime, the feature that allows iOS users to make video calls to one another. A Chinese man owns a patent for a "voice network personal digital assistant." He believes that FaceTime infringes on his patent and has started a lawsuit against Apple.
Apple has yet to respond to the legal case, although the company will likely start paying attention soon - Apple doesn't want the iPhone to be barred from sale in China over one patent. The first hearing will be held next month, so Apple will have to prepare quickly.
According to CNET.com, Lee, the man behind the patent and the lawsuit, applied for the patent way back in 2003 after he came up with a idea for an Internet calling feature that would allow him to stay in touch while he was travelling. This sounds much like what FaceTime is supposed to do.
Unlike most patent cases, Lee isn't seeking a huge amount of damages, he merely wants Apple to stop violating his patent (although he could ask for licensing fees instead of making Apple change its software).
This isn't the first legal case Apple has had in China - recently the company paid $60 million for the iPad trademark.